Punpun Straussianism 8
Contra Zero HP Lovecraft on Psychoanalysis
This is the first article in the Punpun Straussianism series that was not a part of the initial google doc. So, it’s written somewhat differently. I wrote the initial article as a frantic capture of an idea that was illusory in most of my life, but better captured in a certain mental state. I still believe and endorse everything I said in those articles. I also believe and endorse all interpretations of the article, however malicious, incorrect, or self-contradictory. It’s better that way.
That being said, there’s a lot left unsaid. And there’s much more material to be reviewed.
Someone sent me a Zero HP Lovecraft podcast in response to Punpun Struassianism 5 (for those unaware, he’s a dissident right anonymous poster primarily known for writing fiction). He was a judge of the Passage Prize, a dissident right fiction contest, which is also the subject of the podcast article. He reviews two stories, gives some “right-wing” readings of it, then gives a hypothetical example of a “left-wing” psychoanalytic reading. Quoting extensively here:
I’ll give you an example of a clever subversion: we could read the above story through a psychoanalytical lens. In the psychoanalytical lens, we start with several assumptions:
First, that the characters have repressed desires — desires which may be socially unacceptable, and which they themselves do not realize. Second, that the characters repressed desires are revealed through their actions, but only after the characters have convinced themselves that they have no other choice but to act them out. Third, that even when they do this, they are not conscious of the desire as a desire, and the desire is born out of a need to “keep score” with the other people in their lives — they want to feel like they are getting as much out of the other person as they are giving.
We learn that he has hated his father ever since his mother died. He blames his father for the death of his mother, because he thinks Buddy neglected her when she was ill. So he refuses to accept his father’s gifts, and he hurts himself in the process.
It hardly seems that he needs to repress the desire to hurt his father, but he will tell himself he has no choice, that his father is a capitalist, a sexist, a racist — and that is why he must do these things. In this reading, Sid becomes sympathetic. Poor, confused, unenlightened Sid, cutting off his nose to spite his face.
Sid will not think of his actions in this way. He will think instead that he is pursuing some spiritual path — that is the story he has built for himself with the help of his friends. But psychoanalysis believes that these kinds of baser, personal motives are primary
And what about the father? What score is Buddy trying to equalize? Sid’s dead mother has absconded from the scene, leaving him with the burden of fatherhood. She has “gotten more” out of Buddy than Buddy got out of her, so Buddy will look for a way to make it even.
We see that his son reminds him of his dead wife, so the psychoanalytic reading is that he tries to settle the score with his son. He does this by physically striking him, by trying to “control” him — but no, enough, this teaching nauseates me.
Let there be no mistake here: I believe this reading is bad, it is false. But it is also common, it is the way that the left will read this story. And I want to show you how they smuggle their own, twisted metaphysics into a story by adding a priori assumptions in the form of psychoanalytic axioms.
Notice how the information that was added — the ideas about repression and score-keeping — are not present in the story at all. In fact when you read the story, you will see that Buddy has a very grounded view of his first wife. But psychoanalysis cannot accept this; It demands pathology, because it is a hammer which sees every person as a nail.
My first response is to provide a much simpler version of the psychoanalytic assumptions.
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