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Dunn, J. (1997). The Dutch Annual of Psychoanalysis. II, 1995-1996. The Wish for War. Antonie Ladan. Pp. 40-49.. Psychoanal Q., 66:365.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: The Dutch Annual of Psychoanalysis. II, 1995-1996. The Wish for War. Antonie Ladan. Pp. 40-49.

(1997). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 66:365

The Dutch Annual of Psychoanalysis. II, 1995-1996. The Wish for War. Antonie Ladan. Pp. 40-49.

Jonathan Dunn

All wars are “personal” wars: for each individual, war has a unique intrapsychic meaning, and an attempt to resolve unconscious conflict underlies our wishes for war. While we assert that war is unavoidable, we also believe war is avoidable through military buildup. Three other illusions serve to deny the psychological and external reality of war: 1) that we know what war is; 2) that war is a conscious choice; and 3) that our war is morally righteous. Facing our own death through risking it in war unconsciously aims to enhance our sense and value of life, which our denials of death have diminished to a pathological extent. War also satisfies our omipotent wishes to annihilate, which stem from narcissistic rage and primitive fantasies of revenge. The possibility of actualizing such annihilation wishes through nuclear warfare makes acknowledgment of our wishes for war all the more difficult. Concomitantly, the awesome sophistication of war technology that enables us to act out annihilation fantasies strains our ability to tolerate and contain our impotent rage. Projection of violent impulses and wishes into the other (the enemy) intersects with our wish to wage war. We rationalize our warring actions by believing we are protecting what we love from the other's wish to destroy it. An analysis of some of the underlying motives and reaction-formations of “peace movements” ends the paper.

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Article Citation

Dunn, J. (1997). The Dutch Annual of Psychoanalysis. II, 1995-1996.. Psychoanal. Q., 66:365

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