Alyssa Marie Ardytte AglidayAb Philosophy 2-1Upheavals of Thought: Emotions and InfancyMartha Nassbaum“Fifty Shades of Nussbaum”IntroductionThis paper aims to discuss the Chapter 4 “Emotions and Infancy” of the book published in 2001 written by a contemporary philosopher Martha Nussbaum in the light of an adult-romance novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James. This paper is divided into the following five main parts. Summary of the ReadingRationaleRelation to Fifty Shades of GreyApplicationConclusionSummary of the Reading“Human infants arrive in the world in a condition of needy helplessness more or less unparalleled in any other animal species” There was a time of Golden Age for infants, when the Earth provides all their needs and they do not have the notion of pain. Then the birth happened to the life of an infant and it became the cause for the blissful totality to be unable to continue. The moment the infants encounter the world of objects, they face helplessness. It is the time of when the Earth can longer automatically give the infant everything he needs. Thus, the transformation begins. “A felt need for the removal of pain or invasive stimuli, and for the restoration of a blissful or undisturbed condition”This is the instance of hunger, and the infant cannot feed himself. Thus, the need for transformational object. Transformation agencies take the form of both parents (either a mother or a father), caretakers, nurses who serves as the vehicle providing the needs for survival as well as the comfort and assurance to the infants so that it will not feel at all powerless. There are three distinct facets of the infant’s neediness according to Lucretius’ description. The first one is the needs of an infant cannot be reduced by bodily needs. This means that there is a distinction with the need for food and security. The role of transformation agencies aren’t just feeding the infant when he cries for milk, rather along side this role is to sooth and caress the infant. A fairly early exception was Winnicott, whose concept of “ holding” incorporates nutrition, sensitive care, and the creation of a “ facilitating environment.”This is when the helplessness of an infant is acknowledge and met. In some instances when the infant cannot have both the nourishment and security to one facilitating environment, the infant is more likely to be attached to the other which gives comfort rather than to the one that gives food. Animals have the capability to physically choose between the caretaker that comforts and nourishes, but infants is not capable of that so they depend to the source, and clings to comfort. Thus the care taker should both be able to provide care and food for the infant and should always be careful to holding the clinging infant. An instance when the infant falls from the hold of the care taker will mark the history of his emotions, and will leads to anxiety, but in any case of being held tightly trust is being built. The second facet is there should be a balance on how to take care of an infant. The inability to trust is due to the fact that the infant’s helplessness was neglected and was force to aim for perfection of emotions. In other words when a mother took the needs of an infant for granted, the infant will feel shame towards his neediness and will have no choice but to repress his omnipotence. On the other hand when a child has been taken care of so much that he has a little space to breathe it will lead to the infant being always helplessness and dependent to his care taker. “As the relationship between child and caretaker(s) develops, it is important that the caretaker(s) show sensitivity to the child’s particular rhythm and personal style, which Stern calls a “ dance.”The third and the last one is the ability of an infant at early age to make distinctions of the intense interest of the infant to what is not painful and not merely the instinctive removal of the pain. This is what it is called sorting out the world. II. RationaleI had this idea of relating the story of the Christian Grey who is the hero of the author E.L. James in her trilogy “Fifty Shades of Grey” when I have read the story of Marcel and Albertine at the introduction of Nussbaum in chapter four. Marcel longs for the comfort of having a mother so he did things like accusing his woman of lesbianism for her to give him all of her attention. In this case Marcel cannot love Albertine as her own person but only as someone who can fulfill the longing for his mother. “The woman seen by Marcel is an adult woman, as he, both as dreamer and in the dream, is an adult man. And yet, even as his attempt to comfort himself before sleep contained images of childhood comfort, so here his longing bears the trace of a small child’s longing: the strange woman kisses him on the cheek like a mother, and her posture, weighing him down, combines sexuality with the solidity and comfort of a maternal embrace. His ardent desire is for his body to “ meet up with” the warmth of hers, to become fused with her. We know from this point on that what he will later call the “ general form” of his loves points backwards toward the past, toward the solitary anxieties of the child who longs passionately for his mother’s goodnight kiss, that “ concession to my misery and my agitation” – and views her arrival with “ utmost pain,” since it is a sign that she will soon be departing. His insecurity and longing for comfort, his greedy desire to be held and immobilized – all this will mark his relationship with Albertine as surely as it here marks his dream of the unknown woman. Years later, needing Albertine’s comfort and reassurance, he accuses her of lesbianism and tells her that he can no longer love her – all in order to bring about the tender scene that ensues, so deeply desired, so unsatisfactory, in which she holds him still in her arms, and licks slowly with her her tongue the lips that refuse to open”In this story I had taken interest in comparing the novel to Nussbaum’s study of emotions and the neediness as an infant. III. Relation to “Fifty Shades of Grey”The most pivotal part of the novel is the story behind Christian Grey’s sadistic tendencies. The author revealed it on the sequel of the novel titled “Fifty Shades Darker” that before Christian was adopted he suffered from abuses from his mother’s pimp like an instance his body was used as an ashtray and witnessed how this same man left him with his dying-whore of a mother. He stayed at that apartment for three days beside the corpse of his mom and innocently telling her how hungry he is, the help came and he was adopted but for a very long time he do not speak and stuffed food although he was told by his adoptive parents that they will not disrupt him with his basic needs. For a long time, he just focuses himself playing the piano and later on speaks when his adopted sister came. Yet, he became a sadist and believed that he is not capable of loving and being loved. According to Nussbaum “emotions have history”. “For new objects of love and anger and fear bear the traces of earlier objects; one’s emotions towards them are frequently therefore also, in both intensity and configuration, emotions towards one’s own past” This means that the emotions that we felt as adults came from series of events and feelings that we had during childhood. The way an individual reacts and felt towards a certain object in which in his cognition reflects that of his emotions in his infancy. “Adult human emotions cannot be understood without understanding their history in infancy” In the case of Fifty Shades of Grey, Anastasia understood Christian by digging to his past, because his demeanor towards everyone is due to the events in his childhood. Readers can also notice the fact that Grey has a cold aura in him and he puts a huge walls in between himself and the people around him as a way of treatment even to his family. In other words he is so close off. It is also very much imposed by the author to her readers to have the knowledge that Grey doesn’t like to be touch at first even by Ana, although later on he trusts her. I have also mentioned earlier about Grey’s reaction after being rescued at the apartment; as an infant he choose not to speak to anyone and stuffed food.In the summary I have mentioned of the three distinct facets of the infant’s neediness. In relation to the novel, Grey have anxiety of being hurt again (more likely physically) by other people due to his experience in his infancy that his care taker abused him. It is a morbid version of when accidentally a clinging infant fell from the hold of the nurse, it creates an anxiety. Thus, there is also a need for Grey that Anastasia will never leave him, his possessiveness came from that kind of emotion that Ana provided him of comfort in which for an infant he did not get from his mother. I have said that an infant according to Nussbaum will more likely to be attached to the ones providing protection and since Grey by passed infancy, he then in his adulthood found it to his submissive who later on became his wife. Another thing is the coldness in his demeanor towards others is because his neediness as an infant was neglected by his care takers (the pimp and his mother). The shame to his vulnerability and tyranny of perfection made him to be cold and unable to trust other people. Yet according to Nussbaum this is what makes us humans and differ to animals. The ability to suppress our neediness. “Emotions acknowledgement of our neediness and lack of self-sufficiency before the source or objects of comforts” Lastly his reaction later on after he was rescued. Due to his bad experiences he found a difficulty in trusting his adoptive parents due to identifying them as his care takers. There had been no balance in taking care of Grey in his former years before he is adopted he is very much neglected as an infant. Thus he falls to the category of the unfortunate and with trust issues. This analysis I aim to prove the philosophy of Nussbaum regarding Emotions and Infancy. The later pages will contain my critique and application of the reading. “Emotions are often like that magic lantern, coloring the room one is actually in with the intense images of other objects, other stories”IV. Application In this Chapter, I agree to Nussbaum. The fact that an infant is not at all helpless due to the help of a facilitating environment which have the balance of space, and affection. In my case, I am proud that my parents do have the balance and sensibility to what I feel as an infant. I grew up not asking for much attention from other people because I know I can get it from my family. I don’t care that much if I am not the favorite member of the group as long as I have my mom as my best friend. I trust people that easily and that became my weakness, believing that everyone can be as good as my momYet, I have a doubt with the part where when neediness is being attended too much because my mother is over protective of me and does everything to give me what I need and want. If I were to be asked she is one of those mom’s who love her child excessively but I also believe that I am independent and tends not to rely on others help as long as I can do it on my own. Thus my case kind of opposed that of Nussbaum’s theory. ConclusionI have learned that all that who we are traces that from the past. Our infancy molded who we are as an adult and who ever took care of us plays a major role in building our personalities and emotions.
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