Destructive Passion: Freud’s Metapsychology of Hate in “Instincts and their Vicissitudes”

This contribution proposes that Freud, in “Instincts and their Vicissitudes” (1915c), develops a separate metapsychology of hate for the first time. Freud does not only distinguish hate from sadism and masochism, but also renounces his former opinion about hate as a transformation of love. We analyse Freud’s views on hate in line with his “The Disposition to Obsessional Neurosis” (1913i) and according to the matrix of obsessional neurosis. We also draw attention to the constitutive importance of the ego-development and the ego-instincts as put forward in “On Narcissism: An Introduction” (1914c). In this way Freud’s plea for an original hate is one of the rare locations in the Freudian corpus where there is room for an original, non-sexual aggressivity.

“Frotteurism, Fetishism and co”: Rare Sexual Tendencies

In this paper some clinical fragments are presented to illustrate the delicate relationship between initial diagnostic assessment and the phenomenology that becomes visible through the gradual unfolding of an analytic cure. Examples of gerontophilia, apparently extreme narcissism, fetishism, and frotteurism illustrate that a theoretical diagnosis of perversion is far from straightforward. A cure, which is carried out thoroughly and which is faithful to its own dynamics, requires careful handling of hypothetical psychodiagnostic categories, even psychoanalytically inspired ones. Perverse onsets or perverse traits are not necessarily indications of a perverse structure.

Subject in a state of disintegration: A Lacanian reading of Lasch’s “The Culture of Narcissism”

In “The Culture of Narcissism” (1979), American social critic Christopher Lasch shows how the disintegration of traditional patriarchal authority and the rise of neo-capitalism has spawned a new, narcissistic form of subjectivity. In the current article, the author tries to relate Lasch’s work to the postmodern problematic of the non-existence of the big Other, as described by a number of authors inspired by Lacan. It is argued that the demise of symbolic influence has given rise to a proliferation of narcissistic ideals and the emergence of a “permissive” but extremely cruel superego. The imaginary identity of the narcissistic individual is no longer fixed in the symbolic, but is permanently refashioned and restyled for commercial purposes. On the basis of an interpretation of Lacan’s discours du capitaliste, this thesis is further developed and applied to a number of contemporary pathologies. The author states that these pathologies can be listened to as a complaint directed against the capitalist Other. The response of psychoanalysis to the non-existence of the big Other consists therefore of an ethic of good listening, listening that invites speech that does not leave the subject undivided.

Freud contra Laplanche: On Sadism and Masochism in “Instincts and their Viscissitudes”

This contribution focuses on Freud’s elaboration of the genesis of sadism and masochism in “Instincts and their Vicissitudes” (1915c). We first briefly recap the standard reading of this text by Jean Laplanche which relies on Freud’s concept of “anaclisis”. In our opinion, Laplanche’s reading implicitly presupposes that Freud’s discussion of sadism and masochism questions the sexualisation of an originally non-sexual aggressivity. In contrast, we argue that Freud’s argumentation starts from the question how the aggressivity that is inherent in sexuality relates to sadism and masochism qua perversion. The matrix of obsessional neurosis and the development of the ego discussed in the same context are of crucial importance for the systematic development of Freud’s answer to this last question.