The Core of the Person


“It may be said that there is an original psychodynamics at the time of the genesis of the character in childhood and a sustaining psychodynamics in the adult, and I am proposing that these two are not identical. While the original psychodynamics constitutes a response to the crucial issue of being loved or not—or more specifically a response to interpersonal frustration, we may say that it is not principally a love frustration that sustains deficiency motivation in the adult, but an experience of lack that is based upon a self-perpetuated ontic vacuum and the corresponding existential self-interference.

A statement for the systematic analysis of all character structures in light of ontic obscuration and the “search for Being in the wrong place” has been Guntrip’s view, where he writes:

“Psychoanalytic theory had for a long time the appearance of the exploration of a circle which had no obvious center until ego psychology got on the way. Exploration had to begin with peripheral phenomena—behavior, moods, symptoms, conflicts, ‘mental mechanisms,’ erotic drives, aggression, fears, guilt, psychotic and psychoneurotic states, instincts and impulses, erotogenic zones, maturational stages and so on. All this is naturally important and must find its place in the total theory, but actually it is all secondary to some absolutely fundamental factor which is the ‘core’ of the ‘person as such.’ “

It is the felt absence of such a core that I am positing as the core of all psychopathology. Such a fundamental factor at the root of all passions (deficiency motivation) is a thirst for being that exists side by side with a dim apprehension of being-loss. I will only add to this theory at this point the contention that wherever “being” may seem to be, it is not; and that being can only be found in the most unlikely manner: through the acceptance of non-being and a journey through emptiness.”

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