Gérard Bonnet : when ideal leads to passage to the act

It is standard practice to attribute the human acts of excessive violence that occur regularly in private and in public to an unleashing of aggressive drives : one speaks of the weakness of instances of the superego which have not fulfilled their role. Freud regularly refers to this schema, starting with his establishment of the second topic, and he is the inspiration behind most of the educational models now in force. However, the very ideals that are supposed to control drives can sometimes lead to violent passages to the act. In such cases, there is idealization without sublimation, and the ideal which is at the heart of the idealization is invested for its own sake. Instead of being the vector for desires, opening the way for sublimation, it bottles up drive energy and liberates it in an explosive way. This is why a deeper analysis of ideals is needed if one is to discover the components of the explosion and the way of dealing with it.

Adolescence, 2013, T. 31, n°4, pp. 897-915.