2012 ROBERT J. STOLLER MEMORIAL LECTURE Bloodlust: The Roots of Violence from Cain and Abel to the Present | View Full Calendar
Presented by Robert Jacoby, Ph.D.
Co-sponsored by the Robert J. Stoller Foundation and New Center for
Russell Jacoby's Bloodlust alerts us to an unsettling truth about violence, its
origins, course, and prevention. It is not the unknown that threatens us, but the
known. In the past and present fratricide—here referring to violence among
family, friends, and neighbors—constitutes the main form of violence. In regard
to assault or murder, one has much less to fear from a complete stranger than
from a spouse, ex-spouse, or co-worker; on a political and global scale, the
same relationships holds true. From assassination to war and genocide, violence
emerges from inside the fold. Bloodlust surveys the history of violence, paying
especial attention to the prevalence of fratricidal strife such as the religious wars
of the 16th century and genocide in the 20th century. Jacoby argues that even
the genocide of the Jews was less an aggression against some unknown stranger
than against familiar neighbors. After all, German Jews were largely successful
and assimilated. To understand this phenomenon, Jacoby avails himself of Freud
who puzzled upon the enmity that arises from closeness and dubbed it the
“narcissism of minor differences.” Bloodlust seeks to unravel the mystery of this
violence by an encounter with history and Freud.
• Discuss the history of violence with attention to its roots within the familiar
rather than the other
• Summarize Freud’s description of the “narcissism of minor differences”
• Outline a psychoanalytic perspective on cruelty and its vicissitudes
Russell Jacoby, Ph.D. is Professor in Residence, Department of History, UCLA.
He has published eight books that have been translated into a dozen languages.
Psychoanalysis—its ideas, history, and interpretation—has figured into several of
his books, including his first, Social Amnesia: A Critique of Conformist Psychology
from Adler to Laing. Another of his books, The Repression of Psychoanalysis: Otto
Fenichel and the Political Freudians, explored the fate of this psychoanalyst who
played an important role in Vienna and who helped to introduce psychoanalysis to
Los Angeles. His most recent work, Bloodlust is a psychoanalytically informed
essay that discusses the origins and persistence of violence.
David James Fisher, Ph.D. is Program Moderator and Michael Gales, M.D. is
the NCP Program Committee Chair.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
8 PM–10 PM
$20 with CE Credits
Free attendance without credit
Copies of Professor Jacoby's book will be on sale in the lobby