4 December 2009

Pre-Uterine Claims

Filed under: Fiction, Psychology — ktismatics @ 9:34 am

“‘The author,’ Mr. Nathan wrote, ‘has found that the patient forms a distinctive type of object relation based on a perpetual and irresistible desire to merge with the object in an undifferentiated mass. Although psychoanalysis cannot reach the primary archaic mechanism of “rapprochement” it can deal with the neurotic superstructure, guiding the patient towards the choice of stable and worthwhile objects. In the case under consideration the previous career of the patient as a military pilot should be noted, and the unconscious role of thermonuclear weapons in bringing about the total fusion and nondifferentiation of all matter. What the patient is reacting against is, simply the phenomenology of the universe, the specific and independent existence of separate objects and events, however trivial and inoffensive these may seem. A spoon, for example, offends him by the mere fact of its existence in time and space. More than this, one could say that the precise, if largely random, configuration of atoms in the universe at any given moment, one never again to be repeated, seems to him to be preposterous by virtue of its unique identity…’ Dr. Nathan lowered his pen and looked down into the recreation garden. Traven was standing in the sunlight, raising and lowering his arms and legs in a private callisthenic display, which he repeated several times (presumably in an attempt to render time and events meaningless by replication?).”

– from The Atrocity Exhibition by J.G. Ballard, 1972


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