Cornelius Castoriadis: Infantile Narcissism Replaced by a Narcissistic Social Contract

According to Freud, childhood omnipotence & narcissism undergo displacement via a series of clashes with the reality principle. For a special group of humans, however, culture offers to compensate them for that displacement by offering elevated status, a contract that restores the narcissistic bubble. Cornelius Castoriadis describes the situation:

‘The “narcissistic contract,” theorizes what the psyche expects from society as compensation for the abandonment of its “monadic ultranarcissism”. That’s the narcissistic contract: If you behave in this or that way, you’ll then have other people’s recognition; you will be cathected by the others, who will fill the narcissistic breach opened by the abandonment of originary omnipotence.’ [Figures Of The Thinkable, by Cornelius Castoriadis, Stanford University Press, 2007]