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Rom J Psychoanal 2017, 10 (2): 96- 110

doi: 10.26336/rjp.2017-1002-8

Rom J Psychoanal

Abstract: A war mindset in humans seems to coincide with the paranoidschizoid position. In war also, groups regress to SP. Some symptoms of such a regression were evident also in Freud himself when WW1 started. The 20th century was the bloodiest century in recorded history and its enormous traumas have gathered and overloaded humanity. Its traumatic legacy included also unbearable feelings of those who killed other humans and the voids left in the group fabric by millions of deads.

Unworked through war traumas with such contents of death and destruction lie split and silent stored in the minds of millions of individuals, constituting fragments of a secret parallel life. They are so similar that spread throughout the psychism of the group, where “mine, yours, his” all blend into “ours”. With their vibrations they form a mute chorus that converge into the background soundtrack of the group’s mental life. How may all this have contributed to create so extremely destructive paranoid positions like communism, fascism, or Nazism were?

Keywords: war, paranoid-schizoid position, Freud, trauma, group-nation, parallel life.

In an article I wrote following the conflict in Yugoslavia (Fonda, 2000), I stopped to reflect mainly on what the war left in the mind after its conclusion. I also ventured a number of hypotheses concerning the mechanisms of mental functioning that are set in motion during war. I would now like to develop this last theme, that is, how individuals in war find themselves permeated and overwhelmed by the psychic dynamics of their groups that are

tragically locked in a life or death struggle.

This shall be a brief journey between fantasy and reality. I hope it will prove useful, or at least encourage further examination.

The war mindset

I have speculated that evolution seems to have endowed human beings with a war mindset, which to some extent, coincides with the paranoid-schizoid position (PS). Here, the management of fantasies, anxieties, defenses, and the general relationship with oneself and others appears to serve the survival of the species or group (and therefore the individuals within that group) in situations of danger. The management of these elements seems particularly suited toward the carrying out of war.

This cannot be said of the depressive position (D). As this position is characterized by a higher distinction of the boundaries of the Self, also in terms of the group context, the ensuing awareness of one’s own individual uniqueness makes it difficult to take risks or to sacrifice one’s life for the good of the group. In D, it is possible to feel both one’s separateness, as well as to feel that the other is (in part) alike-merged, which allows for the other to be empathically experienced as similar. This hinders the capacity to kill the other. Furthermore, it reinforces feelings of guilt, which are powerful restraints.

Under the strain of an excessive emotive burden that occurs as the prospect of war looms, the group can no longer contain and mitigate anxiety in its members, but instead can only protect them with splitting, denial, idealization-demonization and a permanent discharge of projective identification. In other words, the group can only regress from the D position to the PS position. The retreat to this position also appears to be a defense against an even deeper, disintegrative regression toward confusion and non-discrimination (Bleger, 1967a) that may bring about the group’s defeat and the dissolution of the group niche wherein the individual’s existence occurs. This would explain the extreme rigidity that is sometimes reached, stemming from paranoid features; exasperation of persecutory feelings would serve to curb catastrophic anxieties.

The unsustainability of the D position on one side and the catastrophic anxieties on the other means that it becomes increasingly inevitable that individuals resort to a defensive ‘liberating’ regression-immersion into the PS narcissistic position. Individuals feel much more united-merged and more secure within a group, where a sense of cohesion is always more intense. In the face of danger, the group comes together in a way that seems almost a primordial biological reaction.

Instead, it becomes distressing and even intolerable to feel a sense of powerless solitude as one persists in a D position that is critical and separate from one’s own group while it unites in a PS position.

With substantial abandonment of the D position, the potential space collapses and concrete thought grows at the expense of symbolic thought; the urge to act is reinforced at the detriment of thought. Splitting, denial, idealization and projective identification may then significantly deform the images of both external and internal reality. In the PS position, the line of splitting, separating the good from the bad, is more pronounced and at the fore in contrast to the boundary that separates the subject from the object. The negative parts of one’s own group are denied and projected, while the positive features of the enemy are denied.

In the D position, the boundaries of the Self are more defined. This is true in terms of the Self’s interaction with the group as well, and it makes the individual more autonomous as well as more able and free to think. In the PS position, however, the offshoots of projective and introjective identification rupture the boundaries and penetrate group members, who are forced then to assimilate with the group’s thought. Group psychic contents that are rich in concreteness become always more prevalent in the minds of individuals. This is true even though the contents are not screened by the Ego or verified by adequate symbolic thought. This increasingly joins individuals together, weakens boundaries, and increases merging with the group.

The object world involved with the conflict is reduced to a bad-demonized-group-object and a good-idealized-group-object of which the individual is a part. Further, he or she has difficulty differentiating from this, given the increase in homogenization and “merging cohesion”. The loss of a significant level of mental autonomy on the part of the individual seems compensated by a greater participation in the identity of the group. A stronger Us compensates for a weakened I, and a fatal attraction is created between the individual and the group. In the end, fighting for the group or fighting for oneself largely coincide. In fact, identification with the group is exalted, so “sacrificing oneself to save the group guarantees the heroes’ immortality in the group’s memory”. Military training is carried out in this context, because the capacity to engage in combat tends to dissolve in the D position.

These defensive mechanisms serve to create an image of the enemy as evil. In this way, all libidinal investment must be removed, thus the enemy becomes an object of defused and therefore destructive aggression. The libido may later reappear in a sadistic, perverse form, which accentuates its destructiveness rather than alleviating it.

The result is that an individual no longer shares anything in common with the enemy, as that enemy is signified solely with negativity. Furthermore, the individual also adds the massive projection of his or her own negativity to the enemy. Therefore, there is no more common ground and empathy is no longer possible: the individual is no longer seen as similar and so, being dehumanized, the enemy is no longer safeguarded by the taboo against killing. In fact, killing becomes socially approved and praiseworthy. This is how paranoid anxiety subverts the scales of values. The concern for one’s own survival predominates, while the ability to feel concern for the other-enemy is lessened. Feelings of reparation with the enemy even become shameful. Here, destructiveness takes on a dignity that it never would in times of peace, and the fading away of the sense of guilt opens the door to increasingly heinous crimes.

The strength employed by a group in the PS position to impose its own position on individuals would explain why so many honest and sane people (many more than later we would like to admit) allow themselves to be drawn into, or at least allow themselves to be neutralized and dulled, by the formidable magnetic pull created by extreme paranoid positions like communism, fascism, or Nazism were. These three ideologies have exercised an incredible influence on thought and feeling during the last century. Very few managed to resist them; some by clutching to unshakeable and opposing ideological faiths or others because they were cast out of the paranoid group.

As a group unites, it tends to expel or attack anyone who does not fully adhere. There is no space or tolerance for diversity. Based on the paranoid all or nothing, which the group sees as with us or against us, the threat of expulsion is created that takes whatever is different or dissenting and identifies-assimilates it with the enemy. This makes it extremely difficult to fit into a neutral or intermediate space between the two clashing paranoid groups. In such extreme situations, non-participation in a group even strips away the possibility of using the group’s paranoid reactions as a defense against one’s own paranoid reactions (Jacques, 1955).

At its extreme, the paranoid and distorting concept of all or nothing also leads one to accept sacrificing his or her own life. If you are unable to achieve the all – meaning victory and destruction of the enemy – the nothing – defeat and disintegration of one’s group – makes life seem unbearable. There are no situations in between (which, in contrast, are possible in the D position). Within the group, the individuality of its own members loses value and so a certain number of these individuals can be sacrificed with relative ease, as those individuals can be sent into battle in dire situations, which would be unthinkable in the D position. To extol a disregard for death heightens the capacity for combativeness.

One extreme degree of paranoid regression can be seen today in certain forms of fundamentalism, such as the Islamic suicide bomber. This may be seen as a desperate and futile attempt to preserve an archaic culture (and therefore the group within it) that is inevitably destined to fade away if it is unable to find renewal and to adapt to its time. In the framework of the all or nothing, self-destruction seems to state “In today’s world the culture of our group cannot survive. Everything, therefore, must be destroyed, because there is no acceptable future”. A similar scenario is found in the final years of World War II, when the defeat of Nazism was written on the wall, and Hitler prolonged the war with the express purpose of destroying Germany itself. The Wehrmacht forces, especially on the eastern front, were transformed into kamikazes without hope. The end of the war saw the suicides of entire German families, and a similar situation occurred in Japan.

Let us come back to the PS position, which Melanie Klein originally thought to call narcissistic. In terms of the group circumstances we are examining, we may also liken it to a regression to narcissism that Freud (1914) described when those who fall ill remove libidinal investment from objects and reinvest it within their own Self: preoccupation for the object is replaced by a preoccupation for the Self.

Naturally, the degree and pervasiveness of this regression varies depending on the individual wars, their different periods and from individual to individual. In speaking of group regression, I am, in fact, referring to the average level in which a group primarily functions and within which environment these regressions of different levels in individuals are located. I would refer to what Ogden (1989) called the dialectic relationship among positions, meaning mental functioning characterized by their constant, concurrent dialectic interactions. What varies is their quantitative relationship. Therefore, when we speak of a group or an individual in the PS position, we mean that functioning in PS is prevalent, but that functioning in D is also inevitably present, even if it may be reduced to such a degree that it is no longer evident. It is important, therefore, to remember that even when we are submerged in PS thoughts and feelings, there is always a part of us, however small, that remains in the D position and perceives what is happening in its own way. Later, this may be regained and make itself felt. It might not be easy, however, to integrate these two “stories”, with such different experiences of the same facts, and often we must resort to repression or splitting.

An eminent example

We may see these mechanisms at work in an illustrious figure. The 26 of July 1914, three days after the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to the Serbian Kingdom, and two days before the war was declared, in a letter to Abraham, Sigmund Freud wrote:

“… for the first time in 30 years I feel myself to be an Austrian and would like to try it once again with this not very hopeful Empire. Morale everywhere is excellent. The liberating effect of the courageous action and the secure prop of Germany contribute a great deal to this.— One observes the most genuine symptomatic actions in everyone.” (in Falzeder E., 2002, pp. 264-265)

As we know, before this moment, Freud was rather disappointed by the Austrian monarchy. This is implicit in his words: “…for the first time” (meaning “never before”) and explicit in the “…not very hopeful Empire”. Certainly, he felt, not only unconsciously, some aggression against it. But now, suddenly, he “would like to try it once again”. He suddenly becomes a lover of his country, “I feel myself to be an Austrian”. He feels identified with the large group: “Morale everywhere is excellent.” (everywhere means also in himself). He shares the declaration of war, which is “courageous” and has a “liberating effect” … “in everyone”.

This is the relief felt when one abandons the painful conflicting attempt to keep the D position and regresses to the PS one, where instantly everything becomes clear: who is good and who is bad; and the subject, with great relief, feels safe, being merged with the mass of the “good guys” and ready to attack the “bad guys”. To defeat them appears a very promising prospect for a better future. And Freud, though he had children (parts of himself) that may have been sent to the front, implicitly appears willing to put them at risk for the sake of the group.

We may think, however, that the “liberating effect” and the “excellent morale” were, in part, also the result of the fact that the persecutory position acted as a bulwark against catastrophic anxieties. We can add that, in reality, monarchical regimes such as that of the Austro-Hungarian Empire were in danger of disintegration due to their increasingly anachronistic inadequacy on a political, social and economic level. This surely could not bring relief to those catastrophic anxieties, even in those who hoped for an end.

Aggression emerges, but guilt is projected onto others. The aggression is now fully legitimated by the group. All Austrians agreed that it was right to declare war on Serbia. But, was Freud’s aggressiveness against that world – against his own environment – so threatening (connected with catastrophic anxieties) and guilty that it was necessary for him to redirect it toward others? Serbians, Russians, British and French were surely not the reason for the disappointments and frustrations accumulated by Freud during his life. But it is too limiting to look at this only through an individual dynamic. Group dynamics were playing the main role in those moments.

Freud himself could not resist, though in just a few years he would realize the trap in which he and all of Europe had fallen.

Furthermore, as Gay (1988, 347) states, “The most extraordinary thing about these calamitous events was less that they happened than how they were received. Europeans of all stripes joined in greeting the advent of war with a fervor bordering on a religious experience. Aristocrats, bourgeois, workers and farmers; reactionaries, liberals, and radicals; cosmopolitans, chauvinists and particularists; fierce soldiers, preoccupied scholars, and gentle theologians – all linked arms in their bellicose delight”.

At that time, surprisingly, the same regression happened massively also in many socialist parties, which just a few months earlier were strongly against any war (or more interested in a possible revolution): “Workers will not kill each other for capitalists’ profit!” But then they did. Perhaps they too were frightened by the catastrophic anxieties linked to the crumbling of the institutions that persecuted them?

War within the winding canyons of the mind

I would turn to the idea of Eric Hobsbawm (1994, 34) who considered the two world wars as two acts of a single world war – the ’31 Years War’ – from Sarajevo to Hiroshima38. Beginning in 1914 and ending in 1991, the short century, as he refers to it, was the bloodiest century in recorded history. It produced 189 million deaths from wars, revolutions, genocides and violent repressions, alongside the millions of wounded, crippled, orphaned, widowed and displaced. Its first act, World War I, counted 10 million deaths upon its conclusion in 1918. In 1918-1919, its epilogue saw the Spanish Fever kill 50 million more, the majority of whom had already been devastated by conflict. During the second act, World War II claimed the lives of 56 million human beings. For its third act, the nuclear war, the world braced for its megadeath, with calculations of human casualties in the millions. Fortunately, this danger was avoided – for now—and humanity lived to see the end of this short century and the beginning of another. In comparison with the last, the first quarter of this new century does not appear to have been so tragic.

Let us imagine now some of those fragments of what took place in those 31 years of war, especially in the minds of those who took part.

A. Individuals and psychic trauma

The two world wars produced an enormous amount of psychic trauma. Think only to what passed through the mind of a soldier as he leapt from the trench and exposed himself to almost certain death. Imagine the burden his psyche withstood in those endless minutes, deafened by gunfire and explosions as he ran towards the enemy’s machine-gun fire, trampling over the wounded and dead. And he likely did so less with a specific aim in mind than with the feeling of being part of a horde thrown into the furnace only to fill it up for others to trample over.

How many of those moments and feelings can possibly be represented, reflected on, worked through and integrated? And how many of them remain cocooned as if they were a shapeless stone in the corners of the mind? In the aftermath of the war, some attempted to tell these stories, to understand and make themselves understood, perhaps by writing a memoirs in the attempt to work through a part of that horror. Here they may have been helped by the group’s solidarity, by the social recognition of shared suffering. But far too much trauma remained in the shadows and silence, confined to the minds of the individuals or to groups’ unconscious, with no way of being elaborated.

This was particularly true for the “defeated” who “not only fell silent or were silenced, but were virtually expelled from written history and intellectual life if not to be catalogued in the role of enemy” (Hobsbawm, 1994, 16). We might say they were denied the right to be considered – and therefore perhaps even to think themselves.

In terms of individual and group psychism, during the war the accumulation of trauma freezes parts of the psychism in a functioning in the PS position. This makes the activation of the D position more difficult during and after a war. Certain areas of the Self can recover a D position only by relegating unworked through traumatic content into split areas. Even if the Self partially recovers the D position, it is weakened because the split parts of it cannot be used. Only by working through the trauma can D functioning be restored in these areas.

Coming back to Ogden, we must consider that there is still an activity of D integration, even when the PS phase predominates. And so thoughts, meanings, and more realistic judgments accumulate about the terrible things occurring. These contents can neither be cancelled nor integrated, but are instead repressed or split and end up constituting a fragment of a secret parallel life.

Starting from the Renaissance onwards, the process of individuation has been deepening and widening to include increasingly broader classes of the European population. This process has made it so life is perceived as something special and unique by larger sectors of society. In parallel to this process, it is no coincidence that greater attention began to be paid to the neuroses of war and PTSD. Previously, this serious pathology was just a bothersome detail that disturbed the functionality of the masses that were utilized by military leaders. Nowadays, according to some statistics, this condition affects as many as 50% of combatants.

Ever attentive to the individual, it was psychoanalysts following WWI who played an important role in changing the consideration of this form of individual reaction to the traumas of war.

B. “I have killed!”

There is a disquieting question to pose. If during the only world war between 1914 and 1945 more than 70 million human beings were killed, there must be millions of other human beings who did the killing. But we find barely a trace of this in records and memoirs. In diaries, letters from the front, the stories told at home and the memoirs of the aftermath,

hardly anyone mentions having killed the enemy, or described what they felt as they pushed a bayonet into their enemies’ chest, staring into their pleading eyes as they dimmed.

A century ago in Totem and Taboo (1913), Freud manifestly summarized the observations of anthropologists on the complex cleansing rituals that some primitive peoples forced upon themselves after having killed an enemy in order to control the distress of violating the most sacred taboo. How many millions of violations and how much need to cleanse, atone, and manage distress and guilt has there been in this brief century? All of this horror has remained encapsulated like a bullet that is lodged in the brain. It is surely impossible to forget it in a single lifetime. At most, a person may try to repress it, but they can never tell anyone nor can they work through it. Millions of individuals shall forever remain alone with this terrible burden.

This is all the more true for the perpetrators of the most atrocious acts, especially if those acts involved civilians. Support from one’s own group is not possible, which may have even commissioned those crimes but is now unwilling to recognize them. This leaves the perpetrators of those atrocities alone.

More often than not a split space is created, the fragment of a parallel life, where such devastating contents are secretly relegated. How much can these fragments, which are so alike, then resonate in the mental space of the group, influence it and perpetuate themselves in the following generations?

C. Voids

In 1918 only one in three French soldiers returned home safe and sound. A fourth of all enlisted students from Cambridge and Oxford perished in combat. During WWII the main brunt of German aggression was unleashed on the Soviet Union, whose population suffered the most devastating losses of all. 80% of Russian males from the class of 1923 died in conflict. And then of course there are the voids left by the Shoah.

What effects do these enormous voids, the war created in an entire generation, have on the psyche of the collective and the individual? The non-presence of the throngs of people exterminated continues long after to silently fill the minds and spaces surrounding the survivors. How does all of this grief influence the group, together with the feelings of guilt held by the survivors in the face of those who perished?

It is as if those voids, too, join with the millions of other contents of death and destruction that lie split and silent in the fragments of parallel lives. With their vibrations they form a mute chorus that converge into the background soundtrack of the group’s mental life.

D. Splitting, fragmentation and reintegration

Unworked through war traumas that are relegated to the unconscious and to the known, not thought, and stored in the minds of millions of individuals possess so many similar and overlapping characteristics that they cannot help but spread throughout the psychism of the group, where mine, yours, his all blend into ours. This protects the individual, but heavily conditions the group (nation) in its functioning, its culture, and moreover, in terms of its future development and actions.

After the first act of the world war, the group’s mental fabric was so fully traumatized as to seem incapable of containing and neutralizing such intolerable mental content, which was so pervasive and present in so many individuals. Their unconsciouses exuded distress that converged and formed myths and phantasms of the group-nation. The group-containers were poisoned and progressively deformed. Massive, non-elaborated parts imposed extreme PS defenses, where individuals could find relief through their common denial and external

projection. Many groups had to profoundly regress into a paranoid position, to effectively “psychosize themselves” perhaps to avoid doing so to their individuals. Is it plausible then to think that something of this kind in the aftermath of the World War I contributed to the coming of the Second?

The catastrophic anxiety caused by the disintegration of secular institutions like empires, monarchies, social orders may have also contributed to the rising temperatures. Perhaps we

may speak in terms of faults, in what Bleger (1967b) calls the meta-ego, something akin to the freeing of energy caused by the settling movements of tectonic plates.

We may imagine that in any transition from one developing phase to another there is an aggressive movement. In this movement, the structures and patterns that were previously established are, in a certain sense, reduced to fragments. Subsequently, certain fragments must be left alone, some get taken up again, while others still must be adapted to new needs and integrated into a structure that is new, different, consistent and more suitable.

If the climate is sufficiently free, as we might find in a democratic group (shall we say in the D position), then the interaction among the new, emerging needs and the fragments from the past tend to continuously form more suitable aggregations-integrations. These then evolve, although they might involve recurring crises and tumult. However, these crises tend to be less violent since the ongoing adaptation should protect the group from catastrophic explosions-fragmentations-bloody revolutions.

In a rigid defensive structure (in a fixed PS position) such an evolutive interaction would actually appear quite difficult or even impossible. In this case, the pressure created by needs that are unsatisfied or accumulated might reach a dangerous and explosive intensity. Here, a single, more or less destructive splitting-fragmentation (revolution or war) could retrigger the restructuring mechanism that was previously curbed in the rigid paranoid defense. In absolute monarchies and dictatorships where the PS dominates, there does not appear to be sufficient space for development. Instead, the attempt to preserve the present tends to prevail. When too many emerging repressed needs risk bringing about collapse, the PS position intensifies in order to control the growing catastrophic distress. Monarchical or dictatorial regimes seem to contain their own inevitable destruction within themselves from the outset.

During World War I, we witnessed the breaking up of both group cultures as well as institutions. Due to being seriously traumatized and psychosized by the war, these cultures and institutions were unable to use the fragments of their past to form anything other than ‘monstrous integrations’. In fact, after 1918 we saw as extremely aggressive and cruel totalitarian dictatorships assumed power (communism, fascism, Nazism). Although they existed within different ideological contexts, they all shared the common conviction that the death of millions would be a fair price to pay for the survivors to reach the promised earthly paradise. European democracies basically vanished, with the last examples found in France and England. That being said, both of these declining empires could still shift a large part of their own aggression to their colonies.

At this point, the paranoid idea that ‘war cleanses the nation’ reappears. Fascism and Nazism immediately set about rearming and militarizing for a new war, while the Soviet communism of the 1930s unleashes an incredibly destructive fury upon its own people. These ‘monstrous integrations’ born out of a sea of blood were full of persecutory and catastrophic distress, of uncontrolled destructiveness, and their very (self) destruction was inevitable.

The destruction of a number of these subjects does indeed come to pass during the World War II (the rest then disappear by the end of the short century). Self-destruction seems to have been incorporated within these ideologies from the beginning: the paranoid “all or nothing” – either total victory or defeat and self-destruction (this was particularly evident in Nazism). No intermediate position (D) was possible. Communism, too, seems to have been raised with a time bomb at its foundations, and after its explosion in 1991 little to nothing was left.

The integration following World War II had significantly greater traumas at its roots, and therefore potential for serious psychotic destructiveness, as clearly represented by the prospect of thermonuclear war. At least apparently, however, a miracle happened: the threat of total destruction reached its climax and then seemed to freeze into the cold war. Perhaps no one had been able to suggest a minimally credible hypothesis for a brighter future following ‘The Day After’. Perhaps a healthy fear prevailed. After the catastrophes of the two world wars, did humanity realize its own potential for destruction and put it in check, at least in part? Or maybe decades of destruction had finally led to an attempt for reparation? At any rate, there were no more mobs clambering for war and the elements were different: on one side was the terrifying fear of total destruction, on the other the expansion of democracy (D position), where more self-conscious individuals were more aware of the precious nature of their own existence and were no longer inclined to sacrifice themselves for questionable ideologies.

So, we were gifted with 70 years of relative peace. Considering the increasing speed of our development in this day and age it is a rather long period.

The last time Vesuvius erupted was 1944. Is there something smoldering and bubbling down below of Pompeian proportions? Nobody knows how long peace will last before the tumultuous emergence of new needs demands further disintegrations in order to make space for new, more suitable integrations.

In truth, disintegrations continuously occur with local wars and economic crises in very tragic, but less catastrophic ways. The need for a significant, new integration seems on the path toward realization. It is an integration based on completely new and extraordinary elements (computers, the Internet, globalization, new forms of economy, new powers etc.).

What will it look like? History carries on, and despite our persistent belief in the omnipotent illusion to have pulled back the veil on how things work, the unexpected twists and turns never cease to surprise us. And those surprises give us our first glimpse of completely new scenarios. Let us hope they are not apocalyptic.

Translations of the summary

Résumé: La mentalité de guerre des gens semble coïncider avec la position paranoïdeschizoïde. En guerre, les groupes aussi reviennent à SP. Certains symptômes de cette régression ont été évidents pour Freud lui-même lorsque la Première Guerre Mondiale avait commencé. Le XXème siècle a été le plus sanglant de l’histoire, et ses énormes traumas ont unifié et submergé l’humanité. Son héritage traumatique comprenait les sentiments insupportables ressentis par ceux qui avaient tué d’autres personnes et les vides laissées dans le tissu du groupe par les millions de morts.

Non-ouvrés par la guerre, ces traumas, avec leur contenu de mort et de destruction, restent séparés et silencieux, stockés dans l’esprit de millions d’individus, constituant des fragments d’une vie parallèle secrète. Ils sont si semblables qu’ils se répandent dans tout le psychisme du groupe, où «le mien, le tien, le sien» se confondent avec «le nôtre». Avec leurs vibrations, ils forment un chorus muet qui converge vers la bande-son de fond de la vie mentale du groupe. Comment a tout cela contribué à la création des positions paranoïaques extrêmement destructrices comme le communisme, le fascisme ou le nazisme?

Mots-clés: guerre, position paranoïde-schizoïde, Freud, trauma, groupe-nation, vie parallèle.

Rezumat: O mentalitate de război a oamenilor pare să coincidă cu poziția paranoidschizoidă. La război, și grupurile revin la SP. Unele simptome ale acestei regresii au fost clare și la însuși Freud când a început Primul Război Mondial. Secolul al XX-lea a fost cel mai sângeros din istoria înregistrată și traumele sale enorme au unit și au supraîncărcat umanitatea. Moștenirea sa traumatică a inclus și sentimentele insuportabile ale celor care au ucis alți oameni și golurile lăsate în țesătura grupului de milioane de morți.

Netrecute prin război traumele cu acest conținut de moarte și distrugere zac separate și tăcute înmagazinate în mințile a milioane de indivizi, constituind fragmente ale unei vieți secrete paralele. Ele sunt atât de similare, încât se răspândesc peste tot psihismul grupului, unde “al meu, al tău, al lui” se contopesc în “ale noastre”. Cu vibrațiile lor, ele formează un cor mut care converge în coloana sonoră de fundal a vieții mentale a grupului. Cum au contribuit toate acestea la crearea unor poziții paranoide extrem de destructive cum ar fi comunismul, fascismul, sau nazismul?

Cuvinte cheie: război, poziția paranoid-schizoidă, Freud, trauma, grup-națiune, viața paralelă.


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36 Original article in English. French, Romanian and English versions are available online,

37 Italian Psychoanalytic Society; e-mail:

38 For convenience, I shall use the traditional connotations: World War I and World War II, despite the fact that I consider – as Hobsbawm does – the oneness of these events, and thus imagine a ‘war psychology’ that to a certain extent would also connote the period from 1918 to 1939.