Category Archives: Psychology

Ontic Philosophy Forum

Ontic Philosophy Forum
Ontic Philosophy Forum

 

Come and join my new forum! I hope to create an awesome resource of philosophy, economics, politics, feminism and spirituality topics there.

 

We can make it in to whatever we want!

http://ontic-philosophy.com

 

Happy new year 2017! This is a brand new forum. Please feel free to post and open threads. This is mainly a philosophy related forum. The more topics that are discussed, the more sections will be opened and the forum will begin to form it’s own identity. Ontic Philosophy Forum encourages the creation of threads and posts that are in the form of beginners guides. If the topics are more complex, please be as informative as possible. You can either start a debate, discussion, conversation or you can watch as others do so.

Welcome to Ontic Philosophy Forum.

I’m Nemus and I am the admin for the site. I am interested in philosophy and I was kind of fed up with discussions on YouTube, twitter, Facebook etc, as they either descended into irrelevance  and were not enjoyable anymore and I was looking for a medium that was more about writing and text as a means of conveying what I thought. I find forums to be much better for finding like-minded people.

Please make suggestions! Form groups that I can create in the admin control panel, if you want to create a group, please specify what the groups name is and what it’s about, how members can join and then get to it!

The main qualities I am looking for from this forum-

  1. Active members
  2. Quality threads that resemble beginners guides to philosophy, economics, politics and sociology (some psychology too)
  3. Quality conversations (it’s not always a debate you know!)
  4. A helpful community of members

What you can expect from me

  1. I will always remain impartial and indifferent when it comes to moderation
  2. I will discuss whatever is on the forum with any member
  3. I will protect the forum from spam attacks
  4. When the situation arises where conflict may lead to an unhappy mood on the forum, I will try to handle it in a civilised manner
  5. Warnings will be verbal, if problems escalate, then a suspension will be implimented, then a ban.

What constitutes bad behaviour?

This is usually an arbitrary thing to define on a forum. Basically – don’t annoy people! No one likes a sea lion troll – the sort of person who makes it everyone else’s job to spoon feed them day and night, coming across with ‘concern’ but being passive aggressive. It’s not cool. Don’t threaten members, don’t reveal personal information about yourself or others here, don’t share anything that you shouldn’t, like illegal material, copyrighted shit etc, etc.

Also, this should be obvious – no spamming. This will lead to an instant ban.

I will always try to explain the best way to resolve the problems when they arise – it usually involves taking a few days off from the forum – that usually does the trick. Talking about philosophy can seem personal sometimes, if you feel agitated, just relax and take some time to reflect. The forum will be here when you return.

I mostly want to see members sort out their own conflicts, I will only intervene if the threads descend into irrelevance. Unless you can prove a point while being provocative, then you will be warned about your actions.

On a lighter note

I think most forums go wrong by not analysing this behaviour – I think these sorts of interactions should be dicussed and I hope we can review the way people behave in an intellectual way.

Most of all though – be a secret gardener. Don’t worry about people not responding to your posts, most people who like your stuff probably have nothing to add, so when youget a thread with what seem like negative comments, just remember that they are not representitive of everyone on the forum. Please don’t make a ‘I’m fed up with this forum and all the people in it’ kind of thread, it’s very painful to read those sorts of threads and they never go anywhere.

Enjoy the forum!

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Abjection | I stray in order to be |

What is abjection?

The general usage of the term ‘abject’ is an adjective for the most depraved, low, disgusting forms of ways of life, or individual and societal acts. We might say ‘the crime in that particular area is abject’; or ‘those people live in abject poverty’. In any case, wherever it is used, it is referring to something outside of a norm of goodness.

In it’s philosophical usage, it denotes a state of ‘being cast off’; or ‘excreted’ and ‘rejected’. Language informs our reality, it represents it and so abjection defines a boundary between two states of being, the pure and the impure, me and not me.

Liminality

Liminality is a key term when describing the abject. To be liminal is to relate a transitional or initial stage of a process, like a ritual. It also explains an occupied position at, or on both sides of a boundary and a threshold. Liminality is the process of ‘in-between’ moments in space between an inciting incident and a solution. The term is most commonly used in literature, the solution is from a protagonist.

It is often a period of discomfort, of waiting, and of transformation. Your characters’ old habits, beliefs, and even personal identity disintegrates.

The term sub-liminal refers to existing or operating below the threshold of consciousness; being or employing stimuli insufficiently intense to produce a discrete sensation but often being or designed to be intense enough to influence the mental processes or the behavior of the individual: a subliminal stimulus; subliminal advertising.

When we talk about abjection, we are talking about an ordering of boundaries that leads to a transformation of both sides, it operates in-between the boundary and the boundary between self and other, even the boundary of subconsiousness. The abject is something instinctual, primal and prior to language itself. It can be manipulated and reshaped through emotions.

Subject-Abject-Object

The abject is niether object or subject. It occupies the liminal space between the two. It subverts and perverts boundaries. It is ‘the me that is not me’. We define ourselves and others through the abject, we cast off a part of ourselves in order to redefine the new boundaries and identity of either side.

Abject as a protection

It’s biological expression is one of nausea and disgust, anxiety and spasms. It protects us from what we loathe. We spit ourselves out. Food loathing is perhaps the best example of the abject. Jellied eels are a common delicacy in some London pubs, just watching others scoff and swallow those slimy, gross eels with a pint of lager makes me wretch and purge. When I can’t hide my repulsion from others, they seek to proffer the loathed food and I refuse. ‘I’ do not want to listen.’I’ refuse to assimilate it. ‘I’ expell it.

To each ego it’s object, to each superego, it’s abject.

A corpse is another way of understanding abjection, a corpse shows you the boundary of life itself, what we push aside in order to live.

Formation of individuality

If we think of desire (want) as something prior to signification, preliminary to being and object, we can understand abjection as something intimate and unapproachable. It means that lives are not sustained by desire, but through exclusion. It is how territories are formed. The abject is phobia and the splitting of the ego. We are not subjects, but rather, dejects, we place ourselves, seperate ourselves and situate ourselves and therefore stray.

Strayed to salvation

Whenever we become disgusted with our own actions and thoughts, we begin to deject and stray, we are literally beside ourselves. We refuse to assimilate the part of ourselves that provokes such nausea and phobia, we protect ourselves from ourselves and form the ‘I’.

When we cross the threshold of individual territory into society, we can see the abject forming borders, casting-off that which it does not tolerate and loathes, yet the deject also finds the others in those groups counter to their desires and so excludes themselves in order to grow as an individual.

I stray in order to be. Shakespeare’s famous line from Hamlet best captures the abject – ‘to be or not to be, that is the question’, as Hamlet is cast-off and dejects what he finds repulsive within his family, ‘something is rotten in Denmark’. Thus, Elizabethan England was a time of revolt against old traditions and rebellion, it was the birth of the individual in modern literature.

One could argue that Odysseus was the first individual, as he was cast-off and excluded only to return with a solution to reorder the changes while he was away with violence.

What is abject is in constant battle and revolt with what it excludes and rejects it. It cannot be assimilated, it establishes itself and protects itself from the shameful.

Bodily fluids

The abject is that which is excreted from a body, be it a social body or an individual deject/subject. These excretions are me, yet not me. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is the best example of this rejection of the other that reordered liminal space. The 80’s were a time of hysteria about bodily fluids as they were percieved as diseased and so people who were ill and dying were rejected from society. This extended to anyone who was outside of the territory of norms and customs in general, punks, drug users who shared syringes, black people due to a racist view of the genesis of the virus, homosexuals, queers, transgender and many more out-casts were in constant revolt against the exclusion.

We can think of the abject as a power of horror that works in a ritualistic way, it’s sole desire is to save itself from what it considers intolerable. It reveals a subliminal power in the horror that power is a two way street and the abject produces symbols and actions of defiance, re-turning, detournment and revolution as it subverts these hidden boundaries.

Situationaist International thinker, Guy DeBoor used French Detournment. It gave a name to what youth sub-cultures had always been doing, taking a style, symbol or form of life and hacking it, subverting it, perverting it from it’s intentions. For example, Teddy boys took Edwardian fashion and turned it into working class machismo, while punks and queers took derogatory labels and turned them into symbols of defiance.

His intent on using this ‘re-turning’ was to address the assimilation of capitalism into our thoughts and desires, since advertising took off in the 20th century, it replaced thoughts with a collection of images that enclosed the subject body into a consumer society.

Domination and resistance

Wherever there is domination there will always be a continuing resistance. The abject is the dark revolt of the soul.

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Incorporation | You are the world around you |

What is incorporation?

We all like to believe that we are original and autonomous individuals, soveriegn individuals that are authentic. This is an impossible occurence and the concept of incorporation describes the process of our ‘thrown-ness’ into existence. It’s sometimes referred to as a ‘ready-to-hand’; ‘present-at-hand’ or ‘readymade’ quality that affects our ontical-ontology in existence. We are born into a world of history and talking about incorporation is a study of historology (history of being) and historciality (ontical history of a being). Incorporation is a process we can’t avoid, it is a heteronomous will, a determinism of our being in being.

To incorporate something means to take it from the world around you and then make it part of your own body.

For example, when we ingest food we extract nutrients from it and some of these nutrients are transformed into cells in our bodies. In a similar sense, we are educated in society and we pick up ideas, beliefs, norms and practices from other people around us and then make them ‘our own’.

Parasitic and Symbiotic

From the example of ingestion and nutrients in the body, incorporation is not strictly harmful in and of itself. Some forms of incorporation are symbiotic, which means that two bodies co-exist in a way that is beneficial for both bodies. For example, there is bacteria in our bodies that helps to break down food and remove harmful toxins, without them we would not be able to survive. A tic however, which feeds off our blood, is a parasite. The tic needs me to live, but I can live without the tic.

Some of these ideas are dug in very deep in our subconscious and may seem like instincts, they become emotional, unconscious and unthinking, ‘physical’ reflexes and ‘gut feelings’, or knee-jerk reactions. This is usually apparent when what we have incorporated is challenged or violated and a cognitive dissonance occurs.

There are four main processes of incorporation – mimesis, performativity, normativity and the formation of subjects.

Mimesis

Human beings have a strong and largely unconscious tendency to imitate each other, especially from what they consider to be ‘role models’. Some philosophers and psychologists use the Greek term mimesis to describe this phenomenon. Children start to imitate the people around them within hours of them being born, starting with facial expressions. After a few months, it gets more complex and they copy and repeat practices and routines that they are shown.

Mimesis or ’embodied unconscious imitation’ is a very early and powerful way in which we incorporate values, desires and actions of those near to us. The drive is for power – we have an unconscious desire to have more and more control over our bodies and we copy routines and practices, ideas and values from others in order to get the ball rolling. This doesn’t stop after childhood however, it continues through the rest of our lives.

There are even earlier ‘transmission processes’ for appetites that are passed on while we are in the womb, what our mothers eat determines what our tastes are.

Mimesis can sometimes be referred to as a ‘herd instinct’, ‘chameleon effect’ and subconscious ‘priming’.

Performativity

One way in which we incorporate values, norms and practices is by repeatedly performing and practicing them. When we learn a new song or dance, we start off awkward and rigid, but eventually through practice and repitition, the moves and sounds flow more naturally until it is like a ‘second nature’.

Developmental Psychologists studied how children learn ‘scripts’, or repeated patterns of social interaction. There are determined scripts for bedtime and dinnertime, or ‘going to the park’. Like a theatre script, it can include a typical sequence of events or scenes and can feature and number of roles (mummy, baby etc).

Built into it are expectations of what happens next, desires and emotions about what is happening and values, of right and wrong actions and responses. Basic structures of human memory seem to favour learning through scripts. Infants have little memory for particular objects and one-off events, buthave strong memory for repeated sequences.

Like mimesis, script learning is not something that stops when we grow up, it continues throughout our adult lives too.

Normativity

Norms and practices – also interpretations, values, desires, or even whole scripts combining a number of these – that people in a group feel to be normal or expected and to be right. Norms are supported through rewards and punished through sanctions.

Norms are unofficial rules, often unwritten that are enforced by nieghbours, informal groups, as opposed to laws, which are more formal rules that are enforced by the state or other ‘specialist’ agent. We don’t have to make the distinction here, some official laws work like norms, if they are accepted as right and normal.

Many norms are implicit, rarely put into words, perhaps even entirely unconscious. Many Developmental Psychologists think children start to learn norms before they can speak. They are ‘moral feelings’ that we learn and then later rationalise into ‘moral concepts’. So they are largely unconscious and can go unquestioned, even when we consciously rationalise and justify them.

It’s another aspect of the ‘herd instinct’ – that we cling to groups seeking approval and belonging.

Enforcement

The traditional way of training people into a groups’ norms is through humiliation and violence for norm-breakers. By contrast, rewards of status for conformity.

Note how norms involve a number of different people in different roles, they depend on the type of encounter. The norms, or what you are expected to do in certain situations – and want, and value, and expect, how you are supposed to interpret the world, will be different depending on how you are identified, what role you are expected to play.

Subjects

Humans become subjects – who can reflect on themselves and their actions, make conscious plans and projects over time. We can become self-governing or self-policing. For example, I measure myself by what I ‘should be’, strive to become more like the ideal and feel inadequate or guilty if I fail.

This is a paradox of subjectivity – while we seem ‘free’ to make and re-make ourselves in new ways, persuing our chosen projects, what we choose doesn’t come from a pure source ‘inside of us’: we have incorporated these choices, too, from the cultures around us.

You might be a strong, commited and independent subject, but the ideal you aim for comes right off the shelf of norms and stereotypes, let’s say from capitalism, or patriarchy for instance – ruthless money maker, model worker, family guy, housewife, object of desire, gangster, consumer, or playboy.

Subjectivation

Thinking about and working on yourself as an individual is an important form of social domination in modern life. Think about how we are sold ‘aspirational lifestyles’ or the need for ‘self improvement’ to name a couple of examples.

Self-transformation

Mimesis, performativity, normativity and subject becoming don’t mean that the subject is ‘doomed’ to cultural slavery. Having ‘care of the self’ is a vital starting point for developing new cultures and forms of life, freer ways of living. But just being a ‘soveriegn individual’ is not all there is to being free. Subjectivation, or techniques of the self can be used in a number of ways, they can be used to defend or reinforce forms of life dug deep into our bodies (such as capitalism and patriarchy), or they can be used to destroy and overcome them.

Summary

  • We incorporate values, desires and practices of the cultures around us through a range of processes
  • Some of these processes are deeply unconscious, they work on us even when we are not aware of them and without conscious effort on our part
  • These unconscious incorporation processes start in early childhood and continue throughout our adult lives
  • This doesn’t mean we are unthinking slaves of the cultures around us where we grow up and live. We can learn to understand these processes that shape us and use our self-consciousness to help transform our ways of life.

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Black Pigeon Speaks | Transgenders are NOT Mentally Ill Video

Black Pigeon Speaks

FROM THE SWEDISH COHORT STUDY

The difference we observed between the 1989 to 2003 cohort and the control group is that the trans cohort group accessed more mental health care, which is appropriate given the level of ongoing discrimination the group faces. What the data tells us is that things are getting measurably better and the issues we found affecting the 1973 to 1988 cohort group likely reflects a time when trans health and psychological care was less effective and social stigma was far worse.

Continue reading Black Pigeon Speaks | Transgenders are NOT Mentally Ill Video

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Differences between Abjection and Projection | Julia Kristeva

What are the differences between abjection and psychological projection?

This question was asked shortly after I released my first video on abjection, where I painted a grim picture about how abjection functions in the way we order our reality, how it affects norms and customs, relationships and how it influences bullying, racism, various phobias and is akin to being a snob.

The difference isn’t apparent immediately as abjection is difficult to grasp as a concept, but if we think of abjection in a less negative sense and take into account how it is a process of individuation, we can then compare it psychological projection, which is always negative. An interesting starting point is the prefixes of these terms. “Ab-” means “away from” and “pro-” means “substitute”. The suffix of both terms, “-ject” means “to throw”.

Abjection sits in between the object and the subject. The object is defined as “that is that outside”, the subject is “I am this inside” and the abject is “that what I am not”, which indicates how it is neither subject nor object, but it does inform what the subject is through negation.

Kristeva describes how she is repulsed by the skin on boiling milk, which is something of substance, an object, yet it does not have anything to do with her subjectivity. That being said, given her rejection of it, her prohibition of this object, she is defining her subjectivity, “I don’t like the skin on milk”, is talking about an object that the subject is rejecting – therefore it is abject. By extension, her parents don’t mind the skin on boiling milk and through this abjection, she separates “away from” her parents as an individual.

The abject defines borders and boundaries, we draw a line between our subjectivity and certain objects through rejection – this is the abject. It stems from disgust, vomiting and nausea are biological expressions of the abject. Kristeva asks if we can exist without borders, or more specifically, can “I” exist without borders. Without the abject, we could not be individuals. We can experience abjection when we encounter bigotry, racism and bullying – we draw a line between the substance and the subject to express our disgust of these actions.

Projection on the other hand is not based on substance and is subject related. If I personally lie all the time and presume that everyone must lie from my experience, thereby declaring that “Everyone is a liar because I too lie”, that is projection. It is more abstract and concept based, rather than something of substance, material or objective. More extreme forms of projection can be seen when a woman accuses a childless mother of being a bad mother, in order to shift the blame from her own failings, or a religious person measures atheists by their own standards. Projection “substitutes” and diverts our values onto others.

Put in even more simple terms – projection diverts boundaries, whereas abjection subverts boundaries. Projection causes (someone or something) to change course or turn from one direction to another and distracts (someone) from something, where abject will undermine the power and authority of (an established system or institution), overthrow, unsettle and destabilise the presumptuous, or (of a person or their behaviour) failing to observe the limits of what is permitted or appropriate.

Abject seeks to be definitive, where projection refuses to meet agreement.

This is my attempt to show abjection in principle, where it is a necessary function of our individuality, it defines the self and the other through negation, which then creates the affirmative as a result. The next phase of my inquiry leads to how abjection is related to snobbery and tribalism, excessively defining what we are not, can be seen in a negative view, which either produces empathy, in which case transference and projection can become problematic, or tolerance, which is better described as apathy, lack of care about the other, but not being aggressive towards the other, or ignorance and violence towards the other.

Projection is something that we are and others are not, the abject is what we are not and others are.

 

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