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One thing in the "Emotional Intelligence" excerpt that I posted that particularly caught my attention was the passage about Freud's "primary process thought". Since the works of Freud were known to Eliot, is it possible that Freud's idea that "one feeling displaces another and stands for it" was the scientific underpinning behind Eliot's idea in literature of the "objective correlative"?
For convenience, I'm re-posting the section about Freud below.
-- Tom --
>From "Emotional Intelligence"
This logic of the heart — of the emotional mind — is well-described by Freud in his concept of "primary process" thought: it is the logic of religion and poetry, psychosis and children, dream and myth. The primary process is the key that unlocks the meanings of works like James Joyce's Ulysses: In primary process thought, loose associations determine the flow of a narrative; one object symbolizes another; one feeling displaces another and stands for it; wholes are condensed into parts. There is no time, no laws of cause-and-effect. Indeed, there is no such thing as "No" in the primary process; anything is possible. The psychoanalytic method is in part the art of deciphering and unraveling these substitutions in meaning.
If the emotional mind follows this logic and its rules, with one element standing for another, things need not necessarily be defined by their objective identity: what matters is how they are perceived; things are as they seem. What something reminds us of can be far more important than what it "is." Indeed, in emotional life, identities can be like a hologram in the sense that a single part evokes a whole. As Seymour Epstein points out, while the rational mind makes logical connections between causes and effects, the emotional mind is indiscriminate, connecting things that merely have similar striking features.
> Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2013 07:33:19 -0400
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Scientific basis for TSE's "objective correlative"
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Whatever he said about the unreadability of his dissertation decades
> later, his philosophic studies and dissertation study of Bradley
> underpinned his highly informed use of these terms throughout his life.
> It is probably true, as he said, that he wrote some of his criticism out
> of the necessity of raising money, but it is highly doubtful, at best,
> that any of his formulations were "random." Rather they were grounded
> in his studies. Criticism of them is much more frequent than it is as
> well grounded, if grounded at all.
> Regarding Rickard's observation about emotions and intellect below,
> TSE notes, again in the first few pages of his dissertation, that
> although we must focus on and discuss them separately, they never occur
> in isolation from one another; and in fact they are part of the same thing.
> On 10/20/2013 6:06 PM, Ken Armstrong wrote:
> > His dissertation begins with a focus on what feeling is for Bradey
> > (not feelings), both what it is and what it isn't. Emotions is one of
> > the things it isn't.
> > Ken A
> > On 10/20/2013 5:51 PM, P wrote:
> >> T&TIT is sensitive to the difference between the two words.
> >> P.
> >> "Rickard A. Parker" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >>> Thank you Tom for a terrific post.
> >>> I had been confused about Eliot's usage of
> >>> "emotions" and "feelings" in his essays. Maybe his
> >>> audience was in tune with him from a standard
> >>> usage at the time but I wasn't aware of a
> >>> difference. I don't recall Eliot defining the
> >>> terms either. I finally came up with something
> >>> close to what you reported on with emotions being
> >>> the ancient animal-like part and feelings being
> >>> when the intellect got involved. As I remember
> >>> though Eliot wasn't consistent with the usage and
> >>> it appears to me that your author wasn't either.