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Sakellaropoulos, P. (1974). A Discussion of the Paper by Peter Hartocollis on 'Mysticism and Violence: The Case of Nikos Kazantzakis'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 55:211-213.

(1974). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 55:211-213

A Discussion of the Paper by Peter Hartocollis on 'Mysticism and Violence: The Case of Nikos Kazantzakis'

P. Sakellaropoulos

The psychoanalytical study of a case in the absence of a personal analysis is a difficult task, and one that may give rise to doubts, even objections, concerning its validity. And yet the life and work of Nikos Kazantzakis are of such great literary and psychological importance as to make the temptation too strong to resist.

Dr Hartocollis's paper (this issue), dealing with a fascinating episode in the life of the famous writer, is not a case study, either in scope or intent. It offers, however, an insightful glimpse into Kazantzakis's personality, especially with regard to its aggressive aspects, and challenges the psychoanalytic student to explore the case further. In my discussion, I have chosen to deal with two questions, which I consider essential to any attempt to reach an understanding of Kazantzakis's personality and his work: What are the characteristic traits of the writer's aggression? And, what is the connexion between his psychosexual development and the conflict over love and hate which, as Dr Hartocollis rightly observes, Kazantzakis 'tried to describe and glorify rather than solve …'. Aggression is present, more or less explicitly, in all his works.

In my opinion, Kazantzakis's aggression is of a form scarcely related to the more mature stages of psychosexual development. We find in it an 'instinct of destruction' connected with primary sadism and masochism. I am referring to the thoughts of Freud, as expressed in 'The Ego and the Id' (1923) and 'Economic Problem of Masochism' (1924), where he described the way in which the death instinct enters into the service of the sexual drive, and aggression turns towards the external world, carried by the cathexis of the narcissistic libido on the object.

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