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Rob Weatherill – Klein’s Bottle – Getting Real

 

THE LETTER 30 (Spring 2004) pages 87-100

 

When Freud himself admitted that he had underestimated the negative – ‘I can no longer understand how we have overlooked the ubiquity of non-erotic aggressivity and destructiveness… in our interpretation of life’ – he was also underestimating the force that was to be Kleinianism within psychoanalysis. Half a century later a whole cluster of modern maladies associated with atomistic culture, that might have once been registered as hysteria, had been described. Kleinianism visits the wordless place of the inhibited, the schizoid, the psychotic, the borderline, the autistic, the psychopathic. Klein explores the negative and the obscene, analyzing there at the mute limits of the human. Here, in this domain, violence operates independently, as it were, beyond the pleasure principle. Always beyond. Today, this might be the Kleinian argument: everything hangs on this beyond, beyond subjectivity. Clearly, Klein did not envisage the paranoid-schizoid or the depressive positions as epigenetic stages of development, like Anna Freud and developmental psychology. No, these are not stages of growth. As we enter into, or are inserted into language, some translation of this mute world occurs, but much must be left “outside.”

Klein’s Bottle – Getting Real

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