Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I hate Freud

This is simply a random collection of my attempts to synthesize the material from Freud's article with the story "Seeing Double" I read from The New Uncanny.

1. Freud is insane

2. My genitals have never multiplied, in a dream or elsewhere

3. The ‘double’ could really belong to either class of the uncanny, either surmounted beliefs or infantile complexes (he says somewhere they’re only a fuzzy line between the two). However, I think it mostly belongs to the infantile complex class:

a. “The quality of uncanniness can only come from the circumstance of the ‘double’ being a creation dating back to a very early mental stage, long since left behind, and one, no doubt, in which it wore a more friendly aspect.” (pg. 389)

b. The double was friendly, known, tranquil (i.e. heimlich) in childhood

c. It disappeared (repressed) as the stages of the ego were lived

d. It then reappeared (repeated after repression) in a later stage and is no longer friendly, no longer heimlich, and therefore unheimlich (has been brought to light when it should have remained concealed – def. page 376)

i. Criticizes the narcissism of the ego

ii. Is dissociated from the ego

iii. Is discernible to the physician’s eye (midwife in this case)

iv. Not sure how the “impulse toward self-protection” applies here, or the “unfulfilled but possible futures”

4. This ‘double’ is different from other stories involving the double

a. In Jekyll/Hyde – it was clearly, purposeful move toward protecting the self while allowing the double to fulfill the ego’s phantasies

b. In the Picture of Dorian Gray – the double was the mirror, the conscious, the criticism of the narcissistic ego

c. In the Brood – the double again was self-protection, while the ‘double’ gave life to unfulfilled wishes; eps pertinent in the Brood, as the ego lacks any ability for empathy, as did the brood itself.

5. The double “has become a vision of terror” because it “dates backs to a very early mental stage, long since left behind, and one, no doubt, in which it wore a more friendly aspect.” (pg. 389)

a. Implies that there cannot be a friendly double, as the double always harks back to the ego, which is narcissistic, and therefore cannot be friendly.

b. There are only three options available for the double to fulfill:

i. Childhood development stage in which is “wears a friendly aspect” – i.e. the childhood friend

ii. The criticism of the ego (taunting)

iii. Fulfillment of phanatasy (original narcissism)

c. The appearance of the double in childhood is the concept of immortality

d. Appearance in adulthood is “the ghastly harbinger of death” (pg. 387)

i. Death of the double always leads to death of self

ii. Death of self always leads to death of the double

iii. Therefore the double is not a sign of immortality at all.

6. If the first double is the immortal soul, and an insurance against death, than the outward projection of that double (the soul), is the harbringer of death

a. Only two options for the projected soul/double:

i. Unrestrained self-love (narcissism, wish fulfillment and a lack of empathy)

ii. Self-hatred (criticism of the ego, the conscious, censorship, being watched)

b. In either case, both lead to death

i. Either death from guilt (Jekyll), or murder by those trying to protect others (the Brood)

ii. Or an attempt to destroy the conscious, to get rid of the nagging voice/image (Dorian and Uncanny book)

7. So the soul must remain integrated with the self, rather than outwardly projected, in order to live?


  1. Or rather, to sum up, I hate Freud.

  2. lol! I empathize.

    You wrote: "Not sure how the “impulse toward self-protection” applies here, or the “unfulfilled but possible futures”" I think he's suggesting that the double is a fantasy of another self being alive, like a clone: it's a wish for self-preservation. Some would go so far as to argue that we writers create such doubles in our fiction! :-)

    Very thoughtful posts... enjoying your work.

  3. Haleigh...you couldn't be more right. My whole issue with the double is that it's an attempt at immortality in youth and then a brush with mortality as we age. You can't have it both ways, Siggy! I have a hard time with him reversing its meaning conveniently. It's just unfortunate that it works so well at providing some plausible ideas in literature...damn him! :-)