the dead

“The projection of one’s own evil reactions into the demons is only a piece of a system, which became the ‘weltanschauung’ of primitives and that we, in the next chapter, will meet as the ‘animistic’. We will then have fixed in place the psychological character of such a system-construction and find our point d’appui again in those system-constructions that the neurotics bring to us. Provisionally we will only betray here, that the socalled “secondary elaboration” of the dream content is the model for all these system-constructions. “

(“Die Projektion der eigenen bösen Regungen in die Dämonen ist nur ein Stück eines Systems, welches die »Weltanschauung« der Primitiven geworden ist und das wir in der nächsten Abhandlung dieser Reihe
als das »animistische« kennenlernen werden. Wir werden dann die psychologischen Charaktere einer solchen Systembildung festzustellen haben und unsere Anhaltspunkte wiederum in der Analyse jener Systembildungen finden, welche uns die Neurosen entgegenbringen. Wir wollen vorläufig nur verraten, daß die sogenannte »sekundäre Bearbeitung« des Trauminhalts das Vorbild für alle diese Systembildungen ist.” – TT, 116)

“The circumstances of the world are continually changing, and the opinions of men change also; and as government is for the living, and not for the dead, it is the living only that has any right in it. That which may be thought right and found convenient in one age may be thought wrong and found inconvenient in another. In such cases, who is to decide, the living or the dead?” – Tom Paine, the Rights of Man

The dead belong not just to you and me – they are the dead of an order. In fact, there is not, and there cannot be, a rule by which one determines whether I belong to the dead or the dead belong to me. I’ve been looking at one aspect of the fall of the old order – a fall that was the great event in universal history, and is certainly at the center of the story I am telling, of the dissolution of the human limit. It governs my story in the same way Finnegan’s fall reigns over Finnegans Wake’s dreamtime. I’ve been writing about projection because, in Freudian terms, it is the mechanism that drives the “building of systems” – it stands at the beginning of poetry and history.

I’m going to move this thread away from its invisible center - which has been the Marriage of Figaro – to a post-revolutionary story of projection – E.T.A. Hoffman’s story, Kleines Zaches, sogenannte Zinnobar.