La Sarkose obsessionnelle

French psychiatrist Serge Hefez has written a book about the ever-present character of the French president in the minds of the French, La Sarkose obsessionnelle.

The following is a translation of a description that appeared on the French news site rue89:
After a year of familiarization, how to stop being Sarkointoxicated?

by HUBERT ARTUS | Rue89 | 06/05/2008

[...] Smoking Narcissism is bad for your health

"When I think of him, I feel overwhelmed by an obscene substance of which I am unable to rid myself."
For several months, we have been getting wind that more and more people are dreaming of Sarkozy. That we are more and more Sarkointoxicated. The psychiatrist has heard testimony of this in his practice. For him, the disequilibrium between our own image and the link, not Oedipal (which would have been logical) but narcissistic, with the elected president is a typical symptom of neurosis. A Sarkosis that "consists of an imaginary obstruction by the Sarkozian epic drama and translates into an impossibility to move one's thoughts away from the figure of the chief of state". It is a decidedly serious time.

The work's argument is based upon the notion of the narcissistic personality disorder, which it illustrates and demonstrates. For the "Homo Narcissus" that we are, Sarkozy incarnates the entrenching and the very personification of a neurosis that is proper to our anticivilizations of merchandise, where the advancing of a society is measured by the advancing of a disease and not by that of progress...

"This narcissism that he exhibits at its paroxysm is very familiar to us. During this immense revolution of values represented by the passage to our individualistic societies, our ultimate referent is the figure of the all-powerful individual, who contains within himself all of humanity, the incarnation of absolute autonomy."

Libido, pulsation, frenzy. And vulgarity.

A narcissism that, as it is, questions our own complicity, conscious or unconscious. In our day, narcissism is collective, consented. In a representative democracy where Lapaque stigmatizes the "Royalist substratum" (the Old Regime), it realizes itself in a man who is not necessarily a dictator:

"The obsessive Sarkosis is the meeting of a 'Homo Narcissus' population and a hyper-narcissistic president that mutually stuff themselves on the emotions of the other."

In the past, the president entered into our imagination by the authoritarian paths of the superego. Sarkozy invades our collective psyche through burglary: via the id, this psychoanalytic space where rests the libido, pulsations, desires, frenzy. And signs the predominance of the emotions over reflection. From which comes, as well, his vulgarity.

Moreover, for Hefez, when Sarkozy lays siege to childhood (the episode of the memory of the Shoah in every child in CM2), we shouldn't see anything other than "a narcissistic inflation by which he can embarrass, humiliate, and wound all the while exulting his actions and his personal worth. Narcissism pushed to the extreme utilizes other humans as instruments of his own power and as a decor to his own destiny and pleasure."

Through multiple microdemonstrations, Hefez demonstrates how Sarkozy manages to dominate his individual power over collective power. Cutting the social link. The end of the end of liberal politics. Hefez signs here a powerful psychoanalytical and political demonstration.
Too bad the French are still so caught up in Freud and Lacan. That description of the id sounds like a walk through the back alley of one of the seedier neighbourhoods in an American city.... But it is clear that Sarko represents the myth of the Individual, played out in the French media, and taken to its narcissistic extreme.

For a different take on narcissism, though one that certainly wouldn't put the president of France in a better light, check out A Structural Theory of Narcissism and Psychopathy.

It is curious that as the values of society crumble and are replaced more and more by deviant values, the mask of sanity worn by the deviants we elect to power needs to have less and less of an appearance of "sanity". It just goes to show to what degree we have all been infected that clowns like Sarko or Bush can reflect back to the ordinary citizen something of "I am just like you" in order to get elected. Of course, rigged voting machines help, too.

But when people dreamt of JFK, we bet they were dreams of a different order entirely.