We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Psychoanalytic theory isn't really very complicated. We only have three or four basic concepts, from which a myriad of fascinating ideas derive.
One of the key basic concepts is Transference. At the risk of annoying readers who hate fashionable words like "template," I have to use "template". To keep it simple, a transference is a relationship template, usually molded during youth, and mostly unconscious - by which we mean that we aren't aware that it is acting on us.
Transferences distort our relationships as our brains attempt to apply the template of prior relationships, or, more often, our distorted versions of prior relationships, onto current ones.
Most common are paternal and maternal transferences, but sibling transferences, grandparent, friend and avuncular transferences are common too. (What's the female version of avuncular? Avauntuler?)
Because our transferences tend to be beneath our awareness, they are usually only evident to analysts when observing behaviors or feelings which do not seem to fit the real current-life situation. Thus the less transference-driven our relationships are, the more mature and in reality they tend to be.
As psychoanalytic concepts have been integrated into everyday thinking over the past 100 years, there has been a degradation of the technical terms. Thus we can talk about a "maternal transference" towards government, for example, when someone experiences their government as "need-fulfulling", or a "paternal transference" towards government when it is experienced as "opportunity-providing, demanding, and challenging."
Even if such uses of the concept may not fit the technical usage, they are sometimes useful ways of thinking. For example, it is commonly stated that people tend to view the Democrats as the Mommy Party, and Republicans as the Daddy Party. It sounds like a ridiculous simplification when you hear it, but there is something to it: politics is not rational.
I was moved to write this post because of a couple of items on the blog this week. Pieces about Europe: the passivity of Britain and Norway in the face of their enemies within; the economic irrationality of French socialism, etc.
Such things represent what we would term "regressions" to "transferences." In other words, backwards developmental steps to more immature and less realistic ways of experiencing the world. When a kid privileged and smart enough to attend the Sorbonne feels he needs to rebel for job security, you know you are dealing with people who have reverted to a child-like, maternal experience of their government. It does not bode well for a nation whose youth seeks security over challenge, and comfort over life adventure.
Similarly, in Britain, with their willful denial of the social cancer they have welcomed, we see a "regression" to a "nicey-nice" childish view of the world in which evil and unpleasantness do not exist - a Mommy World. They tried that before, didn't they?
Despite all of the push in the direction of the Mommy World since Franklin Roosevelt, the US has never fully succumbed to the fantasy that government can make everything "nice." Thank goodness for that. In the US, many people tend to more annoyed when the government does something than when it doesn't.
Thus the US does, indeed, tend to have less transference towards government - eg a less emotionally distorted relationship with government. Most of us want it to just drive away our enemies and to leave us alone, but we do have our share of those who wish the government could make all of our dreams come true.
Lots more to say but this is getting too long. If you like my ideas, click our Psychoanalyst category and read more and get smart.
Good, clear piece. The concept is rich enough to keep you all steadily employed indefinitely--no need for you analysts to worry about job security. Fixing rich neurotics, like patching up old cars, is tricky but always-needed work. But stick to analyzing troubled, troublesome individuals--better use of your talents and dedicated efforts than the cesspool of politics. Psychoanalysis poorly applied to political groups (I'm not saying your analysis is flawed, just cautioning against wild and weird application of the concepts)has given the ignorant masses a low opinion of the discipline sed to heal individuals. So don( use your rifle to swing aimlessly at a cloud of stinging horseflies. You will only annoy the bloodsuckers and look foolishm