As when reading any work of psychoanalytic theory, throughout reading The Ego and its Hyperstate I had one question going through my mind – does Eliot want to fuck my mother? But jokes aside, this text is not a standard work of psychoanalytic theory. For one thing, not being as cold as others I have read in that school, I did not have to put on my (Freudian) slippers! (No more dreadful jokes, I promise).
This book is Rosenstock’s interpretation and analysis of the social-ontology of self-interest. As the subtitle states, the book is an analysis of self-interest that uses psychoanalytic theory and a dialectical approach. Dreams, Lovecraft, popular cinema and Alice in Wonderland are all part of the picture the reader finds within the text. Through these images and others, Rosenstock seeks to construct a bridge between Freudian thought and Stirner-type ideological egoism – or at least appears to seek this.
The main analytic gift Rosenstock gives is his concept of the Hyperstate, epitomised by the Absolute Hyperstate, which is defined as – “The articulations of the past create the self-interest of the present. The dreams of the future return to redefine the identities and orders of the past. This is The Absolute Hyperstate.”. But this work is more than a single concept! Rosenstock’s real gift to the reader is another addition to the world of radical mental-health thought, to join Félix Guattari, Roberto Freire, Otto Gross and others not willing to conform to industrial-mainstreams – something desperately needed in a world dominated by CBT and psychiatrists pushing pills.
If you want an introduction to his concept of dialectical egoism before you read the book, check out this piece on Rosenstock’s blog https://wp.me/pakZfP-7y
As for any critical points I could raise, I will state 2 here. The first is the top-down position of the analyst-as-authority (in-the-know), which is undoubtedly a product of the ideology and methodology of psychoanalysis Rosenstock embraces. The second is that Rosenstock is obviously attempting to construct some-Thing through this work, as system-building, which leaves me somewhat skeptical. However, neither of these criticisms, which are applicable to most of radical discourse, are reason enough to erase the value this text holds.
The book is likely best suited to readers interested in radical-therapies and Freudo-Marxist theories.