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Indifference: the “Beyond” of Hate


`titrebIndifference: what lies beyond hatred`/titrebAs early as « The Project », Freud refers to a zone of indifference between pleasure and unpleasure » (1950, p. 318), to which he returns in the first chapter of Beyond the Pleasure Principle. Indifference is a figure zero of the Nirvana principle, a manifestation of the death drive. Indifference may be thought to proceed from a « disobjectalising » impulse in which the subject disengages from the object and decathects it, and then the object loses its qualities as an object for the subject, the ego itself gets rid of its characteristics and the subject is « desubjectivised ». In some criminals, indifference to the victims predominates and leads to the denial of otherness that allows the other to cease being conceived as a fellow creature through a decathexis of the object. The other’s humanity is eradicated by a subject who has lost his own humanity in this process. Identification ceases; insensitivity to what the object may be feeling moves into the foreground. The other may then become the object of any form of destruction. In fact, hatred cannot be recognised in these subjects because that involves accepting not only their own otherness but also the sufferings previously inflicted by the mother. Indifference is therefore situated « beyond » hatred. A psychotherapeutic treatment of a self-harming female patient helps to illustrate these theoretical developments.

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