Human Aggression: Primal Archaic Destructive Aggression and The Sexual Instinct
By Karen Barna
The theory of Erickson (1963), Emde (1985), and Pollock (1998) “is that psychic development is continuous, lifelong interplay of biological, environmental, and intrapsychic forces. Development has been defined as ‘the emergence of forms, of function and of behavior which are the outcome of exchanges between the organism on the one hand, the inner and outer environment on the other’” (Colarusso, 2000). But this development can become stymied if blocked learning occurs, or is allowed to occur, and here I make reference to the occurrence of electronic targeting and electronic assaults on human minds and bodies using electromagnetic frequency and to which society has termed this phenomenon Targeted Individuals. Under normal conditions, psychic development is continuous and lifelong and this is directly associated with one’s ability to learn effectively. “Erikson was the psychoanalytic pioneer who extended the concept of development throughout adulthood with his Eight Stages of Man. Following in his footsteps, Emde wrote: “First and foremost, we must realize that the developmental thrust is not over in adolescence — far from it. There is a continuous dynamic process, and the adult personality continues to undergo structural changes . . . . It may be in fact that the psychology of adult development is an important for clinical psychoanalysis as is the psychology of early development” (Colarusso, 2000). With that said, it is important to recognize detrimental effects that can influence psychic development in the wrong ways, and here I am specifically referring to electronic targeting and the use of electromagnetic frequency (RF) used on the minds and bodies of civilian subjects, at large, at the hands of an oppressive tyrant who desires to be the Master-Controller(s) over a small population of people. One cannot forget the detrimental influences of the Trump administration and the connections to his hate speech (language) that may have contributed to the actions of Caesar Sayoc who sent mail bombs to several of Trump’s critics, as well as the siege on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
George H. Pollock wrote, “Development, obviously, is not the same as growth and can include progression, regression, new constructions, remodeling, and in some ways, decline.” (p.44).
We can make an association between how environmental factors detrimentally affect psychic development, as seen in the side-effects of war and trauma, and one could most certainly agree that these environmental factors that affect psychic decline, especially if they are allowed to continue, can ultimately affect general overall health and well-being. And with this, of course, I am referring to the electronic targeted attacks of individuals’ bodies and minds by a Master-Controller(s) who wishes to seek dominion and subjugation over another (Butler, 1997).
It’s interesting to note that although the mother-child dyad is the foundation on which all other relationships are built, the father-child dyad seems to eclipse that of the mother’s importance in the relationship during the Oedipal phase of development. According to Freud in his ‘Dissolution of the Oedipus Complex,’ Christina Weiland writes, “What follows the dissolution of the Oedipus complex is not the establishment of a parental couple but, on the contrary, its destruction. What follows is an idealized/castrating father ruling over a desexualized ego and a repressed maternal world. Ernest Jones, in opposition to Freud, saw the phallic phase as following the Oedipus complex (1927). He maintained that to save his penis the boy gives up mother and substitutes her by his penis. In this reading of the outcome of the Oedipus complex masculine narcissism incorporated in the penis replaces the longing for mother and the accompanying dread of castration. Whichever way we read it; however, the castration complex is central to the outcome of the Oedipus complex (Freud, 1924; Jones, 1927; Weiland, 1996).”
According to Jones, in substituting the mother alongside his penis, my interpretation is the mother becomes the Object possession in the little boy’s relational world and instead of allowing the mother to survive as an equal, the little boy incorporates ‘masculine narcissism.’ In this scenario, the mother in the parental couple is obliterated and is not allowed to survive as the little boy joins in identification with the father. It is for this reason Freud’s castration complex has been called the “psychotic text” of Western culture by many feminists. It does not allow for the possibility for the mother’s survival alongside father as an equal subject. That is, as a parental couple equal to each other and in unison with one another. We could argue that what should follow Oedipal relations, in fact, should be instead a peaceful resolution with the co-existence of the father and the mother in the psyche. But this doesn’t occur in Freudian theory. In fact, the very opposite occurs. What occurs is the destruction of the parental unit through the subjugation of the mother to a lower position. This all hints toward the roots of archaic sadism found in the human psyche and to which we can explain Jessica Benjamin’s statement “Sex is violence (Benjamin, 1995).” And here one could speak regarding parental arguments and fights in full view of the children. If aggression, degradation, and dehumanization of objects are allowed to be witnessed during a child’s early and latent development, then to what extent could these events contribute to the derangements, distortions, delusions, and perverse solutions occurring culturally. And how much of a role do socioeconomics, wealth, and privilege influence positive outcomes. Psychoanalytic theory should never undercut the importance of biological reasons as an important contributor to outcomes, we know DNA can contribute to a person’s personality as much as 50%. “In studies of twins reared apart, researchers concluded that 70% of differences between IQs in twins is due to genetic variation (70% heritability); the remaining 30% of differences is caused by environmental factors, which is similar to previous research (Dixon, 2019).” This suggests that DNA hardwires us all to certain predestine outcomes like Alzheimer’s, sickle cell anemia, breast cancer, IQ, and even psychopathy.
There is a powerful instinctual aggressiveness in humans. Freud called this instinctual aggressiveness or barbarizing tendency “regressive tendency” (Chessick, 1996). But isn’t this “regressive tendency” inherent in the ‘masculine narcissism’ acquired by the little boy theorized by Freud in his Oedipus complex (castration complex)? For one could argue that when a man allows for his sadism to be unleashed on to the Object other, in castrating fashion, it is enjoyed with a high degree of narcissistic enjoyment. This, for the most part, is certainly true. For how else is one to explain the narcissistic enjoyment (sadism) in watching your opponent lose in competition?
For Freud, in normal psychic development, the death tendency is the primary manifestation of a death instinct that is independent from the libido. It has been commented by some feminist psychoanalysts that the death instinct may not be independent from the libido as Freud has postulated. This diverges from Freud in which he theorized the death tendency is the primary manifestation of a death instinct that is independent from the libido (Caropreso, 2017). Thus, the life instinct bound by the libido in the sexual drive is part of what Freud called Eros. However, in studying the aberrations and anomalies of personality and sexual deviance, it has been stated that “Sex is violence (Benjamin, 1995).” Because of this perception that “Sex is violence” which most certainly has its roots in Freud’s Oedipus complex, sexual violence is contained within the dialectic of sexual intercourse and is symbolically repeated in the stabbing of the phallus into the vagina or anus which produces orgasm. And it’s interesting to note the French word for orgasm is “la petit mort” or little death. La petite mort is an expression used by the French which means “the brief loss or weakening of consciousness” and in modern usage refers specifically to “the sensation of post-orgasm as likened to death, and here one might make a reference to the act of asphyxiation during orgasm with the brief loss of consciousness that results. Yet in another theory, sexual violence can also be explained by the existence of pornography which seeks to degrade the object into themes revolving around the aesthetics of beauty with images of the masculine and feminine sexual Ideal with the pure sexual satisfaction and narcissistic enjoyments being derived at the expense of these objects. It has also been theorized that in acts of sexual sadism, the multiple stabbing with a knife into a victim mimics the act of sexual penetration during coitus. Although these theories have pertained mostly to abnormal development and sexual deviance, areas that significantly deviate from traditional gender roles and sexual relations, one could most certainly make a connection between masculine narcissism incorporated in the little boy’s penis that replaces the longing for mother and the accompanying dread of castration by the father as “Sex is violence” as well as its connection to the obliteration of the parental couple. It can also explain the manifestation of a wide range of counter-phobic objects that pervade our culture. If you think of counter-phobic objects as the following; all weapons (guns, knives), cosmetics and plastic surgery, designer clothing, designer handbags, and designer accessories, religion with all its amulets and fetished motifs like the religious cross, expensive cars, remote electronic devices that cast a tethered signal that is wired biologically via an implant to a human Object. The latter falling under “weapons”. In terms of sexual deviance, how is one to explain the desire by a woman, to strap on a mock penis, and penetrate the vagina of her love object (another woman) if these are not acts pertaining to masculine subjugation? Does not the ‘strap on penis’ become the counter-phobic object? The idealization of father and his powerful penis? Or the domination found in a man’s desire to use the anus of another man as a ‘mock vagina’ in subjugation to his sexual ‘power’ and domination? Acts of masculine prowess exerted over other men in prison, thereby making the actual phallus the counter-phobic object. ‘The power over another’ is how all acts of subjugation are carried out. Although, speaking in terms of unequal power distribution, subjugation often arrives at the expense of the powerless, especially when it is rooted in phallic omnipotence. The currency of this type of domination often arrives at the expense of ‘voice’, or the inability of the powerless “to speak” or “to be heard,” and this may be a voice that may or may not actually be heard, but is somehow always ignored. We could also make a connection to the fact that acts of BDSM are often a sexual pleasure enjoyed by many homosexual men and some lesbian women and the connection to these acts may be found in the roots of sadism as explained in Freud’s castration complex. In my opinion, there exists a residual theme of primitive sexual sadism rooted in Freudian theory explaining sexual orientation and gender relations; the psychotic text of Western culture that helps explain narcissism, gender orientation, sexual orientation, and psychosis. This same complex is the complex that strands us all on the shores of our psychic sexual development. So, in this way, one might say we are all “stranded objects” so to speak.
“…that psychic development is continuous, lifelong interplay of biological, environmental, and intrapsychic forces. Development has been defined as ‘the emergence of forms, of function and of behavior which are the outcome of exchanges between the organism on the one hand, the inner and outer environment on the other’.” (Colarusso, 2000)
It is important to recognize that the proclivity toward brutality and paranoid projection is constantly present in the unconscious of every human being. Heinz Kohut believes the original drive in infancy is assertive in nature, and changes to hate and aggression only as a consequence of phase-inappropriate disappointments in empathic soothing. “For example, Bertrand Russell said that because of the haunting fear of ruin that most people have, anything that increases the general security is likely to diminish cruelty. Obviously general security cannot be achieved by making one portion of mankind secure at the expense of another, as this only increases the dominant group’s fear that the oppressed will rebel” (Chessick, 1996).
It is precisely this, “the dominant group’s fear that the oppressed will rebel,” and the use of electronic weapons through electronic attacks, harassment, and torture is being used as a way, and I use Winnicott’s (1971) theory, to ensure that the object survives, and by survive we mean not rebel. That is to say, regarding the electronic targeting of individuals, at least as I have experienced them, the Object receives the abuses in his/her environment and is conditioned through electromagnetic frequency not to rebel but instead accept and “appropriately” respond to the abuse. It is complete manipulation and exploitation of an Object, albeit with remote clandestine hidden attacks of electronic targeting; a seduction utilized for the viewing entertainment of an audience with the pure narcissistic enjoyment being experienced by the Operator/Controller’s successful subjugation of his/her victims. It is unethical, inhumane, and unnecessary torture of human beings. And reviewing the events of the Trump administration, we can see how a person with a personality disorder can incite hatred in the minds of people who already have a proclivity toward destructive acts and to which was referenced in the paper Archaic Sadism, “It is clear from group psychology as studied by Freud (1921), that groups tend always and naturally to behave toward each other as children or primitive savages; there is a collective lowering of intellectual ability of the group just by virtue of its being a group. This barbarizing tendency, as I shall call it (Freud calls it a regressive tendency), is inherent in the psychological nature of all groups, and it calls out continuously for a particular type of leader (Chessick, 1996).”
“Our time has seen the encounter with nothingness. This has been brought about by the decline of religion and belief in God and in an eternal moral order, the collectivization of the state backed by a brutal police and based on the creation of either artificial consumer needs or dogmatic mythologies with subsequent depersonalization of the individual, and the advance of science, which has destroyed all sense of certitude in nature and reduced our conception of our role in the universe to an irrelevant minimum. Nietzsche has been recognized as the original spokesman for the dangerous consequences of the first of these factors, Jaspers for the second, and Kierkegaard for the third.
Kierkegaard (1954) claimed that all humans are in existential despair, and that three categories of solution have been found: the religious, the unsuccessful, and the demoniacal. It is the “demoniacal” solution to existential anxiety — our anxiety over the irrelevance and brevity of our lives — that is of interest in the present context.”
Kierkegaard’s philosophy was referenced in an analysis of the major motion thriller “Prisoners”. The demoniacal solution, and we can compare cases of electronic targeting and electronic torture with regard to the level of sadism similar to the demoniacal solution found in the movie Prisoners which was a perverse solution in retaliation to God (the religious) for the unjustly taking of one mother’s child through a cancer death; and the reason for the same mother’s retaliation in an imaginary war against God in the kidnapping and killing of other people’s children. The demoniacal solution is the perverse solution. In the case of electronic targeting and electronic torture, it becomes the imaginary war waged in eluding psychic death or thereby vindicating a person’s bruised and damaged ego as the result of psychic loss. In subjugating the feared, hated, and/or repudiated Object through advancing technology (remote radio frequency) the demoniacal solution can be achieved by the Master/Controller(s) in wish-fulfillment fantasy. Kierkegaard’s 1954 philosophy, Fear and Trembling takes up the story of Abraham and Isaac to explore a faith that transcends the ethical, persists in the face of the absurd, and meets its reward in the return of all that the faithful one is willing to sacrifice, while The Sickness Unto Death examines the spiritual anxiety of despair.
As noted in Archaic Sadism, “There is a great need for cooperative exploration by psychologists, psychiatrists, and philosophers into the notion of a demoniacal and counterphobic solution to existential anxiety (Chessick, 1996).” I have noted in previous writings the electronic device that allows the Master/Controller(s) their ability to electronically harass, electronically target, and electronically torture must act as a counter-phobic object that allows for the dissolution of psychic anxiety generated by the targeted Object in defense for this psychic discomfort!
Chessick’s view is that all humans are born with a primal biological archaic aggressive-destructive drive and that the gratification of this innate biological drive provides humans the same satisfaction as the sexual drive. And here we might consider Sabina’s Spielrein’s contribution “Destruction as Cause of Come-into-being” (1912), a paper that theorized a death instinct within the sex drive. Although Spielrein’s theory of a death instinct differs from Freud’s theory of a death instinct, she formulated her ideas well before Freud and influenced Freud in his own personal work “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” (1920) in which he formulated the philosophical death instinct theory we now have today. Where Spielrein believed a death instinct within the sexual instinct, where Freud believed the life instinct and the sexual instinct were closer together and grouped these drives under Eros. Freud believed the life instincts include the sexual instincts and the instincts for self-preservation, which are directly opposed to the death instincts. Speilrein’s maintains an opposition between the drive for self-preservation and the drive for preservation of the species — still defended by Freud at the time of his text’s writing — embedding the death instinct within the drive for preservation of the species. By “Speilrein precisely in supposing a death instinct within the sexual instinct, considers the destructive urge to be indistinguishable from a reproductive urge, as expressed in the tendency for dissolution and assimilation. Thus, for her, the destruction driven by the death instinct is indistinguishable from the creation of something new (Caropreso 2017). “ Here, Speilrein is saying when the two germ cells, the egg and the sperm, join together the “destruction as the cause of coming into being” arrives in the annihilation of the egg and sperm cell and there ceasing to exist, thus becomes the new life form. However, at least to me, this isn’t as much of a “destruction” as it is a transfer of information, and perhaps a lack of understanding on the biological recombination of genes is due to her error. However, on a level of physics in which atoms and particles become annihilated, perhaps we could continue this theoretical discussion? In any event, Freud’s contributions made her theory somewhat obsolete. In conclusion, it is important to note that “destruction as the cause of coming into being” can be metaphorically understood through Freud’s castration complex. It is important to note that a primal biological archaic aggressive-destructive drive grants human subjects the same satisfaction as the sex drive and this primal biological archaic aggressive-destructive drive is closely connected to abnormal development, sexual deviance, and psychosis. Although Freud’s Oedipus complex describes fairly accurately how psychosis can develop, we do not perceive it in this light as we have been conditioned to accept it for psychoanalytical law and “normal” development.
“But what sort of civilization is most suited to this task? Every child develops a set of basic fantasies, both sexual and aggressive, and sometimes combined, based on an intermixture of misunderstood experiences, such as the inevitable birth of siblings, disappointments in expectations of parental empathy, traumatic or overstimulating events such as the primal scene, and so forth. These are fired and fueled by and intermixed with the innate sexual and aggressive drives, producing highly charged core fantasies that often have little relationship to the child’s actual parents or experiences, assuming an average expectable environment. But they have psychic reality for the child, they determine perception and behavior all through adult life, and they may be extremely sadistic and require projection as a defense against being overwhelmed by them. The secret of why sadistic torture, sexual abuse, and rape generate so much intense pleasure and why terrorism, violence, and brutality generate so much narcissistic elation lies in the acting out of these archaic fantasies by pathological individuals for whom the childhood environment was neither average nor expectable. Again, we are into matters both paranoid and paranoiac. Granting that the helpless child must project his or her sadism onto the world, which subsequently increases the need for protecting against the imagined evil coming from outside — witness this problem as expressed in innumerable fairy tales — how can we develop a civilization that minimizes the reality validation of this projection and helps channel fundamental human aggression into sublimation and neutralization?”
Is our contemporary international civilization, the so-called “advanced” parts of the world, such as the United States, Europe, and Japan, which are at the forefront of technology, most suited to this task? Or do these wonderful examples of advanced capitalism have built into them just the opposite effect? As psychoanalysts we cannot at this time resolve the issue of the origin of sadism, but we can exert an influence on our culture by calling attention to those aspects of it which foster and abet sadism and confirm the malevolent transformation and the projection of intrapsychic hatred and destructiveness onto the “Other,” justifying drive-by shootings, wars, racial and religious prejudice, and so forth.”
We must ask why different psychoanalytic orientations tend to prevail in different countries, and to what extent these ideological orientations illustrate the effect of history and culture on the formation of one’s psychoanalytic self.
Will the U.S. in its need to maintain the illusion that in a capitalist society humans are inherently rational and decent and will make rational choices about what they consume and how they treat each other?
Chessick further writes,
“Ours leads to the devastation of the Earth as the condition for a promised guaranteed high standard of living and happiness for all, the darkening of the world, the flight of the gods, and the transformation of humans into a mass with a hatred and suspicion of everything free and creative and into devotees of speed and time-saving devices who paradoxically seem to have no time. Even the arts are just for pleasant diversion and entertainment, not for expression of truths about ourselves and our world.”
And here is where we need to encourage the artist within us and in our children a little more by encouraging the connection between the psyche, philosophy, and art thereby becoming cultivators of the visual, musical, and performing arts instead of telling our children art isn’t important and that the time spent on artistic projects are a waste of their time because they do not serve the scientific money-generating gods that inundate our market economies and flood our stores with electronic gadgets and the latest cutting-edge time-saving technologies.
We can most certainly understand how the pandemic of COVID-19 has affected us and how we are protecting ourselves from infection, yet we are unable to inoculate ourselves from the fear, hatred, repudiations, and paranoias that periodically release violence, torture, terrorism, and brutality onto the world; sadism in its most archaic forms. Violence is a plague that has never been wiped out by vaccination and it just maybe that it never will be completely annihilated; kept as a sample, a small reminder, in some lab freezer of what human existence used to look like. Much like a vial of smallpox that has now been exterminated from our viral living world.
We ask the questions,
What type of culture will be best be suited for promoting civilized behavior? What type of culture will best be suited to neutralize barbarizing tendencies? What type of culture will be best suited for sublimating the tremendous sadistic proclivities contained in the psyches of all humans, thereby winning the war against violence and sadism? What culture will reign supreme in overcoming this plague?
Benjamin, Jessica. (1995). Like Subjects, Love Objects: Essays on Recognition and Sexual Differences. Binghampton, New York. Vail-Ballou Press.
Butler, Judith. (1997). The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection. Stanford, CA. Stanford University Press.
Caropreso, Fatima. (2017). The death instinct and the mental dimension beyond the pleasure principle in the works of Spielrein and Freud. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 98(6), 1741–1762.
Chessick, Richard D., M.D. (1996). Archaic Sadism. Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 24(4), 605–618.
Colarusso, Calvin (2000). Separation-Individuation Phenomena in Adulthood: General Concepts and the Fifth Individuation. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 48(4), 1467–1489.
Dixon, Travis. (2019). Key Study: The Minnesota Twin Study of Twins Reared Apart. Themantic-education.com (IB Psychology). Published online February 11, 2019. Retrieved online January 13, 2021. https://www.themantic-education.com/ibpsych/2019/02/11/key-study-the-minnesota-twin-study-of-twins-reared-apart/
Emde, Robert N. (1985). From adolescence to midlife: Remodeling the structure of adult development. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. 33:59–112.
Erikson, Erik. (1963). Childhood and Society. New York. Norton.
Freud, S. (1921). Group psychology and the analysis of the ego. Standard Edition. Vol. 28. pp. 67–144.
Freud, Sigmund. (1924). “The dissolution of the Oedipus complex.” Standard Edition. Volume 19. London. Hogarth Press.
Jones, E. (1927). The early development of female sexuality. In Papers on Psychoanalysis. London. Maresfield Reprints.
Kierkegaard, S. (1954). Fear and Trembling and Sickness Unto Death. Princeton University Press. Princeton, NJ.
Kohut, H. (1971). The Analysis of the Self. International Universities Press. New York.
Kohut, H. (1977). The Restoration of the Self. International Universities Press. New York.
Pollock, George H. (1998). Aging or aged: Development or pathology. In The Course of Life: Completing the Journey, ed. G.H. Pollock & S.I. Greenspan. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, pp. 41–86.
Weiland, Christina. (1996). ‘Matricide and Destructiveness: Infantile Anxieties and Technological Culture.’ British Journal of Psychotherapy 12, №3; 300–313.
Winnicott, D.W. (1971). “The use of the Object and relating through identifications.” In Playing and Reality. Harmondsworth. Penguin, 1980.