In his psychoanalytic theory of personality, Freud suggested that psychic energy is generated by the libido (Libidobesetzung). The sign says This uni (university) is occupied.
Greek kathexis, holding, retention, from katekhein, to hold fast : kat-, kata-, intensive pref.; see cata- + ekhein
Steam punk psychiatry? Freud often described the functioning of psychosexual energies in mechanical terms, influenced perhaps by the dominance of the steam engine at the end of the nineteenth century.
Cathexis has entered pop culture, of course. There is an episode of StarTrek called Cathexis. There are oil companies called Cathexis (!). The word is misused in all sorts of ways by the kind of people who think that the use of a polysyllable will make them sound important.
From a television guide: Cathexis is a collection of erotic stories and images where reality is transcended through sexual excess. An enchanting dominatrix reshapes a beautiful boy into her female plaything; A mysterious metal box creates organic hallucinations; A young woman becomes sexually obsessed with the creature left in her care. Oh, boy. Where do they get this stuff? I’m glad I don’t have to watch that.
Remember the Orgasmatron in Sleeper?
There was some cathecting going on in that room.
Use cathexis in a sentence: His frustration with his father was repressed, but re-emerged through a cathexis in relation to his boss.
America was a mistake, a giant mistake. Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud was a mistake, a giant mistake. Sam Andrew Although Lucian Freud was a great artist who worked hard and did some beautiful things.
How the guys down the pub look at it: Guy A: Man, have you seen Joe? What’s up with him lately? Guy B: Being an obsessive stalker like always. This time his cathexis is the girl next door. Guy A: That’s screwed up.
Join LinkedIn and see how you are connected to Cathexis. It’s free. Uh, no, thank you.
Cathexis Oil and Gas is a well capitalized private oil and gas company located in downtown Houston. Cathexis will participate in non-op as well as operated opportunities utilizing industry best practices. Areas of interest span all of North America. Uh, no, thank you.
That kind of selfish, spiritually destructive, motherly cathexis is best perpetrated on geese, dogs and a cat. Uh, no, I don’t think so.
`The cathexis between mother and daughter-essential, distorted, misused – is the great unwritten story. And why don’t we leave it that way?
A band called Cathexis plays death metal down in Austin, Texas. Well, OK, as long as I don’t have to listen to it. I’m sure that they are very talented, though.
Cathexis is related to obsession. It is the concentration of mental energy on one particular person, idea, or object (especially to an unhealthy degree).
Now this I can relate to. I’ve been obsessed with one thing or another all my life.
When used to define narcissism, the term cathexis refers to the fact that one experiences one’s self-concept as inseparable from one’s self. It highlights the intimate integration of this self-concept. It becomes easier to understand if we think of it in relation to the integration of the sense of identity. Cathexis, then, means the integration of one’s identity. We term this integration, in our work, self-realization. In other words, the cathexis of the self is a psychoanalytic concept that approximates our concept of the realization of the self. Hmmmm. Maybe I will listen to that death metal after all.
“I’d been to 20 N. Moore Street and watched the throngs of `mourners’ making instant cathexis for the cameras, `identifying’ with the young `victims’ as avatars of Camelot cut down in their prime, a perfect couple who embodied our hopes and dreams, symbols of America’s longing for nobility, etc.” Guy Trebay, Eyes Wide Shut, The Village Voice, Aug 3, 1999
The notion of a cathexis is closely similar to the philosophical idea of an “intentional” state, which derives from Franz Brentano, Freud’s teacher and mentor. Freud initially held the object of a cathexis always to be intrapsychic, a position which is untenable and which he largely abandoned after 1915, when he began (correctly) to take cathected objects generally to be persons or events, not their representations. His idea of a cathexis as “entering into” its object contains a valuable and neglected insight, which undermines the centrality of the distinction between the “outer” and “inner” realms of experience. This distinction should not be confused with the key distinction between “fantasy” and “actuality” with respect to cathectic objects. So-called “inner” (fantasy) objects are generally “inside” the mind in a metaphorical sense only. (Psychiatric words found on the Net)
Keep in mind that Freud never used the word cathexis. He could have. He could have easily coined the word Kathexis in German. But he didn’t. He used an ordinary word Besetzung and he was happy with it and didn’t look for another word. The placard says This concert hall is occupied.
Cathexis is the city where humanity (of a sort) has reëmerged following a global transcendence into the Collective Reexistence, the unified psychic ocean of all human identity. (Game instructions on the Internet)
The narcissist cathexes (emotionally invests) with grandiosity everything he owns or does: his nearest and dearest, his work, his environment. But, as time passes, this pathologically intense aura fades. The narcissist finds fault with things and people he had first thought impeccable. He energetically berates and denigrates that which he equally zealously exulted and praised only a short while before.
The man who wrote the above then writes: Why is it, then, that when I revert to my writing a mere few weeks later, I find the syntax tortured, the grammar shoddy, the choice of words forced, the whole piece repulsively bloviated, and the ideas hopelessly tangled and dim? Why not try writing something concrete and real, then, instead of a lot of convoluted claptrap that you don’t even understand or believe yourself?
Fuck the jargon. Keep it short and concise.
When you are beset (besetzt) by someone or something, you are occupied with it. It takes up your whole space. You are possessed.
Sentimental attachment to a keepsake, a family heirloom, or a photograph would be an example of cathexis.
Patriotism and other impassioned identifications with groups and systems of belief are also forms of cathexis.
This is often why you are not going to talk someone out of being, say, a conservative.
People hold all kinds of beliefs for rational reasons, irrational reasons, and for reasons that they are not even conscious of.
When you have an argument with a partner or friend and it is on your mind, you can keep going over it, thinking about it, what will happen if you do this, what won’t happen if you do this, and so on, you are investing mental and emotional energy in that situation, event, and person. This is a fairly common thing, right? This must happen to everyone.
His cathexis on stamp collecting is becoming tiresome.
Is that a good sentence? It doesn’t seem like a good sentence. It feels as if the word cathexis has been dragged in there. It doesn’t feel natural.
Alison Bechdel wrote this: In a narcissistic cathexis, you invest more energy into your ideas about another person than in the actual, objective, external person.
That’s much better, isn’t it? It actually makes sense, and we have all had this experience.
Wait a minute. I’ve seen this gastrocnemius before. (gastro = belly and kneme = leg) The belly of the leg = calf.
Well, hey, how much sense does calf make anyway? Gastrocnemius is a much more descriptive word, although it may not hurt to translate it into English: legbelly.
Your cathexis is scratching my dogma.
Donald Rumsfeld’s cathexis with power blinded him, and still blinds him, to the real harm that he did to many people during his Shock and Awe period. He thinks that a simple trademarked grin is going to carry him over his callous irresponsibility to millions of people.
At least Robert McNamara learned something.
See you next week?