"Projective identification is a phantasy
of projecting the whole, or a part of, oneself into another object, taking
possession of it, and attributing to the object one's own characteristics.
motives for projective identification are varied, like the wish to possess an
ideal object and fuse with it; or getting into the bad object to attack or
take over its assumed power; and many others; in particular it abolishes
"Attacks on the mother's breast develop
into attacks of a similar nature on her body, which comes to be felt as it
were as an extension of the breast, even before the mother is conceived of as
a complete person. The phantasied onslaughts on the mother follow two main
lines: one is the predominantly oral impulse to suck dry, bite up, scoop out
and rob the mother's body of its good contents... The other line of attack
derives from the anal and urethral impulses and implies expelling dangerous
substances (excrements) out of the self and into the mother. Together with
these harmful excrements, expelled in hatred, split-off parts of the ego are
also projected onto the mother or, as I would rather call it, into the
These excrements and bad parts of the self are meant not only to injure but
also to control and to take possession of the object. In so far as the mother
comes to contain the bad parts of the self, she is not felt to be a separate
individual but is felt to be the bad self.
'Much of the hatred against
parts of the self is now directed towards the mother. This leads to a
particular form of identification which establishes the prototype of an
aggressive object-relation' (Klein, 1946, pp. 7-8).
that we have here the model — the template, the fundamental experience — of
all of the aggressive features of human relations."
"Phantasies - becoming more elaborate and
referring to a wider variety of objects and
situations - continue throughout development
and accompany all activities. Indeed, Klein
stresses that 'the influence of unconscious
phantasy on art, on scientific work, and on the
activities of every-day life cannot be overrated."
"In the Paranoid-Schizoid position
projective identification is employed to, in phantasy, place the good
part-self or part-object into another for safekeeping, or the bad part-self
part-object into another in order to evacuate it and keep it at a safe
distance from the good self and object. Persecutory anxiety emerges in the
face of this projected badness (a paranoid state of affairs)."
"In projective identification parts of the self and internal objects
are split off and projected into the external object which then becomes
possessed by, controlled and identified with the projected parts"
Hanna Segal, Introduction to the Work of Melanie Klein (p. 27)
purpose of paranoia is....to ward off an idea that is incompatible with the
by projecting its substance into the external world."
1895, 'Draft H. Paranoia'
"The strategy of science has been to see the world and its phenomena as being
"out there". This
strategy of seeing reality as being objective has been the fundamental,
scientific posture since
"Fear, hate and envy are so feared that steps
are taken to
destroy awareness of all feelings
… the effect is to
enable the infant to obtain … material comforts without acknowledging a live
object on which these benefits depend."
- W. R. Bion, Learning from
Experience, p. 10 (1965)
Destruction of 'awareness of all
' depersonalises the ego and makes possible the depersonalisation
of objects. With both self and objects reduced to 'inanimate things', there
can be no 'understanding' and no beginning of 'personal relationships'. The
creation of the infantile schizoid personality has begun, with its
inability to feel
and love, and ability to introject and project what
cannot be understood, or related to except by fear and hate."
"Projective identification (of which splitting is an
integral part) is also the basic mechanism in, sectarianism, virulent
nationalism, fanatical religiosity and blind obedience to political and gang
"Too often, social environments
are overcast with projective identifications. In this case, ‘stimulating’, in
the sense of providing a perversely ‘good container’ for projective
identifications, which follow unobserved, in an authentic ‘cross-fire’. Hate
follows undisturbed, in the form of contempt of life, lack of scruples and a
cunning use of projective identification. Politicians and all sorts of group
leaders use it, either conscious or unconsciously."
"It is now time
to ponder a passage from Hanna Segal about the political implications of
Klein's views on how hunger gnaws:
'From the beginning the infant forms
some object relationships, predominantly in phantasy. In her view, the
deflection of the death instinct postulated by Freud creates the fantasy of a
deathly bad object... First we project our destructiveness into others; then
we wish to annihilate them without guilt because they contain all the evil
destructiveness' (Segal, 1988, pp. 50-51).
When we read accounts of the
genocide of the Conquistadors, the Stalinists, the Germans, the Kampucheans,
the Americans or the Iraqis, we must ask what has been projected into these
people from the most primitive parts of their tormentors. Similarly, when we
see the behaviour of drunken Indians or Esquimos or the fawning of black film
actors such as Step'n Fetchit or the behaviour of Mafiosi as represented by
Brando, Jews like Dickens' Fagin as played by Alec Guiness or Americans as
played by John Wayne - then we must note how such projections take root and
"Torn flesh, splintered bones, screaming agony
are bad enough. But perhaps most heart rending of all are the tiny faces and
bodies scorched and seared by fire. Napalm, and its more horrible companion,
white phosphorus, liquidize young flesh and carve it into grotesque froms.
little figures are afterward often scarcely human in appearance, and one
cannot be confronted with the monstrous effects of burning without being
totally shaken....The initial urge to reach out and soothe the hurt was
restrained by the fear that ash-like skin would crumble in my fingers."
- On Genocide by Jean Paul Sartre
"Innocents" also refers to "virgin" Nature, untouched/unspoiled
"In well over ten
years of warfare in Vietnam, the United States:
Dropped eight million tons
Dropped 400,000 tons of napalm. Destroyed over 40 percent of
Vietnam's plantations and orchards.
Sprayed 12 to 15 million gallons of
Agent Orange. In 1990, an official U.S. report concluded that there was no
cancer caused by Agent Orange. The tests had been conducted on Americans
stationed on ships off the coast of Vietnam.
Left ten million people
Killed three to four million people, including Cambodians and
Laotians. Congress unknowingly funded CIA operations for Laos and Thailand.
58,100 Americans were killed.
Americans suffer from delayed stress syndrome.
Hundreds of thousands of
Americans were injured and left crippled.
The United States dropped the
equivalent of 3 H-bombs per day, enough to destroy the world 25 times over.
The top ten American defense corporations, particularly Dow Chemicals,
Dupont, and International Telephone and Telegraph, grossed $11.6 billion in
"There is no safety in unlimited technological hubris."
- McGeorge Bundy
advisor to President Johnson, 1963 -
"Masculine Reason has historically been clothed in
metaphors of energy, battle, and virile penetration and set against Nature
represented as a mysterious, feminine Other. The longing of the man of
was to strip away her veil with his instruments to possess her naked
Beneath such rhetoric one can sense the archetypal quality of this longing.
The Promethean technician is the dream-image of a boy's ego, that fragile "I"
which is torn away from its mother and ordered to be absolutely Other than
"The image is of God on top
of a pyramid, followed by males--particularly white males--and then women,
then children, then animals, then plants, then inorganic matter. It's a
pyramid of value and control: what is lower exists only to be useful to what
"So we name the earth feminine. It's 'she,' never 'he,' and
it's 'Father' God, but 'mother' nature--the feminine, over against which our
masculinity is defined. And the dominion of the earth becomes
"Today we talk of
‘matter’. We describe its physical properties. We conduct laboratory
experiments to demonstrate some of its aspects. But the word ‘matter’ remains
a dry, inhuman, and purely intellectual concept, without any psychic
significance for us. How different was the former image of matter - the Great
Mother - that could encompass and express the profound emotional meaning of
- C. G. Jung
"Innocents raped with napalm
terms such as "virgin forest" and "rape the earth" are not coincidental in
that context, Nelson argued. He noted the historical precedent for their use,
made "all too painfully explicit," he said, by Sir Francis Bacon, a 16th- and
17th-century English philosopher, essayist and statesman and one of the
founders of the scientific method.
Nelson said Bacon spoke of
"wrestling new knowledge from nature's womb, of seizing her by the hair of
head, molding her into something new, of penetrating her mysteries, and of
having the power to conquer and subdue her."
"Rene Descartes (1596-1650) and Francis
Bacon (1561-1626) are the two master shapers of modernity as the age of
technology. Most notable is Descartes's bifurcation of man and nature as well
as of the mind (res cogitans) and the body (res extensa). In his Discours de
la methode (1636), he spoke without equivocation of men as "the masters and
possessors of nature." Not only is nature a mindless or soulless pile of
things which, through the cultivation of knowledge, man is entitled to master
and possess, but man himself/herself is visualized as the grandest machine of
all. In this way, Descartes paved the way for the cybernetic theory of man,
i.e., the theory of man as an automaton or a cyborg (see Barrett, 1986 and
The Faustian pathos of modern man intellectually owes more
to Bacon than to any other thinkers - including Descartes. In every respect
Bacon was the intellectual harbinger and architect of the modern age of
science, technology, and quantitative economy: he is "the first philosopher
the modern age" (Bury, 1955: 50) who is directly responsible for generating
the technological and industrial ethos of modernity."
"I am come
in very truth leading you to Nature with all her children to bind her to your
service and make her your slave. For you have but to follow and as it were
hound Nature in her wanderings, and you will be able, when you like, to lead
and drive her afterwards to the same place again."
"Underlying this rhetoric was the belief that Mother Nature
represented disorder, which male rationality must subdue and dominate if
progress were to ensue. Mother Nature represented the undifferentiated chaos
from which the mature human being (and in particular, the male) needed to
escape. In addition, slipping backwards into Nature and being swallowed once
again by the mother threatened the hard-won autonomy of the "masculine"