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Friday, March 29, 2013

Jim, Sarah and Object Relations: How Jim saved his life from Sarah without knowing it.


This text deals with Sarah Kerrigan and Jim Raynor, two of the main protagonists in the Starcraft and Starcraft 2 games released by Blizzard Entertainment.

It is not very often I mix my professional mindset with the stuff out of which my hobbies are made... well, I lie, it is very often, but it's rare I transfer my psychedelic bouts unto text. So here I am, trying to outline Sarah Kerrigan's (ie. Starcraft series) pattern of relating to men and institutions and how her relational scripts might lead to Jim Raynor's death should these two characters stay close.

What is Object Relations (ORs)?

“Object Relations Theory is a theory of relationships between people, in particular within a family and especially between the mother and her child. A basic tenet is that we are driven to form relationships with others and that failure to form successful early relationships leads to later problems.” [1]

What’s up with Kerrigan?

When Kerrigan was little - and I admit, maybe way after the formative years as outlined by Freud and Klein, yet I'll make a leap of reason and grant it that Sarah's object relations have already been put into effect by her parents in some twisted way - her psionic powers unleashed, killing her parents and prompting the governing powers to take her away for processing her mind in order to become a Ghost, a highly psionic and skilled assassin. [2]


(1) Kerrigan kills the parent – literally - and another “parent” takes over to save her from the grief. This would be the starting point. Maybe it was grief, maybe on an irrational, unconscious level Kerrigan felt betrayed by her parents for not being able to contain her – it’s all mixed up, contradictory and ambivalent, the way psychoanalysis loves to see all things human.

Arcturus Mengsk comes along and liberates Kerrigan, drafting her to do his work against the Confederacy [3].

(2) Kerrigan is saved by another parent figure, a man - this plays exactly into her ORs as we say them in (1). It has been said that paternal authority stems from fear, they same way the Confederacy and any totalitarian regime applies its rule [4]. After being saved by the man, he attempts to "kill" the previous male representation, the one for which one she worked and by which she was manipulated.

Raynor comes along, and loves Kerrigan. This sets the ground for some later rescuing. Mengsk leaves Kerrigan to die in the hands of the Overmind, an alien mastermind with a strong paternal character. The Overmind gives new abilities to Kerrigan, makes her a supreme being of human/zerg genome, and she does his bidding, until he is slain by their enemies.

(3) Another father figure saves Sarah from the previous one. The Overmind wants to kill, among others, the humans, which stand for Sarah the previous paternal betrayer-manipulator.

The Overmind is slain, and with a not-so-brief break Sarah returns to her quest for Zerg dominance, albeit fatherless, her own person – yet not quite. Overmind’s effects are still in effect – she ahs the powers and the zerg prowess that allows her to follow her plans and eventually her revenge on paternal betrayers. What happens next though puts the OR in perpetuity once again: Raynor saves her from the Overmind’s transformation, and makes her human again.

Kerrigan, in Heart of the Swarm, is now bent on hunting down Mengsk for betraying and manipulating her.

 (4) Another male – an alpha male, with strong paternal behaviours and attitudes throughout Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty story mode – saves Kerrigan from the previous one. Kerrigan, loyal to her ORs, feels compelled (and quite rightfully so) to kill the previous, betraying-manipulating paternal figure – Mengsk.
Mengsk abducts Raynor. Kerrigan is left without a paternal figure both externally and internally – she is without Raynor and without abilities. Surely enough, Zeratul – another paternal male figure – comes along and shows her the way to restore her supernatural/transbiological powers.

Kerrigan is now in power again to hunt down Mengsk. She is still on the quest to find the only man that has not betrayed her yet – Raynor, and it’s the first time we see her break her ORs in that capacity.
Raynor is freed by Kerrigan, but leaves her – quite understandably so, since a mutated hot readhead does not lend her body much to human carnal interactions, aka: disgust. Raynor becomes the betrayer, albeit in a different form. Kerrigan does not seem to be projecting her ORs unto him, since she shows understanding of the consequences of her actions.

Or does she? She did become a monster to save Raynor, but completely disregarding the prospect of having normal relations with him – if you know what I mean. She feels COMPELED [5] to act this way – her ORs are more powerful than any common sense.

In the Heart of the Swarm story mode, she kills Mengsk, she exacts her revenge and kills the final betraying male, paternal figure. What is next? An alien force so vast that cannot but evoke the same fearful paternal imagery – powerful beyond comprehension, evoking strong fear to all species.

What Raynor did and what has maybe saved his butt was the fact that although she did abandon Sarah was the fact that he did help her in the end kill Mengsk, essentially helping her act-out her ORs. In the end, he was not the male figure to love Kerrigan for who she was, but guided her for what she did: killing her paternal rescuers/betrayers.

Jim saved his own hide without knowing it, and Sarah is free to roam the galaxy always acting out her ORs, always full of angst, her issues unresolved forever…

I am aware of the possible holes in this whole hypothesis – that Kerrigan has been compelled to act out her ORs her whole life – and that essentially her relationship to her parents is not explored fully, but hey, this “article” is meant for brain teasing, not proper psychoanalysis.

I am also aware that I did not address properly the role of other male figures in Kerrigan's story, for example, Zeratul, who seems for the most part to have an antagonistic role to Kerrigan's.


[4] Hanly, C.M.T. (1996). Reflections on feminine and masculine authority: A developmental perspective. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 65, 84-101.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Meritocracy and Societal Systems Schema

A perception of relationships between society and individual personal struggle, a heat-of-the-moment-at-2am pet theory

While pondering in a usual whining tone the worth of smart people trying to make something for themselves, and of stupid spoiled ones not breaking a sweat to have more than a decent living, my mind decided to stop being a perpetuation machine of "boo-fucking-hoo" and distanced itself. And then, this pretty(ish) form popped into my mind. Needs work, definitely, but I thought I'd plant it here and come back later to see whether it'll grow into something useful.

Observations/ Armchair hypotheses

1. The less perplexed and/or corrupt the "system", the lower the return gains from Cunning become

2. The more meritocratic the system, the higher the return gains from Talent become

3. Effort acts in a multiplicative manner to both Talent and Cunning

4. In a complex enough system, there may be a dual meritocratic channel through which both Talent and Cunning can have return gains with equal Reward and/or Satisfaction

5a. The higher the Legacy return gains, the lower the meritocracy of the "System", and the higher the nepotism.

5b. Across generations, the sum of Talent and/or Cunning * Effort becomes Legacy

5c. Initially meritocratic "Systems" tend to become nepotistic, unless Legacy is render to act multiplicative to Talent and/or Cunning, as Effort is.

Feel free to contribute, jest, flame, comment.

I will have to operationally define return gains, meritocracy, corruption etc in time, but right now I don't think I have it.


The Fickle Goddess

You know you have allowed someone to be your goddess lover when all your fables change and twist to better suit the existence of her in your mind.

Friday, September 7, 2012


The ink of your existence bears a semblance of the astral bodies that swim in the stoic ether. Only in what I could regard as the playful humming of electrons can I pull the curtain from the eyes that lust for a greater view, the view that shrinks my troubles into a ridicule. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012



"The Legends Ends" was one of the mottos promoting the Dark Knight Rises.

It struck me as way too finite for a comic legend that dates back to 1939. Endurance in time is a definite characteristic of (super) heroes, and this very trait creates the illusion of timelessness for imagined characters such as Peter Parker, Tony Stark, Clark Kent, and Richard Dawkins (as some have very well claimed).

But on a serious note, this is why those characters can be compared to Hercules, Odysseus (I refuse to use "Ulysses"- darn it, I just did), Spartacus and King Arthur. Although the legend of the latter may be traced back to real people, their infamy lost in the eons, the modern and ancient heroes have come to share the trait of timelessness, and this is because they represent a response to the issues faced in their corresponding time.

The Legend Ends, they claimed, and so it did in the third Dark Knight movie. Heroes are timeless because they represent a solution to a problem, regardless if they "stay" with us for their timeless qualities - strength, resilience, courage, hope, altruism, brilliance. Especially for the concept of the vigilante, we have to remember, they are like humanized projects: a response to corruption, violence (okay, with even more violence), prejudice, crime in general, and many more tainting issues in society. A project begins, unravels, and ends.

The vigilante should grow wiser, but at a cost. Maybe he gets away, lucky enough to witness the solution he brought into the system blossom into a new era. But most probably (s)he has rattled the nest too much, upset the waters extensively, and has to suffer the consequences. Death is a highly probable outcome.

And this is where the long-forgotten characteristic of heroes comes right in: the die at the end. The western society made superheroes timeless, ageless, immortal in a way (regardless of how many stories "kill" them, they keep coming back in reboots both in comic or movie form). We have forgotten than heroes are basically mortals, and even if they bear a divine legacy, they will have to die to matter. Or, if their work can have any impact, they have to sacrifice themselves to ensure effectiveness, as literature wants it.

Heroes have to end, a solution has to be given, and the rest of humanity has to go on inspired, and wiser.

In conclusion, the figures sculpted into timeless heroes, their stories meant to be told and retold and rebooted, are there to inspire us - but if we wish to take a closer look to the work actually done, it can (almost) never be a self-perpetuating project: it has to have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Or the actual hero may live long enough to see himself become the villain.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Dream with the feathers of angels stuck beneath your head

The human mind is an excellent tool, considering.

Considering what exactly? The "natural" state of affairs for the human organism, termed Homo Sapiens, is "stuck" way back in natural history. Predating on and gathering other manifestations of life, our species ended up realizing that Mother Nature's Tits are exhausted and the Keep Walking motto would be used again with lightness many millennia later.

So, what then? We had to share, organize, lead, advance, you know the story, more or less. Societies begun to form and with them, rules. Did we need them? Nah, not really, every social species sooner or later learns how to behave within and between other species (see LIONS TIGERS CHIMPANZEES BEES OH AND DON'T FORGET THE DOLPHINS).

Our rules had to balance out the fact that each member of our kind had not necessarily the access to the satisfactions members of earlier mutations had.

So, how the human mind did cope with the rules? It's one thing to obey, and another to concur. Agreeing with the moral and legal framework of society saves you a lot of energy and happiness, contrasted to sticking it up to the man where the man consists of you being buttfucking outnumbered.

And most of us decided to agree with the status quo, the New Big Tit, Civilization. And all of us want to play one. More. Turn.

This magnificent tool, the human brain, managed to trick itself into agreeing easily with most, or at least with the least agreeable, Terms and Conditions for Civilization (I am so enjoying the images I am conjuring up for all the geeks out there). The mind slapped itself into thinking that most "stuff" today is okay, that most emotions it feels are to be ignored, discarded, "controlled" and managed.

An adolescence and an adulthood later, the mind may give up. It shouts FUCK THIS SHIT and the true self starts showing through the cracks. While you were dreaming with the feathers of angels stuffed beneath your head, put there by the united social script - the cultural coding, your true self was spitting said feathers until it could utter WTF IS THIS SHIT.

We are amazing at tricking ourselves since the dawn of time. You may covet the neighbour's ox, but you enter a religious mindframe, suddenly, the ox is no longer in your mind. Magic, really!

What is the price we pay for being false, fake, faking it, putting a mask so close to our face it bleeds? Not much. We still survive, we can still enjoy our lives more or less, we can still make great things.

But there are nights like this I can barely take it - the realization of how much conditioned to The New Tit sinks in hard, and there I go again, still trying to transymbolize, fly from one reality to another, searching like an old but clueless sage, doubting I know anything and at the same time seeing it all, in a way.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Journey so Far

Carry on my wayward son.

...the voice seems to say, IN MY HEAD. Day 281 in the gloomy but inspiring London.
And I am inspired to do what?

To contain, to analyze, to empathize. These are the goals of the aforementioned aspiration. They are an ambition professionale wrapped in one-stone-two-birds viewpoint regarding "normal" life as well.

But normal life seems to shrink and dilute every other week, with the occasional exceptions of going back home, losing a part of myself (quite literally sometimes) and then back to adulthood, as it were.

The only thing I can hope for is the personal acknowledgment of all these 281 days as a trial-by-fire for financial independence, for building up and internalizing evaluative processes that allow for confidence building (yet so far from the self-made-man, so fucking far....): for meticulous searching and obsessive finding of evidence for a stable and persistent self that evaded me for years. An acid test for aspirations, dreams and symbolizations that traveled freely between Athens and Sanctuary, London and Middle-Earth, Larissa and the World of Darkness, Clapham and the Normandy.

Self-reflection has become an everyday irritation, like an itch that does not even bleed: if it did, it would be easier to stop.

And then, the idea pops back in my head: this is psionic training, this is wizardry manifested. The transymbolization between reality and myth kicks in, spills a prep talk lasting several milliseconds, and vanishes again in the first sight of real trouble. Bang! Your esteem is dead, go back and repair.

But alas! One cannot simply indulge in self-pitty, quit for a while and then push the bed sheets away, and this is probably one of the good aspects of proper adulthood: there is no time to whine!

Apart from tonight, I guess.