April 11, 2008

Assagioli, Jung, Freud, Lacan, and Deleuze

Rita Carter: Multiplicity: The New Science of Personality, Identity, and the Self
from Integral Options Cafe by WH

I've been blogging about subpersonality theory for years (see the sidebar). Psychologists have been writing about it for more than 75 years. But all it takes is one book and a good marketing scheme to make it seem as though the author, Rita Carter in this case, has just come up with the theory on her own. Carter's new book, Multiplicity: The New Science of Personality, Identity, and the Self, makes it seem as though no one had ever thought of this before.

Roberto Assagioli developed his Psychosynthesis model in the early part of the 20th century. One of the key elements of his model -- which was the first truly transpersonal psychology -- was the notion of subpersonalities. His friend Carl Jung also worked with parts of the psyche that may be considered unique personalities, which Jung called complexes. In the 1970s, Hal and Sidra Stone were developing their Voice Dialogue model, which was influenced by both Assagioli and Jung. For more than 20 years, Richard Schwartz has been developing the most sophisticated "parts" model ("parts" is another word for subersonalities, as is "ego states") that I am aware of, called Internal Family Systems Theory. Schwartz expanded the existing subpersonality theories to include family therapy models and systems theory...

Back to Carter's book. In what appears to be an advertorial for the book, Carter has an article in the March issue of New Scientist in which she explains the distinction between DID (dissociative identity disorder, which used to be called multiple personality disorder) and multiplicity. This is useful for the lay reader who may have read Sybil or seen The Three Faces of Eve at some point and doesn't want to think of himself as "insane."

It's time for a real book on subpersonalities and multiplicity -- one that is psychological accurate and capable of grasping the subtlety of work with parts.


Deleuze Books Online from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects
(Via Continental Philosophy) A number of texts on Deleuze and by Deleuze/Deleuze-Guattari are now available online through Fark Yaralari’s blog.

Of special interest to me is Christian Kerslake’s Deleuze and the Unconscious. There are so few books delving deeply and in an informed way into Deleuze’s relationship to psychoanalysis that it is nice to see someone doing such work. I am, however, perplexed to see that Kerslake focuses so much on Jung. On the one hand, this move seems retrograde as Jung, with his collective unconscious and focus on expressivist “interpretive keys” is something of the Plato of psychoanalysis.

From one end of his work to the other, Deleuze devoted his thought to overcoming the overdetermination and subordination of matter to form. This is precisely the aim of his intricate analysis of processes of individuation in the last two chapters of Difference and Repetition. Whether we’re speaking of Platonic Ideas, Kantian categories, Hegelian notions, or Jungian archetypes, the force of this critique of form remains the same. However, perhaps this is just a mistaken understanding of Jung and my view will change after reading Kerslake’s book.

On the other hand, it seems to me that Freud and Lacan, under a highly original reading, occupy a far more central place in Deleuze’s philosophical project. Indeed, Deleuze’s critique of Freud’s Oedipus in Anti-Oedipus can actually be read as a way of bearing fidelity to Freud and what he had discovered in his early work about the mechanisms of the early work. As Deleuze and Guattari repeatedly remark in Anti-Oedipus, Freud is the Martin Luther and Adam Smith of psychiatry. Luther deterritorialized religion from the church, but reterritorialized it on scripture. Smith deterritorialized value from pre-existent needs, showing how it is humans that produce value, but reterritorialized it on private property. Freud deterritorializes desire from pre-existent needs and lack, showing how it produces its object, only to reterritorialize it on the Oedipus.

Would not Jung reterritorialize the unconscious on culturally invariant archetypes? Or is this a completely spurious reading of Jung?

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