|A Letter Which Did Arrive
at its Destination
|To resume again...
The Formulas of the Real
It was already Franz Kafka who articulated this crisis of paternal authority in all its ambiguity; no wonder that the first impression one gets in reading Kafka's letter to his father is that there is something missing in it-the final twist along the lines of the parable on the Door of the Law ("This door was here only for you..."): the father's display of terror and rage is here only for you, you are invested in it, sustaining it... One can well imagine the real Herrmann Kafka as a benevolent and nice gentleman, genuinely surprised at the role he played in his son's imaginary.
So, to put it in Californian, Kafka had a serious attitude-problem with regard to his father.
So what is superego? Recall the strange fact, regularly evoked by Primo Levi and other holocaust survivors, on how their intimate reaction to their survival was marked by a deep split: consciously, they were fully aware that their survival was a matter of meaningless accident, that they are not in any way guilty for it, that the only guilty perpetrators are their Nazi torturers; at the same time, they were (more than merely) haunted by the "irrational" guilt feeling, as if they survived at the expense of others who died there and are thus somehow responsible for their death-as is well-known, this unbearable guilt-feeling drove many of them to suicide.
Art: Brian Calvin
Untitled - ink on paper, 2006
courtesy Anton Kern Gallery.
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