||i met myself in a dream
Sublimation is the process of investing cathectic energy below the surface of that in which energy might more properly invested. Again, Freud gives us a spatial model that resembles the archeological dig, but in this case, it is history working BACKWARDS: we create, through the process of sublimation, a Troy we will want to find later, a Troy we can excavate at our later leisure. In this way, sublimation is like the dream work: using all of the tools of condensation, displacement, considerations of representability, etc., we invest our energies, which for some reason may not properly be invested in the loved object, ideal, person, in a secret account (our work, our friends, etc.). This is often the case when we mourn the loss of someone, or are preparing to.
The important thing to remember about sublimation is that it can be extremely healthy, and, like allegory, it can have many contradictory meanings that do not cancel each other out. Because of the nature of this narrative, we can channel appropriately our vast affective fundstream. In Jensen's Gradiva, Norbert invests his love of a girl he met as a young woman into his archeological work (particularly a frieze he found that represents a woman walking, steping delicately, named Gradiva), and becomes convinced that a woman he has met in his adult life is that ancient woman stepping lightly and delicately through time to come to him. She participates in his delirium, pretends to be from ancient greece (and in this way we can understand it as meta-science-fiction), and slowly brings him into the present. For she is that little girl that he fell in love with as a child (they had grown up next to each other).
The following is from Roland Barthes A Lover's Discourse, on Gradiva, and illustrates two important concepts: fantasy and identification. I would ask you to watch for the nodes through which identification circulates in the piece: where can a person identify and why is it not simply one position, but many, through which identification circulates? This itself is fantasy, the dream work, and the way we manage our emotional investments (with everyone, not simply our"lovers," but friends, family, etc.). As someone said recently, "It's all about metonymy and desire, right?" (I bolded sections that spoke to me particularly.)
This name, borrowed from Jensen's book analyzed by Freud, designates the image of the beloved being insofar as that being agrees to enter some degree into the amorous subject's delirium in order to help him escape from it.
1. The hero of Gradiva is an excessive lover: he hallucinates what others would merely evoke. The classical Gradiva, a figure of the woman he loves unknowingly, is perceived as a real person: that is his delirium. The woman, in order to release him from it gently, initially conforms to his delirium; she enters into it a little, consents to play the part of Gradiva, to sustain the illusion somewhat and not to waken the dreamer too abruptly, gradually to unite myth and reality, by means of which the amorous experience assumes something of the same function as an analytic cure. (Freud: "We must not underestimate the curative power of love in delirium." [Delirium and the Dream in Jensen's Gradiva])
2. Gradiva is a figure of salvation of fortunate escape, a kindly Eumenid. But just as the Eumenides are merely former Erinyes, goddesses of torment, there also exists, in the amorous realm, a "wicked" Gradiva. The loved being if only unconsciously and for motives which may proceed from his own neurotic advantage, then seems to be determined to lodge me even deeper in my delirium, to sustain and to aggravate the amorous wound: like those parents of schizophrenics who, it is said, continually provoke or aggravate their child's madness by minor conflictive interventions, the other attempts to DRIVE ME MAD. For instance: the other sets about making me contradict myself (which has the effect of paralyzing any language in me); or again, the other shifts without warning from one regime to another, from intimate tenderness and complicity, to coldness, to silence, to dismissiveness; or finally, in an even more tenuous fashion, though no less wounding, the other sets about "breaking" the conversation, either by forcing it to shift suddenly from a serious subject (which matters to me) to a trivial one, or by being obviously interested, while I am speaking, in something else than what I am saying. In short, the other keeps bringing me back to my own impasse: I can neither escape from this impasse nor rest within it, like the famous Cardinal Balue shut up in a cage where he could neither stand nor lie down.
3. How can the being who has captured me, taken me in the net, release me, part the meshes? By delicacy. When Martin Freud, as a child, had been humiliated during a skating party, his father hears him out, speaks to him, and releases him, as if he were freeing an animal caught in a poacher's net: "Very tenderly, he parted the meshes which held the little creature, showing no haste and resisting without impatience the jerks the animal made to free itself, until he had disentangled them all and the creature could run away, forgetting all about the whole episode." (Freud: Martin Freud: Sigmund Freud, Man and Father)
4. It will be said to the lover-or to Freud: it was easy for the false Gradiva to enter somewhat into her lover's delirium, she loved him too. Or rather, explains to us this contradiction: on the one hand, Zoe wants Norbert (she wants to be one with him), she is in love with him; and on the other hand-an exorbitant thing for an amorous subject-she retains control over her feelings, she is not delirious, since she is capable of feigning. How then can Zoe both "love" and "be in love"? Are not these two projects supposed to be different, the one noble, the other morbid?
LOVING and BEING IN LOVE have difficult relationships with each other: for if it is true that BEING IN LOVE is unlike anything else (a drop of BEING IN LOVE diluted in some vague friendly relation dyes it brightly, makes it incomparable: I know RIGHT AWAY that in my relation with X, Y, however prudently I restrain myself, there is a certain amount of BEING IN LOVE), it is also true that in BEING IN LOVE there is a certain amount of LOVING: I want to possess, fiercely, but I also know how to give, actively. Then who can manage this dialectic successfully? Who, if not the woman, the one who does not make for any object but only for ...giving? (FW: conversation) So that if a lover manages to "love," it is precisely insofar as he feminizes himself, joins the class of GRANDES AMOUREUSES, of Women Who Love Enough to Be Kind (Winnicott). Perhaps this is why it is Norbert who is delirious and Zoe who loves.