Nazi Psychoanalysis - Vol. 3

Nazi Psychoanalysis - Vol. 3

Nazi Psychoanalysis - Vol. 3

Nazi Psychoanalysis - Vol. 3

Synopsis

Written by one of the most incisive and interesting scholars of modern philosophy, theory and culture, Nazi Psychoanalysis studies the breadth of this phenomenon to clarify and deepen our understanding of psychoanalysis and of the 20th century itself.

Excerpt

If the first two volumes of Nazi Psychoanalysis are mainly about the origin and development of “greater psychoanalysis, ” the war-born inner and outer space of Freud's inescapability in the twentieth century, then the business of this final volume, Psy Fi, is mainly to suggest conclusions and extrapolations that have a bearing on our present condition. the basic story is not hard to follow. Because Nazi Germany, itself “one big science fiction, ” coopted “the ultimate science fiction fantasy, that of replacement of reproduction (which is death in life) with a new and improved immortality plan, that of amoeba-like and technology-compatible replication, ” it fell to “the Allied psychological war strategy” to take up “the struggle for what was thus endangered: family and couple, procreation and love.” This more or less explains the Allies' “filing for victim status” in the very process of winning. and then, in a further twist, “Plane flight and tv viewing reset group psychology on the family pack format. the family was thus technologized and doubled as favorite haunt for all the balancing acts of technotension going down between the couple and the group, between reproduction and replication.” But the story itself matters less than the question of who is telling it, who is in a position to comprehend and analyze its content. Science fiction itself, sci fi, lays claim to the analytic perspective, as do also the various psychotherapeutic genres, psy fi, that Rickels discusses alongside it, not to mention psychoanalysis itself, “the owner's manual of our ongoing technologization.” But if it is really our technologization, where is the detached perspective from which to “own” or master it? Is it possible to draw a line between analysis itself (psycho- or otherwise) and the symptoms it analyzes? We can perhaps see this problem coming if we first step back a quarter millennium or so.

To the extent that a main point exists, the main point of Johann Georg Hamann's Aesthetics in a Nutshell (1762) is probably that scripture and history, and indeed nature itself, are all versions of a single text, a single divine writing, and that the purport of that writing depends radically on how the reader approaches it, which in turn never fails to involve the question of who the reader really is. These last two ideas are set forth with perfect clarity, toward the end of Hamann's text, in a pair of quotations, the first in Latin from St. Augustine, the second in German from Luther. But rather than call Augustine by name, Hamann cites him as “the Punic church . . .

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