chapter  12
6 Pages

TRYING ON ANOTHER MIND

The other problem with this book is that of the self. Whereas some may say that the self or the person (and even that equation can begin a heated discussion) is composed of the body plus the mind, others, such as William James, extend the concept of self beyond the skin, to include, for example, one's possessions. People are socially embedded and cannot be lifted away as discrete objects of study. Both the mind and the self are placed in a system of organization without which they cannot exist. One's individuality or singularity is therefore not denied, but is seen as a result of positioning of that separatedness in relation to its ecosystem. That positioning becomes the basis of my supposed neglect of interpersonal and intersubjective terminology. It is not that these ideas do not have a proper place in describing social phenomena, but rather that my preferred language and theory (i.e., what I resort to in explaining the embeddeness of the self) is that of the selfobject and self psychology. The linkage of the self to the larger system, from this purview, takes place by way of its constituent selfobjects. This linkage returns us to old-fashioned ideas of transference and countertransference, and so this study deals primarily with the selfobject transferences. It does not dismiss or banish the viewpoint of noting what goes on between and within the shared space of persons. Rather, it chooses as its focus the psychoanalytic concern with unconscious transference material. And here once again comes the out-of-vogue vocabulary of psychic structure, defenses, and most especially the almost wornout term of disavowal.