Search Results for Masochism
Masochism is a Freudian term denoting a sexual perversion in which a person says they become sexually aroused and enjoy it when another person inflicts pain on them.
While this phenomenon was once entirely underground, a fairly recent Canadian TV documentary revealed that some people believe they are doing nothing wrong by spanking or being spanked for a fee in a controlled situation.
Typically a client takes a submissive, bound posture while a ‘dominatrix’, usually dressed in black leather, spanks them on the exposed buttocks.
The practice might possibly involve unresolved psychological complexes caused by early abuse mingled with a mythic fascination with the aggressive or perhaps evil side of medieval history (e.g. warfare, exploitation, torture).
Meanwhile, several court cases can be found on the web where people are being legally charged for such activities taking place in what is technically called a ‘common bawdy house.’
Search Think Free » Anima, Koan, Sadism, Turning Against the Self
Charles Rycroft, A Critical Dictionary of Psychoanalysis, Harmondsworth: Penguin 1977, p. 88.
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Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was a Jew of Austrian parentage and the founder of psychoanalysis. He studied medicine in Vienna and then neurology and psychopathology. He was marginalized by the medical community for his interest in the idea of infant sexuality. Today he, perhaps ironically, is often frowned on as a reductionist.
Freud remains one of the great innovators of the modern age. He attempted to scientifically outline the idea of the unconscious which formerly had been represented in literature, philosophy and nineteenth-century occultism.
His psychoanalytic techniques of free association and abreaction were influenced by several other contemporaneous “doctors of the mind,” most notably Jean-Martin Charcot, but Freud made them uniquely his own.
His works were almost entirely destroyed by the occupying Nazis. In 1938 he reluctantly withdrew from Vienna to London, leaving behind several sisters, all of whom died in concentration camps.
A habitual cigar-smoker, his relationship with his daughter Anna became extremely close; she acted as secretary, friend and confidant. Freud eventually contracted jaw cancer but refused pain-killers because they dulled his mind and interfered with his work.
After Freud’s death Anna further elaborated on the idea of defense mechanisms, distinguishing herself as an important thinker in her own right.
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What is the sound of one hand clapping? What is the color of the wind?
These apparently nonsensical questions exemplify the Zen Buddhist koan. Designed to tease the brain, koans push the disciple to reply to a questioning master through intuition instead of conventional logic or accumulated experience.
If the disciple doesn’t get the ‘right’ answer (according to the master’s alleged wisdom) in some Buddhist schools they may be struck by a bamboo rod.
A Freudian thinker might view this as an institutionalized form of sadism and/or masochism that activates a complex which stems from an abusive scene (from childhood or otherwise). Spiritually-minded believers, however, would see that as a simplistic and culturally biased interpretation.
For believers, the koan comes from a legitimate historical and legendary tradition, traceable to the sage Bodhidharma. And its use (and perhaps physical scolding for ‘wrong’ answers) apparently helps the aspirant to achieve satori, which believers say is an ultimate experience that’s difficult to describe.
¹ “Kōans originate in the sayings and events in the lives of sages and legendary figures, usually those authorized to teach in a lineage that regards Bodhidharma (c. 5th–6th century) as its ancestor. Kōans reflect the enlightened or awakened state of such persons and sometimes confound the habit of discursive thought or shock the mind into awareness.” (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C5%8Dan)
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A Freudian term denoting a sexual perversion in which erotic pleasure is gained by inflicting pain on another.†
The term is derived from the surname of the Marquis de Sade (1740-1814), who candidly wrote about the alleged pleasures of pain and sex in works such as The Philosophy in the Bedroom. » Freud (Sigmund), Koan, Masochism
† Charles Rycroft, A Critical Dictionary of Psychoanalysis, Harmondsworth: Penguin 1977, p. 145.
Turning Against the Self
A Freudian defense mechanism, elaborated on by Freud’s daughter Anna Freud, in which an original desire to harm others is directed towards oneself.
An example would be an individual who burns him- or herself with cigarettes.
Although considered a type of masochism, there are different interpretations as to why people burn themselves.
One interpretation is that they altruistically, in a misguided way, harm themselves instead of harming others. Alternately we can ask if an individual is dulled to pain because they’ve entered another type of consciousness where physical pain doesn’t matter or, perhaps, register.
As with most defense mechanisms, socially sanctioned activities like smoking also fall into the category of turning against the self.
Freud, himself, was a heavy cigar smoker. Even when he contracted jaw cancer he didn’t quit smoking cigars.
As a leading medical man Freud most likely was aware of the harmful effects of smoking.¹ In 1929 the German physician, Fritz Lickint, had published a paper outlining the link between smoking and cancer² (Freud died in 1939).
Given our present day knowledge, one could say that all smokers are turning against the self with their self-destructive habit, as we could with alcoholics, drug abusers, hydrogenated vegetable oil and aspartame consumers.
As the list of known harmful substances grows almost daily, the debate continues as to what constitutes normal versus abnormal, as well as defensive, destructive or adaptive behaviors. » Deviance
¹ Digital Dame adds: “The link between cancer and smoking was discovered at least as early as the 1920s. I remember seeing an old B&W silent showing people on a float in a parade (maybe it was an anti-smoking rally?) dressed as skeletons, or the Grim Reaper, as an anti-smoking campaign. There’s an article on Wikipedia about the anti-smoking movement and the Nazis. Maybe because of its association with the Nazis, the anti-smoking movement never really took hold here? As late as the 1960s doctors were telling people it was good to light up, and many doctors themselves were smokers.” » See in context
² Hanspeter Witschi, “A Short History of Lung Cancer” http://toxsci.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/64/1/4
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Anima In C. G. Jung‘s psychological theory the anima is the ‘unconscious’ contrasexual component of the male Self—i.e. the man’s supposed ‘inner woman.’
The anima presents itself to consciousness in a series of archetypal images. Usually a primitive sexual figure emerges first.
As psychological development progresses, the initial symbol is followed by increasingly refined, ‘higher’ images.
According to Jung, the anima has a dark or light form. Like all symbols, it mediates psychologically destructive or creative unconscious forces.
An example of the negative anima would be dreaming of a leather-clad Whipping Mistress who beats and binds male victims into submission.
Some adherents of contemporary sadomasochism movements claim that their activities represent a socially safe ‘playing out’ of the negative anima, although many places where such activity occurs are designated as “Common Bawdy Houses” and against the law.
Another instance of the negative anima could be the horrible, blood-dripping Hindu goddess Kali.
Jungian thought suggests that such images (and related practices) contain enormous potential for psychological growth, providing their energy is understood and positively redirected by the conscious ego.
Positive anima symbols would be the archetypal image of the Fairy-Godmother or the Chinese Goddess of Mercy, Kwan Yin.
Historical embodiments of destructive anima-power arise in ruthless figures whose negative archetypal power dominates consciousness, such as Queen “Bloody” Mary of England.
On the other hand, benevolent figures such as Lady Diana Spencer and Mother Teresa each in their own way represent positive incarnations of the anima figure.
Jung also sees the Blessed Virgin Mary in this light. For Jung, Jesus’ mother Mary is an archetypal symbol of a somewhat vague “feminine principle.”
Not unlike other belief systems claiming to embrace all religions within their own schema, Jung’s rendering on this central aspect of Catholicism is quite different from the Catholic view, itself. » Animus, Great Mother
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