CHAPTER IV

The counterpoint of experience

Real bodily excitement, together with imaginary experiences, holds for many a specific fascination mixed with horror.

A boy is excited by seeing ‘attractive’ girls. He conjures them up in imagination. Real intercourse may for a time be not so much desired as imaginary intercourse with ‘real’ orgasm.

Sartre (1952) regards an ‘honest’ masturbator as one who masturbates for want of anything more actual. He describes what he regards as ‘dishonest’ masturbation in his discussion of Jean Genet.

‘A masturbator by choice, Genet prefers his own caresses since the enjoyment received coincides with the enjoyment given, the moment of passivity with that of the greatest activity; he is at one and the same time this consciousness that clots (caille), and this hand which churns in agitation. Being, existence; faith, works; masochistic inertia and sadistic ferocity; petrification and liberty; at the moment of pleasure the two contradictory components of Genet coincide; he is the criminal who violates and the saint who lets himself be violated. The masturbator makes himself unreal—he brings about his own rerealisation; he is very near to discovering the magic formula that will open the sluice gates.

However, victim or executioner, caresser or caressed, these

-39-

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Self and Others
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface to Second Edition ix
  • Preface to First Edition xi
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Part One - Modes of Interpersonal Experience 1
  • Chapter I - Phantasy and Experience 3
  • Chapter II - Phantasy and Communication 18
  • Chapter III - Pretence and Elusion 29
  • Chapter IV - The Counterpoint of Experience 39
  • Chapter V - The Coldness of Death 53
  • Part Two - Forms of Interpersonal Action 63
  • Chapter VI - Complementary Identity 65
  • Chapter VII - Confirmation and Disconfirmation 81
  • Chapter VIII - Collusion 90
  • Chapter IX - False and Untenable Positions 107
  • Chapter X - Attributions and Injunctions 132
  • Appendix 154
  • Selected Bibliography 161
  • Index 165
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