Sadism and Masochism: The Psychology of Hatred and Cruelty - Vol. 2

By Wilhelm Stekel; Louise Brink | Go to book overview

XX
RETROSPECT AND PROSPECT

It is dangerous to have man see too well how he is like the beasts without revealing to him his grandeur. It is also dangerous for him to see too much his grandeur without his baseness. It is still more dangerous to allow him to ignore the one or the other. But it is of great advantage to represent to him the one and the other. Man need not believe that he is equal to the beasts or the angels; yet he should not be ignorant of the one nature or the other, but he should know the one and the other.

BLAISE PASCAL.

Let us turn back after all these sad clinical histories to our starting point. We have learned that sadomasochism is a complicated parapathy, which approaches the type of the obsessive parapathies. The most of our patients reveal obsessive symptoms; indeed the paraphiliac act as such impresses us as an obsession, against the overpowering force of which the patient struggles in vain. In my article on obsessive parapathies 1 I propounded this thesis:

Every obsession arises through repression of an idea unacceptable to consciousness and through transference of the affect which has been set free to another apparently less painful idea.

This thesis seems to be thoroughly demonstrated through my analyses. The new thing is the variety of determinants of the sadistic obsessions, as revealed particularly in the cases under "A Child Is Being Beaten." The actual meaning of the parapathy appears to be hidden and is first brought to consciousness through the analysis.

The "death clause," absent from no obsession, does not appear openly in the sadomasochistic paraphilia; it is manifested only as hate. But we must consider that every hatred in its final issue is deadly (Swoboda). The sadist strives originally for the total annihilation of the object. Every sadist is really a murderer.

-407-

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