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Diseased Attachment to the Nation-State
Hobbes, Thomas (1651). Leviathan
The Nazi's body belonged to the state. One’s own body “fused” with Hitler’s body and the bodies of all Germans. The Nazi existed in a state of identification with the “immortal” nation.

To identify with a nation is to relocate one’s body and self. In extreme forms of nationalism, one sacrifices the life of one’s concrete body in the name of preserving a body politic.

Denial of death takes the form of identification with a self-perpetuating body which, unlike ordinary bodies, is not subject to death and decay.

The fate of organic entities is to disintegrate and be consumed by microorganisms. Denial of death takes the form of trying to create a national body unlike other bodies: one that will not disintegrate; will not be consumed by bacteria.

Hitler’s fantasy of a “parasite on the body of the people” is the immortal object itself—the German nation—consuming one’s life force. The parasite is the beloved body politic in its negative guise: the noxious experience of the nation-state, devotion to which saps energy from concrete existence.

Hitler aspired to fuse the German people into a giant “melting pot,” the German nation. At Nuremberg, young Germans massed closely together—seemingly fused into one body.

Jews in the gas-chambers were the other side of the coin of the symbiotic fantasy of many bodies fused into one. The mangled bodies in the gas chambers—packed closely together—enacted the dream of symbiotic oneness as absolute destruction.

Nationalism is expansion of the body-ego: wish to create an omnipotent, self-perpetuating body containing no weakness; no tendency toward death. Nazism is escape from one’s concrete body into the dream of an immortal body.

Symbiotic fusion between self and nation was the essence of Nazism. Life was to be lived in the name of the immortal German Reich. One’s concrete existence was sacrificed in the name of maintaining the life of the body politic.

The disease of nationalism—of neurosis—grows out of the fantasy of an omnipotent, indestructible part of the self that will never die. A self that can never die cannot mourn; there is no possibility of intrapsychic change or growth. The object inside the self symbiotically clings or sticks to the self, constituting a burden or encrustation.

It is precisely the dream of immortality—of no separation—that becomes symbiotic upon the self. The parasite within is the immortal object that requires feeding. The dream comes into being through the sacrifices one makes. One must feed the monster to keep one’s omnipotent dream alive.

The parasite is the omnipotent dream that sucks the life (energy) out of one’s real life. The parasitical disease is the need to attach to an omnipotent idea. Attachment to an omnipotent idea sucks your strength—as you devote your life’s energies to the maintenance of the “impossible dream” (immortality).

The term “disease within the body of the people” reflects the psychosomatic meaning of neurotic attachment to the nation-state. One “loves” the object; but the object attached to one’s body consumes its energy. Symbiotic attachment is the disease.

The sense of being fused with an omnipotent object is both a source of strength, sustenance, and energy (enhanced power)—and simultaneously the cause of weakness and loss of self. Hitler explained to his German people: “You are nothing, your nation is everything.” One is diminished by one’s attachment.

Hitler experienced a sense of omnipotence when he observed his young men at the Nuremberg rallies. He imagined that tens-of-thousands of bodies were part of his body, controlled by his will.

He became the sovereign in Hobbes’ Leviathan: filled with the bodies of a multitude of men. Without these bodies within Hitler’s body, he’s just a head: a man without a country; man without a body.