Gérard Bonnet : « vengeance as a means of survival » or life violence, death violence

Violence is one of the most feared forms of human violence and also offers privileged ground for studying this violence in itself. For psychoanalysis, perversion is the psychical organization which most clearly illustrates how this desire for vengeance originates in the human psyche. Its aim is nonetheless paradoxical, as I tried to show in one of my recent books with the title : Perversion, vengeance as a means of survival (Bonnet, 2008). For if the perverse person has such an investment in vengeance, it is paradoxically in order to survive and to counterbalance another, deadly violence, fearsome in another way, which threatens him relentlessly from within. The perverse person counterbalances this death violence by investing every facet of vengeance and it is important to identify these in order to defuse the immediate dangers. Then we see that he invests this survival violence in two ways : either by taking them out on others, whom he transforms into survival objects, in the most serious perversions, when the subject is entirely steered by the dialectic of violence ; or else by investing against his will some facet of the violence in such a way that it is limited to its consequences for the other : this runs the gamut from Don Juanism to masochism and fetishism, and includes all the varieties of narcissism and voyeurism that are rampant today.

Adolescence, 2011, T. 29 n°2, pp. 281-291.