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Narcissism of minor differences

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In his article on "The [[Taboo ]] of Virginity"<ref>1918a</ref> and on the [[subject ]] of [[man]'s "narcissistic rejection" of [[woman]] because of his [[castration complex]], [[Freud]] isolated for the first [[time ]] a [[particular ]] reaction that he later saw as the driving force behind [[racism]].
He wrote:
<blockquote>"the [[practice ]] of taboos we have described testifies to the [[existence ]] of a force which opposes [[love ]] by rejecting [[women ]] as strange and hostile. Crawley, in [[language ]] which differs only slightly from the current terminology of [[psychoanalysis]], declares that each [[individual ]] is separated from the [[others ]] by a 'taboo of personal [[isolation]],' and that it is precisely the minor differences in [[people ]] who are otherwise alike that [[form ]] the basis of [[feelings ]] of strangeness and hostility between [[them]]. It would be tempting to pursue this [[idea ]] and to derive from this 'narcissism of minor differences' the hostility which in every [[human ]] relation we see fighting successfully against feelings of fellowship and overpowering the commandment that all men should love one [[another]]."<ref>p. 199</ref></blockquote>
He returned to this idea without naming it in Group [[Psychology ]] and the [[Analysis ]] of the Ego (1921c) when discussing hostile sentiments with [[regard ]] to whatever is strange:
<blockquote>"In the undisguised antipathies and aversions which people feel towards strangers with whom they have to do we may recognize the expression of [[self]]-love—of narcissism. This self-love works for the preservation of the individual, and behaves as though the occurrence of any divergence from his own particular lines of [[development ]] involved a criticism of them and a [[demand ]] for their alteration. We do not [[know ]] why such sensitiveness should have been directed to just these details of differentiation."<ref>p. 102</ref></blockquote>
Not until [[Civilization and its Discontents]] did [[Freud]] give the [[notion ]] the [[full ]] [[meaning ]] that it has today: <blockquote>"It is always possible to [[bind ]] together a considerable [[number ]] of people in love, so long as there are [[other ]] people [[left ]] over to receive the manifestations of their [[aggressiveness]]. I once discussed the phenomenon that it is precisely communities with adjoining territories, and related to each other in other ways as well, who are engaged in constant feuds and in ridiculing each other—Germans and South Germans, the [[English ]] and the Scotch, and so on. I gave this phenomenon the [[name ]] of 'the narcissism of minor differences,' a name which does not do much to explain it. We can now see that it is a convenient and relatively harmless [[satisfaction ]] of the inclination to [[aggression]], by means of which [[cohesion ]] between the members of the [[community ]] is made easier. In this respect the [[Jewish ]] people, scattered everywhere, have rendered most useful services to the civilizations of the countries that have been their hosts."<ref>1930a [1929], p. 114</ref></blockquote>
After [[Freud]] the notion entered [[psychoanalytic ]] [[discourse ]] without much further study.
==See Also==
# [[Freud, Sigmund]]. (1918a). The taboo of virginity. SE, 11: 191-208.
# ——. (1921c). [[Group psychology ]] and the analysis of the ego. SE, 18: 65-143.
# ——. (1930a [1929]). Civilization and its discontents. SE, 21: 57-145.
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