Time and Memory: The Power of the Repetition Compulsion (The Psychoanalytic Ideas Series)


Given these difficulties, I find it convenient to think of both Eros and Thanatos as no more than logical categories to apply to more specific drives. One can, logically, divide all our drives and instincts into two opposites: Lichtenstein, however, provided a more radical solution to the question of reconciling the positive seeking we associate with the pleasure principle and the quiescence of the Nirvana principle.

He went farther than simply disbelieving Freud's death instinct. He suggested as a more reasonable substitute for the repetition compulsion, an "identity principle. This identity principle "is, however, ultimately not a new principle or even a new term. This is identity from within. Also, most neuroscientists who talk about humans' extended consciousness compared to animals' are addressing this identity seen from within.

Lichtenstein, however, used the term differently. He was writing about identity as seen from outside , a completely different thing. I look at you and perceive patterns of variance and invariance.

Buy Time and Memory: The Power of the Repetition Compulsion (Psychoanalytic Ideas) 1 by Rosine J. Perelberg (ISBN: ) from Amazon's Book. Repetition compulsion is a psychological phenomenon in which a person repeats a traumatic event or its circumstances over and over again. This includes reenacting the event or putting oneself in situations where the event is likely to happen again. This "re-living" can also take the form of dreams in which memories and At the same time, the repetition of unpleasant.

In other words, one can read identity in another person just as one reads themes and variations in a piece of music. We could then, following Lichtenstein, define an identity theme as a statement of an individual's invariant theme and plain identity as the history of the variations played upon that theme as the person being described lives a life. We humans can vary our themes infinitely. We can play variations that are positive and negative, healthy and unhealthy, creative and ritualistic, liberal and conservative, hostile and loving--all the varieties of human life.

But, if Lichtenstein is right, an observer, a biographer, say, should be able to trace a sameness, a personal style if you will, within all those changes. We say things like, "That's so like him," or "He's acting out of character," things that assume a continuing personal style. It is a sameness or invariance that both psychoanalysis and neuroscience would say was created in early childhood.

As Lichtenstein saw identity, the infant achieves an identity by learning to be the child for this particular mother or "primary caretaker". That is, the mother, out of her unconscious needs, defenses, adaptations, or constraints, shapes her responses to the infant, and the infant adapts to those traits, and, in doing so, shapes its own identity theme.

From then on, the growing child and adult plays variations on that identity theme, modifying the theme somewhat, but less and less as time goes on. Lichtenstein instances his theory with several case histories, all reported in his book. Norman Holland, who has followed Lichtenstein's ideas, has added still more: Scott Fitzgerald; George Bernard Shaw; and Little Hans, where one can trace identity from the five-year-old boy Freud treated to the adult director of operas Holland, Lichtenstein, however, differentiated his identity principle from simply something within one human being.

They advance a principle of autopoeisis or self-making, and they claim, with a great deal of evidence and reasoning, that it provides a fundamental biological law, extending evolutionarily from the simplest one-cell animals to the complexities of the individual human being and even human social groups. As with Lichtenstein, the principle says that an organism's deepest motivation, the one that underlies all others, is the necessity of maintaining its own inner nature.

Thus, an organism's quests for food, air, water, sex, and information all serve to re-create identity. Varela puts autopoiesis this way: At the amoeba's level, the organism accepts into itself stuff that will make more amoeba. It does not accept stuff that will not sustain its identity as an amoeba, ignoring it, and moving on. At the level of the individual human, each of us eats, drinks, relates to other human beings, heeds language, and all the rest, so as to satisfy our psychological wishes which in turn express our inner mental and physical nature of which we are largely unconscious.

At the level of human social groupings, we commonly see corporations hiring only executives who will fit into that corporate culture, and the corporate culture thereby re-creates itself again and again. A given university will hire and promote those professors who will contribute to the proclaimed aims and self-esteem of that university. Nations get leaders and act in such a way as to fulfill the imagined character of the nation.

Cyberneticist Sir Stafford Beer sums up their claim: The authors first of all say that an autopoietic system is a homeostat. They go on to the definitive point: It does not matter, it seems, whether every measurable property of that organizational structure changes utterly in the system's process of continuing adaptation. Autopoiesis, in other words, as a principle covers all the ground that Freud's death instinct does. Further, it is closely tied to the repetition compulsion and that "conservatism of the instincts" of which Freud wrote.

It is closest of all to Lichtenstein's identity principle. A living system, due to its circular organization, is an inductive system and functions always in a predictive manner: Its organization genetic and otherwise is conservative and repeats only that which works. To sum up, Freud posited a three-level system of motivation, the lowest level of which was a death instinct. The death instinct, however, lacks empirical confirmation and has been put aside as irrelevant by many analysts. One can provide a more precise and more verifiable explanation for the phenomena Freud was using the death instinct to explain.

That is, one can improve Freud's metapsychology, I believe, by substituting for the death instinct an identity principle or autopoesis. The organism seeks, as its ultimate motivation underlying all others, to maintain its own nature. Identity defines what is pleasure and defines what is reality. Identity is the conclusive manifestation of again-ness. And it has immediate relevance to the clinical situation and simply to understanding our fellow human beings. This re-thinking of the death instinct, however, goes farther. Understanding the death instinct as an identity principle allows us to relate the psychoanalytic insight to neuroscientific discoveries.

For example, Freud conceived of an unpleasure principle as desire unsatisfied unpleasure followed by satisfaction and the zeroing of desire. Such a conception dovetails with the neuroscientific concept of feedback. Feedback, as a concept, dates back to when James Clerk Maxwell, the mathematical physicist renowned for the electromagnetic theory of light, published a classic paper giving the equations for feedback in the governors of steam engines Maxwell, By World War II, scientists were able to use feedback to create devices that would calculate for anti-aircraft gunners tracking to anticipate the maneuvers of airplanes.

Imagine yourself steering a car. You want to maintain the car a certain distance from the edge of the road, one meter, say. You position the steering wheel a certain way, acting out from yourself into the environment of car and road. We could think of your action in the most general terms as trying something out, a certain position of the steering wheel. Really, you am putting a hypothesis out into the world. Will this positon of the steering wheel keep me one meter from the edge of the road?

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The outer reality of car and road then feeds back to you information about what it did upon receiving your output, your hypothesis. The steering gears, the road, the tires, the wind, and all the rest "out there" position the car in a certain way as a result of the way you "in here" decided to position the steering wheel. You get a response to your hypothesis. Then you sense whether the car is closer or less close to the right edge of the road than you want it to be, and you turn the steering wheel to right or left to bring that error as near to zero as possible.

In effect, on testing the environment, you are receiving information, your perception of the right front wheel's distance from the side of the road, call it D. You compare that datum to the position you had earlier decided on, your standard, call it S. You may not get it right the first time, and in that case you get another, presumably smaller, S - D error signal.

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By trial and error and feedback is precisely what trial and error is , you eventually bring S - D to 0 or near enough to 0 so that you feel all right about it. You minimize the error signal and so close the feedback loop, setting the output the position of front wheel and car so that it satisfies your standard, one meter. It was only after World War II that mathematicians and neurologists first extended the differential and integral equations of feedback to living organisms Wiener, Today, feedback underlies contemporary "constructive" psychologies of perception and cognition.

That is, today most psychologists believe that we construe or construct the reality around us, including works of art. Using various interconnected modules in "parallel distributed processing" we bring guesses--hypotheses, schemata, narratives--to bear on the electrochemical impulses our senses deliver to our brains.

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Our brains compare what we take in with internal standards. If what is coming matches what the standard says should be coming in, the module is quiescent. If they don't match, the module puts out a signal, perturbing the system, presumably in a direction so as to produce satisfaction and quiescence. We try out a guess on the world. If our guess succeeds, we feel right. Some of these hypotheses will be physiological.

Our ears serve as filters, responding only to vibration frequencies within the range of human hearing. On the one hand, there were ' Repetitions of traumatic events for the purpose of achieving a belated mastery In this and other writings, Freud expanded his two-level theory of motivation. No substitutive or reactive formations and no sublimations will suffice to remove the repressed instinct's persisting tension [ S - D --NNH]; and it is the difference in amount between the pleasure of satisfaction which is demanded and that which is actually achieved that provides the driving factor which will permit of no halting at any position attained Freud, g-a, p. Note that Panksepp is talking about sense of identity, "subjectively experienced core.

Our eyes, for example, continually scan what we see for frequencies of light in the three ranges, blue, green, and red, which the cone cells in our retinas sense. Our ears serve as filters, responding only to vibration frequencies within the range of human hearing. Because they are filters, they, in effect, ask questions of the environment. Does the frequency of this sound fall within the frequency range I can sense? If so, I will do further processing.

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About these physiological questions--hypotheses--and the answers to them most human beings will agree. We can imagine similar loops for trying out cultural hypotheses: Just about everybody will share the same feedback mechanisms for eyes and ears, because we share the basic human sensory equipment. So too, there is likely to be widespread agreement about cultural conventions like stop lights and flags. Feedback in the cyberneticists' sense has a lot in common with autopoeisis.

It also resembles Freud's again-ness. Freud, however, would have known feedback, not as feedback, but as the closely related medical concept of homeostasis to which he often referred. This was physiologist Walter B. Cannon's idea that the body's systems of chemicals and hormones self-correct so as to maintain various balances--standards--necessary for the organism to function and survive Cannon, When Freud writes about feedback without, of course, using that word , he extends it beyond a biological principle to a psychological one.

He wrote about it in terms of an "instinct towards perfection" ein Trieb zur Vervollkommnung ; with the connotation of exactly filling up. He began by drily suggesting that the present development of human beings offers scant evidence for improvement beyond animals. Our supposed quest for perfection is biologically determined by civilized repression. The repressed instinct never ceases to strive for complete satisfactlon, which would consist in the repetition of a primary experience of satisfaction [Freud's definition of a wish as again-ness--NNH].

No substitutive or reactive formations and no sublimations will suffice to remove the repressed instinct's persisting tension [ S - D --NNH]; and it is the difference in amount between the pleasure of satisfaction which is demanded and that which is actually achieved that provides the driving factor which will permit of no halting at any position attained Freud, g-a, p.

This is precisely a description of feedback.

Ernest Jones Jones, , p. Fechner , he had anticipated Cannon's homeostasis and te whole science of cybernetics. I am not so ambitious on Freud's behalf. I simply want to point to the parallel. Freud's Nirvana principle as he describes it here, but even more precisely if we convert Freud's principle to an identity principle states feedback in psychological terms.

Organisms reach out into the environment, testing it to see if there are things that will sustain and confirm the organism's psychological character or identity. If there are, it adapts its behavior to benefit from them. Feedback pervades neuroscientific thinking about the physical circuitry of the brain. Freud, like the neuroscientists, claims such a principle is a pervasive phenomenon in the mind. Feedback, in his sense or in any of these forms, will inevitably involve us in again-ness, since the standard we try to duplicate comes from own history.

That history cumulates and endures; it is permanent compared to the vicissitudes from which we try to sustain and confirm it. Intimately related to the idea of again-ness is another idea of Freud's. In his "testamentary" essay, "Analysis Terminable and Interminable," he discussed the role of defense mechanisms in resistance to treatment Freud, c, p. He made the following quite extraordinary statement--extraordinary in view of his usual objectivist position.

Although the adult's ego is stronger than the child's, yet that adult ego "finds itself compelled to seek out those situations in reality which can serve as an approximate substitute for the original [childhood] danger, so as to be able to justify, in relation to them, its maintaining its habitual modes of reaction. In adulthood, we seek out situations like those we met as children because those are the situations our patterns of defense and adaptation came into being to cope with.

We try to find the kind of world we can deal with in order to deal with the kind of world we find. For this seeking, we can read "wish," and Freud's idea that a wish is a wish to perceive a previous situation of satisfaction.

Repetition compulsion

We seek in reality for situations that will allow us to "justify" them. Freud's remarks here about defenses make defenses into one of the schemas that, according to some current theories of perception, are the ways we make sense of the world. That is, we may carry in our heads a restaurant schema, a chess schema, a subway schema, and so on.

These are like scripts that tell us what to say or do or expect as we enter a restaurant, play or watch chess, or find our way in the subway system. A comes after B and at C you have to do M. You enter a restaurant and sit down and then the waiter brings a menu and you have to choose from the items listed--and so on. By means of such schemas or scripts, we negotiate our worlds. We use these schemas to ask questions of the world like, How much money should I leave on the table when I have finished eating and I stand up?

These schemas allow us to interpret the feedback we get from our senses. What schemas are to knowledge and perception of the world, defenses are to emotional coping. Defenses enable us to get from the world the emotions we would like to have. Defenses net us pleasure or a lack of unpleasure instead of fear. If this man is like my father, I must submit to him. If I am angry, terrible things will happen. In Fenichel's words, "The problem of [neurotic] fixation to certain defense mechanisms is but a special case of the more comprehensive problem of the relative constancy of character traits in general" Fenichel, , p.

These modes of coping together with libidinal character-types form the core of the I--identity Holland, , pp. One can think of character traits as schemas, and one can think of the kind of theme-and variations identity that Lichtenstein describes as the formulation in a theme of all these traits.

What do they all have in common? In Fenichel's words, "By definition, character means that a certain constancy prevails in the ways the ego chooses for solving its tasks" Fenichel, , p. Again-ness, again, and it applies, of course, to a theme-and-variations identity. Does such an identity have any basis in the brain? Several neuroscientists have approached the idea of an overriding identity.

Michael Gazzaniga, for example, describes how his split-brain subjects explain their inexplicable actions, fabulating left-brain reasons for inexplicable actions, inexplicable because dictated by a split-off right hemisphere. Gazzaniga locates this "interpreter" no more precisely than in the "left hemisphere" New discoveries suggested that the brain is indeed organized in a modular fashion with multiple subsystems active at all levels of the nervous system and each processing data outside the realm of conscious awareness.

These modular systems are fully capable of producing behaviors, mood changes, and cognitive activity. This activity is monitored and synthesized by the special system in the left hemisphere, the interpreter. The right hemisphere does not have such a system, since it does not have other aspects of a logical-deductive system. In short, the new studies showed the error of the idea of a doubling consciousness: While many basic functions are bilaterally represented, those essential for human thought are not.

Also, the interpreter system generates the possibility of human uniqueness. I think that the built-in capacity of the interpreter gives each of us our local and personal color. After all, it works by drawing upon the unique experience each of us possesses Gazzaniga, , pp. He is implying something like an identity here, but it does not match precisely, at least for me. Psychiatrist Leslie Brothers insists on a social brain rather than an individual one.

She notes that there are biologically based social responses programed in the brain. Some responses are innate to us as primates.

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Others, however, come from a particular experience of family and culture Brothers, , p. From her survey of the relevant literature, she derives "a specialized capacity for social processing," which she calls the "editor. Such an editor, she suggests, rates events for their evolutionary value in survival and reproduction--something like Lichtenstein's identity principle or Maturana and Varela's autopoesis. The organism has become programed by its genes and its history to choose those behaviors that will sustain its own identity.

And emotions, we have seen, feelings, are the way an identity signals to consciousness whether actions are consistent with that identity or not. Freud's signal theory of anxiety, for example, rests on this straightforward observation. Antonio Damasio opens up yet another possibility for a neural basis for what I have been calling identity. In The Feeling of What Happens , he homes in on what he calls "the problem of self. We can vary and waver, succumb to vanity and betray, be malleable and voluble.

The potential to create our own Hamlets, Iagos, and Falstaffs is inside each of us. Under the right circumstances, aspects of those characters can emerge, briefly and transiently, one hopes. In some respects, it is almost astonishing that most of us have only one character, although there are sound reasons for the singularity. The tendency toward unified control prevails during our developmental history, probably because a single organism requires that there be one single self if the job of maintaining life is to be accomplished successfully--more than one self per organism is not a good recipe for survival Damasio, , p.

Note the similarity in that statement to Lichtenstein's identity principle or Maturana and Varela's autopoesis. The rich imaginings of our mind do prepare "multiple drafts" for our organism's life script. Yet, the shadows of the deeply biological core self and of the autobiographical self that grows under its influence constantly propitiate the selection of "drafts" that accord with a single unified self.

Moreover, the delicately shaped selectional machinery of our imagination stakes the probabilities of selection toward the same, historically continuous self. In short, there are limits to the unified, continuous, single self. I believe that Damasio's "autobiographical self" corresponds to what psychoanalytic theorists call "sense of identity," while the "deeply biological core self" corresponds to Lichtenstein's identity seen from outside. Thus, in the endnote to that paragraph, Damasio goes on to discuss multiple personality, but also to make some general remarks about identity: It is apparent, however, that in spite of being able to display more than one autobiographical self, such patients continue to have only one mechanism of core consciousness and only one core self.

Each of the autobiographical selves must use the same central resource. Reflection on this fact is intriguing. It brings us back to the notion that the generation of the core self is closely related to the proto-self which, in turn, is based closely on the representations of one singular body in its singular brain. Given a single set of representations for one body state, it would require a major pathological distortion to generate more than one proto-self and more than one core self.

Presumably the distortion would not be compatible with life. On the other hand, the generation of the autobiographical self occurs at a higher anatomical and functional level, no doubt connected to the core self, but partially independent of it and therefore less influenced by the strong biological shadow of a singular organism Damasio, , p.

Damasio goes on to comment on "the distinction between the highly constrained organization of the core self, tied to biological organization in an inevitable manner, and the organization of autobiographical memory, potentially removed from biological constraints by some degrees of freedom. Thus, all three of these writers agree on complex feedbacks from experience to some kind of long-term governing entity--Gazzaniga's interpreter, Brothers' editor, or Damasio's "core self.

Moreover, none of these writers doubts that there are neural structures that support such a persistent identity.

Nevertheless, none clearly draws what seems to me a clear distinction that should be drawn. None distinguishes a persistent identity felt from inside from a persistent identity inferred from outside. If a non-neuroscientist can speculate, I would like to suggest that the key element in a personal identity a theme-and-variations seen from outside is again-ness. In Fenichel's description of character, for example, the key word is "habitual. There is a possible location one can point to: Current neuroscientific thinking distinguishes several kinds of memory.

Two, in particular, bear on identity. One is explicit or declarative memory--story-telling memory for events and episodes. Presumably one's inner "sense of identity" comes from cogitating about past events and episodes. The other is procedural memory, the kind of preverbal body memory involved in swimming or riding a bicycle Pally, Procedural memory, however, can be verbal in habitually recited speech like an actor's part or a too-often-repeated lecture by a professor. Such memorized verbal behaviors can persist long after other speech has deteriorated in, for example, a dementia.

In this connection, Oliver Sacks' comment on the painter de Kooning, suffering from dementia, proves pertinent. In describing the sudden moments of lucidity among brain-damaged patients, he concluded: Style, in short, is the deepest thing in one's being" Sacks, , p. I believe Sacks is describing here exactly what I have been calling identity, seen from the outside.

Procedural memory, if learned, draws on the hippocampus, if instinctual, on the basal ganglia. If the basal ganglia in particular are the site for habitual actions, perhaps they are also the site for preverbal drives, defenses, adaptations, and conflict resolutions learned in infancy and forming a Lichtensteinian identity. If such an early, nonverbal identity relies in part, at least, in the basal ganglia, it would therefore be connected to the reptilian brain--as Maturana and Varela's thinking would suggest.

It may well be better to think of such an identity as something distributed throughout the brain, like a coloration. Such a conclusion would fit researchers' current emphasis on "PDP. PDP refers to Parallel Distributed Processing through interconnected modules, rather than feedback through schemas, and provides a more sophisticated model of what the brain does than the earlier idea of serial, computer-like processing.

A PDP approach allows us to consider such details as the processing of horizontal lines or irregular verbs or nouns about tools. In vision, for example, there would be modules in the brain for processing dots, lines, edges, forms, colors, motion, three-dimensions, and so on. In hearing, there would be modules for processing pitch, amplitude, binaural delays, and phonemes. There are, apparently, modules that separately process nouns and verbs. Some conclude from this now widely accepted idea of modules that there is no one self, but rather multiple selves, hence no identity in my sense.

Thus one standard textbook states flatly, "Human selves consist of several semi-independent modules. But Bownds is confusing our fluctuating inner sense of self with a persistent personal style observed from outside. On the other hand, those who developed PDP see a consistency between modules and the schemas, which, I have suggested, correspond to our characteristic patterns of defense which in turn underlie character or identity. David Rumelhart, a principal researcher in the field points out: Norman comments at the end of the big, two-volume anthology that put PDP in the center of the cognitive science landscape: Schemas are not fixed structures.

Schemas are flexible configurations. Schemas are not fixed, immutable data structures. Schemas are flexible interpretive states that reflect the mixture of past experience and present circumstances. Thus the system behaves as if there were prototypical schemas, but where the prototype is constructed anew for each occasion by combining past experiences with the biases and activation levels resulting from the current experience and the context in which it occurs Norman, , pp.

In other words, if we allow for feedback from experience onto the schemas in the mind, schemas are quite consistent with a PDP approach. And with them, identity, whichis both variation and theme, sameness and difference. Lichtenstein posits an identity theme. If so, then identity itself I would define as the history of that theme and the variations we have lived upon it.

Hence the concept implies precisely a feedback, such as Norman describes, from current experience to the selection of new variations from the infinite set of variations possible for the identity theme. Finally, Jerry Fodor puts the argument for a centralizing, coherent self quite bluntly. Fodor is a strong advocate of modularity in the mind. Fodor notes, however, that positing a lot of small modules may account for the way we compute particular perceptions and actions, but modules can't account for overall judgments of relevance, simplicity, centrality, and the like.

For those, we need a psychology of common sense, we need schemas or something like them, and we need an I who is in charge of the whole enterprise. Schemas, then, and identity uniting and governing schemas and modules still prove useful, even within the framework of PDP or modularity. One could, if so inclined, spell out a restaurant or theater schema, and psychoanalytic listening could tell an analyst how my restaurant scheme differs from yours in characteristic ways.

In psychoanalysis, schemas supplement the idea of a character or identity that leads us into again-ness. Without a psychoanalysis, though, I doubt if any of us could spell out our total patterns of drive and defense and probably not then. Yet the analyst observing from behind the couch probably could.

Defenses, schemas, and modules all let us cope with our world. All lead us into patterns of repetition. All underlie the concept of an identity-seen-from-outside, particularly an identity principle as a substitute for the death instinct. We may therefore need to think of identity-seen-from-outside as involving distributed sites.

It seems likely that an identity-seen-from-outside resides in all, or a great many, of the brain's structures rather than some definable governing neuron assembly in a cluster of nuclei and cortices. Hebb's work in the s established a still-accepted method for writing experience into the brain. Increases in synaptic strength occur if presynaptic and postsynaptic cells fire in synchrony. Recent research suggests that these Hebbian assemblies can be formed even in adulthood Bownds, , pp. You can teach an old dog new tricks.

Most strengthened connections, however, are formed in childhood. The newborn brain has only a small fraction of the synapses it will ultimately have. Myelinization and connections grow rapidly both in genetic development and with Hebbian learning to the point of creating a supercharged brain in latency. Then in early adolescence the excess dies off. It is experience that separates the assemblies that will die and and those that will survive into adulthood.

Terrence Deacon states the process: By a simple cellular mechanism initially hypothesized by the psychologist Donald Hebb , axons that regularly release their neurotransmitters in synchrony with the firing of the recipient cell which indicates synchrony with a large fraction of the other input axons will tend to have their links to that cell strengthened, perhaps by the release of some growth factors.

Those that tend to fire out of synchrony will, conversely, tend to lose support, and eventually may be eliminated. Though initially proposed as a mechanism for learning, this mechanism can account for more than just the strengthening or weakening of connectional influences. In the context of the developing brain, where the numbers of connections are significantly in excess of what will be maintained to maturity, it determines which connections will "win" in a biological variant of the children's game "musical chairs," where the numbers of viable targets decrease over time Deacon, , pp.

Where might such an identity be located? Indeed, there are many subcortical channels for interhemispheric communication of information that could sustain coherence between the two hemispheres" Panksepp, , pp. Note that Panksepp is talking about sense of identity, "subjectively experienced core. In my estimation, it was first elaborated in brain evolution within central motor-type regions of the midbrain in periventricular and surrounding areas of the midbrain diencephalon that are richly connected with higher limbic and paleocortical zones" Panksepp, , p.

At other points, though, as in his comments on the "pervasive influence" of this system, he writes of what I would call an identity in Lichtenstein's sense: In the note to that sentence, he clarifies the relation he supposes between this low-level core of being and higher cognitive functinons.

Although the lower levels may be essential for the normal development of the higher levels, once those levels have matured in the brain, they have some autonomy. However, without support from the lower levels, the functions of higher levels might gradually degrade" Panksepp, , p. In that phrasing, he seems to be discussing something that would govern networks or modules of feedback, not one's sense of identity, but identity much as I visualize it, identity inferred from outside.

Such an identity would be formed early in development and would guide the growth of higher functions so that they serve that identity. This mechanism is shared by all mammals, and it is presumably grounded in various intrinsic circuits that exhibit spontaneous types of oscillatory activity" Panksepp, , p. This sounds very much like a combination of a theme-and-variations identity-seen-from-outside with Maturana and Varela's autopoesis.

In a more physiological vein, he suggests that such a SELF arises from "a coherently organized motor process in the midbrain, even though it surely comes to be represented in widely distributed ways through higher regions of the brain as a function of neural and psychological maturation" Panksepp, , p. Panksepp goes on to offer as a speculation, self structures in distributed networks in the midbrain and brainstem, in crucial interactions of superior colliculi, various pontine and midbrain motor regions, and periaquaductal gray. It was in the latter, psychological form that the concept of the repetition compulsion passed into the psychoanalytic mainstream.

Otto Fenichel in his "second generation" compendium The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis stressed two main kinds of neurotic repetition. On the one hand, there were ' Repetitions of traumatic events for the purpose of achieving a belated mastery In a passive form, one chooses his or her most familiar experiences consistently as a means to deal with problems of the past, believing that new experiences will be more painful than their present situation or too new and untested to imagine.

In the active, participatory form, a person actively engages in behavior that mimics an earlier stressor, either deliberately or unconsciously, so that in particular events that are terrifying in childhood become sources of attraction in adulthood. For instance, a person who was spanked as a child may incorporate this into their adult sexual practices; or a victim of sexual abuse may attempt to seduce another person of authority in his or her life such as their boss or therapist: On the other hand, there were ' Repetitions due to the tendency of the repressed to find an outlet '.

Later writers would take very similar views. Eric Berne saw as central to his work 'the repetition compulsion which drives men to their doom, the power of death, according to Freud Erik Erikson saw the destiny neurosis—the way 'that some people make the same mistakes over and over'—in the same light: Object relations theory , stressing the way 'the transference is a live relationship By the close of the twentieth century, the psychoanalytic view of repetition compulsion had come into increasing dialogue with a variety of other discourses, ranging from attachment theory through brief psychodynamic therapy to cognitive behavioural therapy.

Attachment theory saw early developmental experiences leading to 'schemas or mental representations of relationship The Core Conflictual Relationship Theme —'core wishes that the individual has in relation to others'—was seen in brief psychodynamic therapy as linked to the way in 'a repetition compulsion, the client will behave in ways that engender particular responses from others that conform with previous experiences in interpersonal relationships'.

In '"psychological schemas" described in social psychology or cognitive-behavioural psychology From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Mirrors to the self. The Language of Psycho-analysis reprint, revised ed. The Impossible Profession London Retrieved 6 July Archived from the original on 17 January Erikson, Childhood and Society Middlesex Retrieved from " https: