Lazy rascals, spending their substance, and more, in riotous living

The idiocy of ego psychology

Outside my department, there’s a bookshelf where faculty leave books they want to get rid of. This being a political science department, most of the books are unutterably dull statistical analyses of votes in congress, or whatever, but last week I did pick up an interesting looking book called Socialist Visions. There’s a great essay in the book that starts with pictures of soviet visions of collective architectures, and ends with a plan for chopping up suburban housing estates and reconfiguring them as communes. Another essay contains one of the stupidest sentences I’ve ever read:

Elsewhere I demonstrate that the symbolization of nature as an object that must be dominated by an ostensible separate subject is generated in the nuclear form of (what Dinnerstein calls) “mother-monopolized” child rearing, and that the emergence of authentic forms of shared parenting established the necessary unconscious basis for a post-objectifying symbolization of nature and the technologies that are its materialization.

I see: the problem of industrial capitalism can be explained solely by reference to child rearing. What is up with (a certain form of) psychoanalysis’s obsessive desire to, as Tocqueville put it, “see the whole man in the cradle”? It’s such an absurd piece of romantic mysticism, imagining that children have some absolutely sui generis fragility, and, in contrast, that adults are totally self-determining. It’s a bizarre re-reading of Freud as if he were the most conventional of liberals.