Sublimation and Abasement

We know about the concept of sublimation through Freudian theory. An inner need can be compensated for (as seen ethically or esthetically) by a loftier inclination or activity. A sadist can establish himself as a surgeon; an infantile interest in feces can be sublimated by the sculptor’s occupation (Freud). Such cases imply no loss of assimilation strength, and are, therefore, to be morally affirmed.

We must propose a differentiation through the introduction of the concept of abasement, which we likewise understand to be the transformation of an inclination but, from the standpoint of moral worth, not in the ennobling sense (the word sublimation is indicative of positive moral worth), but rather in the opposite direction: therefore; abasement. The conversion of an impulse toward homogeneity into hate, anger, envy, brutality - that is abasement. It means a loss of collective introgenic capacity.

The fact that the secret origin of exaggerated jealousy is a repressed homosexual tendency was already recognized by Freud and Abraham. But hate, and anger as well, and every sadistic emotion in general, is also a repressed impulse for the homogeneous, one that has not reached consciousness.(1)


  1. Compare with my work on the Tolstoy’s Kreutzer Sonata, that will appear this year in Imago.