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O R G O N izando

Produced by José Guilherme Oliveira

Armoured Language x Unarmoured Language

by Frinea Brandão and João Paulo Lyra da Silva

versão em português

© 1997 - rights reserved - Reproduction of this article is permited for non-comertial purposes, as long as the author is mentioned and reference to this page (http://www.orgonizando.psc.br/artigos/armoured.htm) is made. In case excerpts are quoted, care should be taken to avoid out-of-context distortion and misinterpretation.

Language, from the point of view of Linguistics, is the system of signs which allows for communication between the various members of a community. Through language, people make use of words as a means of expressing themselves.

Words, in the same manner as attitudes, gestures, and emotions, are fundamental signifying elements in psychotherapy.

Words are also signs. As signs, they bring together a concept, the meaning, and an acoustic impression, the signifier. The acoustic impression of a linguistic sign is not the actual sound, but the impression of the sound in the psyche.

Thus, language can be understood through a linguistic proposition, a proposition which is fundamental for the understanding of the sign and its importance in the relationship.

Every sign is always the sign of an absence, or rather, it refers to another sign. The sign is a sign of the absence of the other signs, and refers to them by forming associative chains. It is through these chains that the sign drifts from signifier to signifier.

When this drifting becomes disorderly, it is through interpretation that the patient reorganises himself, that he creates a sense. This sense becomes individual through the therapist's interpretation. His (or her) sense also works in favour of the search for new forms of functioning, and brings closer to contact a desire which is both unique and individual.

This individual desire, in its turn, takes us closer to the rhythm and beat of signification. Signification is different at each and every moment of a psychotherapeutic process. In orgone therapy this becomes even clearer due to the involvement of energy fields. When a therapist helps a patient in finding a sense, in signifying his personal desires, the latter are transmitted to the therapist through the energy field. An expansion takes place.

Each different moment of signification forces us to seek an expansion, in terms of energy. In order to achieve this expansion, one must understand the role it plays in the process which evolves out of the therapeutic relationship.

These moments are, therefore, made up of emotion and encased in a sheath - the emotionís expression time - where words are only one of many forms of expression.

Reich pointed out that character armour also has its forms of expression. Its favourite vehicle for expression is muscular contraction. This contraction has, as its starting point, the energy field. Language is also one of the forms of expression available to the character armour, and, consequently, armouring can be detected through language - a language which reflects everything from the occasional contraction brought on by pain to the shallowness of daily life, from lack of feeling and emotional shallowness to the emotional plague.

The spoken word can also be a symbol for this expression. It is made up of signs which can, in and of themselves, make up a symptom or even a symbolised complex, a syndrome. More specifically, the symptom can show itself as a sign, and the sign as a symptom.

Etymologically, the word symptom can be traced back to the Greek sumptoma, meaning "accident, coincidence, occurrence". In a psychotherapeutic process, it is yet another sign which helps in the perception of the whole. In orgone therapy, it can be used to revert the contraction.

The sign as a symptom, or even as a syndrome, shows a situation where communication itself expresses the affliction. In psychotherapy, this becomes clear with certain attitudes or emotions, often brought in as complaints, where a sign in particular can be the element involved.

Thus, by helping the patient decipher these signs, we help him or her resignify, or rather, find the course he or she had lost when this accident occurred.

It is common knowledge that each accident or contraction has a different moment of origin and a different role within the language of the armour. For this reason, there must also be a different signification at each moment of the therapeutic process. With the understanding of the role of signification in the process, the chances of achieving a moment of expansion become significantly greater.

On the other hand, ignoring the need for signification can lead to a random word game, or to a superficial chat, since, as the therapist listens, the patientís eyes look for signification in the therapistís attitudes, gestures, or words, devoid of that intention as these may be.

Words, gestures, and attitudes have a purpose within each moment through which the therapeutic relationship goes. Their signification cannot be separated from this purpose.

Just as signification plays a different role at each different moment of a psychotherapy and its role must be understood, the role of signification in the therapeutic moment and its signification are inseparable, that is: an attitude, emotion, or account brought in, at a certain moment, as resistance differs from the same content at a different moment, when it comes in as a dissolver of transference.

Signification will also free other signs, still to be signified, which, until that moment, were latent within their associative chain. These associative chains, which cross over one another, are arranged in several different angles and directions, as in a network. The energy which brings life to this associative movement comes from the act of signifying, from the process of signification. Sense is a particular direction which has been endowed with a higher concentration of energy. The way in which the signs are bound in the associative chain, on the other hand, will vary, according to the patientís structure and character.

There are several appropriate graphic representations for this network of signs. The most apparent graphic representation, manifest in the context of a therapeutic relationship, has to do with the form of communication which the psychic structure and the ego character of the subjects require in their common expression.

Therefore, that which has sense and signification is that which is inscribed in a network of signs, a characteristically complex, pluridimensional, and non-univocal network. The associative chain is not linear.

We believe that the concept of character, by itself, cannot account for the expression of transference in the therapeutic process. A psychotic hysteric and a psychopathic hysteric (the latter described as "histrionic personality disorder" in the DSM IV) are quite different, one from the other.

We understand the psychic structure as the subjectís energy arrangement and its functions. This arrangement is, as we see it, determined by the repressed in the mother/child relation. This relationship is, in its turn, over-determined by the Oedipus phenomenon.

In the Oedipus phenomenon, in a new reading of Lacan and Winnicott, we propose that the mother limit function, the other, the you, corollary of primary narcissism, belonging to the Id and founder of the Ego, and the father function, the third person, the Law, as founder of the Superego and deeply rooting with relation to the Ego.

The structure is a whole, with specific interrelations and parts, different from the organisation. Organisation is the final aspect one attributes when analysing aspects of a structure, or the structure itself, and which always maintains a heuristic character. Within our interpretation, we cannot speak of unhealthy structures, but of unhealthy aspects or organisational nuclei which gravitate towards the structure, split it, and form symbiotic relationships with it. In a rereading of Reichís works we have found that the body materialises these relational instances.

Thus, several concepts concerning the body have already been established. We have mentioned the body as matter, as space, and as movement, energy. Based on life itself, possessing a natural history which includes it in its biological, psychic, and social contexts, it is essentially dynamic. Endowed with sexuality for over one and a half billion years, and with a nervous system for over six hundred and fifty million years, it has only been socialising, sedentarily, as a human being, for approximately ten thousand years. This heritage of information which identifies an individual might have developed as such in order to communicate. In terms of communication, considering its insertion in the environment (sexuality, nervous system, culture), it has, throughout all these years, withstood all adaptiveness tests.

Neurology of communication, therefore, can already be represented. Living beings relates to the environment with either openness or closedness. Homeostasis is an example of a relationship through closedness. The receptive structures of sensory organs are examples of relationships through openness. In the human nervous system, according to Nauta and Freitag, 0.02% of the neurons are dedicated to establishing relationships through openness, both of entry and exit, and 99.98% are dedicated to relationships through closedness: assimilation-accommodation of what comes in and elaboration of what goes out.

The Reichian concept of expansion can be understood as relational movement driven by a relationship through openness. The concept of contraction, on the other hand, can be understood as relational movement in a relationship through closedness.

The bodyís biological, psychological, and social adaptability shows itself in several subject/environment relations. This is where we can place the roles of structure and character.

Thus, the following structures can be pointed out:

We understand character, based on Reich, as the typical form of reacting, not felt as a symptom or syndrome, which makes up the individualís personality. In essence, it would be the mode of behaviour which is typical in the relation. Formed along with the Superego, during the constitution of the Oedipus phenomenon, it finds its expression in the Ego and acts as a link between the two instances. It is ontogenetically over-determined, according to the phases of libidinal development. Thus, we can list the compulsive, masochistic, passive-feminine, phallic, and hysteric character structures.

Words are used in different senses by each structure. The way the words are used in communication is defined by the character.

At the level of psychosis, the linguistic sign, the word, is dissociated in its constituting elements, signifier and signified. The dissociated sign is still, however, utilised by the psychotic individual as if it were a sign, even though it is deeply denatured. The psychotic sometimes uses the sign split off from its role as a signifier, at other times from its value as signified; Reich named this process schizophrenic unfolding.

It is also possible to locate the characterising elements of neurosis, in terms of sign, signifier, and signified. In these terms, neurosis is mainly a disturbance in the use of significant relations between signs; the obsessive neurotic uses this fundamental property of the sign to build up his obsession, with the effect of at least lessening free circulation of the sense. Graphically, this form of communication could be represented as parallel lines. In the foreground, one of these lines, the most apparent, is smooth on the surface. The other, less apparent line, is full of knots and its surface is rough. It could be said of these lines that they are stuck onto one another.

In general terms, the disturbance of the relations between signs becomes apparent when one observes neuroses: short circuits, favoured relations, indirect relations. This disturbance becomes especially clear in the constitution of certain signs, as it reinforces the appearance of one of its aspects: signifier or signified. In Reichís conception, neurosis expresses itself in the muscle armour, which inhibits energy circulation, creating short circuits and favouring certain relations, mainly those which are indirect.

According to Françoise Dolto, the psyche is a metaphor for the body and its functions. Reich suggests something more concrete. The psyche is located in the body and the body, either with all of its inhibitions or with freely circulating energy, is either a metonymy or a metaphor for the psyche.

In psychosis, the relations between the signs are also disturbed. This fact is, however, the least significant aspect of the primary disturbance, which is the altering of the sign itself, in its constitution. The use of the sign as a mere signifier, for example, is insufficiently specific of the psychotic phenomenon, but in accordance with the general opinion that the psychotic makes use of words within "his own sense".

The sign can be clarified in the transference. The psychotic establishes direct communication with the psychotherapist, placing the latter in his or her proposed role - that of interlocutor and healer. Typically, in resistance, the psychotic ignores the psychotherapist, just as the psychopath fights him or her for space, the perverse patient challenges and the neurotic idealises him or her. The psychotic can see and perceive the psychotherapist when he or she gives some kind of emotional meaning to the relationship, when narcissistic barriers are broken. He is, then, for the psychotic, the organiser of his discourse.

The splitting of the signs occurs in different forms in psychoses. For the schizophrenic, for example, every signifier can come to mean one same concept or signified. In other words, the concept or signified is not connected to a signifier in an unvarying manner, but permits numerous permutations of signifiers to denote that one signified. The schizophrenic lives in a world of multiple symbols, where concreteness takes on the dimension of the imaginary. For the delirious, on the other hand, one same signifier can denote any signified. The signifier is not linked to a particular concepts, and is denatured in the symbolic. This is the way in which the persecutor, for example, becomes interchangeable: "They are out to get me".

Reich maintains that the schizophrenic is disorganised in the emotional arena, just as his body is disorganised. His energy field is open and, through it, he easily picks up the otherís emotional field, only he cannot identify what belongs to him and what belongs to the other, because the permutations in terms of signifiers are so numerous.

The neurotic, on the other hand, makes his speech the signifier of his very being, and, when he speaks of things, he separates them from himself. When the neurotic speaks of himself, he idealises his own Ego, attempting to make it identical to his subjectivity, which is mediated by language.

Communication through language is only possible when, as one speaks, one acknowledges that it is he or she who is speaking as a subject. It is possible when I take responsibility for words pronounced by me and when I pay attention to my interlocutorís speech, without taking it literally, adjusting his words according to the subjectivity which I attribute to him, making an effort to recognise the intention which drives him. We do not have the tendency, in the present day and age, to mix up, in theory, the "Ego" (formation, deformation, information) and the subjectís symbolic character. Communication, as described above, between two subjects (S and O), goes from S to O, or the other way around. There is, however, the deviation which is needed for Sís and Oís Egos. This is the "from you to me" mode of intersubjective communication, which cannot assume a more direct route, except in a few specific situations.

The delirious individual takes the emphasis off the being of which he speaks, with relation to both his subjectivity and the egoic characteristic of speech. He speaks of himself as if he were speaking of someone else, as a thing among things, seeing himself as others would see him, as an object. His discourse does not express subjectiveness. The Ego he describes is neither outlined nor energetically charged: he is an "other", an object. S and O coincide. The delirious subject acknowledges only one other: all subjects are instruments in the hands of a single master: the imaginary demand. This Ego, not very apt in terms of subjective references, is therefore limited to an imaginary pseudo-rationalism and open to the otherís influence and manipulations.

In perversion, on the other hand, the favoured form of communication crosses the imaginary, which has been paralysed in dual opposition: an inflexible subjective duality between the self and the imaginary demand of the other, which solidifies his ties with reality.

In psychopathy we find an introjection of the other; objects, in this kind of relationship, are incorporated by the subject. One will find an introject of the negating mother (the mother who denies love). Due to the loss of symbolic reference of his subjectivity, the delirious subject tends to get himself mixed up with others. He can see the difference between "I" and ? quite clearly. Between one self and another self, he sees superimposition. In a world of "us and them", it is easy to get confused. In delirium, there is no clear distribution of the roles "I" and "you"; the role "they" takes their place. The subject no longer directs the sense of his own language. Instead of leading and choosing in the process, he is taken over. It could be said of the delirious subject that he no longer speaks, but is spoken.

In schizophrenia, the S-O symbolic axis is favoured. The schizophrenic, with the reduction of his Ego functions, cannot identify with someone, but, as a radical subjectiveness, is a part of divine essence. The psychotherapeutic approach which seems appropriate in this case would be to somehow help the patient restore the use of his imaginary function (the O-O deviation), by helping him accept some kind of identification of an imaginary nature, or, in other words, to help him "sew up" his Ego. The patient can then restore his primary narcissism, creating a new story for himself, and his Ego can take on a more dynamic nature.

In Freudís opinion, identity is always conflict-ridden, as is the discourse. All forms of pleasure are conflict-ridden. Reich maintains that identity without conflict is possible. It is possible for primary narcissism to be actively reinscribed. There is no such thing as a death drive as a total drive, but only as a partial drive, a displacement of life drives. Reich proposes a direct identity with nature, an identity which makes use of a state which transcends the use of words. It is through energetic integration, integration of personal fields, and contact that this identity can be established. The point of view of energy fields suggests, in our opinion, a "cosmogony of desire". It is our personal point of view that spaces, macrocosms, and microcosms, over-determine each other. Thus, that is where and how we see the body, from the "big bang" to intimacy in love.

The discourse can imprison, and it can be an expression of the imprisoned body. The Ego and its functions tells us about ourselves and about our interlocutor. Language will express truths and lies in the perception of our relations. The discourse is true and liberating when it is an expression of desire - a desire which is sometimes in accordance with and sometimes regardless of the will, a desire which is connected, from its birth, to satisfying experiences, a desire which is inscribed in relationships. In this interpretation of Reich, we see the psychic apparatus as coming from satisfying life experiences, connected to primary narcissism. Primary narcissism is the founder of the psychic apparatus, as in Freudís first topography. Sex without guilt is possible, as is aggressiveness as defence or impulse, as is protective fear.

In quantum mechanics, hadrions (protons, neutrons, mesons, etc.) can establish four kinds of interaction with leptons (electrons, muons, neutrinos, etc.), namely: electromagnetic, weak, strong, and gravitational. The interactions are results of the exchange of bosons (photons, weak bosons, gluons, and gravitons).

In the organism, intercellular communication also occurs through energetic processes with varying quanta. The dynamics of intracellular energetic processes is very closely related to those of intercellular processes and to the extracellular mother cell. Macromolecules work like codified information at the various different energy levels which interact to form their base, in intra-atomic, intra-nuclear, nucleus-electrosphere, and inter-atomic interactions, covalent and divalent bonds, hydrogen bonds, disulphide bonds, and ionic bonds. Between macromolecules, smaller molecules, and ions, there is a complex interrelation, involving the intra-atomic and inter-atomic energy of their constituent parts. This interrelation makes for an ever-moving choreography, with information exchanges and the consequent creation of new information. At the molecular level, for example, electronic waves generate electronegative momentums, which form dynamic time-space relationships in an infinite chromatic scale.

Certain attractors, in the time-space relationship, allow us to formulate a few notions of static moments in processes, among which we can name the morphological, histological, and ultrastructural anatomy of cells, molecules, and of their interrelations with complex structures. Similarly, in the behaviour of human communities or individuals in the health-illness process, we can also identify "morbidity attractors". Poverty is often associated with morbid events, as in infectious/contagious diseases. Stress can also be associated with morbid events, as in degenerative diseases. The increase in the speed of retrodiffusion of the hydrogen ion and in blood flow in the gastric mucous membrane with a pattern of terminal circulation, functional events in predisposed organisms, related to stress due to organic, psychological, or social demands, in massive gastric haemorrhaging can be cited.

Thus, the health professionalís intervention should be guided by his or her perception of the effectiveness of the technique he or she possesses, having in mind its limitations and taking into consideration the moment in the dynamic reality which is appropriate for that particular intervention.

Identical stimuli can bring about different reactions in the same organism. The feelings of pleasantness and unpleasantness vary from person to person, from moment to moment. People with a higher degree of well-being - with more flexible armouring, in Reichian terms - are more capable of not fearing the pleasant and of detecting and abandoning avoidable unpleasant situations more quickly. These people are more orgastically potent.

Words, in our understanding, are charged not only with signification; in addition, they not only express acts, desires, will, and emotion, but they are also charged with energy and capable of bringing about movement in the organism. A word, when said at the appropriate moment, can bring on all different kinds of emotions. This moment is also the appropriate moment for interpretation, the moment which is most charged, in terms of energy, when investment and counterinvestment are taking place. The moment of investment is that where the relationship contains an object which is beyond the realm of narcissistic relations. These moments also occur in oneís daily life, but they are especially important in psychotherapy.

The psychotherapeutic process can be split into several moments. In the first moment, which we call the static reproduction of daily life, the relationship is most often narcissistic. This is what Reich describes as the first layer. The patient is located on the subject-secondary narcissism-subject axis. He is a subject of his own secondary narcissism. During the second moment (second layer) - the moment of transference - we find the relinquishing of narcissistic resistance, in the topographical point of view, and the move to preconscious inscriptions of the Ego and Superego. That is when the patient includes the therapist in his family relations, where the roots of his daily life are set. The third moment (third layer), could be called the "here and now" layer, and counts on the prevalence of the Id. The relationship between the patientís and therapistís organisms is free and direct. Organism, here, is understood as the complete psychic apparatus, emotionally, physically, and energetically materialised in the body. The Id, home of primary narcissism, and the Superego, where social emotions are located, establish active and dynamic exchanges in the interpersonal relationship, allowing for the organic expression of the limit and law functions. We believe that Reich was the first psychotherapist to suggest the existence of this moment. It is the moment beyond the transference, where emotional richness and intimacy abound. Intentions are fully translated, and emotional coherence in discourse is obvious and practically complete.

How does the Word fit into such distinctly different moments? In the first moment, words are not exchanged, they are thrown meaninglessly in attempts at description, flight, or defence. The psychotherapist works on the manifestations of resistance, with priority given to the most constant among the most constant, or rather, to those which are most energetically charged.

Reich thought up his method of working with resistance while he was still a psychoanalyst, making a method out of character analysis. He discovered the importance of the way the patient speaks, his contradictions in speech, the conflict between needing a relationship and fearing the relationship. Words, by themselves, were not enough. He began to observe the body, the gestures - other forms of language. The word (or speech) was placed in a very specific place and moment. When the word is considered within this whole, when it is placed there in an organised fashion, it promotes the transition to and insertion in the second moment: the moment of transference.

During this second moment, when words are already charged, whey gain new meaning; there are no empty descriptions, in most cases. There are contradictions, and they are all charged with meaning. The patientís story is being updated so that, through it, he can learn a new story, reinvent his sense and understanding, and clear up misapprehensions. This departure from secondary narcissism promotes a new encounter with primary narcissism. The relationship is established as subject-subject, but we can now add the subject-object-subject form of relationship, the objects being the historical inscriptions. The psychotherapist, therefore, works with this involvement, acting from the transferential standpoint where he has been placed. Words are very revealing and, through the revelations, the patient organises himself based on new meanings. Emotions, body, substances, and energy are all equally important at this moment in the relation. The therapist, considering the differences in structure and character from patient to patient, plays a different character in each story.

In the moment where memories become emotionally charged, previously wordless memories obtain meaning and sense from words. This historical insertion is, possibly, accomplished and deciphered, and the patient moves on to a third moment.

It is clear that these moments are connected, but not in a chronological fashion. One defines the other; one deciphers the other.

The third moment occurs when the patient can fully perceive the therapist as an "other" who is a part of his or her current history, and is not caught up in the otherís imaginary demand, both in his or her story and in his or her history. It is the delicate moment where the word takes the place of coherence, where it is more descriptive than interpretative, where it is involved in the signification of emotion. It is only a part of the whole. Memory is felt and signified as memory. The memory moment is almost as charged as present experiences. Wordless memories gain meaning through words. We dare say that words become necessary in order to give sense and meaning to all that has never had sense or meaning.

During this third moment, words acquire the depth allowed and needed by each individual patient. He either uses them or not, according to his need. The psychotherapist is the interlocutor of sensations and words. The need for his or her intervention varies enormously, as does the need for distressing moments, pleasant or unpleasant. A historically determined direction is given to each expression of this inscription. Importance is revealed along with need. Taking this as a starting point, the word leaves the entanglement of anti-significations and defences and achieves its full sense as a means for fulfilling desires, wishes, and needs. The psychotherapist is no longer necessary. The patient can go his own way. It is the moment of the cure. It is the moment of orgastic potency.

About the Authors

 Este é um sítio para se compartilhar as fontes da vida: conhecimento, amor e trabalho.
This is a site for sharing love, work and knowledge.

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