In the transitional place occupied by "On 'the Uncanny'" where the conscious vs. unconscious structures of Freud's first system meet the repetition compulsion and other undisclosed messengers of the second system coming soon,
Freud drops a note to Goethe's Faust, which covers the internal doubling between the ego and the agency that has it under surveillance, and, right next to it, another one to The Student of Prague, the Faust legend's first film appearance on the big screen of doubling.(1)
The Student of Prague recycles the shadow or double of the Faust legend into or as the new medium of cinema. In War and Cinema Paul Virilio characterizes the story of the film as the anticipation of or preparation for (in other words: as the psychologization of) total war. The Student of Prague is, in Virilio's words, "the premonitory tale of a student who sells his reflected mirror-image to a wizard. This image begins to act in the student's place, 'dishonoring' him and forcing him to remain a war-fixated conqueror. The student shoots at this irksome double in the hope of destroying it, but it is he who dies as a result." Virilio's otherwise enigmatic replay is not out of synch within Freud's reception where it toes the line of the double footnotes which, in the uncanny mode of dismembered motion, guide us back to where they came from: Freud's first public/published encounter with the double or Doppelganger over the body of the psychological casualty of World War I, the war neurotic. Same time, same station as the essay "On 'the Uncanny'," Freud's "Introduction to Psychoanalysis and the War Neuroses" characterizes the central conflict of war neurosis in terms of the internal doubling that pits one ego against the other one:
The conflict is between the soldier's old peaceful ego and his new warlike one, and it becomes acute as soon as the peace-ego realizes what danger it runs of losing its life owing to the rashness of its newly formed, parasitic double. It would be equally true to say that the old ego is protecting itself from a mortal danger by taking flight into a traumatic neurosis or to say that it is defending itself against the new ego which it sees is threatening its life. (SE 17: 209)
War neurosis already mobilized the difference which the techno-Faustian footnotes in "On 'the Uncanny'" were still on their way to between the self-love doubles or narcissisms and the other ones that give self-love shelter in the longdistance relationship between the ego and its mastery (a difference which doubles as the transition at once internal to Freud's thinking right from the start and, then, in between the two systems of his thought). The wartime research was pulled up short by the end of the war--just as the Centrally Powered war effort was preparing to send psychoanalysis to all fronts. Just a few years later in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, war neurosis, or as Freud now preferred to generalize it, traumatic neurosis plays an at once central and extraneous role. It's the repeater dreams of these neurotics that show Freud the way to a traumatic breakthrough that goes beyond the defense of anxiety where it starts from scratch, the scratch in the war record, over and over again. It's a form of auto-healing that rerecords, in other words, erases, and builds up out of the groove of repetition the bottom line of all defense, namely anxiety, or, better yet, preparedness, trauma or war preparedness.
These dreams are endeavoring to master the stimulus retrospectively, by developing the anxiety whose omission was the cause of the traumatic neurosis. They thus afford us a view of a function of the mental apparatus which, though it does not contradict the pleasure principle, is nevertheless independent of it and seems to be more primitive than the purpose of gaining pleasure and avoiding unpleasure. (SE 18: 32)
On the way to completing an argument ultimately about the bottomline defense of war readiness, Freud folds into the dream material of traumatic neurosis the child's play of fort/da, Freud's update of the frontline status (within narcissism or omnipotence of thoughts) of the death wish. But after all is said and done--the mother, whose body and absence are at the remote control center of the game, was Freud's daughter Sophie, who died in 1920--there's still Freud's follow-up one year later.
A year later, the same boy whom I had observed at his first game used to take a toy, if he was angry with it, and throw it on the floor, exclaiming: 'Go to the fwont!' He had heard at that time that his absent father was 'at the front,' and was far from regretting his absence (SE 18: 16).
Is it possible to argue that Freud only turned to current events and casualties to illustrate or analogize a theory that had its own history? No: Freud and his immediate colleagues were brought to an enormous breakthrough not only in practice but also in theory by their encounter with war neurosis, which, with all factors accounted for, amounted, at least, to a double internalization of war. First off, the laboratory conditions of the war literalized Freud's 1909 notion of the "flight into illness." That's why Freud stood up for so-called malingerers: their wish to desert is unconscious, at odds with their conscious sense of duty. Yes their symptoms go away upon removal from the war zone. But that only proves the psychic status of the symptoms which are not accessible to punishment but can only be treated in analysis. And treatment is indicated because not every traumatized soldier develops symptoms; the proportions of actual trauma and major symptom formation are mixed not on the battlefield but in early childhood. And then, and most important, once Freud figured out war neurosis he was out from under his major peacetime embarrassment, the seemingly contradictory evidence which his opponents claimed traumatic neurosis supplied against the libido theory. It was at this point that everything inside and out was opened up to psychoanalysis.
With traumatic neurosis, the psychic backfire of natural catastrophe and techno-accident, psychoanalysis had already been backed up against the wall of the scientific community's resistance. How could the sexual aetiology or libido theory of neurosis hold up when the shock or shot of catastrophe was enough, in more or less real time, to produce neurotic symptoms. War neurosis showed Freud the way shell shock detonated down the dotted lines of a predisposition to neurosis or psychosis which always went back to conflict in the ego, in other words, to the earliest stages of traumatic developments. War neurosis diversified the holdings of psychoanalysis by dividing or doubling the libido theory between the drive towards the outside and the drive inward. Freud was already summing up the war record of psychoanalysis in his "Introduction to Psychoanalysis and The War Neuroses":
The theory of the sexual aetiology of the neuroses, or, as we prefer to say, the libido theory of the neuroses, was originally put forward only in relation to the transference neuroses of peace-time and is easy to demonstrate in their case by the use of the technique of analysis. But its application to the other disorders which we later grouped together as the narcissistic neuroses already met with difficulties. An ordinary dementia praecox, a paranoia or melancholia are essentially quite unsuitable material for demonstrating the validity of the libido theory or for serving as a first introduction to an understanding of it. . . .
It only became possible to extend the libido theory to the narcissistic neuroses after the concept of a 'narcissistic libido' had been put forward and applied--a concept, that is, of an amount of sexual energy attached to the ego itself and finding satisfaction in the ego just as satisfaction is usually found only in objects. This entirely legitimate development of the concept of sexuality promises to accomplish as much for the severer neuroses and for the psychoses as can be expected of a theory which is feeling its way forwards on an empirical basis. The traumatic neuroses of peace will also fit into the scheme as soon as a successful outcome has been reached of our investigations into the relations which undoubtedly exist between fright, anxiety and narcissistic libido. (SE 17: 209-10)
Only psychoanalysis won the war, a corridor war between different departments of psychological interventionism. Psychiatry would indeed have to accommodate itself to the trend the military first set. Psychoanalysis owed its acceptance by the military and psychological or military psychological establishments worldwide to the highly publicized success of its treatment of war neurosis. This is why, ultimately, when the psychotherapies that had split psychoanalysis by World War I were reunited in 1933 under the leadership of Goring's cousin, Goring, who was an Adlerian therapist, psychoanalysis could not be excluded. In accepting the international leadership of Nazi psychotherapy Jung just the same came into renewed contact with Freud's science, which was represented by a prominent section of the now reunified eclecticism of German psychotherapy. But even if Jung felt he could afford to miss the historical change and chance that psychoanalysis afforded, not even Nazi psychotherapy could take such a chance and ignore a method that had intervened so successfully in the cases of World War I war neurotics. The World War I defeat right away convinced the newly mobilized German military-psychological complex that it was on psychological grounds that wars had to be fought and won. Any method or theory that contributed to the exercise of psychological warfare was mobilized as part of the Nazi effort. Including Freud's science.
Freud discovered the psychotic war economy that doubles (internalizes and technologizes) the ego's rapport with the other. In it, the ego/superego relationship is modeled after the internal conflict between peace-ego and war-ego which Freud first discovered when he cracked open war neurosis, an uncovered structure that would double on contact down the whole dimension (or dementia) of internalization and technologization that goes with ego-libido. That covers the analysis of the ego. The group psychology part of the title and project completes the system: group psychology is total war is psychological warfare. It's the collapse, war-economy style, of one crisis or survival onto another one.
2. Escalation On the Intrapsychic Front
The news in 1918 that the talking cure could send war neurotics back to the front introduced psychoanalysis Big Time into the psychological, the military, and the military-psychological establishments. At the same time Freud's diversified investments from "On Narcissism" onward in an internal and reversed side of his libido theory came together over the body of the war neurotic. The second system was on. Now it was the distribution of ego-libido along the fault lines of early development and down the threeway freeway of ego, id, and superego that directed psychoanalytic expansionism beyond the transference neuroses all the way to the narcissistic neuroses, which Freud now had covered. What was only along for the drives when Freud opened his second system with the inside view of war neurosis got up there on center stage in the military-psychological theater of operations: the homosexual problem was soon at the top of an agenda of military psychological concerns. Indeed Karl Abraham had already during World War I made unresolved homosexuality a regular feature in the breaking or coming out of war neurosis.
In 1935, by all Nazi accounts, there was a biodegradable core of 500,000 gay men in Germany which had infected with its anti-generational contagion the surrounding masses of good guys innocently standing by.
Himmler fantasied with dismay that 2 million men, a tenth of the German male population--and possibly even 4 million--would be withdrawn from the genetic pool of the nation and fail to reproduce because they were "contaminated by this frightful malignancy."(3)
Among men homosexuality spreads. Which is why the majority of German gays needed no prison, camp, or oven, but only therapy. The successful treatment of homosexuals was to be the second success scored by the intrapsychic view of conflict: the first had been the theory and therapy of war neurosis which psychoanalysis advanced for the First World War. The second success story belonged to the reunified psychotherapies (including psychoanalysis) in Nazi Germany at the time of the second coming of world war.
The Nazi hit list of therapeutic goals counted in addition to psychological warfare (which was on its own in the group-psychological register) a trio of overlapping targets: war neurosis (and war psychosis), infertility (or phantasmo-interchangeably, frigidity), and homosexuality. But even under the category of group psychology or psychological warfare (or total war), analysts were picking up on the homosexual (or perverse) impulses in soldiers who tended to turn around into spies, informants, or deserters. The psychologization of war following the First World War focused on the traumatization, that is, internalization of war and on modes of preparedness or readiness for war's internalization. That's why military psychologists were out to catch homosexual impulses where they breed. The pre-emptive strike of psychological interventionism had been called in.
This calculation of homosexuality as a risk was a Nazi advance. It was introduced into the American military complex beginning in 1941 via the intensive efforts made to catch up with Nazi German psychological research. In the 1941 edition German Psychological Warfare: Survey and Bibliography, commissioned and published by the Committee for National Morale, Nazi psychologist L. Fritzschings is introduced as an authority on the "psychology of individual surrender."
Fritzsching . . . describes this "reversal of the military conscience" as "perversion." He analyzes the psychological process leading up to surrender: The soldier goes to war with a definite attitude toward friend and foe. . . .
Suddenly, the negative influences of military service and combat begin one by one to cancel out these preconceived ideas. Anxiety and other negative factors, resulting in simultaneous physical disturbances, reverse his way of thinking and he becomes inclined to overestimate the enemy's power while underestimating his own strength as an individual and as a member of the military community. He reorients his thinking to that of the enemy and is being irrevocably drawn toward a state of mind where the thought of surrender is pleasurable and often an outright psychological necessity.
It is due to this frame of mind that the war prisoner is usually gay after his capture and willing to "tell everything to the enemy intelligence officer." The sudden relaxation of tension hatches high treason.
Fritzsching's advice is to explain this psychological process to soldiers during peacetime training and thus to expose to the soldier himself all the subconscious elements leading up to surrender. His knowledge of these factors usually immunizes him thereafter to voluntary surrender in combat.(4)
The kind of treatment schedule that goes with the inoculative approach at the same time requires greater tolerance of the fact of homosexuality. The Nazi establishment came to face the facts with a phobia-proofed and psychoanalysis-compatible attitude. The Nazis were true believers in the power of healing (in German "to heal" and "to hail," as in "Heil Hitler," are occupied by the same sound shape). In a 1935 interdisciplinary group effort entitled Psychotherapy and Castration,(5) the multi-authors proposed therapy as the one option that should be kept open as an alternative to castration and sterilization (the two cure-alls for every biogenetic threat to the future of the race that the Nazis were out to win). "We will demonstrate that in a number of cases large enough to command our respect it was with the help of psychotherapy alone that the sexual deviant and moral offender could already be favorably influenced" (26). Homosexuality belongs to an interdisciplinary field of interventionisms over which the bio-proponents of sterilization, castration, or elimination compete with psychotherapists for best results. The editor of the 1935 volume is on the side of psychotherapy: that's why the efficacy of castration as a method of healing homosexuals is dismissed right off. But the ambiguity of the "and" in the title covers the divergence of scientific opinion offered inside the volume. One contribution (143 ff) is not convinced that homosexuals, who, like the bisexuals, cannot be assumed to be 100 percent reproduction proofed, are not a threat to the national gene pool of applicants for procreation. Even when they are straightened out, it's only the suppression of homosexuality that has been accomplished, which is not the same thing as healing a person inside and out. The editor runs a footnote commentary throughout: when it comes to sexual aberrations it's still very much up in the air inside the scientific community of debate whether there is a difference between healing and suppression. The work that went into this volume (which cites by name both psychoanalysis proper |56~ and Stekel's brand |73~ as methods successful in healing homosexuals) has by 1935 already led to insurance coverage of the treatment of the illness of homosexuality. The authors hope that what goes for homosexuality will be made available soon for the treatment of exhibitionists and bisexuals (45).
The question of another kind of insurance fraud, which the bio professionals kept on raising, addressed the endless prospect of simulation. Were the homosexuals taking willingness to be treated (faking neurosis in other words) just to be in a safer place? This had been the question back in 1918 challenging the psychoanalytic theory and therapy of war neurotics: were they simply cowards putting on symptoms of a disease they were pulling over the authorities? But every neurotic flees into his illness. To simulate neurosis is already neurotic. Even the homosexual simulator has entered into the contract of the transference and is thus in theory at least on the way to the transference neurosis and thus to the cure.
From Hirschfeld's doctrine of the third sex to recent discoveries of a brain drain that slides straights out from under gays in whom the head that's given them packs some larger part, gay political activism has preferred biodestinal theories of homosexuality if only because they offer a safety zone from moral and psychological operations. The 1935 collection attributes the ignorance of homosexuals regarding the cure available to them to the lasting influence of Hirschfeld, whose world view had clearly not panned out: Why, look at them; they suffer physically and psychically; they are not happy people (74). In 1943, in the central organ of Nazi psychotherapy, Fritz Mohr was still coming down hard on the bio-blinders of homosexology:
For decades it was considered completely settled that in the development of homosexuality only physical predisposition and chemical changes in the hormonal process (based on anatomical divergences), in other words, purely bodily factors played a role. One boldly claimed (in particular the sufficiently well known Magnus Hirschfeld) that homosexuality is always given at birth, has nothing to do with pathology, the homosexual is as far as the rest of his behavior goes often a completely normal person, indeed in certain urban circles he was even granted an almost finer and higher status than the average man. Only gradually as all attempts to arrive at an organic, clear, and certain diagnosis of homosexuality failed, and after one came to recognize that the claims of many homosexuals that they had been homosexual from childhood on, had never had heterosexual experiences or even feelings did not hold up, was the way open for another perspective. At the same time the results of depth psychology had clearly shown how an infinite number of items that seemed only physically explicable were in truth basically psychically determined. With that, room was also made for a completely new view in regard to homosexuality.(6)
Mohr's opening case study came to him in 1940 via the local prison hospital. Caught in the act several times running, the patient now can remember all the way back in adolescence and, indeed, in early childhood only a lack of libidinal interest; what's more, the little there was heterosexual. When he was 17 a gym teacher's talk on the sexual abstinence that wrestlers practice before their matches was his biggest sexual turn on to date. In 1918, while under the influence (Mohr is throughout keen on alcohol's connection with the coming out of homosexual behavior), he was for the first time seduced by a fellow soldier. Then there was a hiatus populated by barmaids. But when he entered his next all-male institution, the German version of the boy scouts, he was actively recruited by one of the boys for a mutual masturbation session. On the way to his current prison term and his sessions with Mohr, he kept on getting caught being come on to by boys who got younger as the years went by.
According to Mohr, homosexuality isn't so much a sexuality on its own as it is a way around an ego-libidinal blockage "on the way to the girl" which a series of traumatic experiences has set up along the dotted lines of repression-trauma that went down in early childhood. But that means that what's coming out in homosexuality isn't sex: it's self-esteem. This takes the homosexual back to the origin of his neurotic component which "was there" right from the start and through which his homosexuality becomes accessible to the intrapsychic view master.
So we see in this case, as I have often been able to observe, that the sexual component plays far less a role in homosexual practice than does the need to prove to oneself that one is held to be particularly valuable, thus receiving in the other's evaluation of you the confirmation of your own value. (7)
Mohr therefore cracks his homosexual cases war-neurosis-style by blowing up the neurotic component of the patient's makeup put on in early childhood. But in the big picture the component part exceeds the whole: homosexuality "is a partial manifestation of a neurosis in which the bisexuality that dwells in every individual makes its appearance in an abnormal way" (13).
By grasping these connections at first intellectually between his actions and experiences from childhood and adolescence he no longer related to them uncomprehendingly as if faced with a demonic power that one cannot confront because it is so enigmatic and uncanny. But that is the precondition for a gradual inner change. It is accompanied by a series of inner convulsions (Erschutterungen). . . . In the beginning it was clear that the intellectual process could not alone effect a change, and only gradually did the inner convulsion bring the new insights into deeper proximity with the rest of his psychic life.
The result of the enlightenment (Aufklarung) and the depth-psychological disclosures was in this case quite a good one. (8)
Beaming up the endopsychic messages from another patient's dream, Mohr lines up his inside view of homosexuality with the present tense or tensions of the Nazi world view:
the seemingly purely sexual wishes are in truth only a symbolic expression of his wish for acceptance into the totality of life and for the consolidation of his psychic totality. After all, sexual disturbances are in fact always disturbances in relations with the totality. If he wants to take control of his sexuality, he must accordingly reorder his relations with life as a whole. The dream was thus trying to tell him: Transform your physical wish impulse into the psychic one of connectedness with the totality of the world and of the people. You then have the guarantee (Gewahr) that your homosexuality will dissolve itself within this higher relationship. (13)
That's why treatment "must aim at effecting a change not through direct attack on the patient's homosexuality but rather by directing itself against its basis, the asocial attitude in its totality" (14-15). This approach is designed for patients who do not on their own wish to be transformed. Mohr considers the prospects for these resisters:
We all know that the results one obtains with the neurotics who do not come to treatment of their own volition are always extremely questionable. Here the state has prepared the way for our psychotherapeutic work through its severe treatment of homosexuality insofar as the extremely uncomfortable position into which homosexuals have today been brought promotes in a larger number of such people and to a greater degree than ever before a wish of their own to get out of this situation and a willingness to be treated. The state and psychotherapy thus in this regard go completely hand in hand. (16)
Mohr is grateful to National Socialism and, ultimately, to psychoanalysis for a psychological interventionism that does not need to castrate, sterilize, or eliminate. The more impressed Hirschfeld's followers and their bio-psychiatric enemies were by physical conditions and conditionings, the less is Mohr: "the only treatment that brings truly lasting results is the depth-psychological, the analytical one" (16). In 1921 Mohr saw a patient who, in his fervent wish to straighten out, had already been through a series of radical treatments. One surgeon agreed to remove one testicle to cut the drive in half. Then a vasectomy was performed on the remaining one. He was next advised that just one more operation which would transplant someone else's testicle in the missing place of his own would cure him. He cruised the prisons looking for Mr. Volunteer. In deep despair over always coming out of jail without the pair, he checked in with Mohr: "what many unindicated surgical interventions failed to accomplish could be attained through a relatively simple psychotherapy in a rather short period, namely a transformation in sexual matters and a normal capacity for work and life. He married later on and engendered a series of healthy children"(15).
At the end of a psychoanalysis-compatible rundown of the neurotic constitution of sexuality and of the way treatment can bring unconscious factors (identifications, sadistic components, etc.) to consciousness, Mohr gives a final portrait of the healed homosexual. The entire shoot, it turns out, was arranged for a family album entry out of place in the total picture of Nazi Germany: "His false tendency to see in love only a power problem is thus dissolved and he comes to understand that in true love both halves must be equal partners" (18). What a fragile thing is healed homosexuality reserved thus for the democracy of true love: the onesidedness of perversion is free to spread inside the antidemocratic institutions of the all-male bond. Mohr's first case study of healed homosexuality already was working close to the net where male bonding and homosexuality are caught in a near miss. Consider how the patient's willingness to go straight is typecast:
He himself says that when he joined the boy scout movement he was fleeing culture back to nature. Homosexuality surely did not consciously play an essential role here but rather it was his happiness at being fully accepted into this circle, at being able to play officer and be together with natural people. His pronounced aversion to the type of homosexual you could come across back then in certain big city bars also fits in here. (8)
What also fits in here is the synchronization of the onset of his homosexuality with the concluding year of the lost war. In 1918 the war bond between natural people spilled over into homosexual excess. First comes a depletion of outwardly directed heterosexual libido, then comes the upsurge (back in the barracks or inside oneself) of the basic need for self esteem.
The drunken one-night stand belongs to a demonization of the home front as the homo front, where libidinal depletion or excess no longer toed the line of the war effort. The "knife in the back" view of how the German soldiers lost the war is too hot to handle. But it's a demonization that's so far away (like all projection) but also (this time around) so close: homosexuality is a contagious disease that can strike down millions of all-natural men and thus deplete the future reserve or resource of the generations coming soon. (A regular feature of war-neurosis symptomatology was impotence, Ferenczi reminded those who in 1918 still resisted the psychoanalytic view of every neurosis's sexual etiology.)
3. Where the Boys Are
It was Himmler's sense (inspired by Hans Bluher's popular World War I work on the homosexual erection of extra-familial institutions) that institutional life (especially as it was then being radicalized inside-out through the Nazi revolution) was not naturally on the side of generation. And it was this sense that backed his all-out confrontation with the contagion of homosexuality. It was a projective affair. That's why, in the camps, everyone concentrated on persecuting the labeled homosexuals while at the same time engaging in the rough trade of all-male sex.(7) Out on the streets and down the corridors of institutions the main target of the Nazi sweep was the declared origin of homosexual excess (and access): mutual masturbation or, in short, masturbation.(8)
In the 1935 volume on the merits of choosing psychotherapy over castration the authors come down hard on the masturbation problem (indeed in the case studies of healed homosexuals the lessening of masturbation is always the indicator of the beginning of a good prognosis):
Mutual masturbation in adolescence is definitely a very serious danger. Let every educator be alerted to this loud and clear. Most of them never free themselves from this experience. (125)
Mutual masturbation comes out of the "development of masturbation which bears association, no matter how one chooses to think about it, with homosexuality" (56). Masturbation is what keeps bisexuality coming: "Masturbation still after puberty, masturbation during marriage is the rule" (72). This development of masturbation, in other words, mutual masturbation is what must be eradicated: "It drives woman out of the sexual imaginary; it carries man into the imaginary as a valid partner both physically and psychically" (74).
According to Mohr's scan of this hand-held imaginary, the homosexuality or mutual masturbation (or masturbation) that catches on and spreads externalizes or acts out a purely psychic contagion which has been gathering momentum on the inside through displacement by association.
At age 10 or 11 he masturbated with some other boys out in the woods. When he was 12 he was propositioned by another boy who asked to be sodomized. Although he was willing, he was not encouraging, and so nothing came of it. Characteristically, the homosexual inclination toward the 12-year-old fellow student went over to his 23-year-old brother and from him on to another brother. One sees here clearly the purely associative displacement of such sexual feelings. (11)
Once it goes into intrapsychic orbit (off the prefab launching pad of early trauma reinforced after the fact by the penetration-or-identification proposition that failed), the circle jerk starts turning on one and the same axis with the internal recycling center of libido with no place to go. Mohr concludes that with homosexuality it's the traumatization brought to us by missingness or abuse that creates a limit (backed by internalized and self-addressed rage) which redirects all libido through the stricken and stuck metabolism of self-esteem. That's why there is a connection between the fast-food mania of Mohr's patients' object choosing and the melancholic condition that corners and covers them from the outset. This is Mohr's way of saying that the shortness of the attention span that goes with the all-male object choice does not serve substitution. What goes around and comes around inside the homosexual consumerism of objects is the one irreplaceable relation (to the body, that is, to the mother's body). It's as though this is the way every mother's son would infinitely prefer, if left to his own devices, that is, out from under the pressures of heterosexual privilege, to come and go. But once you're backed up against that one limit, the off-limitness of the mother's body, there are in fact two and a half ways to go.
The half-way measure (as Freud called it when diagnosing the kind of double vision that puts fetishism squarely between neurosis and psychosis) covers the repress release of homosexuality inside psychosis. Before World War One showed Freud the way transference could expand even on contact with the narcissistic neuroses to create a no-man's land or borderline where psychotic shutdown mixes with accessibility to treatment, the broadcast of psychosis was coming in on the three channels of a mixed reception that was the native habitat of homosexuality in Freud's thinking. It was the place where the disintegrative release of unresolved homosexuality (or: sublimation breakdown) was conjoined with melancholic grief mismanagement and the projective rapport with technologization. These prewar connections (from Leonardo Da Vinci to Schreber) were premature articulations of the inside view of war and trauma which would lead Freud to reorganize his thought along the lines of a psychic war economy that set ego against double, life against death. (Already during World War I, Freud's sidekick Tausk was discovering inside war neurosis or, more precisely, war psychosis a readymade complex he named "melancholia-cum-paranoia" in which homosexuality and melancholia were cohabitants.)
But the two full ways to go are also too ambivalent by half. In German the "way" to the girl can also mean: "away" with her. To follow the detour around the mother which father sets up and enter matrimony you must go the way of substitution for incestuous and same-sex ties. Freud says the problems a wife encounters while trying to preserve a first marriage still come from relations with mother; the marriage problems the husband faces cross the heart of the couple and hail from father. Freud's double reading of the taboos on virginity and menstruation lines up father and wife as the primal parents of a coupling that must be conjugated as nonoriginal: the father's premier penetration of his daughter-in-law outlaws the son's wish to be or be with an original. That's why each time husband hangs with the regressions that go down with group or adolescent psychology, wife heads off at the impasse yet another invasion of the couple by the matricentric group. The ambivalence of this tension goes all the way: the couple that the group cannot admit or leave alone is at the same time the group's reproductive agency, its future. That's why homosexuals are always the mascots and trend setters of group psychologization: and that's why they are the suicidal and sacrificial stars of mass (both communionist and consumerist) society. They're the way to go and they've got to go.
But that's also why, in heterosexist culture, going straight has to come with a free gift of homo-bonding (via the woman among us) which, even though never completely consummated, is way more constant than what comes the way of gays. That's also why lesbians aren't a threat. All women get attributed to them a confusion or lack of direction of desires that's the static on the transmission going through them. It's like: what don't they want (and who really cares anyway). But that's also why by now, in our state of heterosexual preparedness, women (straight or whatever) can make their careers theorizing, that is, fantasizing about male bonding. Look at Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia: these are a woman's fantasies about the male to male transmission which rub the backs in the sauna scene all the way to a near miss with homosexuality. In her other Nazi film, Triumph of the Will, she gives the document of Hitler's agenda: he summons the new Germany inside and around us (or beside ourselves) from the techno air-space his plane crossed with Christianity to the audio columns rising up from the chorus that's funereally reciting the place names of battles from the lost war. Hitler tells it like it is: these war dead are not dead. It's what all-natural males in paramilitary outfits like to see and hear. But they've got to be careful: an excluded woman's fantasy about their bonding-happiness can always infect them with the contagion of mutual masturbation or homosexuality (which loses the war that loses the race).
4. There's A Continuity
There's a continuity between our most protected and progressive sources of modernity and what we take to be our biggest symptom in the category of aberration and discontinuity. It's a context or continuity otherwise missing from our histories of psychoanalysis, modernism, or National Socialism. It's Nazi psychoanalysis. But the intrapsychic controls that had fine-tuned the healing of war neurosis started flipping through all the channels when Freud's victory through analysis was escalated into a total libido therapy that went with the Nazi war effort. The analytic breakthrough reversed itself and went into autodestruct on all fronts. In other words: even the autoerotic origin of sexuality was to be scrubbed down and blown up. But even though the Nazis lost (right?), it's as though that's only because they didn't know when to stop winning. Their reversal is still with us. You saw it first with the Frankfurt School theorists, who agreed that, when it came to National Socialism, it was "psychoanalysis in reverse."(9)
1 Sigmund Freud, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works, ed. James Strachey (London: Hogarth Press, 1953-1974), pp. 235-236 n. 2, p. 236, n 1. Hereafter cited in the text as SE.
3 Warren Johansson and William A. Percy, "Homosexuals in Nazi Germany," Simon Wiesenthal Center Annual, vol. 7 (1990): p. 235.
4 Ladislas Farago, ed., German Psychological Warfare: Survey and Bibliography (New York: Committee for National Morale, 1941), p. 43.
5 Albrecht Bohme (with M. Staemmler, E. Lange, F. Ziegler, and H. Peter), Psychotherapie und Kastration. Die Bedeutung der Psychotherapie als Erziehungs- und Ausscheidungsmethode fur sexuell Abwegige und Sittlichkeitsverbrecher, dargestellt an Fallen aus der Kriminalpraxis, unter Heranziehung der Graphologie als Hilfswissenschaft (Munich: J. F. Lehmanns Verlag, 1935). References are given in the text.
6 Fritz Mohr, "Einige Betrachtungen uber Wesen, Entstehung und Behandlung der Homosexualitat," Zentralblatt fur Psychotherapie und ihre Grenzgebiete einschliesslich der medizinischen Psychologie und psychischen Hygiene: Organ der internationalen allgemeinen arztlichen Gesellschaft fur Psychotherapie, vol. 15, no. 1/2 (1943): pp. 1-20: here 1-2. Further references are given in the text.
7 "Prisoners lacking self-restraint, including even many political prisoners, created abominable conditions, first by homosexuality, then after the arrival of the youths by pederasty. The so-called Puppenjungen seduced by tempting offers . . . soon played an evil role everywhere." "Homosexuals in Nazi Germany," p. 238.
8 "Before the Rohm assassination, very few cases of homosexuality came up in the Hitler Youth, but afterwards they became shockingly frequent. The reprimand index (Warnkartei) of the Hitler Youth . . . shows that between 1934 and 1939 about 25 percent of the 4,800 youths expelled from the movement were expelled for homosexuality, in addition to those expelled for 'moral offenses,' some of which were basically homosexual. . . . Youths were stuffed into the over-crowded prisons as punishment for mutual masturbation, for which penalties of 2 years and 6 months were handed down even before 1935, when the penalty was raised especially for 'seduction.'" "Homosexuals in Nazi Germany," p. 234.
9 See Andrew Arato & Eike Gebhard's introduction to their edition The Essential Frankfurt School Reader (New York: Continuum, 1985), p. 8.
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|Title Annotation:||Nazi psychoanalysis|
|Date:||Apr 1, 1993|
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