Compulsions and Ego Fragmentation of the Military and the Financial Elites, With a Little Help from Rik Loose*

The compulsion to fight (to become a winner) and compulsion to profit-making (to be out of the reach of the ogre of uncertainty in our survival/success) – are the reactions of the unconscious panic of being crushed by the world. The exaggerated desire to become stronger and richer is anchored in the psychological traumas during infancy. With a likely chance of the return of the American conservatives to executive power in 2012, it seems imperative to start to systematically study the conservative psyche’s psychological scars and childhood traumas which continue to be projected on mass scale into the public realm today as a kind of “returning of the repressed” kept in check for several decades by liberal civil etiquette.

The compulsion to fight and the obsession with victory are both the children of psychological fragmentation, of the proclivity to surrender to impulsive desires, intuitive guesses and impatient need for motor discharge. The needs of the psychological fragments are always partial and frivolous and very often vain because the will of the fragment is not balanced by a wider perspective that can only be provided by the person’s psychological whole. We have a tendency to act by fragments when we are under stress – when our mind is not cool and our soul is not sober. Then the childhood traumas are reactivated and hinder our capacity to observe wider perspective around our desires and actions. Here we are already in the area of impulsivity and the near-sightedness of starting wars with the wrong countries or creating financial havoc that leads to economic collapses. In these cases we always witness how feverish self-assertion in people in charge distorts their decision-making.

Political and military leaders responsible for Iraq war and the financial executives and functionaries who are responsible for the financial meltdown are people who have been hurt by their infantile psychological traumas. Instead of acting out their complexes they should help themselves with psychoanalytic knowledge and psychotherapeutic treatment.

These people are overwhelmed with at least three kinds of internal bad objects (our images of real external objects into which we from our childhood project our own fears and aggressive desires). First of all, it is the bad objects that are nesting in their unconscious and triggering their unconscious panic and hate. Then it is the bad objects that are in a process of being projected into external world – (the subject projects them into various people to externalize the load of hate it carries and by this it gets a relative relief from the mounting frustrations). Finally, it is the bad objects that we projected into the social reality before and that are habitually there in the form of ready-hated categories of people (“Jews and communists” in Nazi Germany, “anti-communists” in Soviet Union, “liberals and lefties” in U.S.). “Self is experienced to be bad because of the presence of ‘bad introjected objects’ and to be in danger because of the threat of annihilation by the ‘bad projected objects’ from the external world. The self is confused by being fused with a bad world.” (Rik Loose, “The Addicted Subject Caught Between the Ego and the Drive: the Post-Freudian Reduction and Simplification of a Complex Clinical Problem.” Psychoanalytische Perspectiven, 2000.) It is in this situation of unconscious non-differentiation between inner and external world that we start to unconsciously search for those people into whom we can project our inner objects in order to fight with them and get rid of them as wicked, malicious beings and villains.

We can recognize a person’s destructive intentions by the very presence of compulsive (erratic) element in how he/she reacts on the world. This element is a sign of violence boiling in the deeper recesses of a person’s soul. Any compulsion is (on the level of psychological form) a blind self-sacrificial rush to make war with the externalized internal objects.

But compulsively aggressive intentions are not only targeting concrete objects. “It is important to realize that it is not drives or the instincts that are aggressive… Aggression is not the defense of the ego against the threat of disintegration and the loss of its unity. Aggression is the attack of the ego on itself as a structure [felt by the subject] as an imaginary, false unity. Aggression desires to shatter this unity in order to get back to the previous state of total fragmentation. This death-drive is unacceptable [unbearable to the subject] and therefore turned outwards to objects in the world. That is why people are fascinated by violence, mutilations and destruction…” (Rik Loose, ibid.) The partial, fragmentary drives existed before the ego and they are intolerant of the “artificial” control on ego’s part. It is in the name of these drives that the ego is against itself. Compulsive politicians and financial leaders are permanently fighting with their own ego-control, and they project this battle out into the world (into fight with the carriers/incarnations of their bad internal objects).

In people like Bushmerican war- and money-lords the unconscious anti-ego sentiments are too strong to be curtailed. These people are always fighting. They unconsciously invent enemies and invite fatal dangers. Whoever and whatever they are fighting with they ultimately fight against the ego to get rid of it and to be just an impulsive desires – pure psychological fragments. Without understanding this, they are fighting for a total freedom for their impulses.

The ideal consumer is an ideal example of a person without any psychological wholeness, a conglomerate of local perspectives carried by the psychological fragments (organized around the desire to possess, consume and dominate this or that object). The consumer is a reflection (from below) of those who will do anything for the sake of self-enrichment – for the sake of satisfying their financial super-dreams. The price is an incredible destructive potential directed at the world. Who cannot control its own impulses will projects them into the world as a pack of attacking dogs.

*Rik Loose is an Irish Lacanian psychoanalyst