Free Spirits


What is the seal of liberation? - No longer being ashamed in front of oneself. Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science (1882) (Translated by Walter Kaufmann - 1974)

Mourning and Melancholia


It is this sadism alone that solves the riddle of the tendency to suicide which makes melancholia so interesting – and so dangerous. So immense is the ego’s self-love, which we have come to recognise as the primal state from which instinctual life proceeds, and so vast is the amount of narcissistic libido which we see liberated in the fear that emerges at a threat to life, that we cannot conceive how that ego can consent to its own destruction. We have long known, it is true, that no neurotic harbours thoughts of suicide which he has not turned back upon himself from murderous impulses against others, but we have never been able to explain what interplay of forces can carry such a purpose through to execution. The analysis of melancholia now shows that the ego can kill itself only if, owing to the return of the object-cathexis, it can treat itself as an object – if it is able to direct against itself the hostility which relates to an object and which represents the ego’s original reaction to objects in the external world. Thus in regression from narcissistic object-choice the object has, it is true, been got rid of, but it has nevertheless proved more powerful than the ego itself. In the opposed situations of being most intensely in love and of suicide, the ego is overwhelmed by the object, though in totally different ways.

Civilisation and It's Discontents

At the height of being in love the boundary between ego and object threatens to melt away. Against all the evidence of his senses, a man who is in love declares that 'I' and 'you' are one, and is prepared to behave as if it were a fact

Man the 'Prosthetic' God
Man has, as it were, become a kind of prosthetic god. When he puts on all his auxillary organs he is truley magnificent; but those organs have not grown onto him and they still give him much trouble at times.