The Essential Being
Psychoanalytic Understanding of Totalitarianism

Paper: 978 1 78220 500 5 / $42.95
Published: May 2017  

Publisher: Karnac Books
200 pp., 6" x 9"
This book explores the concept of “pre-conceptual trauma”, drawing in particular on the pioneering research of Wilfred Bion. A comparison is established between two different groups of individuals: five well-known dictators and five famous creative individuals. The authors have defined “pre-conceptual traumas” as ubiquitous experiences that all human beings go through during the first years of their lives, when a temporary absence changes into a permanent presence, determining the outcome of what any individual might do or perform in the future. Pre-conceptual traumas split the mind into two dialectical and correlated states: the "traumatized" (conflictive or pathological), and the "non-traumatized" (developmental or normal).

Table of Contents:
About the Authors

1) Pre-conceptual traumas as a determinant factor in the individual’s personality
2) Dictators’ early traumas
3) Communism as a form of psychopathology
4) Capitalism: another form of psychopathology
5) The acolytes
6) Sycophants and socialist romantics
7) The claustrum
8) Unconditionality, essentiality, and revengeful hope
9) Hitler
10) Stalin
11) Mao
12) Castro
13) Hussein
14) Beethoven
15) Freud
16) Einstein
17) Gandhi
18) Picasso
19) General consideration


Reviews & Endorsements:
"With daring, learning, and clinical experience, Anamilagros Perez-Morazzani and Rafael E. Lopez-Corvo present the impact of childhood trauma “as it repeats compulsively and continuously” in totalitarianism and terrorism. Perez-Morazzani and Lopez-Corvo detail the unconscious motivational forces in five dictators, showing the “omnipotent and megalomaniac fantasies” of the leader. The Essential Being dramatises the internal dynamics of the tyrant’s hold on power: the cockroach is “killed” but produces “a thousand small ones”. The authors’ immersion in psychoanalysis, with its unique access to unconscious representations and vivid metaphors of patients in analysis, provides an impressive wealth of clinical vignettes in this remarkable study of early trauma and its very different outcome in the psychodynamics of creative genius."
- Margaret Ann Hanly, PhD, training and supervising psychoanalyst in the Canadian Institute of Psychoanalysis and past president of the Canadian Psychoanalytic Society