Civilization and Its Discontents is shown to occupy a special place in Freud’s development of psychoanalytic theory and technique. Especially emphasized is its implications for an inclusive understanding of the reality principle. The concept tragic knots is then defined and used to emphasize Freud’s readiness to include tragic elements in that principle. An extended section then illustrates the spread of tragic knots into several diverse aspects of human existence: victimizations, intimacy, and maintaining privacy. Finally, implications are drawn for the clinic assessment of working through unconscious conflicts.
Keywords: Key words: Reality principle, tragic knots, guilt, revenge, intimacy, privacy