“Hate is a form of eroticism” | The USA Print

"Hate is a form of eroticism"

Hate, that great theme of our time, is the central axis of Forum of Culture that is celebrated these days in Valladolid and which will bring together more than 40 experts from various fields around the title “Hate the damned”. The French neuropsychiatrist of Jewish origin Boris Cyrulnik, a resilience theorist, was yesterday the main figure and did not disappoint by ensuring that “hate is a form of eroticism.”

In a later conversation with Vozpopuli, he specified that we are facing “a passion in which one feels the pleasure of attacking the other, of destroying and killing him. That is a physical pleasure ”, and he gave the example of Adolf Eichmann, the German official who caused the death of 800,000 Jews from his bureaucrat position; a figure and a case well studied by the philosopher Hannah Arendt. “Eichmann took pleasure in sentencing these people. We can imagine him with his pen, reveling in the signature gesture, saying to himself: ‘I do my job well; thanks to me the Jews are going to die.’ He did not feel any shame or guilt.

The pleasure of hate has to do with destruction, but also with morality, with feeling on the right side, Cyrulnik explains. “Pleasure has to do with feeling on the good side. In the name of morality one feels that pleasure, because it is going to create a better world. The Nazis thought that by killing the mentally ill, Jews, homosexuals, and Gypsies they were cleaning up the world. The genocidal always feel proud to kill the other”.

But we must not forget that the technique also generates a form of legitimization: “Eliminating 10,000 bodies in the form of smoke, burning them, is very good, it is progress,” he ironically. It is the dazzling of making real what technology makes possible.

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Destruction is not the only pleasure linked to hatred and totalitarian attitudes. The French neuropsychiatrist mentioned another dimension of the problem: “There is great pleasure in submission, in submission. When you share respect for the same words, the boss’s words, with others, a feeling of brotherhood is generated and we all feel safe. But it is a dangerous pleasure because it stops thought”, says Cyrulnik.

And adds: “In totalitarian language one feels proud to obey. If we are good soldiers and obey the boss, we have the possibility of winning the war. And, if we lose it, we are not guilty of anything, we have only obeyed. In submission there is a tranquility. And there may even be pride, because if you win the war it is because of us, because of our obedience”.

Man is the only species capable of making a representation of reality outside of sensible reality.

That’s why, Cyrulnik warned against “the seduction of totalitarian language” and asked not to get carried away by his “crazy stories”, nor for the promises of saviors that offer simple solutions to problems, often projecting the origin of the evil outside the group, which is something that “only adds misfortune to misfortune”. And he explained that man “is the only species capable of making a representation of reality outside of sensible reality.”

totalitarian language

And what does totalitarian language consist of? The French neuropsychiatrist, who lost his parents in the Holocaust, and that he himself was arrested by the Nazis as a child, although he managed to escape, he turned to the philosopher Hannah Arendt to describe it: “Totalitarian language is a language of slogans that stops thought by ensuring that there is only one truth, and that the one who does not submits to it must be rejected, separated, subdued and re-educated. Boris Cyrulnik also warned that, today, this can also happen without a visible leader, because “the Internet allows a totalitarian language without the figure of the boss.”

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“The first victims of totalitarian language are journalists,” he warned. And he gave the example of Russia, where Putin controls what can be said or not. Faced with all this, what is the solution? The only alternative to the seduction of hatred and the simplifications of totalitarianism is culture, but not any way of understanding culture, but only that which encourages the opening of perspectives and free debate. In fact, Cyrulnik recalled that Germany was the most educated society of its time when it fell prey to Nazism.

“The solution is the theater, but on the condition that the theater is the place of debate,” he explained. And he linked what in Anglo-Saxon countries they call ‘cancel culture’ and here ‘cancellation culture’ with a “side effect” of democracies. “This is a side effect of democracy. In the totalitarian language there is only one legitimacy, which is that of the boss, and in excess of democracy everyone has a say and no one is legitimate. At some point an authority is needed that must be momentary, and that is allowed by the elections. We therefore have two dangers: the rigid order of the dictatorship and the disorder of democracy. From there, make do as you can.”


Cyrulnik is especially known for his idea of resilience, a way of coping with adversity linked to the development of affective and social ties that act as a protective shield. “Let no wound be a destiny” is a very famous phrase of his. Yesterday he defended that prejudices against those who live on the margins or in unfavorable situations become “self-fulfilling prophecies.” “You say: it is not worth taking care of these people because they are condemned, and so you condemn them.”

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Faced with this attitude, he defended that the opposite must be done: take care of these people and offer them alternatives. “In poor neighborhoods, like the Brazilian favelas, the only pride of the kids is violence: being able to face the Police and the Army”he explained yesterday. “President Lula decided to introduce music and sports into the favelas, which are two great weapons of seduction, and in two years he managed to send half of those children to school.” This is, in his opinion, the way.

“The theory of resilience is based on not being carried away by misfortune and seeks to give people confidence to nurture their inner freedom. This is done through the families, or a substitute, in the event that they do not exist”. And that’s because, “to be open to others, you have to have confidence in yourself”, which is not easy when you have suffered a trauma.

The neuropsychiatrist also highlighted that until now the history of humanity has been linked to violence, which has been necessary to survive, “But for a few generations we would like to live with something else.” Until now, in human history “violence was seen as a factor of construction, but now we see it as an element of destruction.” And since physical violence occurs to a greater extent in men than in women, he advocated for an education that consists of “teaching boys to control their impulses.”