Displaced Aggression Quotes

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No other technique for the conduct of life attaches the individual so firmly to reality as laying emphasis on work; for his work at least gives him a secure place in a portion of reality, in the human community. The possibility it offers of displacing a large amount of libidinal components, whether narcissistic, aggressive or even erotic, on to professional work and on to the human relations connected with it lends it a value by no means second to what it enjoys as something indispensible to the preservation and justification of existence in society. Professional activity is a source of special satisfaction if it is a freely chosen one — if, that is to say, by means of sublimation, it makes possible the use of existing inclinations, of persisting or constitutionally reinforced instinctual impulses. And yet, as a path to happiness, work is not highly prized by men. They do not strive after it as they do after other possibilities of satisfaction. The great majority of people only work under the stress of necessity, and this natural human aversion to work raises most difficult social problems.
Sigmund Freud (Civilization and Its Discontents)
A final depressing point about inequality and violence. As we’ve seen, a rat being shocked activates a stress response. But a rat being shocked who can then bite the hell out of another rat has less of a stress response. Likewise with baboons—if you are low ranking, a reliable way to reduce glucocorticoid secretion is to displace aggression onto those even lower in the pecking order. It’s something similar here—despite the conservative nightmare of class warfare, of the poor rising up to slaughter the wealthy, when inequality fuels violence, it is mostly the poor preying on the poor. This point is made with a great metaphor for the consequences of societal inequality.41 The frequency of “air rage”—a passenger majorly, disruptively, dangerously losing it over something on a flight—has been increasing. Turns out there’s a substantial predictor of it: if the plane has a first-class section, there’s almost a fourfold increase in the odds of a coach passenger having air rage. Force coach passengers to walk through first class when boarding, and you more than double the chances further. Nothing like starting a flight by being reminded of where you fit into the class hierarchy. And completing the parallel with violent crime, when air rage is boosted in coach by reminders of inequality, the result is not a crazed coach passenger sprinting into first class to shout Marxist slogans. It’s the guy being awful to the old woman sitting next to him, or to the flight attendant.*
Robert M. Sapolsky (Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst)
All of this evokes the dicta of successful historic propagandists described earlier. From Alinsky's Rules for Radicals: >"Ridicule is man's most potent weapon." >"Keep the pressure on. Never let up." > "development of operations that will keep a constant pressure on the opposition." >"Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." >"Not every item of news should be published. Rather must those who control news policies endeavor to make every item of news serve a certain purpose." >"Propaganda must facilitate the displacement of aggression by specifying the targets for hatred.
Sharyl Attkisson (The Smear: How the Secret Art of Character Assassination Controls What You Think, What You Read, and How You Vote)
A final depressing point about inequality and violence. As we've seen, a rat being shocked activates a stress response. But a rat being shocked who can then bite the hell out of another rat has less of a stress response. Likewise with baboons - if you are low ranking, a reliable way to reduce glucocorticoid secretion is to displace aggression onto those even lower in the pecking order. It's something similar here - despite the conservative nightmare of class warfare, of the poor rising up to slaughter the wealthy, when inequality fuels violence, it is mostly the poor preying on the poor.
Robert M. Sapolsky
We would gladly have listened to her (they said) if only she had spoken like a lady. But they are liars and the truth is not in them. Shrill… vituperative… no concern for the future of society… maunderings of antiquated feminism… selfish femlib… needs a good lay… this shapeless book… of course a calm and objective discussion is beyond… twisted, neurotic… some truth buried in a largely hysterical… of very limited interest, I should… another tract for the trash-can… burned her bra and thought that… no characterization, no plot… really important issues are neglected while… hermetically sealed… women's limited experience… another of the screaming sisterhood… a not very appealing aggressiveness… could have been done with wit if the author had… deflowering the pretentious male… a man would have given his right arm to… hardly girlish… a woman's book… another shrill polemic which the… a mere male like myself can hardly… a brilliant but basically confused study of feminine hysteria which… feminine lack of objectivity… this pretense at a novel… trying to shock… the tired tricks of the anti-novelists… how often must a poor critic have to… the usual boring obligatory references to Lesbianism… denial of the profound sexual polarity which… an all too womanly refusal to face facts… pseudo-masculine brusqueness… the ladies'-magazine level… trivial topics like housework and the predictable screams of… those who cuddled up to ball-breaker Kate will… unfortunately sexless in its outlook… drivel… a warped clinical protest against… violently waspish attack… formidable self-pity which erodes any chance of… formless… the inability to accept the female role which… the predictable fury at anatomy displaced to… without the grace and compassion which we have the right to expect… anatomy is destiny… destiny is anatomy… sharp and funny but without real weight or anything beyond a topical… just plain bad… we "dear ladies," whom Russ would do away with, unfortunately just don't feel… ephemeral trash, missiles of the sex war… a female lack of experience which… Q. E. D. Quod erat demonstrandum. It has been proved.
Joanna Russ (The Female Man)
WHEN YOU BECOME INVOLVED IN AN ARGUMENT or some conflict situation, perhaps with a partner or someone close to you, start by observing how defensive you become as your own position is attacked, or feel the force of your own aggression as you attack the other person's position. Observe the attachment to your views and opinions. Feel the mental-emotional energy behind your need to be right and make the other person wrong. That's the energy of the egoic mind. You make it conscious by acknowledging it, by feeling it as fully as possible. Then one day, in the middle of an argument, you will suddenly realize that you have a choice, and you may decide to drop your own reaction — just to see what happens. You surrender. I don't mean dropping the reaction just verbally by saying “Okay, you are right,” with a look on your face that says, “I am above all this childish unconsciousness.” That's just displacing the resistance to another level, with the egoic mind still in charge, claiming superiority. I am speaking of letting go of the entire mental-emotional energy field inside you that was fighting for power. The ego is cunning, so you have to be very alert, very present, and totally honest with yourself to see whether you have truly relinquished your identification with a mental position and so freed yourself from your mind.
Eckhart Tolle (Practicing the Power of Now)
The leveling process need find no place in Power's programme: it is embedded in its destiny. From the moment that it seeks to lay hands on the resources latent in the community, it finds itself impelled to put down the mighty by its natural tendency as that which causes a bear in search of honey to break the cells of the hive. How will the common people, the dependents and the laborers, welcome Power's secular work of destruction? With joy, inevitably. Its work is that of demolishing feudal castles; ambition motivates it, but the former victims rejoice in their liberation. Its work is that of breaking the shell of petty private tyrannies so as to draw out the hoarded energy within; greed motivates it but the exploited rejoice in the downfall of their exploiters. The final result of this stupendous work of aggression, does not disclose itself till late. Visible, no doubt, is the displacement of many private dominions by one general dominion, of many aristocracies by one "statocracy." But at first, the common people can but applaud: the more capable among them are, in a continuous stream, enrolled in Power's army - the administration - there to become the masters of their former social superiors.
Bertrand De Jouvenel (ON POWER: The Natural History of Its Growth)
In short, the oppressor and the oppressed, instead of fighting it out within the city, directed their aggression toward a common goal-an attack on a rival city. Thus the greater the tensions and the harsher the daily repressions of civilization, the more useful war became as a safety valve. Finally, war performed another function that was even more indispensable, if my hypothetical connection between anxiety, human sacrifice, and war prove defensible. War provided its own justification, by displacing neurotic anxiety with rational fear in the face of real danger. Once war broke out, there was solid reason for apprehension, terror, and compensatory displays of courage.
Lewis Mumford (Technics and Human Development (The Myth of the Machine, Vol 1))
Feelings of rage and murderous revenge fantasies are normal responses to abusive treatment. Like abused adults, abused children are often rageful and sometimes aggressive. They often lack verbal and social skills for resolving conflict, and they approach problems with the expectation of hostile attack. The abused child’s predictable difficulties in modulating anger further strengthen her conviction of inner badness. Each hostile encounter convinces her that she is indeed a hateful person. If, as is common, she tends to displace her anger far from its dangerous source and to discharge it unfairly on those who did not provoke it, her self-condemnation is aggravated still further.
Judith Lewis Herman
There’s an additional depressing reason why stress fosters aggression—because it reduces stress. Shock a rat and its glucocorticoid levels and blood pressure rise; with enough shocks, it’s at risk for a “stress” ulcer. Various things can buffer the rat during shocks—running on a running wheel, eating, gnawing on wood in frustration. But a particularly effective buffer is for the rat to bite another rat. Stress-induced (aka frustration-induced) displacement aggression is ubiquitous in various species. Among baboons, for example, nearly half of aggression is this type—a high-ranking male loses a fight and chases a subadult male, who promptly bites a female, who then lunges at an infant. My research shows that within the same dominance rank, the more a baboon tends to displace aggression after losing a fight, the lower his glucocorticoid levels.78 Humans excel at stress-induced displacement aggression—consider how economic downturns increase rates of spousal and child abuse. Or consider a study of family violence and pro football. If the local team unexpectedly loses, spousal/partner violence by men increases 10 percent soon afterward (with no increase when the team won or was expected to lose). And as the stakes get higher, the pattern is exacerbated: a 13 percent increase after upsets when the team was in playoff contention, a 20 percent increase when the upset is by a rival.79
Robert M. Sapolsky (Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst)
... - the Age of Anxiety, dating from around August 1945, is twenty three years old this very month - and her daily life is in essence a sandbagging operation against its seas and their tides. But this is worry and it is a little different from anxirty: Particular rather than pervasive, it arrives unannounced, without anxiety's harbingers, dread and forboding, the fearful tea in which we steep awaiting oblivion. Instead, worry turns up on the door step, the overbearing, passive aggressive out-of-town relative who insists he "won't be any trouble" even as he displaces every known routine and custom of the house for days and weeks on end; as he expropriates the sofa, the bathroom, the contents of the liqour cabinet and cigarette carton, and monopolises the telephone and the ear of anyone within shouting distance. Worry displaces the entire mood, the entire ethos of the house - even if that mood hitherto consisted largely of anxiety - and replaces it with something more substantive, more real than mere mood. You would be mightily pleased to have ordinary anxiety back in residence, for under worry there is no peace whatsoever, not even the peace of cynicism, pessimism or despair. Even when the rest of the world is abed, worry is awake, plundering the kitchen cupboards, raiding the refrigerator, playing the hifi, watching the late show until the national anthem closes the broadcast day; then noisily treading the halls, standing in your bedroom door, wondering if by any chance you are still up (knowing that of course you are), breathing and casting its shadow upon you, the silhouette of its slope-shouldered hulk and towering black wings.
Robert Clark (Love Among the Ruins)
Preferences tend to respond to middle-class aspirations almost entirely. They do little or nothing about the resentments of those who do not aspire to attend secondary school or university, to enter the modern private sector or the bureaucracy, or to become businessmen. Although lower-class resentments are often profound- it is not, after, all the middle class that typically participates in ethnic violence – the resentments may have nothing to do with occupational mobility, and preferences do not address them. Indeed, by reducing disparities between ethnic groups, preferences are likely to increase disparities between classes within ethnic groups. This is a redistributive effect that has gone largely, though not entirely, unnoticed. The magnification of social-class cleavages in an ethnically divided society is not necessarily conducive to the moderation of ethnic cleavages. On the contrary, it may encourage the displacement of lower-class aggression onto ethnic strangers
Donald L. Horowitz (Ethnic Groups in Conflict, Updated Edition With a New Preface)
People of this temperament, or possessing this psychopathology, usually adopt a placatory attitude toward others because they cannot afford to disagree or risk anything which might cause offence or incur disapproval. Because the price of approval is compliance, which must involve some degree of dissimulation, this type of individual needs to get away from other people in order to be himself unimpeded by the need to please. A ‘masochistic’, submissive stance toward others must involve the repression of aggression. The person who cannot stand up to other people, or assert himself when this is appropriate, represses his hostility. When he becomes depressed, his hostility toward others is displaced and becomes directed against himself in the form of self-reproach. As Freud pointed out in his classic paper, ‘Mourning and Melancholia’, the reproaches which the depressed person levels against himself are usually explicable as reproaches which he would like to have directed at someone close to him, but which he dared not express for fear of antagonizing a person upon whose love he depends.9 People of this kind constitute a considerable fraction of psychiatric practice. They also respond well to psychiatric treatment. It is easier to facilitate self-assertion in the timid than it is to induce humility in the overweening. But it must be emphasized that not all patients who suffer from recurrent depression are of the type just described.
Anthony Storr (Solitude: A Return to the Self)
The leveling process need find no place in its programme: it is embedded in its destiny. From the moment that it seeks to lay hands on the resources latent in the community, it finds itself impelled to put down the mighty by its natural tendency as that which causes a bear in search of honey to break the cells of the hive. How will the common people, the dependents and the laborers, welcome its a secular work of destruction? With joy, inevitably. Its work is that of demolishing feudal castles; ambition motivates it, but the former victims rejoice in their liberation. Its work is that of breaking the shell of petty private tyrannies so as to draw out the hoarded energy within; greed motivates it but the exploited rejoice in the downfall of their exploiters. The final result of this stupendous work of aggression, does not disclose itself till late. Visible, no doubt, is the displacement of many private dominions by one general dominion, of many aristocracies by one "statocracy." But at first, the common people can but applaud: the more capable among them are, in a continuous stream, enrolled in Power's army - the administration - there to become the masters of their former social superiors.
Bertrand De Jouvenel (ON POWER: The Natural History of Its Growth)
Dead and mutilated bodies, famine, and citizens handicapped by economic sanctions are all part of the warlords’ bartering chips for seizing power and securing valuable concessions. Many proud nations of indigenous people perished in battle for control of lands that rightfully did not belong to the army bearing superior forces. No army returns territory it took, unless compelled to do so by hard costs. The meek might inherit the earth someday, but for now the most aggressive and ruthless armies control the turf.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
To get to the point of recovery, we must survive. Survivors are by necessity co-dependent. We use many coping skills and “ego defenses” to do this. Children of alcoholics and from other troubled or dysfunctional families survive by dodging, hiding, negotiating, taking care of others, pretending, denying and learning and adapting to stay alive using any method that works. They learn other, often unhealthy, ego defense mechanisms, as described by Anna Freud (1936) and summarized by Vaillant (1977). These include: intellectualization, repression, disassociation, displacement and reaction formation (all of which if over-used can be considered to be neurotic) and projection, passive-aggressive behavior, acting out, hypochondriasis, grandiosity and denial (all of which if over-used can be considered immature and at times psychotic).
Charles L. Whitfield (Healing the Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families)
Yet when the trauma-hero myth is taken as representing the ultimate truth of more than a decade of global aggression, we allow the psychological suffering endured by those we sent to kill for us displace and erase the innocents killed in our name.
Roy Scranton (We're Doomed. Now What?: Essays on War and Climate Change)