File spoon-archives/marxism-general.archive/marxism-general_1997/current, message 34

Date: Sat, 17 May 1997 12:59:50 +0200
Subject: M-G: Re: Freud and Marx

Here's a PS to yesterday's back-to-basics posting:

It seems to me that the whole business of "Babies out" is the  most
traumatic normal experience an adult human being can expect (ie barring
accidents or torture), so can anyone here on Ms fem or thax provide any
references or better still a brief account of work putting this experience
in the centre of  women's emotional lives? I mean, penis envy is a pretty
weak thing to represent dissatisfaction with your own sex when you have
fear and horror of childbirth to put you off becoming an adult woman.

Also, more generally, with reference to oral-anal-genital, it's striking
that the first two (food in and food out) have you in a state of dependence
and vulnerability to other individuals while an infant, but you eventually
learn to feed and excrete for yourself, whereas the third (sperm in) has
you in a constant state of dependence and vulnerability to another
individual throughout your reproductive life. One of Freud's great
contributions was focusing on this dependency-vulnerability interface and
the impact it can have on personal relationships. Stands to reason that if
for some reason or other you never grow out of a dependency-vulnerability
fixation at either of the first two levels, it'll severely affect your
attitude at the third.

Lastly, something that really goes without saying, although I'd better
spell it out in words of one syllable: one of the great ideological hatreds
the bourgeoisie has for Freud is his concentration on the *unconscious*. In
our adult relationships we are driven by motives of which we are not aware.
Freud's work was aimed at revealing these motives and making them
accessible to conscious management. As Marx wrote in Capital I in 1867,
referring to the the fact that whenever people exchange things they
automatically equate the various kinds of labour expended on them: "Sie
wissen das nicht, aber sie tun es" ("We are not aware of this, nevertheless
we do it") (3 pages into the section on commodity fetishism, Pt 1, ch 1,
sec 4). In the same way, whenever people interact, they equate new
relationships to known relationships. If the equation is way off, the
person making the mistaken estimate a) will be dysfunctional among other
people, ie sick, and b) will not be aware of why bad things result, and c)
will probably, with help, be able to find the key to his or her mistaken
judgments in the character of the known relationships by which he or she is
setting up these emotional equations.



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