CHAPTER VIII

Collusion

The term ‘collusion’ has kinship with de-lusion, il-lusion, and e-lusion. Lusion comes from the verb ludere, whose meaning varies in classical and late Latin. It can mean to play, to play at, or to make a sport of, to mock, to deceive.

Delusion implies total self-deception. Illusion, as frequently used psychoanalytically, implies a capacity to deceive oneself under a strong wish, but does not involve self-deception as total as delusion.

Collusion has resonances of playing at and of deception. It is a ‘game’ played by two or more people whereby they deceive themselves. The game is the game of mutual self-deception. Whereas delusion and elusion and illusion can be applied to one person, collusion is necessarily a two-or-more-person game. Each plays the other’s game, though he may not necessarily be fully aware of doing so. An essential feature of this game is not admitting that it is a game. When the one person is predominantly the passive ‘victim’ (one can be victimized for not playing ‘victim’) of a trick or manœuvre or manipulation, the relationship will not be called collusive. It will be difficult in practice to determine whether or to what extent a relationship is collusive. But the distinction is still worth making in theory. A slave may collude with his master in being a slave to save his life, even to the point of carrying out orders that are self-destructive.

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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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