I'm Adam Jukes. Welcome to my website.
I'm a Group Analyst and analytic psychotherapist with over 40 years of experience of working in mental health. I have written a number of books:-
Why Men Hate Women - 1993
Men Who Abuse Women - 1998
Is There a Cure for Masculinity - 2010
What You've got is What You Want - Even if it Hurts. 2016. Below is a paper i delivered in Dec. 2016.
IS THE WORLD IN A SULK?
SEX AND VIOLENCE
TRUMP AND BREXIT
This paper is an extended version of a keynote I gave at the UKPCA conference in Dec ’16. I am not a political scientist and the presentation was aimed at clinicians concerned with sex and violence and sexual violence. During its preparation I was pre-occupied with the political upheaval taking place in the US presidential election and the brexit vote UK. I had been convinced that brexit and trump would win the day. That conviction was based on my decades of working with violent and sexually perverse people and my understanding of the “social contract’ from a psychoanalytic point of view. It was underpinned by my somewhat atrophied memories of readings in ppe as an undergraduate. I will state clearly that I did not vote in the brexit referendum as I was very conflicted. I thought the debate had been egregiously mendacious and bitter and it was impossible to make a rational decision. In the end people voted with their emotions [libido sublimated into patriotism] and this is quite important for my hypothesis.
I could see clear connections between that political theory, my clinical work with violent sexual offenders and the Brexit/Trump phenomena and I set out present those connections to the audience. My hypothesis is that failed dependency in the relationship between the primary carer - usually constructed as mother - and the failure of dependency in the social contract between the citizen and the state has comparable and predictable consequences with due allowance for scale. This paper is an attempt to articulate those connections.
Sex and Violence in The Individual
A great deal of my work with violent offenders has developed from an appreciation of some fundamental psychoanalytic concepts. Most from Freud, naturally, but also and especially the work of Melanie Klein, the object relations theorists and attachment theory.
Melanie Klein and Object Relations.
It is impossible to reduce Klein to sound bites so I will focus on what I see as her unique contribution as it applies to my argument. Her contribution has enabled the understanding of psychotic states of mind for generations of analysts.
Klein was the originator of the notion of the paranoid schizoid [PS] and depressive positions [DP] in child development. These two positions are fundamental to any understanding of psychological functioning in healthy or disordered states of mind. The PS position is the earliest to arise in the mind of the child. It’s resolution into the DP - or the failure of that resolution - may well determine the mental health of the individual for life.
The term 'paranoid-schizoid position' refers to a complex of anxieties, defences and internal and external object relations that Klein considers to be the universal experience of the earliest months of an infant's life and to continue to a greater or lesser extent into childhood and adulthood. Our current understanding is that paranoid-schizoid mental states play an important part throughout life. The chief characteristic of the paranoid-schizoid position is the splitting, the division, of both the self [the ego] and the object into good and bad representations, with at first little or no integration between them.
Klein’s view is that infants suffer intense anxiety and that this is caused by the death instinct, by the trauma experienced at birth and by experiences of hunger and frustration. She assumes that the very young infant has a rudimentary although unintegrated ego, that attempts to deal with experiences, particularly anxiety, by using phantasies of splitting, projection and introjection.
The infant splits both his ego and his object and projects out separately his loving and hating feelings (life and death instincts) into separate parts of the mother (or breast), with the result that the maternal object is divided into a 'bad' breast (a mother that is felt to be frustrating, persecutory and is hated) and a 'good' breast (a mother that is loved and felt to be loving and gratifying). Both the 'good' and the 'bad' objects are then introjected [taken into the self] and a cycle of re-projection and re-introjection ensues. Omnipotence and idealisation are important aspects of this activity; bad experiences are omnipotently denied whenever possible and good experiences are idealised and exaggerated as a protection against the fear of the persecuting breast. It is very difficult to be nourished by a breast that is hated consciously.
This 'binary splitting' is essential for healthy development as it enables the infant to take in and hold on to sufficient good experience to provide a central core around which to begin to integrate the contrasting aspects of the self. The establishment of a good internal object is thought by Klein to be a prerequisite for the later working through of the 'depressive position'.
A more extreme splitting, 'fragmentation', in which the object and/or the self are split into many smaller pieces is also a feature of the paranoid-schizoid position. Persistent or enduring use of fragmentation and the scattering of the self weakens the fragile unintegrated ego and causes severe disturbance. The extent of the fragmentation is contingent on both innate and environmental factors. For Klein, the central constitutional factor is the balance of life and death instincts in the infant. The environmental factor is the quality of the mothering or primary care that the infant receives. If development proceeds normally, extreme paranoid anxieties and schizoid defences can be largely given up during the early infantile PS period and during the working through of the depressive position.
Klein holds that schizoid ways of relating are never given up completely and implies that the positions can be conceptualised as transient states of mind. In later stages of life the paranoid-schizoid position can be thought of as a defence against the depressive position and also as a regression from it.
The Depressive position
The 'Depressive position' is a state of mind described by Klein as central to the child's development, normally first experienced towards the middle of the first year of life. It is repeatedly revisited and refined throughout early childhood, and intermittently throughout life. Central to it is the recognition that the loved object, the mother, is also hated and attacked in fantasy. In the PS position there were felt to be two separate part-objects; ideal and loved; persecuting and hated. In the PS period the main anxiety concerned survival of the self. In the depressive position anxiety is also felt on behalf of the object.
If the conflation of loved and hated figures can be borne, anxiety begins to centre on the welfare and survival of the other as a whole object, eventually giving rise to remorseful guilt and poignant sadness, with a subsequent deepening of love and concern. With pining for what has been lost or damaged by hate comes an urge to repair. Ego capacities enlarge and the world is more richly and realistically perceived. This is the beginning of the capacity to create. Omnipotent control over the object, now felt as more real and separate, diminishes. Maturation is thus closely linked to loss and mourning. “Recognition of the other as separate from oneself encompasses the other's relationships; thus awareness of the oedipal situation inevitably accompanies the depressive position. Emerging depressive anxiety and pain are countered by manic and obsessional defences, and by retreat to the splitting and paranoia of the paranoid-schizoid position. Defences may be transient or become rigidly established, which prevents the depressive position from being faced and worked through.”
The term 'depressive position' is used in different but related ways. It can refer to the infantile experience of this developmental integration. More generally it refers to the experience, at any stage of life, of guilt and grief over hateful attacks and over the damaged state of external and internal objects, varying in level of felt catastrophe on a scale from normal mourning for loss to severe depression. The term is also loosely used to refer to 'depressive position functioning', meaning that the individual can take personal responsibility and perceive him/herself and the other as separate.
In order for this depressive position to be established as a lifelong route out of ordinary paranoid anxieties and feelings of persecution the child needs to reach a ‘rapprochement' [Mahler] with the mother /world and accept that although not perfect, she/it is ‘good enough’. The majority of us reach this rapprochement but in spite of that we will all have times when we feel unjustly and unfairly treated, persecuted or victimised, whether in personal relationships, at work or by the state and may have to struggle to achieve a depressive working through.
In a 40 year career of working with violent and perverse people the PS and DP paradigm has been profoundly important in helping me to understand why apparently ‘normal’ people can act so ‘abnormally’. However, I have always had questions about how the adult moves from the PS to the DP. I have never been convinced by Klein’s discourse about concern, guilt, remorse and reparation as it seems to describe the end state and not the process. However, everyone i have ever worked with has been consumed by a sense of injustice when acting out sexually aggressive or simply aggressive impulses. It was some time before i realised that what they were describing was a state of ‘sulking’. I began writing about this in the late ’90’s and defined ‘clinical sulking’ as a pathological condition resulting from the early failure of the primary carer to meet, adequately, the dependency needs of the infant. The problem is that it does not present with clear markers of paranoia or depression, though it contains elements of both along with high, though hidden, anxiety. It is usually presented to forensic services after the acting out has occurred - as a criminal act. This could be an act of violence, sexual violence or simply criminality not involving sex or violence. Such individuals did not present to mental health services, but were presented to courts. It goes without saying that in almost every case they suffered with EDS, whether from neglect or infantile trauma. [i want to stress that this is not in any way an excuse for criminality, however much it may be at the root of its causation]
Once i became aware of this I saw that ‘sulking’ was a bridge between the PS and the DP.
There is an ineradicable connection between sulking and injustice and a clinician ignores or is ignorant of this at great cost to the patient.
I want to take a slight digression. I have identified myself as an attachment practitioner for many years in spite its many theoretical blind spots [none the least of which is gender]. My analyst, David Malan, once said to me that aggression is a consequence of the initial transactions between the mother [his word] and the child going wrong or in times of privation or frustration of the pleasure principle. It goes without saying that this is inevitable insofar as without frustration there can be no development, whether phylogenetically or ontogenetically. But, and this is crucial from an ontological point of view, this frustration will be healthy when the individual has reached the DP and established the pathways for dealing with PS anxieties for the remainder of life.
It is worth repeating that Klein also acknowledged the significance of the environment in believing that if there is sufficient love in the early exchanges the PS is let go of and the DP is easily worked through.
A point which needs emphasis is that a sense of injustice always accompanies acts of violence whether sexual or not and this includes so called ‘instrumental’ violence.
I would like to address sexual perversion, but this is not the time or place. Suffice to say that I regard it as a defence against a fear of intimacy resulting from a failure to work through the DP and a permanent struggle with PS functioning which cannot reach resolution through the DP. Fundamentally it is a defence against the depressive position. Constant desire is a sure defence against depression and perversion ensures the omnipresence of perverse thoughts and desires.
In sulking, and perversion there is no concern for the object [in perversion there is only a part object] or remorse about the damage caused in fantasy or reality - concern is solely for the self and the fear of causing so much damage that it might end in real loss and real, unsurvivable, mourning and depression.
The intensity of a sulk is directly correlated to the intensity of the original failure in the initial transactions - caused by parental failure and environmental hardship. The object is hated and needed but not loved. This is Meltzer’s toilet breast in which the breast is needed but not loved and is probably hated. The sulk is consumed by righteous rage, revenge and sadistic impulses. He desires only one thing - to make the perpetrator suffer as much if not more than he has been made to suffer but he is inhibited by the fear of doing irreparable damage and facing total loss. For an infant this is also an existential crisis. How does one feed from a hated and persecuting, bad object? Similar strong anxieties can be seen in sulking adults and can be a threat to mental integrity. Sulking differs from the PS position in that there is fear of doing irreparable damage to the object and losing it totally. This is not a concern for the object but it does represent the beginning of a route to the DP as it leads to awareness that the object is needed and therefore has good qualities.
What are the clinical implications of this paradigm? The first and most important, as has been pointed out by James Gilligan, is to acknowledge the injustice - regardless of its reality. It needs to be legitimised even if only as an internal experience. This sense of injustice is the basis the distorted or non-existent values, attitudes and moral compass of its container. if these are not deconstructed the treatment will fail. I will say it even if it is redundant - there are no injustices, just as their are no human rights. They are social constructs and are explicitly included in the social contract. Once the injustice is articulated the work to understand the patient’’s sulking can begin in earnest. Often when it is named it elicits a shameful smile but brings with it a sense of clarity and understanding that the man or woman has been searching for.
A great deal of my work has been with men who are abusive to their female partners and children. It is surprisingly easy to get patients - usually men - to give up violence. This can usually be achieved by simple CBT interventions, guidelines for which are freely available. Real change in the underlying emotional and developmental difficulties takes a great deal longer and requires more than programmatic group intervention. My experience is that effective change requires resolution in the transference and we all know the time this can take. The first step is to have the patient articulate the injustice. This is not always easy. In almost ever case it is expressed as a function of the victim’s failure to live up to expectations. The difficulty is that the perpetrator is not always aware of his/her expectations and is certainly unaware of their origins. Nonetheless, with patience they can usually be elicited and contained in a narrative structure. Unsurprisingly the central character in this narrative is the primary carer - usually a mother or, if not, subsequently constructed as one, and the core narrative concerns her failure to meet early dependency needs.
The long term treatment goal is to guide the patient through the ‘toilet breast’, in my terms the clinical sulk, and reach the depressive position. This achievement should establish sufficient psychic muscle to enable them to negotiate life’s challenges without treatment, breakdown or acting out. Obviously this can involve the uncovering of a great deal of grief and disappointment.
Then there is the work to deconstruct the connections between the early transactional failures and the expectations which subsequently come to dominate the man's life with women or other primary objects. Often, this involves a great deal of gender consciousness raising and it leads naturally into the most difficult aim of all - deconstructing his masculinity. I have written extensively about what this involves and will not repeat it here [See ‘Is there A Cure for Masculinity?’]
The victim is held responsible for every frustration in the perpetrators life - and why not? The transference onto her is of a primitive and failing maternal object, the mother as primary carer and as environment - the world. She was not a ‘good enough’ breast’ and indeed was experienced as a persecuting breast. The same holds true for women suffering from a sense of injustice - the primary object gets the blame although women, as a result of asymmetrical gender development and social learning, tend to internalise distress whereas men externalise and act out. Based on attachment research i would estimate that as many as 40% of people are in a chronic sulk to varying degrees. However, since i consider ‘sulking’ to be the bridge between the PS and PD positions, and these are never fully resolved by anyone, the bridge is available to all in times of stress. As we shall see I believe there are clear parallels between the response to the failure of the social contract to meet the citizen’s dependency needs and the comparable failure of the contract in intimate personal relationships.
I want to make clear that i am not attempting to reduce social activism and the pursuit of social justice to a national sulk. Just as envy can be a constructive force if it leads to social and political involvement, as in the formation of the Labour party in the UK. However, i am suggesting that the same psychological processes that fuel individual violence, perverse sexuality and risk behaviours can lead to civil unrest if the necessary corrections to the social contract do not take place.
What is the Social Contract?
it goes without saying that ‘ordinary citizens, never question the nature of society or its existence. It is part of the ‘taken for granted’ world. We are born into and it is omnipresent like the air we breathe. Few question how it came into being, or how it is that millions of people can be squashed into a small space and survive and thrive with only minimal social disruption. Few, if any, question why we form groups and societies and how they cohere.
These questions have interested philosophers and political theorists for millennia, from Plato to Thomas Aquinas, Thomas More. Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and Karl Popper. A little thought leads to an obvious question. What is society for and what would life be like without it? It’s the ‘life without it’ that provokes the most interesting speculation and the answer to that provides the answer to the question of what society is for. What would a ‘state of nature’ be like? A state in which people followed their own natural interests? Would it include regard for others or simply follow self regard? At its most simplistic the question is whether people are innately god or innately bad. What are natural drives or instincts? Sex is a given, and we know that as a species we are profoundly violent and aggressive, but is the aggression/ violence innate or secondary? Human history is the history of warfare. All political theories are based on an assumption about the natural state and a great deal of energy has been expended attempting to understand what that is. If there was no society or state to mitigate or moderate sexual and violent impulses would mankind [?] be constantly fucking and killing as it suited or are we innately cooperative and other seeking?
Freud, the father of psychoanalysis developed his own theory of the ‘state of nature’ and it is to him i will look for a psychoanalytic bridge between clinical treatment and the origins of the social contract
The Freudian Connection between Pathology and The Social Contract.
What is innate? Sex and violence or just sex, libido? Love/hate, eros/thanatos, creation/destruction? Life instinct, death instinct? is violence a hard wired but only potential rather than automatic response to the failure of the pleasure principle. We know we are a very violent species, but is it innate or secondary?
Freud revised his thinking in 3 books in which he outlined the death instinct and defined masochism as primary with aggression as secondary but innate. To the extent that society/the state gratifies the pleasure principle or allows for sublimations it will function but when it fails to do that society will break down. Freud [BTPP 1920] driven by his difficulty with the ‘compulsion to repeat trauma’ postulated the death instinct , masochism, to explain it. A drive to return to a primary state of death - not an aggressive suicidal impulse. His later elaboration of this in The Future of an Illusion 1927] led him to view that “human nature….. is anti-social, rebellious, and has high sexual and destructive tendencies. The destructive nature of humans sets a pre-inclination for disaster when humans must interact with others in society. "For masses are lazy and unintelligent; they have no love for instinctual renunciation, and they are not to be convinced by argument of its inevitability; and the individuals composing them [masses] support one another in giving free rein to their indiscipline.”
[Note that he is discussing large congregations, masses; large groups, crowds or any large gathering. Group analysts have long observed the loss of individual identity and regression to psychotic like processes in large groups. Individuals lose the capacity to think is such groupings and this regression is well understood in group analytic theory. I also want to add that i see the ‘compulsion to repeat’ as expressive of a basic drive to mental health fuelled partly by genuine hope that this time the drama or trauma will resolve differently]
Civilisation and its Discontents. 1930
Thus, in Beyond The Pleasure Principle and The Future Of An Illusion Freud had reached the conclusion [not without some doubts.] in which he acknowledged the irrevocable ill-will within the hearts of man, and that civilisation primarily exists to curb and restrain these impulses - sex and violence - but it offers a [social] contract that alongside the renunciation of instinct and sublimation, there will be sufficient gratification of the pleasure principle for society to cohere. Hence his famous statement that ‘neurosis - repression - is the price of civilisation’. [Here it is worth pointing out that Patriotism - the glue of nationalism - is a sublimation of eros or libido.] As already pointed out, both Hobbes and Locke believed that if this combination of renunciation, sublimation and satisfaction does not occur the social contract has failed and violence against the state is a rational and legitimate response. Freud did not address legitimacy but simply inevitability given his view of ‘the natural state’. My concern here is to link this paradigm, whether Hobbesian or Lockesian combined with Freud’s view of the ‘natural state’, to individual behaviour as it presents in the consulting room and then make the connection to what i perceive to be the global tsunami of social incohesion i believe we are witnessing and to individual sexuality and violence.
One issue on which most writers find agreement is the consequences of the failure of the social contract. The most basic element of the contract is that the ruler/state protects the citizen from violence, whether from within or without the state. The contract may, and usually does go further in western democracies which promise a degree of protection from hunger, poverty and sickness. They may also offer an assurance from the executive that social inequalities will not become ‘unjustly’ large and that there will be perceived ‘fairness’ in the distribution of the wealth of the state. In return the citizen sacrifices some individual freedoms, a commitment to obey laws etc, and a portion of income, in the form of taxes. Although the terms may vary from state to state, a great deal of effort is expended in reaching agreement on the terms of the contract and in democracies these terms are in a continual state of change. In more explicitly Hobbesian states, such as military dictatorships or presidential republics such as Russia or [increasingly] Turkey, or those of Africa, far east asia and south america, these terms will be determined by presidential dictat and the citizen may protest, but has no enshrined rights to change the terms.
However, if the contract fails and dependency fails, splitting ensues and the good enough breast of the state becomes the bad persecuting breast. This will generate strong feelings of social injustice in individuals and groups who are adversely affected. Initially this will provoke social fragmentation and incohesion in the absence of any organised routes for expressing the injustice. It will also cause increasing social fragmentation and alienation. Injustice evokes righteous anger and the desire to right the wrong if it does not sink into despair, helplessness and surrender including drugs, alcohol and high risk behaviour. In liberal democracies ‘righting the wrong’ has largely been achieved through the ballot box, but when this seems to be ineffective, as it has for the last 2 decades, citizens can be increasingly vulnerable and drawn to more extreme solutions, whether through the emergence of extremist political parties or through active protest which can include aggression and violence. Under these circumstances the conditions are ripe for the emergence of a demagogue or messiah who promises to right the wrongs, and a socially fragmented populace is ready to massify and cohere around the messianic promise. Where there was personal and social fragmentation, alienation, and social isolation in the face of the states failure to meet the dependency needs of its citizens, as per the social contract, there is now an almost manic sense of identity and a feeling of inclusion and social integration amongst the victors. This is what i believe lies at the root of Brexit and the election of Trump. and I believe we saw the seeds of it in the UK during the 1970’s and 80’s and in particular during the miner’s strike of 1984/5 when the violent underpinnings of the state were displayed almost without restraint and the full force of the police and judicial systems were deployed to defeat what was seen as a challenge to the state. Of course, the emergence of democratic protest began with the full onset of economic liberalism, as manifest in the states determination to crush trade union strength, and financial globalism which led to widening inequality and economic disenfranchisement and austerity for millions in the UK and the USA. As a light hearted aside the “Hunger Games’ series of films is a direct representation of the massive social processes taking place during their production. Art mirrors life.
Perhaps the most influential thinkers about the state of nature and whose thinking could be said to be the origins of the modern democratic state and liberal democracy are Hobbes and Locke although their views on ‘the state of nature’ could hardly be more divergent.
Hobbes. This quotation is worthy of its length.
the natural state of mankind (the state pertaining before a central government is formed) as a "warre of every man against every man". In Leviathan he outlines the 'incommodites' of such a war:
"Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of Warre, where every man is Enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withall. In such condition, there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short."‘Hereby it is manifest, that during the time men live without a common Power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called Warre; and such a warre, as is of every man, against every man.’
Life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short’ and it is a condition in which every man lives in fear of violent death as each acts out his ‘natural state’ in a perpetual war with others in pursuit of essential resources and the gratification of desire. it follows that the state should be based on iron leadership and a strong police force and that the leader has absolute powers. The individual sacrifices individual freedoms in exchange for freedom from fear of violent death.
Locke. ’And here we have the plain difference between the state of Nature and the state of war, which however some men have confounded, are as far distant as a state of peace, goodwill, mutual assistance, and preservation; and a state of enmity, malice, violence and mutual destruction are one from another. Men living together according to reason without a common superior on earth, with authority to judge between them, is properly the state of Nature.’
What all philosophers and political theorists, including Hobbes and Locke, agree upon is that society is based on a Social Contract. This is a contract between the rulers and the ruled. The terms of the contract are not always explicit or articulated, are emergent, but nonetheless determining of social relations. Any contract requires consideration but the state always agrees, implicitly or explicitly, to meet basic dependencies in exchange for individual freedoms and taxation. Their widely differing views on the ‘state of nature’ led Hobbes and Locke to disparate views of the contract and recommendations for the structure of a cohesive society or state although Lockes’ view has been intellectually, if not practically, dominant in the creation of the western democracies in the last 200 years
It is to Locke that we owe the democratic principle of the ‘separation of powers’ between the executive, the legislature and the judicial/legal system. The central concept of Locke’s contract was the rule of the Judge and in any conflict between ruler and ruled, the independent judiciary would make an impartial decision based on the rule of law and without fear of favour. Hobbes’s contract was for a master [a monarch perhaps] with absolute power to decide on all disputes and whose decision cannot be questioned. While in some situations the distinction between these two roles, judge and master, may be fuzzy, it is clear that the vast majority of people today encounter the state in the role of master, rather than judge, and that [contrary to widely held belief] the modern state is far more Hobbesian than Lockean, though it is still very far from the absolutist government that Hobbes commended.
As I have said, both Hobbes and Locke agree that violence is a legitimate response to the failure of the state or ruler to keep its side of the Social Contract. This is a particularly relevant issue right now as we seem to be faced, globally, with a level of social incohesion and fragmentation not seen since the 20’s and 30’s. we seem to be drowning in an ocean of differences or a sea of Bion’s basic assumptions. This global social incohesion has its micro exemplars as we witness an explosion of identity politics [patriotism/nationalism] and a scrabbling for recognition of individuality identity markers from lgbt to dwarfism, disability and ASD to name just a few. The narcissism of small differences has never enjoyed such public attention and concern. And then there is Brexit and Trump, the resurgence of the right in many EU countries and the growing evidence of splitting on a societal scale throughout Europe and the western democracies. To my mind there is little doubt that the victory of neoliberalism based on the seminal economic theories of Hayek [the road to serfdom] and Freidman began to collapse with the fall of the Berlin wall and the manifest failure of communism. Thatcher/Reaganism and the de-regulation of markets [which both Hayek and Friedman had effectively guaranteed was the only road to freedom, economically and politically] and subsequent Globalisation delivered quite the opposite - greater inequality and austerity as the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. This was the beginning of the failure of the social contract to deliver on its promise to meet the dependency needs of citizens as the famous ‘trickle down’ effect failed to materialise. However, it needs to be said that neoliberalism, which is now intellectually bankrupt after a 30 year long experiment, had been the only credible alternative after the failure of socialism of both the hard soviet and the soft western varieties.
The constant references to the intensity of the social divisions in the UK, the EU and the USA are, in my opinion, a reference to the splitting that has occurred at an individual and massified social level with each side defining the other as bad. The vituperative invective is extreme, and the honours for excess are probably about even though it seems to be more so from the brexiters and the trump voters. This would be expectable in the terms of my hypothesis that, by splitting, they are expressing deep feelings of incohesion and fragmentation and defending against profound anxiety connected with their experience of the state’s failure to meet their basic needs.
I realise that this raises a great many questions and they probably need a book to address them. Perhaps the most obvious is whether populism and brexit and trump are a consequence of their appeal to people of both sexes who suffered early neglect and or deprivation, rather as men who abuse women have suffered. My own opinion is that this is probably true with the caveat that the early experience may not have been necessarily traumatising but sufficiently so to impair the move from the PS to the DP and leave the ‘toilet breast’ as a permanently available way station to which the individual can regress when the adult going gets tough and the social contract is felt to have failed. The social parallel to individual regression to PS functioning is social and economic regression into protectionism, xenophobia, racism and a generalised fear and hatred of difference - splitting. The enemy within and without.
The evidence [and it has to be admitted that reliable statistics are hard to come by] indicates that domestic violence offences continue to increase as austerity increases and there is no doubt about the increase in terrorist violence committed by home born radicals and the myriad violent civil conflicts around the globe . We are aware of the consequences when treatment fails with violent offenders. What are the consequences when the Messiah, or demagogue, fails, as he must, to deliver on unrealistic promises? i believe the answer is clear but the rise of populism, nationalism and far right politics, fuelled by PS splitting and the passion of identity politics is leading us into a new dialectic. Ironically and sadly, identity politics will be exposed to greater threat. Nationalism and populism demand increased conformity. Brexit and Trump present a real opportunity to forge a new model of inclusive democracy, but it requires a new economic paradigm and a re-thinking of liberalism.
Where is the modern hayek or freedman to provide us with a new paradigm, a new antithesis to stave off a new slow march into serfdom?
How does society, collectively, reach the depressive position and political maturity?
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