Brain States: The Neurology of Power and the Social Imaginary in Post-Enlightenment Germany
What caused the gap between Germany's highly organized and educated nation and the regression to a type guiltless sadism? Based on the fact that moral masochism is constituted by an ego that remains undifferentiated from the unconscious and identifies with another’s superego, the paper will explore: 1) The relationship between the history of the unconscious and ego consciousness in modern German philosophical thought and the moral masochism found in German Culture; 2) How the Nazi Regime facilitated the slippage (as defined by Derrida) from moral masochism to sadism, and implemented a dialectic of a history, including a past and future social imaginary (as defined by Taylor), to not only displace latent aggression, but to compensate for the lack of true autonomy which is characteristic of moral masochism. 3) And how both an unconscious identification with the ‘other’s superego’ and reification of anti-social and dehumanizing thoughts and images is facilitated by the type of non-conceptual mirroring evidenced by recent neurological research; 4) the respective disciplines will be evaluated in terms of their explanatory power.
Keywords: Germany, Derrida
Professor John DeCarlo
Assistant Professor, English and Humanities, Hofstra University