How Narcissist Others YOU, Himself

Uploaded 11/1/2023, approx. 57 minute read

At the beginning of the relationship, the Narcissus cannot perceive you as the other, as an object external to him and separate from him.

As he embeds you in the shared fantasy, the Narcissus converts you into an internal object, a process that I nicknamed "snapshotting".

And then as the relationship progresses and the Narcissus re-enacts his original conflict with his biological mother or with a maternal figure in his life, then the Narcissus begins to perceive you as the other, as an "in-other".

So at the beginning, you are not an "other", you are not the other, you are just a figment of the Narcissus' mind.

At the end, during the devaluation and discard phases, you are the other.

The mechanism and process of "othering", perceiving someone else as not you, is the foundation and the backbone of the Narcissus' shared fantasy.

Idealization, devaluation, discard and replacement or hoovering.

It can all be explained by the fluctuations in the Narcissus' ability to perceive you as not him, to perceive you as external to him, to perceive you as an autonomous, agentic, independent efficacious or self-efficacious entity.

The Narcissus finds it very difficult to assimilate the knowledge that you are not his extension, you are not an internal object.

And when this knowledge penetrates somehow, the Narcissus' defenses, this leads to his devaluation, this leads to devaluation.

Narcissus then needs to separate from you in order to become an individual and he converts you into a secretary object or an enemy.

And today we are going to discuss the other, the concept of the other in psychology and the process, mysterious process and mechanism of "othering".

And who is better to guide you through this labyrinth than Moi, Sam Vaknin, the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissus' Revisited, a former visiting professor of psychology in Southern Federal University and a member of the faculty of CIAPS, Commonwealth for International Advanced Professional Studies, Cambridge United Kingdom, Toronto Canada and an outreach campus in Lagos, Nigeria.

Othering the other, not you.

Think of it for a minute.

Consider this.

It's a very bizarre concept.

After all, we perceive reality exclusively through our senses.

We process reality within mathematical models in our brains.

We never get in direct contact with the world out there, with the environment.

We reconstruct everything within our minds.

It's a little like a movie or like a simulation that takes place within our minds.

So in which sense do we perceive other people as "other" as not "us"?

How can we be sure that other people are not just figments, imaginary, confabulations, hallucinations, delusions that we came up with?

How can we tell that other people really exist independent of us, not connected and not related to our minds?

How can we be sure that our minds are not taking over somehow and making us believe erroneously and counterfactually that other people exist?

Now, this sounds like a very crazy question, but it lies at the heart of convoluted concepts such as intersubjectivity, the agreement that all human beings share about what it is to be human, and also empathy.

He assumes similarity between external objects and you, the empathizer.

So if we cast in doubt, if we're skeptical about the externality and separateness of other people, if we suspect even for a minute that other people don't really exist, that there are some kinds of projections or conjuring within our minds, then we're in trouble.

We're in trouble because the whole social edifice and social contract collapse.

We are therefore incentivized as social beings, whose survival depends critically on collaboration and cooperation.

We are a cooperative species.

We are incentivized to believe that other people are external to us, that we are not other people and other people are not us, that there is some kind of boundary where we end and other people begin.

But are these just maxims? Are these just hypotheses?

Well, this is the philosophical side.

It's important to understand where the problem lies.

You know, you have emotions, you have affects, you have cognitions, thoughts, you act, you have behaviors, and you have unconscious primary processes.

But all of these things are triggered by others.

Our emotions are directed at other people.

We love someone.

We hate Sam Vaknin.

So there's always an external other which triggers, who triggers our emotions.

Similarly, our cognitions are thoughts of more frequently than not triggered by the presence or the actions of other people.

And when I say other people, they don't have to be present physically. They can be present only in your mind.

The real other, the symbolic other, and the imaginary other, to use Jacques Lacan's terminology.

But it is always the other that engenders, fosters, triggers, and provokes your internal world.

The other is the catalyst without which the chemical reactions of your mind would never take place.

So your mind is an apparatus, it's a device, a paratus, a device that is responsive to others.

Take away all others, and you are very unlikely to experience emotions, cognitions, you're very unlikely to act after a certain period of time, except survival, actions needed for survival and many of your primary unconscious processes would shut down.

The other is indispensable for having an internal world.

But we could say the same about the self.

The self triggers and actualizes the same potentials in a similar way.

The other triggers and actualizes potentials interactively.

Let me explain what I just said.

Your emotions, your cognitions, your effects, your behaviors, they are all potentially there. They're all in a potential state.

And then the other comes along, someone else, and these potentials translate into reality.

The potential emotion of love becomes the real emotion of love in the presence of a loved one.

A thought that is potentially there crystallizes and is materialized in the presence of a stimulus emitted by another person.

You act on other people, together with other people, in view of other people.

So your potential actions become actual actions, actualized in the real world because of others, directed at others.

This is known as intentionality.

So the other triggers and actualizes your potentials by interacting with you, interactively.

But the same goes for the self.

The self triggers and actualizes the very same potentials by interacting with these potentials.

You could think, you could conceive of the self as the set of all potentials and triggers that actualize these potentials.

The self, you could say, provokes itself into being.

The self is the engine of its own becoming.

So the self and the other have the same epistemological status and the same functions.

Physically and epistemologically, the self and the other have the same standing and in many ways are indistinguishable.

We cannot come up with a rigorous philosophical test to tell apart the self and the other because they produce the same outcomes, using the same mechanisms, employing the same processes.

So if the self and the other accomplish the same things within your mind, if both of them trigger you identically, then you could say that the self is othered.

You could say that you regard yourself as an other.

You other yourself.

You perceive it as not you.

Now, this is not alienation and this is not estrangement.

These are pathological processes where you act or you feel, you emote or you think and you can't identify yourself in these actions or thoughts or emotions.

So these are the processes, for example, which lead ultimately to dissociation.

We will not discuss them right now.

When I say that the self is othered, that it is perceived as an other, I don't mean that you do not identify yourself in yourself.

Of course, you realize that yourself has something to do with you.

But internally, the self is kind of a coordinator, a host personality, if you wish. It monitors, supervises, triggers, deactivates, activates. It's like a switchboard.

And so the self is distinguishable, definitely, from all the other constructs of the personality or the person and also distinguishable from the very processes that it creates and that it triggers and provokes.

And because it is distinguishable from these things, it is the primal other, the number one other.

The first experience of any other is an experience of the self.

Now, this sounds very, very counterintuitive and many of you would discard this idea out of hand.

They would say, how could you be yourself and regard yourself as not yourself?

Let's go back to very, very early childhood between the ages of zero and 36 months, or more precisely zero and 18 months.

When the child does not perceive himself as separate from his mother, it used to be called the symbiotic phase.

The child, until around age, 18 months, regards himself and his mother and the world as a single unity, as a unitary universe.

The child doesn't say, there's me, there's mommy, and there's the world.

The child is embedded in this oceanic feeling that he and mommy and the world are just one and the same.

He doesn't even realize that there's a mommy or there's a world.

He is reactive to mommy, he smiles at mommy, but these accused intended to elicit care. They're not real in the mental or psychological sense.

Up to a very advanced age, children, mothers in the universe are one and the same.

So when you acquire as a baby, when you acquire a self, when suddenly the self begins to emerge from this undifferentiated mass, suddenly there's you, there's a self.

Initially you perceive this self as not you.

As a baby, there is you, mommy and the world, and you're all a single unit.

When your self begins to form, when your self becomes, initially you don't identify that it is you.

You regard it as a foreign body, a foreign entity, an invasion of some kind, a break in the world, a schism.

Suddenly there is a fourth entity, not you, not mommy, not the world, you're one. Suddenly there's a second entity, not a fourth.

There's a second entity there.

And this second entity is not recognizable by you as you when you're a baby.

And so the self is othered, it's the primal other.

It is the outcome of othering the mother.

The emergence, constellation and integration of the self are the direct outcomes, results of separation, individuation.

Initially you are one with mommy, then you begin to separate from mommy.

As you separate from mother, your self emerges.

Self is the outcome of this distancing, this distancing and grandiose exploration of the world.

And when the self emerges, initially it is perceived as not you and not mommy, of course.

You don't know what it is as a baby. It's terrifying. It's a traumatic experience.

The self forces you to regard mommy as not you.

Mother becomes the other.

You are othering mother. You're separating from her. You're individuating. You are becoming not mother.

But before you become not mother, you become you.

So the separation and individuation is actually three phases.

The initial phase is the symbiotic phase where you are one with mommy and the world.

It's a single unity. It has no parts. It has no parts. It has no distinctions. It has no boundaries.

You mommy world, world mommy you, you mommy mommy you world. It's one thing.

The final phase, you become you. The self emerges.

And it's a great, great trauma.

You feel totally alien, alien and estranged. You don't know what is this thing that is emerging.

At first you can't identify yourself in this emerging entity.

This alien being.

This self.

So you other the self.

You regard the self as not you in the second phase.

In the third phase, you have learned to other by othering the self, by regarding the emerging or nascent self as an other, as the other.

You have acquired the mechanism, the process and the skill of othering.

Now you can other mother.

The second othering.

So the primal othering is the othering of the self.

Regarding the self is not you.

The secondary othering is the othering of mother, realizing that mother is not you separating from her and becoming an individual.

It's easy to prove that the self is other that initially we perceive the self as not us when we are very, very, very young.

It's easy to prove this because when we look at pathologies, such as for example dissociative identity disorder, when we look at other types of dissociative self states like narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, when we consider identity diffusion, identity disturbance, all these are forms of othering the self.

In all these conditions that I've just mentioned, there is no recognition of the self as you.

The person with dissociative identity disorder does not have a self, it recognizes as herself.

The same goes for borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder.

There's always the sense that the self is not you and you are not the self. There's always a kind of diffuse disjointed identity or in the case of borderline personality disorder, identity disturbance.

These outliers, these pathologies reveal to us the fact that if you remain stuck in an early phase of personal development and growth, if you remain in war and embedded and enmeshed in early childhood and never progress and never evolve, never mature, if your separation and detourification has failed, in all these pathological conditions, indeed you do not perceive, these kind of people do not perceive the self as themselves, they perceive the self as other.

They other the self.

So if you talk to someone with DID or narcissist or borderline, you will discover that they have a self when they think of the self, actually they don't have a self, but when they think of the concept of the self, it is perceived as another, an other, the other, not, they don't identify with it.

Now, when I say self, of course I refer also to an assemblage of self states, like in Philip Bronber's work and in my work and so on.

This assemblage, troop of self states is equivalent to the self and it's also other.

Now, remember that the child goes through a unitary phase, oceanic feeling phase, then it others the self, it begins to regard the emerging new, nascent self as another, as the other and then it others mommy, it begins to regard mother as the other and this allows the child to separate an individual.

The primal othering, the initial, the number one, the first process of othering is othering of the self and as I said, it's very traumatic because it involves the breakdown of the unitary world where the infant perceives its separate existence through the mother's gaze.

So let me explain.

I did it in another video as well.

The mother's gaze, the infant's ability to perceive itself through the mother's gaze, this creates the primal othering.

When the baby sees itself through the mother's gaze, when the mother frustrates the baby, doesn't cater to all the baby's needs, when the mother rejects the baby by leaving the room, generating enormous abandonment, anxiety, separation and security.

In the initial phase of childhood until age four years old, there's no object constancy.

So the child, the mother informs the child that she and the child are not one.

It is the mother that ends the symbiotic phase.

The mother with her behavior, with her gaze, with the way she relates to the baby in short with her interactions.

The mother triggers the primal othering.

The mother conveys to the baby, you are not me. Look at you. Look at yourself through my gaze. See yourself in my eyes. You're not me.

I'm leaving the room. You're not me. I'm frustrating you. You're not me. You're not me. The message constantly is you're not me.

And then the baby is forced to ask, if I'm not mother, if I'm not mother, who am I? And this question, who am I, gives rise to the construct of self or self-states, doesn't matter, gives rise to the self. Who am I? I am the self.

But wait a minute.

I've spent 18 months being selfless without the self.

In these 18 months, I, Mami, and the world, we were one. Who is this self that Mami imposes on me?

Mami forces me to develop a self.

I don't like that. I don't like the self.

I'm terrified of being abandoned by my mother.

I don't have object constancy. I'm a baby. I'm 18 months old.

The self is my enemy. The self is the other.

And it is very threatening and very traumatic.

And this is primal othering.

And the self is the primal other.

The primal other is the self.

And it takes the baby a while, another 18 or even longer months, to actually accept the self.

Realize that he and the self are one.

So these are two processes which go in completely opposite directions.

The baby used to be one with mother.

And now he broke up with mother and he made her the other.

The baby used to be, was to be broken up with the self.

He didn't have a relationship with the self. There was a breakup between the baby and the self initially.

And then he learned to become one with the self. He learned to other the mother and he learned to become one with the self.

So the only way to become one with yourself, with this new entity, the only way is to push mother away and to replace her with the self.

It's very similar to the concept of self-object, Kohut and so on.

This trauma, this perception of a separate existence through the mother's gaze by internalizing this gaze never goes away.

This initial breakup with a love object is the template upon which we build all our future relationships and the only repetition compulsion that is common to all humanity, all of humanity.

So it's not pathological. It's the norm. I call it the internal eye.

The mother's gaze becomes an internal eye and this internal eye observes the baby, informs the baby that he is not mother, but then informs the baby that the self is the baby and allows the baby to create a new symbiotic phase with the self.

Where things go awry in the case of narcissism is that the mother, mother's gaze does not allow the child to separate from her.

And when the self emerges or tries to emerge, it fails. There's a failure of the formation of the self or the ego, if you wish. There's a failure in this formative phase stage.

This formative stage fails and then the child remains stuck in the unitary symbiotic phase with the mother who won't let him go.

He cannot become an individual. He cannot separate.

But the mechanism and process of othering is at work.

So the child invents an imaginary friend and merges with that friend.

The narcissist remains in a symbiotic relationship with the mother introject and also with a substitute self that is essentially false.

It's a concoction. It's a piece of fiction. It's a narrative and it's grandiose. It's cognitively distorted, but it's still better than nothing.

It seems that the need to develop a self or again, an assemblage of self-states, the need to develop a self is innate and probably genetic.

And in this sense, I'm very close to the views of Fairbairn in the country.

So we are born probably with a need, with a proto-ego, proto-self. We are born with a nucleus somehow.

And then it flowers later on because the mother's gaze pushes the child away. The mother's gaze defines the child as a separate entity and this triggers the ego nucleus and it becomes a self.

So forming a self, developing a self is not a choice. It's not a choice. It's an inexorable, genetic, innate process.

And when it is suppressed, when it is frustrated, when it is prevented from occurring or unfolding naturally, the result is the false self, a poor, counterfactual, unrealistic fantasy-based defense. It's a fantasy defense.

When the mother does not allow the child to separate, when she does not communicate to the child that he's a separate entity, an external object via her gaze, when she doesn't do that, the innate triggered process of developing a self is stunted and thwarted.

And to compensate for this lack, for this deficiency, because the child wants to develop a self, is compelled to develop a self. It's not up to the child, it's not a choice. It has to.

So to compensate for that somehow, because reality in the shape of mother is very frustrating. And it's frustrating and denying and repressing and oppressive.

Reality doesn't let him separate.

So he says the hell with reality, I'm going to revert to fantasy. I'm going to build a fantasy world in which I do separate and individuate and I do develop a self.

But of course, it is just a fantasy and the self is a fantasy self, also known as false self.

The narcissist is a child who has not been allowed to other the self because the child has not been encouraged to separate from mother and individuate.

The mother did not communicate to the child that she's separate from him via her gaze. She didn't distinguish herself. There was no distinction, no boundary, no differentiation.

So the child withdrew internally into a fantasy space, a paracosa.

And within this paracosa, within this virtual reality, he proceeded with normal evolution, normal growth. He proceeded to separate, individuate, to become, to develop a self.

But it's all a fantasy. It's all a dreamscape. It's not real.

And that's why in adulthood, the narcissist feels compelled. This is unfinished business.

The narcissist tries desperately to convert the fantastic space into reality via the shared fantasy.

The narcissist says, as an adult, the narcissist says, let me take this fantasy that I've developed as a child, the fantasy in which I have separate, I have individuate, and I have a self. Let me take this fantasy and let me superimpose it on reality so that I convert the fantasy into reality and then I can really separate and really individuate and really acquire a self like Pinocchio.

But to do this, I need a partner, someone who would play mummy, someone who would act as my, as the maternal figure in this fantasy, because how can I separate and individuate if I don't have a mother?

I need a mother in this shared fantasy.

And this mother is my intimate partner. I'm going to convert her into a mother. She's real. My intimate partner is real. At least in my mind, she's real.

There is an internal object in my mind that is distinct from the mother introject. So I know that she's real. I'm going to convert her into a mother and then she's real and then the fantasy will become real. And then I'm going to separate and individuate and become a real boy like Pinocchio.

So this is the compulsion, there is a compulsion to convert fantasy to reality and to convert the false self to a real self and to complete the separation and individuation from the mother via a new, the gaze of a new mother who would this time allow the narcissist to become a person, to acquire personhood.

The trauma of the primal othering in the case of the narcissist is a trauma of not completing the primal othering.

So he needs to complete it. The whole process is by definition traumatic.

It has to involve trauma.

That's why narcissists engage in narcissistic abuse. They need to create a traumatic environment for themselves and for the mother. The whole environment should be traumatic because healthy, normal, primal othering.

The situation where the baby perceives the new emergent self as the other and this is very traumatizing, but it's healthy and it's normal because it leads to separation and individuation.

The narcissist needs to do the same. He needs to experience his trauma.

So he pushes, via projective identification, he pushes his partner to traumatize him because there is no emergence of self. There is no constellated integrated self and there is no separation and individuation without trauma.

That is also the insight in cold therapy by the way.

So at that stage, there has been primal othering.

The self has been perceived as the other and this was followed by the othering of the mother, separation and individuation and a symbiotic merger infusion between the child and the self.

So the self is no longer perceived as the other. The self is perceived as the child. The child and the self created a new unitary universe and it's a very oceanic feeling. It's a very good feeling.

Introspection and self-reference depend on the primal othering.

You need to other the self. You need to regard the self as not you, as the other in order to observe the self, study the self, examine the self, analyze the self, introspect, develop self-awareness.

What is self-awareness?

You're aware of the self but who is doing the awareness?

Not the self. Not the self.

Self-awareness is an excellent example of the continued operation of the primal othering, the othering of the self, considering the self as the other.

Regulation, self-regulation, agency, self-efficacy, they all depend on introspection, on the ability to perceive yourself from the outside, to observe yourself, to analytically examine yourself, study yourself.

So health, mental health crucially depends on the othering process during separation and individuation, first othering yourself and then othering mother and becoming yourself.

Then you're capable of introspection, of self-reference, of self-regulation, of agency, self-efficacy, independence, personal autonomy, etc.

All the healthy things that we keep preaching you should have or you should develop.

Othering is crucial for this.

Now, let's go back to narcissism.

When the formation of an integrated, constellated self is disrupted because of failure in separation and individuation, such a failure can also be abusive, it can also be the outcome of abuse and trauma because abuse and trauma is disrespect for the child's boundaries, it's breaching the child's boundaries.

Abuse and trauma are forms of merger, fusion and enmeshment.

The abuser engulfs his victim, consumes, subsumes the victim. It's a unitary space where no separation is allowed.

So the formation of the constellated integrated self is a very delicate and fine-tuned manner.

An absent mother, a dead mother could disrupt it. An abusive mother could disrupt it. The lack of trauma could disrupt it.

Trauma is critical to othering the self and then othering mother.

Trauma, there's no separation and individuation without trauma.

Because it's very traumatic to realize that mother and the world are not you. Suddenly you're all alone and much diminished. It's traumatic.

But some mothers don't allow the child to be traumatized. They pamper the child, idolize the child, pedestalize the child, cathect the child, spoil the child.

These are all forms of denial of trauma, avoidance of trauma.

So in the absence of trauma, there's no separation and individuation.

And the othering of the self leads nowhere because the self cannot emerge.

And then the child tries to compensate via fantasy defense and invents a false self.

So when the formation of an integrated constellated self is disrupted, the result is no self.

So there are two types of people. People with a self or assemblage of self states.

And people with no self. No self is the coordinating core.

I refer you to my work on IPAM, intrapsychic activation mode.

So when this happens, there is an empty schizoid core where a star should have been, the self.

It's exactly like a black hole. A black hole used to be a star or a galaxy which collapsed upon itself, disappeared in a way. So it's the same deal.

The self was not allowed to emerge, to constellate, to integrate.

And the self imploded under its own gravity, if you wish. And vanished.

And what was left behind? A black hole.

An empty schizoid core.

And the empty schizoid core is devoid of any other.

Because the self did not emerge, there was no primal othering. Because there was no primal othering, there was no secondary othering of the mother.

So this kind of child doesn't know how to other people. He doesn't know how to perceive other people as the other. He has no training or skill or experience in othering people.

And this leads to an inability to other people. Inability to relate to other people as external, separate objects.

If you've never experienced separation from your mother, how would you experience separation from other people?

They are not separate. If you've never experienced yourself as an external object, the other, or your mother as an external object, the other, then you would experience no one in the future as an external object.

You see, you've never had experience in this.

There is an incapacity to actualize intentional emotions, affects, cognitions and behaviors.

In other words, all these emotions, cognitions, they're usually directed at the other. They're dependent on the existence of the other. They're triggered by the other. They're catalyzed by the other. They're provoked by the other.

Take away all the others and you don't have an internal world.

So children who were not allowed to other the self and then they were not allowed to other the mother. This kind of children not only cannot perceive other people as other, as external or separate, they cannot also relate to other people. They cannot have emotions because emotions are intentional and directional.

You love someone.

But if you don't recognize that there is someone out there, the other, you cannot love. You cannot love.

You cannot even think properly. You cannot act.

The narcissist world is depopulated, devoid of others. Narcissist unable to recognize people is external. Everything is inside his head. It's all a vast wasteland of quiescent, deactivated and inert internal objects. Kind of

a cemetery, effigies and ancient Egyptian mummies. That's how the internal world of a narcissist looks. So of course in such an environment, the level of activity, emotional activity, cognitive activity, affective activity is very reduced, much reduced. That's why I say that narcissists in many respects are zombies and symbols.

They're not fully there, not only in the sense that they're not present or they're not alert or they're not open to possibilities and opportunities and other people. No, they're not there inside, not only outside. They are in absence

because their level of activity is very close to zero. It's like the absolute zero in outer space where no molecule and no atom move anymore because there's no energy to

move. Fantasy is an attempt to compensate for these deficiencies by othering constructs or by othering internal objects. When you cannot other people because you've never had the experience as a child of othering your mother, of separating from her, you cannot other people.

You try to other something else. You try to regard, for example, yourself as the

other and this is the false self or you try to perceive internal objects as the other, which leads later to devaluation. So there is a desperate attempt to not be alone.

This is existential, solipsistic, deep, deep space loneliness


the only way to repopulate the devastation and the wasteland is by othering your insight, by othering your introgets, by

othering the avatars in your mind, by othering internal objects, by othering pieces of yourself, by othering self-states, by othering something. So the narcissist, while incapable of othering anyone in the outside, constantly others himself. He others himself not as a unity because the narcissist is highly fragmented and so on. He others elements of himself. He others portions of himself, processes, constructs. He keeps othering them in order to not feel alone and this is

the fantasy. When he comes across an intimate partner, he immediately converts her to an internal object because he doesn't know how to other external objects but he has a lot of experience in othering internal objects. Ironically, the narcissist feels alone when he

is confronted with a real flesh and blood external person. Then he feels totally

alone because he cannot perceive that person as separate, external and the other. But the minute the narcissist had internalized and introgetted that person, the minute there is an internal object

in the narcissist's mind that represents this external object, the narcissist doesn't feel alone anymore because he can other this internal object. He can regard this internal object as the other. Now, the narcissist mistakenly perceives internal objects as the other. He would insist that the internal object in his mind is actually separate and external. He would be very insulted if he were to imply that he doesn't see you, that he doesn't really notice you, that he doesn't pay attention, that he

is not into you. He would be very insulted and he would deny it vehemently. In his mind, he has other you, he has other the internal object that represents you, your introget. And from that moment on, that internal object acts as the other. It triggers the narcissist's emotions and cognitions and effects and behaviors and primary processes. The narcissist is triggered internally rather than like most healthy people externally. This is why I keep saying that narcissist is in effect a variant of psychosis. There's a failure of othering the world.

Failure at incorporation.

Narcissist is unable to other the world and then to incorporate this knowledge.

Instead, the narcissist others elements in his mind and then behaves as if these elements in his mind are real.

And this is of course what we call fantasy defense.

That's why the false self is an imaginary friend.

Now, when we come to the phase of devaluation or discard, at that point, the narcissist reverts from othering to something called alterity.

Alterity is othering people by considering them inferior to secretary, evil, somehow deficient.

So even devaluation involves othering.

It's just a redefinition of the internal object, a re-characterization of the internal object, looking at the internal object differently.

I differentiate it from othering.

This othering is basically neutral.

You just perceive the externality and separateness of another person and you make assumptions. You make assumptions about the other person's mind.

This is known as theory of mind and you have an internal working model which coordinates all these insights.

But alterity is a value judgment.

Alterity is judgmental. It's harsh. It's sadistic. It's rejecting. It's humiliating. It's shaming.

According to Spivak, it is a form of othering that involves devaluation.

But ironically, it is at this stage that the narcissist begins to other you as an external object.

In preparation for discarding you, the narcissist preserves the integrity and the ideal internal object because the idealized internal objects idealize the narcissist.

The narcissist's co-idealization depends on the preservation of the idealized nature of his internal objects.

If the narcissist were to contain bad objects, evil objects, unworthy objects, he wouldn't be able to idealize himself.

The whole point of the exercise of idealizing other people is to idealize himself so that he can fight off the bad object.

So he cannot devalue the internal object.

What he does instead, he suddenly notices you as an external object.

He begins to regard you as the other and then he devalues you.

So there are two phases in every shared fantasy.

The first phase involves snapshotting, converting you into an internal object, idealizing the internal object, othering the internal object, regarding the internal object as the other and allowing the internal object, which is now the other, to trigger emotions and thoughts and so on and so forth in the narcissist's mind.

The same way external others do for healthy people.

But then comes a point where the narcissist has a compelling need to separate from you and individually because you will have become a total maternal figure, a mother.

So then the narcissist has to suddenly wake up and notice that you are an external object because he cannot devalue the internal object.

If he were to devalue the internal object, he would be devaluing himself, which is a possibility of course.

He has a grandiosity defense, so a grandiosity cognitive distortion.

So instead of devaluing the internal object, he devalues you as an external object and that means that you suddenly will have become an external object, identifiable as such, separate from the narcissist and the subject of othering.

Of course, it's great because it allows the narcissist to separate from you and to individually in his mind.

Of course he fails.

And while he fails, I refer you to the videos in the shared fantasy playlist.

Now othering is not a new concept. It's been studied and examined for at least 150 years.

Lawrence Cahoon wrote in 1996, "What appears to be cultural units, human beings, words, meanings, ideas, philosophical systems, social organizations, they are maintained in their apparent unity only through an active process of exclusion, opposition and higher colonization.

Other phenomena or units must be represented as foreign or other through representing a hierarchical dualism in which the unit is privileged in favor, the other is devalued in some way.

Hegel almost 200 years ago observed that otherness is something, the discussion for the formation of human consciousness.

Lacan took on this idea much, much later, 150 years later.

So the other in the work of Hegel and Hegelians, the other can be associated with image outside oneself perceived and identified within the mirror stage in Lacan's work.

It's roughly when the baby sees itself in the mirror and gains an idea of itself as discontinuous from mummy and from the rest of the world.

There's a major trauma, seeing yourself in the mirror according to Lacan is a break, is total attack on all the baby's conception of the universe.

So Lacan went to an extreme, he said that even the unconscious is actually other, even the unconscious is the outcome of othering other people.

He said that the unconscious is structured like a language and we acquire language from other people.

So it is structured by other people.

The unconscious, he said, is the discourse of the other.

The unconscious is not interior.

On the contrary, since speech and language are intersubjective phenomena, the unconscious is trans-individual.

The unconscious is so to speak outside according to Lacan.

The exteriority of the symbolic in relation to men is the very notion of the unconscious, explained Lacan inexplicably.

All he was trying to say is that in order to form the unconscious, we need to perceive that we are not one with everything, but we need to other people.

The primal othering is an othering of the self and the secondary othering of the mother, but we learn how to other.

And then we acquire language because language comes from outside, from the other, from others.

We acquire language and then we use language to construct our unconscious.

The unconscious is a language in Lacan's work.

So the unconscious comes from the other, not internally.

Externally, if the unconscious seems interior, internal, this is an effect of the imaginary, which blocks the relationship between the subject and the other and which inverts the message of the other.

Lacan argued that ego formation occurs through mirror stage misrecognition.

The child sees itself in the mirror and initially doesn't recognize himself.

It's a great metaphor.

In my work, the child kind of beholds the emerging self and feels very alien, feels the distinct that is emerging is not me.

He doesn't own it. He doesn't become one with it until he has rejected mother.

To become one with the self, you need to separate from mother. You need to reject her.

So atruze was a post-Marxist or neo-Marxist philosopher and psychologist.

Atruze said the same, he applied it to politics and collectives.

Anyhow, Lacan said the "I" is always in the field of the other.

Lacan designated actually two others.

There was other with the lower case "o", small "o", "a" in French, "autre", and other with a capital "o".

The small stage, the lower case "o", other, is the mirror stage.

It sets up an image of the ego as an ideal "I" for the subject.

The ideal "I" becomes the other within the subject's experience of the "I".

It's a component of the self that is internally divided.

This is Lacan.

My work goes much further.

I don't make this distinction.

I think initially there is a rejection, a feeling of alienation and estrangement from the totality of the self, not from one element of the self.

There is no idealization of the self initially.

The self is perceived as threatening because the self pushes the child away from mother.

The child perceives the self as an enemy who is separating him from his mother.

The child rejects the self, others, the self, totally.

In Lacan's work, the other with a capital letter represents other people, other subjects whom the individual encounters in social life.

But it also stands for language, the conventions of social life, law for example.

Because language and the codes of human society pre-exist an individual human being.

These systems are other to the individual.

In short, you are born into an existing society, into an existing world, and that society or world, they are other to you.

They are not you by definition.

The fact that subjects themselves internally alienated by rejecting a part of the self or in my work, all the self.

So the fact that subjects must employ the other, other people in order to acquire language at least to understand the rules of the game. They are forced to interact with other subjects.

This gives rise in Lacan's work to the totality of the human psyche.

The term other in his work and in other scholars' work is used in a variety of ways.

But it depicts the manner and processes by which perceptions of others are attained.

This is what I've been saying before.

Others with a capital letter, other people, trigger the internal world, trigger your emotions, your conditions, everything that's happening to you, even unconsciously, has to do with others.

We are relational creatures.

I strongly and vehemently reject the concept of the individual.

We are utterly relational creatures.

And so they trigger these internal reactions.

Now, child psychologists postulate that the perceptions of the other proceed from processes of contrast, comparison, analogy.

The self sets itself apart from mother, father, siblings, and then strangers.

We have the work of Klein, the work of Ersson.

They dealt with these issues.

But I think that didn't go deep enough.

They describe mechanical processes of recognizing I'm not mommy, I'm not father, I'm not my brother and I'm not my friend or my teacher.

So then they are the other.

No, I think it's much more profound.

I think othering is the core of self formation and then psychological activity in operation throughout life.

We constantly other internally and externally.

And when the othering fails, we have psychopathologies.

The etiology of psychopathology is othering, failure in othering.

Separation and individuation is a single very important private case of othering.

Emergence of the self is a single private case, important of othering.

Self is a case of othering.

Everything is othering, in effect.

It's an underlying concept.

Consciousness of the self depend upon processes that affect distinct characteristics of others.


In philosophy, we have the likes of Hegel, Busel, and so on and so forth.

In continental philosophy in Europe, there are serious investigations of the question of otherness in conjunction with the tendency of the self to conceive all things after one's own likeness.

So we tend to deceive ourselves.

We tend to lie ourselves.

When we perceive others, we tend to make them so similar to us that sometimes the otherness dissipates.

The lines are blurred.

It's precisely what the narcissist does.

Narcissism is an extreme case of this.

Narcissist converts everything to internal objects, which are essentially part of him, and serve to idealize him.

They are functional.

It's a desire of the ego to feel at home externally and internally.

That's why the ego mediates reality because he wants to prevent outcomes of punishment, self alienation, disintegration, psychosis, and so on.

The ego is focused on a comfortable coexistence between the other and the person.

I'm not saying the self because the self is one of the others.

The other emerged in the context of these philosophies.

Some of them were talking about a transfigured or disfigured essence, no longer a reflection of itself, unaware of itself.

This kind of other is a product of the self, or at least only knowable first because of one's awareness of the self.

Leviathanus, for example, according to Leviathanus, the other is the very condition of one's own existence.

The other is not any particular person. It's an entire category that Leviathanus calls otherness, which makes being and self, I, possible.

There is a reversal of the presupposition of people like Husserl, phenomenologists, like Husserl and others, that the self is the beginning of all philosophical inquiry.

In my work, which stands on the shoulders of giants like Leviathanus and La-Crane, in my work, the beginning of all philosophical inquiry is the otherness, the othering, the othering of the self, the othering of mother.

This is where questions emerge. Who am I? What am I doing here? How am I distinct from others? Where are my boundaries? Where do I stop and others stop?

If others are so influential in triggering my emotions and cognitions and so on, maybe they are not others. Maybe they are figments of my mind.

This is the narcissistic failure to tell apart the others from internal objects and so on so forth.

But all philosophical inquiry starts with others, not with the self.

The concept that the self requires the other to define itself is nothing new.

But many philosophers didn't go the full nine yards.

They said, "Yeah, the self requires others, but it is the self that does the othering and therefore the self is the be-all and end-all, the alpha and the omega.

It was Hegel that first introduced the idea that the other is a constituent in self-consciousness.

He wrote, "Each consciousness pursues the death of the other."

What he meant to say is that in seeing the separateness between you and another person, there's a feeling of alienation.

And you try to resolve this by synthesis, by somehow merging or fusing with the other person.

There's a famous parable, it's known as the "muster-slave dialectic." I'm not going into it right now.

Sartre was the same in "Being at Nothingness." He described how the world is changed, altered at the appearance of another person.

When another person appears, enters your world, enters your sphere, your space, you're changed.

The world now appears to orient itself around this other person.

Sartre presented it however without any life-threatening need for resolution like Hegel.

He said it's just a phenomenon, it's just a feeling.

It's not a threat.

And you don't need to resolve it by merging with the other somehow to take over the other.

Le Bynus is perhaps the most instrumental philosopher when we deal with the question of the other.

Le Bynus said, "If it is the other, it's radically other." If it is very much like you or a little like you, you can't really perceive it as the other.

To perceive someone as the other, he or she must be radically different to you.

He connected it to all kinds of deliberations about God and he's an amazing thinker.

The other, he said, is superior or prior to the self, which is also in my work.

In my work, the othering mechanism is innate, genetic, born, and precedes the self by many, many months.

He said, "The other is superior to the self. It's prior to the self.

The mere presence of the other makes demands before one can respond by helping them, by ignoring them in short, before one as a self." And this idea, the idea of face-to-face encounter, infiltrated thinkers like Derrida.

Derrida said that there's impossibility of pure presence of the other. The other could be other when this pure alterity is encountered.

So issues of language and representation and so on and so forth.

Levainus said that othering, the process of othering precedes the emergence of the self.

And Derrida said that the other exists in distinction from, separate from, othering it.

So the other exists even if you were not to other it, even if othering is not applied. The other exists there, a priori.

And there's a question of language, representation, and so on and so forth.

I recommend, those of you who are interested to delve even deeper, I recommend that you search online for the saying and the said in Levainus' work.

Levainus gave the example of insomnia, insomnia and wakefulness.

He said that it is an ecstasy or exteriority towards the other that forever remains beyond any attempt at full capture.

This otherness is interminable or infinite.

Even when we murder another person, the otherness remains. It has not been negated and has not been controlled.

This infiniteness of the other allows Levainus to derive other aspects of philosophy and science as secondary to the other.

Levainus wrote, "The others that obsess me in the other do not affect me as examples of the same genus, united with my neighbor by resemblance or common nature, individuations of the human race or chips of the old block.

The others concern me from the first. Here fraternity precedes the commonness of a genus.

My relationship with the other as neighbor gives meaning to my relations with all the others." And that's what I've been saying in my work.

Once you have acquired the skill to other by othering yourself and then othering mother, you will be able to other everyone. And once you have othered one person, you have othered everyone.

You've othered all people. All you need to do is other one person.

So essentially if you succeeded to other mother by separating from her, you're healthy. You're set for life. You're ready.

This is where the failure is that causes extreme pathologies such as narcissism.

Okay, otherness is being studied now in neuroscience and in psychology and so on and so forth.

Many scientists are asking whether the brain and the mind can be made to transcend self-consciousness and affect, to relate differently, to desire, interest.

In short, many scientists are beginning to consider the option of self-othering in effect. They don't call it self-othering, but it is self-othering.

In many systems in Eastern philosophy, meditation and so on, they are focused, they're centered around self-othering. They call it by mistake the death of the ego.

Western popularizes with very little profound understanding of Eastern philosophy.

Call it the death of the ego. It's nothing to do with the death of the ego. It's the othering of the ego. It's not becoming the ego. It's not being the ego.

But in my work and to my mind, when you other the ego, when you begin to treat the ego as the other, you're actually regressing to an infantile state which brings about the oceanic feeling known as nirvana.

Nirvana is because you regressed back to the womb. You became an infant, which in Western psychology is a form of pathology.

Moreover, if you alienate the ego, if you alienate the self, if you are not you in this sense, if you regard the self as alien to you, as the other, then in many respects, you begin to develop narcissism.

I think many of these techniques, including mindfulness and so on, are highly narcissistic and induce narcissism. It's temporary narcissism, it's situational narcissism, it's narcissism all the same.

But that's a topic for another video.

You've been spared. It's been only an hour and something.

And see you next time.

You others. ###

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