Explaining Self: Psychoanalysis Modernized (2)©

Every day is a blog day, are you not pleased?

Yesterday, I modernized portions of Freudian terminology. In particular, I introduced Federn’s terms, ego and object cathexes. Today, I we move deeper into analysis.

I am not fond of how the word ‘ego’ is utilized in either folk or academic psychology. For most lay persons, ‘ego’ is portrayed, as a unified, homogeneous, isotropic entity residing within, but, superior to and alien to the corporeal body, i.e., Ego is considered a proper noun. Ego equating with a God given soul (for a humorous satire on such folk psychology see blog of December 30, 2015).

Furthermore, the presumption of a unified ego, or a conscious center for authoring actions, is known in academic psychology, including, psychoanalysis. The exception being the ego state theorists denying the reality of a single unified ego. Rather, the psyche consists of several distinct ego states introjects, or responses thereto (dissociations), born during childhood, personas. Normally, our personas share equal access to our store of autobiographical memories (though differentially) such that our working ego state appears single. However, experiencing severe, early psychological trauma calls forth the most primitive defense mechanism, dissociation, resulting in the birth of a separate ego state generally isolated from the normal working ego (multiple personalities).

The theoretical model I utilize in therapy resides close to the ego state theorists, but, is significantly different. For a review, I suggest reading my earlier blogs.

First, we noted that the psychocerebrum possesses an outward-directed imago-operator which functions so to create and overlay a virtual image corresponding to a person’s physical surroundings. Furthermore, during normal waking mental functioning the developing child learns to trust this world-imago as being accurate and useful for interacting with such world and its creatures, i.e., it Is real?

Simultaneously, a second imago-operator, the inward-directed one using the peripheral nervous system, creates a three-dimensional, spatial replicate of the tissue compartments of the corporeal physical body. Embedded within such spatial replicate is information concerning the biochemical locality for each and every tissue compartment. As the peripheral nervous, both autonomic and sensory, and the circulatory systems are closely connected with the central nervous system, the CNS, in real time and space; the CNS formulates and overlays a somatic imago onto the physical body maintained by bidirectional information flow.

As we develop, the psychocerebrum joins the two virtual images so to provide a third virtual image. This ‘working imago’ is experienced somataffectively as situated within the physical world allowing us to function successfully over life. As the child progresses in neurological development, it consciously becomes aware of the working imago situated in the physical and being the author and receiver of physical actions. Such time frames encompassing the time period after the birth of the cognitive self and crystallization of the autobiographical self, mistakenly believing itself to be an independent, unified Ego or Soul.

In order to better appreciate the real nature of our working imagines, we need to return to our discussion of the cognitive self, or more accurately, the cognitive presence. Around 18 months of age, the child suddenly appreciates a growing feeling of being present in his or her life. That he or she can act upon the external world with intentionality. He or she can initiate motor actions and receive motor actions. When this feeling first arises, it is nothing more than the feeling of being present; a feeling of simple, essential existence not defined by time, space, or form; a feeling of formless, atemporal beingness. At this early age, the child lacks the cognitive capacity to integrate this cognitive feeling of presence with the concept of existing as a physical body or a disembodied entity.

Though, I am unable to trace the pertinent neurocircuitry, I have denoted the operational apparatus necessary for experiencing cognitive presence, the simple feeling of beingness, and formless and atemporal existence, as the ergoegotic apparatus, or working egoism apparatus. The operation of this apparatus generating the feeling of cognitive presence, or the action noun, ergoegoism.

Later, as the autobiographical self solidifies, this original feeling of ‘simple presence’ is merged with the somataffective state of the physical-emotional body resulting in our normal feeling of being an Ego, a Self, and Individual. Most important, the strength and usefulness of the ongoing interactions between the CNS and the body’s physiological-emotive states increase over time, eclipsing the earlier cognitive presence by solidifying the prime importance of the somataffective data for maintaining a functional self.

The continuing existence of the cognitive presence can be validated and appreciated by consciously attentive persons beginning in late adolescence during transient episodes of depersonalization. During an experience of depersonalization, ones psychocerebrum fails to activate sufficiently the neural circuitry required for generating the somataffective feeling of existing as a self in the world. The lost cathexis normally routed to the somataffective generator being replaced by increased cathexis to the ergoegotic apparatus and the feeling of ergoegoism.

During a state of depersonalization, a person is fully functional, cognitively realizing that he or she is present in life, but, lacks his or her normally present somataffective input and so feels ‘selfless’ in a very strange way. Conscious awareness is present, but the body feels dead. One might call this formless feeling of presence, psychic consciousness.

Naturally, severe and extended states of depersonalization are dealt within psychiatry.

As we complete today’s lesson, I need to stress, the unappreciated, esoteric fact that the foundation stones (for awakening and enlightenment) reside with psychic consciousness, cognitive presence, and ergoegoism and NOT in the autobiographical and somataffective self. For the form of the virtual self arises solely from the physical world by conditioning ergoegoism. Limited ergoegoism  leads to death, enhanced ergoegoism towards permanence and immortality.

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