Fork, Field and Form

R.D. Laing in the first chapter “Phantasy and Experience” in the collection of essays Self and Other takes up the 1952 work of Susan Isaacs “The nature and function of Phantasy”. Aside from whatever critique Laing mounts there is a very interesting statement in the summarized argument that deserves close attention:

The earliest phantasies are experienced as sensations: later they take the form of plastic images and dramatic representations.

This could be read as a syntagm: the sensation gives rise to a plastic image which in turn gives rise to a dramatic representation. Alternatively, the “and” can be read as a disjunction and lead to a non-succesive reading. The sensation gives rise to a plastic image or to a dramatic representation.

And now to speculate: a subsequent sensation is necessary to effect either the gelling into a plastic image or the move to a dramatic representation. A set of sensations is necessary to the transformation. Indeed in rereading Isaacs, one notices that the formulation of phantasies, plural, being experienced as sensations, plural, leaves open the possibility of a single phantasy being experienced as a set of sensations. Multiple sensations would be necessary to mediate the form taking whether of a plastic image or a dramatic representation. The multiple is the entry way into the domain of the comparable: up, down, before, after, etc. That which is open to comparison is situatable.

And it is intriguing that the next statement in the listing is concerned with localization:

Phantasies have both psychic and bodily effects, e.g. in conversion symptoms, bodily qualities, character and personality, neurotic symptoms, inhibitions and sublimations.

So much drama and so many plastic poses!

And so for day 243

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