The Temptation of Exteriority: Paradigmatic and Dramatic Examples of the Narcissistic-Paranoid Structure of the I, as a Structure of Exteriority


The argumentative approach of the present article is built around a pillar idea – that of the exteriority of the human I. This exteriority, far from being a vague, abstract or speculative one, is, on the contrary, a concrete, well articulated one, being, therefore, a well “structured” exteriority. I have shown that the essence of this structure of I’s exteriority is the projection or projective identification with an image from outside. For this reason, I called this structure of the exteriority, the narcissistic-paranoid structure of the I, while the outside projection of the image represents the very specifics of the paranoid mechanism, and the attachment, identification or falling in love with these images/projections from the outside represents the very specifics of the narcissistic mechanism. Using a key of psychoanalytic interpretation, I highlighted that the primary or intrapsychic identification, that is, the identification with one's own image reflected in the mirror, as it appears in the Myth of Narcissus, constitutes the pattern on which the secondary or interpsychic identifications with the reflected images of things will be grafted, so as it appears in the “prisoners” of the Allegory of the Cave. The Allegory of the Cave and the Myth of Narcissus, seen in analogy, therefore represent the paradigmatic and dramatic exemplifications of the narcissistic-paranoid structure of the I, as a structure of exteriority or ex-centricity. I then reported the two allegories to “The Mirror Stage”, Jacques Lacan's most important psychoanalytic contribution to the constitution of the I. I have thus shown that the I is formed by doubling in the external mirror, that is, by identifying with one's own image from the outside, which is an ideal image. This ideal image of the I is based on the conflict, duality and asymmetry between the motor system (bodily reality) and the visual system (the projection of bodily reality into an idealized and illusory image, in a gestalt). This very identification with an image in the mirror, from the outside, through which the subject believes that he “spots” himself, he “sees” himself and thus establishes himself (“I see myself, therefore I exist”), will constitute the genesis of the I. It is about the genesis of a “mask”, that is, of a false, external and illusory identity. This intrapsychic identification with one's own image from the outside, having rivalry and aggression with oneself as a specific feature, will constitute the pattern of interpsychic identifications, rivalry and aggression with other people. Finally, I have shown that in this identification with an outside image resides the drama of the exteriority of the human I. I have illustrated this drama through the Allegory of the Cave, the Myth of Narcissus, the Myth of Original Sin, as well as through the Romanian poem, The Boar with Silver Fangs, showing that the price paid for this ancient and dangerous temptation of exteriority is always death.

Keywords: the I, structure of exteriority, narcissist-paranoid structure, projective identification, image, intra and interpsychic identification, allegory of the cave, myth of Narcissus, mirror stage, drama

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