Hanna Segal has written about depressive anxiety in the following terms: as recreating the world anew from the dead fragments, infusing life into dead fragments — it is about recreating life.  It is a conflict with disorder.  This need to recreate a lost world appears to be an almost organic, recursive process.

It is when the world within us is destroyed, when it is dead and loveless, when our loved ones are in fragments, and we ourselves are in helpless despair, it is then that we must recreate our world anew, reassemble the pieces, infuse life into dead fragments, re-create life. . . . [T]he wish to create is rooted in the depressive position and the capacity to create depends on a successful working through of it[.]

This theme is woven throughout Significant Moments, but perhaps most starkly in the following section that fuses the labors to create the Freud Archives with the essential themes of Hesse’s Magister Ludi:

After the Second World War, at a time when there was little interest in Sigmund
Freud’s life history, a small group of psychoanalysts—Hartmann, Kris, Lewin, Nunberg, and myself—became alarmed by the fact that a large number of letters by Freud had been lost as a result of the ravages brought about by the war. It was feared that if no measures were taken, the surviving documentation of Freud’s life would be . . .
Janet Malcolm, In the Freud Archives quoting K.R. Eissler.
. . . dispersed throughout the world . . .
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust.
. . . and most of it would be lost to future research. The need for a Sigmund Freud Archives was thus recognized.
Janet Malcolm, In the Freud Archives quoting K.R. Eissler.
What all this means to us at the present time is this:
Hermann Hesse, Magister Ludi: The Glass Bead Game.
Dr. Kurt Eissler, . . .
Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, Series Z: An Archival Fantasy.
. . . in due course, . . .
Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage.
. . . gathered about him a body of . . .
The Diary of Richard Wagner 1865-1882 – The Brown Book quoting
Parzival: First Prose Sketch.

. . . colleagues . . .
Hermann Hesse, Magister Ludi: The Glass Bead Game.
. . . to serve the . . .
The Diary of Richard Wagner 1865-1882 – The Brown Book quoting
Parzival: First Prose Sketch.

. . . newly founded . . .
Lord Alfred Tennyson, Idylls of the King: The Last Tournament.
. . . Freud Archives.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis: The Making and Unmaking of a
Psychoanalyst.

Starting from the very bottom, . . .
Hermann Hesse, Magister Ludi: The Glass Bead Game.
. . . and with a strength of spirit and character which is rare among human beings . . .
Lucy Beckett, Richard Wagner: Parsifal quoting Erich Heller.
. . . the much maligned Dr. Eissler . . .
Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, Series Z: An Archival Fantasy.
. . . sought and secured . . .
Jerome K. Jerome, The Cost of Kindness.
. . . historical materials . . .
Hermann Hesse, Magister Ludi: The Glass Bead Game.
. . . that were destined eventually for the Freud Archives under the custodianship of the Library of Congress . . .
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis: The Making and Unmaking of a
Psychoanalyst.

. . . where they would remain . . .
Thomas Hardy, Far From the Madding Crowd.
. . . inaccessible to every other living man.
H.G. Wells, The New Accelerator.

Hanna Segal talks about the need to keep the flame alive.  That was the essence of Dr. Eissler’s work on the Freud Archives.  That’s the essence of Hesse’s poem Worship, reproduced below.

The poem is an effort to express a knowledge imperfectly felt, to articulate relationships not quite seen, to make or discover some pattern in the world. It is a conflict with disorder, not a message from one person to another.
Richard Wilbur, The Genie in the Bottle.
Permit me to clarify the situation by a . . .
Hermann Hesse, Magister Ludi: The Glass Bead Game.
. . . poem drawn from . . .
The Home of the Eddic Lays.
. . . an old book, left to me by my ancestor . . .
Richard Wagner, Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg.
Here!—here!
Richard Wagner, Parsifal.
I will show you something . . .
T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land.
. . . not coerced into being by rational principle, but . . .
Richard Wilbur, The Genie in the Bottle.
. . . exhaled . . .
T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land.
. . . from the imagination, a condition of spontaneous psychic unity.
Richard Wilbur, The Genie in the Bottle.
Worship
In the beginning was the rule of sacred kings
Who hallowed field, grain, plow, who handed down
The law of sacrifices, set the bounds
To mortal men forever hungering
For the Invisible Ones’ just ordinance
That holds the sun and moon in perfect balance
And whose forms in their eternal radiance
Feel no suffering, nor know death’s ambiance.
Long ago the sons of the gods, the sacred line,
Passed, and mankind remained alone,
Embroiled in pleasure and pain, cut off from being,
Condemned to change unhallowed, unconfined.
But intimations of the true life never died,
And it is for us, in this time of harm
To keep, in metaphor and symbol and in psalm,
Reminders of that former sacred reverence.

Perhaps some day the darkness will be banned,
Perhaps some day the times will turn about,
The sun will once more rule us as our god
And take the sacrifices from our hands.
Hermann Hesse, Magister Ludi: The Glass Bead Game.
The image we carry of a lost coherence, of a center that held, has authority greater than historical truth. Facts can refute but not remove it. It matches some profound psychological and moral need. It gives us poise, a dialectical counterweight with which to situate our own condition. This appears to be an almost organic, recursive process.
George Steiner, In Bluebeard’s Castle.

Advertisements