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Gaddini, E. (1972). Aggression and the Pleasure Principle: Towards a Psychoanalytic Theory of Aggression. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 53:191-197.

(1972). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 53:191-197

Aggression and the Pleasure Principle: Towards a Psychoanalytic Theory of Aggression

Eugenio Gaddini

This work presupposes, and aims at re-evaluating, the psychoanalytic concept of energy. It is my intention to show how an examination of the contradictions Freud himself recognized in his formulation of the 'pleasure principle', together with an examination of the connections existing between ontogenetic and phylogenetic aspects in the human infant, leads to accepting as reliable the hypothesis of an aggressive energy, present and operating in the infant from the moment of birth, which is qualitatively different from the libidinal and, by nature, directed primarily towards the outside world. This energy is, however, also capable of discharging inside the infant organisms, with complex consequences. Discharge on the outside takes place through the striated muscular apparatus, and is all the more effective, the more capable this apparatus is of coordinated muscular activity. Discharge on the inside takes place through the smooth muscles of the vessels and mucous membranes. The problem of identifying the source of this energy at the organic level is considered among the most obscure. The few suggestions given in this connection will deal with the problem per se, and show that perhaps it may not have any solution because of its very formulation.

Lastly, I shall attempt to show how the adoption of this dual theory of energy implies a consequent useful revision of certain aspects of psychoanalytic theory, leading to a possible solution of the contradictions of the pleasure principle, as set down by Freud, and to a further clarification of certain basic economical concepts.

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