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p. 696. Aggression, depression, and paranoialocked

  • Anthony Storr


‘Aggression, depression, and paranoia’ looks at how Freud thought society controls the aggressive instincts of its citizens. Freud explained that a double redirection of aggressive instincts was occurring in society. The individual points aggressive instincts out towards external stimuli, while society redirects these aggressive tendencies back towards the individual, creating a sense of guilt. Depressive illnesses occur when aggressive instincts are incorrectly displaced inwards. Freud had little experience in severe mental illnesses, but he still attempted to psychoanalyse paranoid patients, notably Judge Schreber. His papers, while providing useful insights, fail to take proper account of Schreber's highly abusive upbringing. They blame instead unfulfilled homosexual phantasies.

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