103 Chapters
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38. Infantile Ideas about the Female Genital Organs. [1913]

Ferenczi, Sandor Karnac Books ePub
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SEXUAL THEORY: The Scientific Significance of Freud's Three, Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. [1915].

Ferenczi, Sandor Karnac Books ePub

THE ‘Three Essays’ show us Freud, the psychoanalyst, for the first time engaged in synthetic work. Here the author endeavours for the first time to bring together, to classify, to co-ordinate the immeasurable wealth of experience yielded by the dissection of so many thousand minds, in such a fashion that there may result from it the clearing up of a great psychological domain. That he should choose sexuality as the object of his first synthesis was due to the nature of the material for observation that he had at command. He analysed patients with psycho-neuroses and psychoses and always discovered some kind of disturbance of the sexual life to be a fundamental cause for these ailments. Further researches connected with psycho-analysis convinced him that sexuality plays a far greater and more complicated part in the psychic activity of normal and healthy people also than had hitherto been considered possible—so long as one could only assess the evident manifestations of sexuality and was unaware of the unconscious. It appeared, therefore, that sexuality, in spite of its immense literature, is, in comparison with its importance, a very neglected chapter of human knowledge, and one that certainly deserves to be submitted to a thorough examination from a new point of view.

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34. The Dream of the Occlusive Pessary. [1915]

Ferenczi, Sandor Karnac Books ePub

A PATIENT recounted the following dream: I stuff an occlusive pessary into my urethra. I am alarmed as I do so lest it might slip into the bladder from which it could only be removed by shedding blood. I try, therefore, to hold it steady in the perineal region from outside and to force it back or to press it outwards along the urethra… . Here it struck him that in a dream fragment preceding this dream the pessary was stuffed into his rectum. Supplement: in the dream I was aware that the elastic thing would spread itself [sic] in the bladder and then it would be impossible to get it out again.

To the patient who is otherwise quite a masculine person, this dream in which he—like a woman—takes precautionary measures against impregnation seemed quite nonsensical, and he also was curious to learn whether this painful dream was a wish-fulfilment.

Asked for the actual conditioning of the dream he at once related:’ I had an assignation yesterday. Naturally it was the female partner and not I who took precautionary measures; she does actually protect herself from consequences by means of an occlusive pessary.’

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APPLIED PSYCHO-ANALYSIS: The Problem of Acceptance of Unpleasant Ideas—Advances in Knowledge of the Sense of Reality. [1926]

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NOT long after I first made acquaintance with psychoanalysis I encountered the problem of the sense of reality, a mode of mental functioning which seemed to be in sharp contrast to the tendency towards flight from’ pain’ and towards repression otherwise so universally demonstrable in mental life. By means of a kind of empathy into the infantile mind, I-arrived at the following hypothesis. To a child kept immune from any pain the whole of existence must appear to be a unity—’ monistic’, so to speak. Discrimination between’ good’ and’ bad’ things, ego and environment, inner and outer world, would only come later; at this stage alien and hostile would therefore be identical.2 In a subsequent work I attempted to reconstruct theoretically the principal stages in the development from the pleasure-principle to the reality-principle.3 I assumed that before it has experienced its first disappointments a child believes itself to be unconditionally omnipotent, and further that it clings to this feeling of omnipotence even when the effectiveness of its power in the fulfilment of its wishes is bound up with the observance of certain conditions. It is only the growing number and complexity of these conditions that compel it to surrender the feeling of omnipotence and to recognize reality generally. In describing this development, however, nothing could at that time be said of the inner processes that must accompany this remarkable and important transformation; our knowledge of the deeper foundations of the mind—especially of instinctual life—was still too undeveloped to allow of this. Since then Freud’s penetrating researches into instinctual life and his discoveries in the analysis of the ego have brought us nearer to this goal;4 but we were still unable satisfactorily to bridge the gap between instinctual life and intellectual life. It was plain that we still needed that supreme simplification into which Freud has been at last able to reduce the multiplicity of instinctual phenomena; I refer to his view concerning the instinctual polarity that lies at the basis of all life—his doctrine of the life-instinct (Eros) and the death-instinct or destruction-instinct.5 Yet not until one of Freud’s latest works appeared—’ Die Verneinung’ ,6 under which modest title lies concealed the beginnings of a psychology of the thought-processes, founded on biology—have the hitherto scattered fragments of our knowledge been gathered together. As always, here once more Freud takes his stand on the sure ground of psycho-analytical experience, and is extremely cautious in generalization. Following in his footsteps, I shall attempt once more to deal with the problem of the sense of reality in the light of his discovery. Freud has discovered the psychological act of a negation of reality to be a transition-phase between ignoring and accepting reality; the alien and therefore hostile outer world becomes capable of entering consciousness, in spite of’ pain’ , when it is supplied with the minus prefix of negation, i.e. when it is denied. In negativism, the tendency to abolish things, we see still at work the repressing forces which in the primary processes lead to a complete ignoring of whatever is’ painful’ ; negative hallucinatory ignoring is no longer successful; the’ pain’ is no longer ignored, but becomes the subject-matter of perception as a negation. The question naturally arises at once: what must take place in order that the final obstacle to acceptance may be also removed from the path, and the affirmation of an unpleasant idea (i.e. the complete disappearance of the tendency to repression) made possible?

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43. Micturition as a Sedative. [1915]

Ferenczi, Sandor Karnac Books ePub

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