Identification Desire and Its Cinematic Arena
54 “Evacuation” and Narcissism
Ostensibly, evacuation is not a psychoanalytical term. Narcissism, on the other hand, is one of the best known ones, though arguably also one of the most misunderstood. Consider the origin of the expression and try to make sense of it in a somewhat frivolous way: a young guy coming across some mirror and becoming quite libidinous about the supposed picture, not realizing at first that it is he himself whom he perceives. (We’ll pass over the question whether the situation would be exactly the same with a female.) The improbability is so striking that even for a naive person it must be clear that it is a matter of a metaphor. Narcissus, according to the Greek mythology couldn’t let go of his adored image the true nature of which he wasn’t able to comprehend. So he perishes. (Toppling over and drowning in the pond in one version.) Well, of course, analysis has other things in mind. Let us, for now, just say that we’re going to dissert about a fixation with oneself, the ego, then (and by no means only in terms of auto-eroticism).
First, however, evacuation. What I have decidedly less in mind is defecation, the excretion of feces; the medical meaning of “evacuating” harmful substances (germs, even incorrectly administered medicine) is more helpful as is, of course, the more general meaning of clearing, removing, relinquishing, evacuating a building, etc. I am aiming at still another, imaginable but not yet familiar nuance or shift of...