Back to Christopher Lasch, The Narcissistic Personality of Our Time: Table of Contents

Psychoanalysis deals with individ­uals, not with groups. Efforts to generalize clinical findings to col­lective behavior always encounter the difficulty that groups have a life of their own. The collective mind, if there is such a thing, reflects the needs of the group as a whole, not the psychic needs of the individual, which in fact have to be subordinated to the demands of collective living. Indeed it is precisely the subjection of individuals to the group that psychoanalytic theory, through a study of its psychic repercussions, promises to clarify. By con­ducting an intensive analysis of individual cases that rests on clinical evidence rather than common-sense impressions, psycho-analysis tells us something about the inner workings of society it­self, in the very act of turning its back on society and immersing itself in the individual unconscious.