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Migliozzi, A. (2016). The Attraction of Evil and the Destruction of Meaning. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 97(4):1019-1034.

(2016). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 97(4):1019-1034

The Attraction of Evil and the Destruction of Meaning

Anna Migliozzi

(Accepted for publication 15 February 2015)

Does the concept of evil deserve special formulation in the realm of psychoanalytic thought? In agreement with authors such as Meltzer (1992) and De Masi (2003) and through selected moments from a boy's long analysis, I will propose a definition of evil as a state of mind, characterized by disregard for the human quality of the object and the destruction of meaning and meaningfulness of life in and for others. Evil drains, perverts and strips symbols of intentions and goals, leaving them empty of emotional significance. In my patient, the state of mind that he called evil exerted a seductive appeal and was accompanied by a sadistic excitement that he elevated into a state of sexualized well-being, which progressively perverted and destroyed emotional meaning, contributing to his confusion and desperation. Confronting this pathological configuration and describing the situation that I felt existed within his mind and between us, and rearticulating emotional meaning where it had been perverted, cannibalized or left empty, was the principal - and at times only - clinical instrument available to lead him out of his descent into nothingness.

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