Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Fear of the mind. The annihilating power of the gaze.

The concern for the annihilating power of the gaze is not part of the Freudian discourse, but represents one of the most valuable contributions of phenomenology to psychoanalysis. When clear boundaries between the self and the others are not yet established, the gaze is experienced as a disembodied force that radiates from the eyes and can dangerously penetrate into the mind. In this regard, the body or parts of it can be used as a shelter. If the external body is not sufficiently cathected, its sheltering function is also decreased, to the point that the body is experienced as transparent, and the most intimate feelings and thoughts become dangerously available to the others. In primitive societies this situation is experienced as the danger of losing the soul. The unconscious fantasy of obstructing the sight can be used to neutralize the annihilating power of the gaze by introducing an artificial barrier between the minds. In dreams and in other expressions of the unconscious, the black color might hint at such an artificial barrier. What is then blackened are moments of the meeting of the mind that cannot be introspected. Blind spots in the perception of the mind of the other as well as in the perception of the self are a specific consequence of this kind of defense.