The big predicament certain culture to be efficiently spoken of is engendered by the fact it holds stable characteristics but varies. To this another obstacle is added – the culture is presented by a name, but can be defined differently, and therefore - differently denominated. It is like this, because besides variable, the culture is a multi-aspect and a polysemous subject. Therefore, the inconsistency a culture to be spoken as of a collective life mode, as of a human communities type organization, as well as of a set or a system of real subjects and places, and on its turn - of values and symbols.
In the case, I follow the last of the plans enumerated; I apprehend the culture as a system of values. I discriminate, though, the values invariable and variable, and I relegate the otherwise more complex phenomenon of the European culture, of a country of which I am getting ready to speak of, to the simple scheme of super-valued conditions. The European culture, of course, is gradually formed – by a strain of the Classical Athens, by another one of the pagan, by a third of the Christian Rome, and by fourth of the Medieval Europe. This line proceeds also in the contemporary formation of the European cultural unity. Notwithstanding the proceeding formation, though, in the European culture there is available a complex of more variable value conditions, which change so slowly that we could treat them as invariable.
Such a stable condition is the European appreciation of the individual. Its formation undergoes the life practices of the Classical Athens, the ideas of the stoic philosophy, and Roman law formulae, abides the Jewish, the Christian communitarianism and the Protestant ethics, to get to the contemporary theme of the human rights. A more considerate scrutinization of this historical route explicates that the European valuation of the individual in practice is always related to the valuation of the particular, to the conspicuous articulation of the secular and the religious, to the European rationalism, but especially to the worldly appreciation of a collectivity of one or another type.
There is a viewpoint, which allows this relation of valued individuality and collectivity to be apprehended as one of the most substantial complexes, which define the European thought and conduct. A good possibility of its scrutinization is offered to us by a parallel - between the Freudian psychoanalytic texts and practices, and the ones of the Attic tragedy. Tough as if accidentally Freud borrows exactly from the tragedy the name “Oedipus” to designate his dynamic apprehension of the individual, this loan-word is grounded in a real resemblance – between the Freudian apprehension of the individual destiny, and the dynamic concept of the hero faith in the Attic tragedy.
The Attic tragedy and the psychoanalysis follow a common dynamic setting of the human being
The relation of the Freudian Oedipus complex formula to its pattern - Sophocles’s “Oedipus the King”, - is commented by many researchers. The comments are to be divided generally into two types – on one hand in “Oedipus the King” is discerned confirmation of the Oedipus complex, on the other, the founder of the psychoanalysis is criticized because he has relegated the complex semantics of “Oedipus the King” to the scheme of the Oedipus complex. The contemporary connoisseurs of psychoanalysis work with the elaborated Freudian idea of the Oedipus complex and follow the indication that as any of his cases, the Sophocles’s “Oedipus the King” is a concreteness, in which the complex is rather concealed and replaced.
The experts on the Ancient Greek culture explicate otherwise the dissimilarity between the Freudian formula of the Oedipus complex and the tragic Oedipus myth. According to them, the tragic myth explicates the peculiarities of the time bygone that cannot be universalized. To an extent, this is true. In the last years of 19th century, getting to the idea of the Oedipus complex in the process of his self-analysis, Freud is interested in the destiny of the individual and turns his back to the aspect of the collective, which is, so to say, substantial element of the sense strategy of the Attic tragedy. Later on, though, the father of the psychoanalysis formulates the dependence between the individual and the collective, and elaborates a new version of Oedipus complex, within which the resemblance between the Attic tragedy and the psychoanalysis is undoubtedly reinforced.
How, more specifically, is this semblance expressed? Freudian Oedipus complex is a dynamic formula of every human being destiny, constituted by a negative and positive phase of self-identification. The exemplary order of the Attic tragedy is a succession of crisis and consequences, within which, through transition from one identification to another, the destiny of the character is deliberated. To this semblance more concrete resemblances are added – as it is in the case, that in the one, and in the other context, the complicated attitudes between relatives are referred to, which is explicitly formulated also by Aristotle in his “Poetics”, or that the outcome of the commented in the both contexts crises is negative, but at times positive too. Thus, it is also in Freudian’s practice, as well as in the Attic tragedy: some tragedies (as “Alkestida” and “Helena” by Euripid) are of a positive outcome.
In addition to this semblance, a big dissimilarity steps forward – the crisis in the Freudian Oedipus complex comments an imaginary conflict in the microsocial milieu of the small family, and in the Attic tragedy to the conflict relations with relatives are added the collisive relations with a social human collective and forces from beyond. Therefore, the other considerable dissimilarity – a protagonist of the Oedipus complex is any individual, and the tragedy refers to heightened characters.
As I have already mentioned, at a later stage of his theorizing, Freud overcomes this dissimilarity through the idea that the unconscious of the individual destiny dependents on the unconscious of the collective destiny, and that the one is a modification of the other. This later notion introduces into the parallel between the Oedipus complex and the tragedy a new semblance – Freudian dynamic model gets referred to the similar relation between a leader and a human mass, which organizes also the model plot of the Attic tragedy. Yet more. On the conclusive pages of “Totem and Taboo” the following notion is formulated – the essence of the Attic tragedy is explicated in the relation of the tragedy choir to the hero, who takes upon himself the collective guilt.
Is Freud aware of the sense core of the Attic tragedy? Yes, as it comes to its plot. The tragedy holds a certain pragmatics, though, to which Freud does not pay attention. He is not aware that within the core of the plot formation, the relation between the human group and the hero also structures the exterior situation of the theater reception of the Attic tragedy. A predicament in this sense is Aristotle’s notion on the catharsis, employed by Freud as a model of the initial stage of the psychoanalysis formation, as a kind of communication between the psychoanalyst and the patient. Aristotle fixes in his formula the occurring with the particular spectator and disregards the typical of the time reference of the theater audience as a collective to the occurring on the stage. Following him, Freud does not grasp the mechanism of the collective apprehension of the tragedy. Therefore the consequence, that he does not evolve the idea of the depth semblance between the model plot of the Attic tragedy and the formulae of the Oedipus complex.
We encounter a dependency on two unequal contexts. The one is the context of the scientific apprehension, which makes both Freud and Aristotle alike sensitive to the occurring with the particular human being. The other is the gross general context of the European culture, setting in relation the ideas on the individual and the collective definiteness, and a kind of imposing the dynamic settings of the human in the Attic tragedy and the psychoanalysis. This context remains unrealized both by Aristotle, and by the father of the psychoanalysis. Its dynamic stipulation can be formulated as follows – the human is rendered apprehensive to the extent it is exposed to transformation. Exactly on its grounds in the Attic tragedy and in the psychoanalysis are constructed similar plots of the human destiny.
What are these plots like? A sort of two phases processings – of a crisis with negative primordial event, and of a draught to positive condition, unattainable or attainable by compromise. At any case, the possibility of transformation is commented. To this eventually interior plot context transformation, another one is added – between the audience, and the occurring with the hero on the stage at the Attic tragedies performances, and between the psychoanalyst and the patient within the psychoanalytic process. The two transformations are somehow related.
The dissimilarities between the Attic tragedy and the psychoanalysis. A peculiar type of identification with the tragedy
As a consequence of the critiques addressed to him, and of his own experience extension, Freud attains the notion of the interior explication of the collective within the individual psychical initially in “Totem and Taboo” (1912). Later on, he evolves this notion in “Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego” (1921). “The other” inevitably is present in the psychical life of the human being; the psychology of the individual is inevitably a social psychology – these are the two introductory stipulations of this work. In reference to this, Freud elaborates the thesis of the so-called primal group, constituted of a “multitude of equals, who identify themselves with each other, and with the one, who excels the all”. These relations are in unison with the libidinal organization of the personality, with the interior structure of the Ego, Super-Ego and Id.
In “Group Psychology” Freud outlines another explication of the collectivity – the one, for example with more differentiated interior relations. At a paragraph, he speaks of unostentatious participations of the human being into a multitude of group souls. One way or another, the strong viewpoint is the individual. By directing his attention to the conflicts with the immediate close ones, at that not to the real, but to the imaginary conflicts, Freud is interested rather in the interior world of the individual representation in the range of the others and the other, than in the reverse expression – of the individual in the collective. Later on, on this grounds, he deciphers in the interior conflicts of the Ego with its own Id and Super-Ego, the explication of the exterior collision of the individual with the society and the culture - again traces and images of the collective and the individual.
Lacan’s interpretation of the Oedipus complex elaborates the idea in a different mode. While for Freud the complex is a phylogenetic scheme, within which a primal collective event is imprinted in the phantasm of every child, for Lacan the complex is an autonomous signifier, a speech mechanism, within which the signified of the functional relation of the individual with the others and therefore – of the primacy of the culture over the nature - is elaborated. Freud pays attention to the past, engendering the complex, and apprehends its issue as a real act of stepping of the individual out of the family fold into the gross field of society and culture. Lacan makes the round of these Freudian ideas, strengthens the microsocial logics in this complex and eliminates the motive of the gross collective representation, which interests Freud next to “Totem and Taboo”.
We can stipulate that the basic predicament for the 20th century psychoanalytic scientists is the relation of the presentations of the other and the others within the individual to a more discursive idea of the collective. With Freud, certain discursivity is available – Super-Ego in the individual structure represents the collective, while Id represents the massive of the other. One way or another, the collective remains unarticulated. This imposes the compensatory apprehension that for the individual the collective is a phylogenetic factuality. In a universal scale, though, this is apprehended alike by Jung too. The collective is represented differently in the so-called group psychoanalysis, where the attention is directed to one of its explications – the real human group. Thus, while scrutinizing predominantly the small family and every human group, the 20th century psychoanalytic scientists leave unconceptualized the vague range of the multitude of others, of the gross real or virtual multitude of the individuals, as well as of the gross collective, whose subject, according to Freud, is represented by the idea of the father.
The absence of the articulated notion of the collective in the psychoanalysis is apparent in the comparison of the Oedipus complex with the plot scheme of the Attic tragedy. Of course, the comparison explicates a shared by the Attic tragedy problem too, i.e. it lacks two substantial to us ideas – to any individual, and to the interior human world. By dealing, though, with what has occurred to the heightened individual, the tragedy structures two phenomena, left unelaborated in the otherwise incomparably more analytic Freudian teaching: 1. the multiple explications of the other, associated in the tragedy plot and the practice of the feast with the theater performance, and 2. the double identification – of the human group with the heightened hero, who represents it, and of the hero with the human group.
The second one is of an exceptional prevalence. It has directed the concrete-historical theatrical apprehension of the Attic tragedies. The Athenian audience grasps the occurring on the stage not straightforwardly identifying itself with the hero on the stage, towards which Freud alludes by the thesis of the universality of the Oedipus complex, like Aristotle with the thesis of the fear and compassion in definition of the tragedy. The practice, seemingly, is other – the audience identifies itself with the suffering hero indirectly, along with the others as a group. A model of this identification Freud disposes of within the structure of the tragedy itself. In the tragedy plots, the suffering heightened hero is paired with the collective subject of people. The misfortune pertains to the hero, but in a way to the related to the hero choir too. Exactly with the choir, the public is more directly associated. Thus, in the indirectness of identification is implemented the second substantial point of that concrete-historical apprehension – the particular spectator, infatuated by hero’s misfortune, is a common human being of this place and of the present, and the hero is the heightened individual, pertaining to the past, and most often is not of this place.
This dissimilarity is sense-constructing in the plot strategy of “Oedipus the King” – Oedipus does not want to kill his father and to become his mother’s husband; he has a problem not with the interior, but with the exterior life, he has killed his father and has married his mother because of a coincidence, related to his ancestor’s deeds and to the fate, determined by gods. Oedipus is not patricide and incestuous, but a regicide and a husband of the mother-queen. Therefore, the events, given direction prior to his own life, do not affect only him. They “infect” the human community and the land of Thebes. As on their turn the horrible occurrences Oedipus is getting aware of and because of which he punishes himself by self-blinding and exile, are compensated by the collective positive result – the land of Thebes heals and the normal relations in the human community are restored.
This defines the reaction of the particular spectator – the occurring with the hero cannot occur with the spectator. Even occurring, it would have affected the spectator indirectly, to the extent the spectator participates in the subject of the civil collective. However, because the king is the real individual explication of this subject, the evil is eliminable – the king can be exiled. According to the mechanism of this apprehension, the civilians-spectators without destiny tag themselves after the heightened hero with a destiny. Thus, they indirectly depend on the hero. The hero, though, is also dependent on them. The tagging after can be dissolved by a crisis, and can be implemented anew to a new high hero. Therefore the identifications in the run of the theater performance – the audience mass is directly identified with the choir, which, within its tagged after dependence on the heightened hero, looks for it as a protector, and grievously disassociates from him when during the raging crisis the hero perishes a kind of offered as a sacrifice.
Both Sophocles’s “Oedipus the King”, and the other Attic tragedies, got to us, evolve plots of sacrifice. The task is complex – they comment the necessity the human group to have a good leader, but along with his secular power function, they discuss also his role of a mediator towards the extrahuman. The plot of the tragedy associates semiotically these two functions, as on its turn associates the subjects of the hero-ruler and the choir. Therefore the peculiar function of the tragedy plot – a human collective, of a kind, is constructed as such through coming outside violence against the hero-ruler; the violence affects directly the choir and indirectly the identifying with it audience mass. The same occurs with the audience as with the choir – by going through the occurring, they undergo a symbolic association in a community.
The dissimilarities between the tragedy and the Oedipus complex, enriched by Freud with a collective connotation, are explicit. The Attic tragedy evolves a situation of a heightened individual, in whose destiny are compoundly treated problems of the individual, social and nature-cosmic being. The spheres of the individual’s other are well articulated – relatives and neighbors, the bigger collective of citizens of this place, and the symbolic multitude of the forces beyond. Individual, though, is not any human being, but only the socially heightened. Only such a person is of a fate, to the extent only such a person is directly related both to a big human collective, and to God’s powers. The hero is a mediator between the people’s of this place and the beyond. Therefore, the hero turns to be a victim-means of the festive identification of the human community.
We can figure out this relation through the Freudian three-section structure of the Super-Ego, Ego and Id. The hero is a suspended in the run of the tragedy Ego, intercepted by the impulses of the Id and the Super-Ego, emanated by the god’s and the human collective world. The dissimilarity consists in the fact that what with the Attic tragedy refers to the hero, with Freud, at the forefront, at least, refers to any particular human being. Within this is the cultural contribution of psychoanalysis – in the raising of the any human being to the heroicness. It is heroicness, though, to the extent it remains dependent on the collision of the individual and a collective, in compliance with the later corrected Freudian scheme of the Oedipus complex. Nevertheless, notwithstanding, the leap to the macrosocial through the figure of the primordial father, this heroicness is still implemented within the microsocial milieu of the intersubject relations with the closest ones.
The authentic situation of the Attic tragedy in the context of the paradigms of life in the Classical Athens
Freudian psychoanalysis is molded under the conditions of the disclosed contemporary Europen dynamic cultural milieu. This renders difficult the psychoanalytical paradigm reference to a particular, more concrete context. Therefore, the necessity to look for one or another more durable milieu, ready to assume such a reference – as the offered scheme of the European hyper values is. While the context delineation of the Attic tragedy seems easier – because of its remoteness, and the few facts available, but also because of the facilitating reference to a comparatively closed cultural world with a compact forms of collective life.
In summary, the context of the Attic tragedy is the Athenian polis culture with its three levels of festive, public and private subsistence and the corresponding three complementing each other life paradigms. The plot of the Attic tragedy depends on the festive paradigm. The Attic festivity, of course, is something complicated, complex in its two aspects – of the old fests of a mysterial character, and of the new, socially constructed ones. Exactly in the boundaries of such a new fest, of the polis mysteries of Dionysus, the Attic tragedy evolves its plot of the festive crisis engendering and solution. With setting a relation between the heightened hero and the human group, it comments symbolically, which means compound, the real power and the transcendental problems of religious character.
Inspired by Freudian “Totem and Taboo”, I follow the anthropologist Rene Girard’s thesis. According to it, not anything else, but the offering of a sacrifice, “the holy of the holies” of the most festivities of the Classical Athens, and among them, of the Dionysus mysteries, leads to the structure of the two, ensuing one from another phases: of a related to violence undifferentiation of the human multitude and the next positive phase of restored collectivity with a structure. Typical of the Dionysus mysteries context, this dynamics defines not to a small extent also the plot structure of the Attic tragedy. It is available in the plot of Sophocles “Oedipus the King” with its first phase of the ultimate crisis of non-identification and the second one of apprehension and the public order restoration.
It refers not only to Sophocles’s “Oedipus the King”, neither solely to the model plot of the Attic tragedy, operative in all preserved to us tragedies. Such is also the dynamic structure of the theatrical apprehension itself. Before the beginning of the performance, the spectators gathered in the amphitheater form unstructured festive mass. It precedes the apprehension of the text of the tragedy. Through the mechanism of the commented above theatrical identification, Athenian demos enters a substantial, closed to its public and private daily grind zone of subsistence, and turns out form a mass of spectators into a collective with a fate. By transferring thanks to the symbolic history of the tragedy upon the suffering hero the crises of undifferentiation, which eventually it can sense, it faces the compound beyond of the natural-cosmic, the social and the interiorly-human exteriorly-human. This is a mechanism of acquiring re-dispositional knowledge, as it is the case with the Oedipus in Sophocles’s “Oedipus the King”.
Similarly, this situation of re-disposition is explicated at the Attic feast Targelii – following prolonged care of a common marginal human being, a ritual king, chosen long before the feast, the celebrating ones arrange his murder, according to the initial model or exile in the Classical times. The chosen one takes upon himself the guilt of the indistinct danger, threatening the community, and thus turns into a vector of eventual real crisis of undifferentiation. Therefore, the ensuing healing effect of the exile. This scenario, more explicitly than the plot of the tragedy, marks the two phases of the collectivity rendered into reality – the negative of the order confusion and the positive of the order restored. A symbolic comment on the social, Tragelii at the same time is a festive substitute of a social practice. The semblance between the processing of this fest and the structure of “Oedipus the King” is repeatedly commented.
Intriguing, but this paradigm of phases of undifferentiation and differentiation ensuing, organizes also the communal life of the Classical Athens. At certain cases, we refer to a literal symbolic act – obligatory sacrifice, for example, preceding a military operation or a session of the national assembly. The apprehension of other cases is enhanced by a parallel – as the gathering of spectators in the Dionysus theatre, and the following sense structure through the text of the tragedy, comparable to the similar gathering of citizens in the national assembly on the Pnyx Hill, heralding their sense arrangement at the time of debates and the eventual identifications with the orators-heightened-communal-heroes, at a lot of points comparable to the heightened heroes of the tragedy.
Of course, the multitude of the Athenian ecclesia is to a higher degree articulated than the festive mass of the amphitheatre. It, though, easily can be turned into a mass, when somebody usurps the power and becomes a ruler of extraordinary powers. Thus, exactly as the attitude to the hero and the attitude to the father with Freud, the attitude to the communal hero is ambivalent. The rank-and-file people greet him and tag after him. On the other hand, the hero provokes in them fear of undifferentiaiton, which can strike their community. Therefore the consequence, that the attitude to the communal hero is a consequence of the alternation of situations of a good tagging after and crisis. The tagging after is explicated in the collective transfer upon the leader of one’s own activity. The crisis is refusal of this. This refusal has acquired expression in the operating during 5th century B.C. in Athens institution of ostracism – the banishment away of the polis, with the national assembly vote, of the leaders, who threaten the democratic order.
Thus, the Targelii fest, Sophocles’s “Oedipus the King”, and the institution of ostracism are different representations, which comment the contradictory situation of the collective subsistence; the fact that the social group is successful if it is differentiated, and in this sense – democratically set up, but as well if it disposes of a good, strong leader. This leader, though, questions the communal differentiation. Thus, the bad of the chaos ensues both from the excessive differentiation, and from undifferentiation, to which the excessive power leads too. The social group constantly seeks a good leader and constantly eliminates him only to replace him with another one. The elimination leads to a crisis of disorder. Of course, the replacement can be introduces as an order, as the case is with the democratic electivity. One way or another, though, the social order is hard to be rendered; the crises, engendered by the human mobility both of the leader, and of the social group cannot be eliminated. They can only be confined. Therefore, the hesitations whether the communal wellbeing is sustained by rules of the rulers replacement, or by as if the better option of the exceptional power, handed over to one.
The symbolic comment on the Attic tragedy cannot express discursively this dilemma, but comments it in its own plot by associating it in a symbolic festive mode with what is neglected in the run of the communal living – the relations of the human collective to the extrahuman. Of course, the festive being in the Classical Athens is not strictly detached from the communal subsistence. The tragic plots penetrate into it by evolving everyday “superstitious” narrative of one or another communal hero. The tragedy is a model of the concept of the many of Herodotus’s “History” logoi, with their too close to the scheme of the Freudean Oedipus complex Oedipus narratives. And visa versa – at certain point in its text, the Attic tragedy comments discursively certain aspects of the social problems, and thus raises these problems to the rank of the heightened festivity.
The private subsistence in Classical Athens and a comparison of the Attic tragedy and the psychoanalysis contexts
In the system of the Classical Athenian culture, a more difficult boundary to be overcome is between the two, to a greater extent associated spheres of festive and communal life, and the private subsistence, which as if resides outside the culture. It is, so to say, the unconscious in the system of that compromise traditional, but disclosed too, culture. Therefore, the complicated relation between the life in the Classical Athens and the contemporary European life – the major dissimilarity between festive-public culture of that time and our contemporaneity, and the minor one - between the Classical Athenian and the contemporary private subsistence. One way or another, exactly in the private subsistence of the Classical Athens we are to look for the parallel of the indirectly treated by Freud milieu of the Oedipus complex evolvement.
The dissimilarity can be instantly grasped. With Freud, between the closed milieu of the contemporary small family and the exterior microsocial world, a barrier is set. According to the psychoanalytic theory, it is to be overcome in a sublimative mode by stepping out in the big world of the culture. In the Classical Athens, in the big closed at home family, the women remain closed, while the men easily transgress the barrier to the outer microsocial world. Thus, traditionally, in the private space, there is a feminine and a masculine aspect of a more intense dynamics. The masculine one is comprised by citizens, representing families, the growing youths, and the so-called metics. They are in fact the mobile ones, the individuals who subjectively participate into interpersonal activities. Their private mobility, if we are to follow the Freudian structure of the individual, permits them to evolve an intrinsic personal hierarchy of Super-Ego, Ego and Id. They are the ones, maintaining the exterior Super-Ego of the others, deprived of such a structure and tagging after them. These are the individuals with an eventual personal history.
On the other hand, the Athenian private space is separated into the entirely private space of the home, where the women stay, and of which we know little, the more public space of the street, and the usual places of gathering, where men spent the time in groups. Therefore, the peculiarity of the boy raising, and its eventual Oedipus complex. The constant absence of the father from home, the lack of marriage love, the high degree of sexual relations openness, breastfeeding of the children by slavewomen, the early leaving home and the seeking of an elderly man, who will introduce the growing up into the social life, are forms of immersion into a wider milieu, and therefore – of an attenuated relation to the mother and the father, which barely were instrumental in the cultivation of the Oedipus complex the way Freud in his classical texts on psychoanalysis presents it.
If we are to look for the concrete context of the Oedipus complex evolvement in the classical Athens, the one we can think of, is the gross family of the home. The lack of sufficient data on its life is to an extent compensated by analogies with other traditional cultures, analyzed by ethnologists, endeavoring to think of the Oedipus complex modifications. Spending time in female and male groups is a substantial family trait. In distinction to the stable female group, remaining at home, the publicly subsisting males modularly change the groups they fall into. The growing ups imitate this mobility, and most probably do not associate with their fathers the ideal, necessary for their maturing, represented in their personal Super-Ego. There is nothing to prevent this ideal from being associated with personages, representing military parties or festive collectives.
In dissimilarity to the contemporary individuality with a long formation phase in the milieu of the small family, and with a shock experience with the social horizon disclosure, the undergoing formation individuality in Athens unlikely went through such a crisis with its coming out in the public sphere. Raised under the circumstances of a private publicity, and of festive groupings of dissimilar particular all, the Athenian boy at early ages acquires the technique of switching over his personal structure into the structure of a gross collective setting. Explicated by the paradox language of the comparison, this has rendered the figure of the professional psychoanalyst redundant in bringing into line the individual and the collective, which is so necessary in the contemporary European milieu because of the complex unregulated net of multitudal collective milieus.
The comparison stresses upon the two peculiarities of the Athenian Classical culture – the restricted number of individuals with a personality, who get involved into valid interpersonal relations, and the regulated modularity of the cultural milieu, the availability of a net of practices of transition from individual to collective being without a crisis. Of course, the absence of sufficient evidences is a reason to presume, that at that time too, the child formation did not get through object charges, identifications and transfers. Though they might have been directed towards individuals with roles, whose imitation has easier lead to collective connotations, still this transformation hardly would have occurred without crises. Yet, we know insufficiently enough of the closed home milieu, and principally it is inappropriate to reckon the private life of that time as completely dissimilar to the contemporary one. Therefore, the adequate legitimacy of the psychoanalytic vocabulary usage in the reconstruction of the private life at that time.
On the other hand, as the universal apprehension of the dynamic scheme of the Attic tragedy is preceded by a reference to a context, so it should have been effective to release also the Freudian psychoanalysis from the excessive universalization and to refer it to the eventual more concrete context, which has engendered it and sustained it. It is obvious, though, the psychoanalytical session is a social practice too, proceeding in a certain milieu, and referring through it to other more or less similar social practices. Therefore, the presupposition, sustained by the comparison to the Classical material, that perhaps the engendered in the contemporary life circumstances Oedipus situation is not something permanent either for the individual, even for the neurotic. Perhaps the contemporary individual also suspends the depth unconscious and the predestined affection to a personal primordial event, by tagging after a real or virtual group of people and by substituting a personal story by the story of one or another heightened character.
No matter how simplified, the directed by the Attic tragedy more realistic situational apprehension of the Freudian problematic endeavors thinking of the individual as of a dynamics of constant depth engendering and of an intrinsic psychical apparatus, as well as of constant suspension of this apparatus and transfer of its function to heightened personages and exterior structures of relations. The aim of this essay is not only the hermeneutical comparison of the plots of the Attic tragedy and the Freudian Oedipus complex in view of their mutual more complex, and in this sense – more full apprehension. It, on its turn, is dependent on the eventual more general scheme of what I denominate as European cultural apprehension.
Conclusion on the theme of the European conceptualization of the individual and the collective
We can reformulate the commented above parallel between the Attic tragedy and the psychoanalysis and to stipulate that the common between them is the attempt the drama of the exit from a smaller to a bigger world to be represented. Through the Oedipus complex, Freud comments the exit of each individual. This, though, is Jung’s contraposition or the virtual discrimination of the Attic tragedy from the Freudian scheme – we refer not only to the field of culture, as more often the founder of the psychoanalysis thinks, but to the more general indistinct sphere of the world. Exactly to this, Freud reacts compromisingly through the thesis of the collectivity, imprinted on the Oedipus representation of the father.
The issue is that this expansion remains incomplete. In a theoretical plan, at least, Freud does not elaborate a good representation of the depth of the other. The transforming the human being Oedipus evolvement starts with a phase of negative identification with the father and the mother, with imaginary murder and incest, subsequently to pass over to a positive twining in the personality of the evolving human being of the roles emitted by the father and the mother, leading away, as it is in the later version of the Oedipus complex, to the world of the gross collectivity and culture. It is, so to say, the last in the eventual otherness, if the negative other of the death is not reckoned.
The gate to the depth of the other in Freud’s theory is obstructed by additional personal predispositions, as well as by the ideal of the explicit meaning, of the good coincidence between signifier and signified. The roles from the dynamic formula of the Oedipus complex with plain contents on the level of the signifier, are much more complex on the level of the signified and of the referent. Both Freud, but his followers in particular, speak of the signifier as of signified, and substitute the complex signified and the even more complex referent of the others, of the collectivity, and of the adherent to it extrahuman manifestation of the other, with the father symbol of each group, as well as with the mother symbol of each materiality. If because of the clinical psychoanalytic experience and the availability of concrete context in the explication of the personal narratives the substitution is not that extreme, in the scrutinization on the theme of the collective intentions, the lacking context is substituted by abstract theses as is the Freudian presumption of the fundamental collectivity, phylogenetically imprinted on the individual destiny.
The same it is with the ideas of the individual and the collective. Though set in a dynamic relation within the Oedipus scheme, and thus – ready to be applied, - they remain objectively shared and are opposed with distinction, which substitutes the complex reality. Therefore, the consequence that otherwise dynamic scheme of the Oedipus complex is not apprehensible as a means of analysis, but as universal contents of the concrete events. It is, a sort of, stipulated through it, that each human being wants to kill his father and to incest with his mother, to enter complex identification with them, to accept the castration and thus, by taking upon himself the major aspect of the culturalness – the principle of the others, - to transform himself from a natural to a cultural individual.
Reality is always more problematic, though. To the first issue that the others as a collective also go through Oedipus complex, a second one is added – i.e. the Oedipus situation is not only a positive first phase of the transformation from a more natural to a more cultural condition, but can be engendered anew too, in the run of this transformation. Therefore, the peculiar attitude of the psychoanalysis to the exterior heroic overcoming of this complexity. A kind of rescue technique, it relies on the exceptional psychoanalyst, who runs the both risks of the new engenderings of the complex in the patient personality, and of the social Oedipusness negatives. The psychoanalyst is a kind of a hero in overcoming the patient’s chaos. Of course, at times, this chaos switches on his/her own chaos. Psychoanalysis can be unsuccessful, can deepen the crisis. One way or another, though, it is managed as an ideal situation of a rescue communication.
The psychoanalyst’s heroism can be explicated in two contexts only – the minor interpersonal milieu, within which the communication between the doctor and the patient evolves in the classical psychoanalysis, and the microsocial milieu of the real group under the circumstances of the group psychoanalysis. The issue is whether we can think in psychoanalytic terms of bigger real or virtual collective contexts. Exactly this gap is filled by the speculative European notion, explicated in a classical mode in the style of the European scientific thought. Even Freud, who thinks of the gross collectivity, does not render in real its contexts, as the ones we face in the ostensibly easier to be represented Antique polis culture.
The real milieu, though, is a situation-net-relation of particular human beings as members of real and virtual groups to various social heroes. Even if we accept the father as general representation of the collective in the interior for the human being world, each human being, participating in a number of various situations and milieus of collectivity, faces its complication. Though not at sight, the human collectives are inevitably available. They are a somewhat presupposed within the real symbols of the social heroes, as their dynamics is correspondingly representative in a certain narrative. The human being of a lower rank associates with others alike by complex relations of identification to one or another social hero, as well as by a difficult to be scrutinized relation of its personal story to the one of the particular hero.
This complicatedness of heroes and stories production corresponds to the unstable loose rankness, typical of the contemporary disclosed milieu. At cases some are raised to the rank of the social heroicness, at other cases - others. Ranks vary according to the grade – there are high ranks, but there are also a lot of minor and temporary types. Alternatively, if we are to express ourselves by Freudian terms – the contemporary culturing is a kind of complicated entering the complex practice of real and virtual communication within a multitude of collective contexts. It presupposes crises of habituation to this new multitudeness, of the inference acceptance that the collective contexts are set through supremacies, which only resemble father’s supremacy, as well as the own family is only superficially signifier of the swarm of other group contexts within which the mature human being constantly falls into.
The major contribution of Freud is that within the dynamic scheme of the Oedipus complex he has elaborated a paradigm of the relation of the individual and the collective, and has enhanced the substantial contemporary apprehension, according to which within any destiny – of an individual or a group, - the individual and the collective are aspects of the human situation in the world, and the susceptible to our apprehension is the situation, not the abstractions of the individual and of the collective. Freud sticks to this in practice. His theory, though, more often is true to the major deficiency of the European worldly and scientific thought – the contradiction of the individual and the collective, and the extreme valuation of the one at the expense of the other.
Can we formulate analytically by scientific terms the knowledge, sustained by the plots of the Attic tragedy and the Oedipus complex? Rather we cannot. This suggests to us the successful symbolic discourse of the Attic tragedy and the successful practice of the Freudian psychoanalysis. If we endeavor in doing it, anyway, we come to the scanty of contents formula that the particular human being substantiates in concrete contexts, and through them, it is defined both individually and collectively. The contemporary European milieu, a complex intertwining of a multitude of contexts, and a complex field of a multitude of human beings realization, transforms this complicatedness in its own unconsciousness, and substitutes it either for a real assessment of particular, collective collectivities or individuals, or for engendering of the durable supervalues of the individual and the collective.
In practice, they are always associated, though. Therefore, the compromise of the dynamic schemes of transition from the one to the other, and visa versa. There lies the major achievement of Freudian psychoanalysis. It associates the ideas of collective and individual in a dynamic scheme, and despite the imposed by the worldly European reaction claim on universality, by operating within concrete contexts, it achieves concrete results. Thus, without stipulating anything concrete of the European supervalues of the individual and the collective, the present text ends up with the following thesis. The European culture splits into the abstract presentation of itself, and its basic values and experience, by associating them in dynamic schemes, and offers procedures of a concrete living situation engendering. Exactly procedures of this type are both the Attic tragedy and the Freudian psychoanalysis – a kind of evidence of the ability of the European culture to pass from universal imagery to a dynamic modeling.
The problems, of course, remain. Among them is the one, apparent within the comparison between the model tragic plot and the Oedipus complex scheme. The worldly practical thought and living in the contemporary European milieu encounters problems with the representation of two conditions – of the multitude of the collective transformations, and of the further and the extrahuman other. At times, apart from or along with, they enter the forefront and call forth the acute crises of one or another aggressive fundamentalism, that stands against the rank-and-file diversity and the usual plurality of the contemporary globalized world.
Thus, by indirectly discussing in the present essay the globilazation of the contemporary circumstances of life, I’m endeavoring to sustain the not so popular thesis, according to which, the life of the contemporary humankind imposes an ever more complicated apprehension of the relation of the particular human being to more, and more numerous both collective human, and extrahuman contexts. Such is my choice – against the misleading restricting simplicity and pro the complication, imposed by the inevitability our loose sense world to be built up with the material of so many contexts.