Chapter 3

THE FAILURE OF SYNTHESIS: THE PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE VERTICAL SPLIT

We are all regularly invited to share in a “willing suspension of disbelief” (Coleridge, 1817) when we are watching a movie or a play. As much as we know the production to be make-believe, we cannot enjoy the spectacle unless we leave behind or deny for a while the entirety of the reality that engaged us before the curtain rose. Aside from documentaries that may insist on involving our sense of reality, all of the fictional renditions demand that we temporarily abandon our grounding in the real world. No one would claim, however, that what has sometimes been termed a “regression in the service of the ego” is necessarily a state of opposition. It is clearly more in the ...

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