From: Prehension (2015), by Colin McGinn:
“…The stone is now his instrument, an agent of his survival, and an extension of his being. He feels a sense of oneness with it–of solidarity and belonging. The stone has been de-alienated. The stone has been humanized. There has been a meeting of man and object. The for-itself has made peace with the in-itself, or a fragment of it. It is no longer just a stone; it is now part of the human Umwelt.
With this sense of oneness, of closeness, of possession, a range of other relationships can be formed: controlling, taming, governing, shaping, subjugating, cherishing, annexing, amassing. And it is not just the inanimate impersonal world that can be de-alienated by the grip; we can also grip parts of our own body and the bodies of others. Most of one’s own body can be self-gripped, from head to toe, but some areas are hard to get to, depending on one’s degree of flexibility. Some people cannot grip their own feet; hardly anyone can grip certain areas of the back. The inside of the body cannot be gripped at all–the heart, the lungs, or the liver. In the happily prehensive state we feel no alienation from our own body, though ailments can interfere with self-gripping in different ways (paralysis, obviously). Then self-alienation will likely ensue the body will not be fully mine.
We already feel pretty alienated from our internal organs–the ungripped parts of our bodily being. A total ban on self-gripping is likely to feel uncomfortable and gulf-inducing (consider the genitals and certain “Victorian” prohibitions). Our prehensive relationship to our own body shapes our feelings of possession with respect to it. Parts of the body are among the first things we grip, and this “auto-prehension” leaves its imprint on the psyche. I am always within reach of my own body. This body is possessed by me because I can always grip it freely.
But it is in relation to other people that the de-alienating power of the grip really shows itself. The island of the solitary self is bridged by acts of other-prehension…”
Anna Freud and Dorothy Burlingham observed in their work at the Hampstead Nurseries:
‘children will cling even to mothers who are continually cross and sometimes cruel to them. The attachment of the small child to his mother seems to a large degree independent of her personal qualities.’
Mick Hucknall, composer of Stars (1991) was an only child and three years of age when his mother left him to be raised by his father. He has apparently seen her only twice since then (he’s now 62). The first occasion was in the mid-1990s. He reported their conversation thus:
‘…she was all, “We’ve got a lot of healing to do”. I’m, like, “I’m the one who’s got a lot of healing to do; you’re the one who split and feels guilty about it.”‘