Moral masochism is a good exemplar of the fusion of instincts since the suffering itself, whether it is decreed by a loved person or not, is of importance.
Drawing examples from Endgame, we have argued that melancholia, repetition compulsion, ambivalence, and moral masochism are among those destructive elements of death drive which push Hamm to his death.
With the opening of the sequence in addition offering slow-motion, virtually silent and quasi-ritualistic shots of Jake's body being bathed with a bloody sponge, Jake's moral masochism could in the sequence be regarded implicitly to shade into the "Christian" variant outlined by Reik.
The alienation implicit to Jake's recitation of Terry's speech is in addition compounded by On the Waterfront presenting--via Terry--a textbook example of the very transcendence through Christian moral masochism that Raging Bull denies.
This distinction implies that, in the instance of excessive moral inhibition, a sadistic desire to punish is experienced by the subject as stemming from the super-ego and that it is experienced consciously as a mode of domination, which leads to severe inhibition; in contrast, in the case of moral masochism
the desire to be punished issues unconsciously from the ego, which is to say, that the subject does not recognize or cannot avow his or her enjoyment of suffering and punishment.
Bersani brings psychoanalysis and Bataille together, writing: "From the Freudian perspective, we might say that Bataille reformulates this self-shattering into the sexual as a kind of nonanecdotal self-debasement, as a masochism to which the melancholy of the post-Oedipal super-ego's moral masochism
is wholly alien, and in which, so to speak, the self is exuberantly discarded.
This form is "original" because it underlies both feminine and moral masochism
From here on I will be relying on Wurmser's definition of masochism as "the need to seek suffering, pain, or humiliation in order to obtain love and respect and to sabotage one's chances and success" (1997 367), and addressing three distinct (albeit contingent) pathological manifestations: "outer masochism," "inner or moral masochism
," and "masochism covered by a sadistic-narcissistic facade.
Freud's fluid definition of masochism was further complicated by his postulation of a moral masochism
(a need for punishment, consequent to the excessive harshness of the superego) and a feminine masochism (the expression of an intrinsic feminine nature that succinctly linked passivity, submission, masochism, and femininity).
2 He also considered moral masochism
as driven by the Oedipus complex, so it was inherently sexual in its origins at least.
One could suggest that in each case an erotic explanation and a moral explanation of the masochism are both offered, thus locating both of these "cases" at the interstice between feminine and moral masochism
, a moral masochism
that has a very different tonality than the one discussed by Freud.