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MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE AND RELIGION: A Lecture for Judges and Barristers. [1913].

Ferenczi, Sandor Karnac Books ePub

EACH advance in psychology brings with it developments in every branch of mental science. If our knowledge of the human mind takes only one step forward we must revise every discipline whose objective is connected with the psychic life. Of what could one maintain this with more justification than of legal science and sociology? The aim of sociology is to instruct us in the laws that control the vital relationships of people combined into large groups; and the law moulds into the form of exact rules the principles to which man must adapt himself if he is to remain a member of society. This adaptation is above all a psychic process; therefore regarded from a higher, more general point of view, legal as well as social science are really only applied mental science, and as such must follow with attention every newly discovered fact, every new orientation of psychology. I should like to acquaint you with the important advances made during the last decennia in mental science. These advances are associated with the name of the Viennese neurologist and professor, Dr. Sigmund Freud, who subsumed his new method of psychic research, and the domain of knowledge discovered by its help, under the name of psycho-analysis. If I were asked what was the greatest scientific merit of psycho-analysis and by what means could it inspire fresh activity into the dead waters of psychology, I would reply that it was the discovery of the laws and mechanisms of the unconscious mental life. What the philosophers who so much over-estimated the significance of the conscious mental life hitherto simply held to be impossible, what a few, indeed, dimly imagined but believed to be eo ipso inaccessible to exact knowledge—the mental life belowthethresholdofconsciousness—it is precisely this that Freud’s investigations made accessible to us. I cannot here reproduce in detail the evolution of this science, so recent yet so rich in experiences and in results. I only make brief mention of the fact that Freud from the study of mental diseases was in a position to lay bare the deeper strata of the human psyche. Just as experience with bodily illnesses brought enlightenment concerning certain hitherto quite unknown protective and adaptive arrangements in the organism, so the neuroses and psychoses proved to be caricatures of normal psychic functioning and let us perceive more strikingly, more acutely, the processes that play their part unnoticed in healthy people also. A satirical Englishman once said:’ If you want to study human nature, go to Bedlam’ (the mad house). Our alienists, however, have so far allowed their unique opportunities for increasing human knowledge to escape them; they have devoted themselves exclusively to humanitarian efforts and scientifically have achieved little more than non-committal groupings of symptoms upon the basis of the most dissimilar principles. In particular they have utterly neglected psychological points of view in the study of mental diseases. The scalpel, the microscope, and experiment, however, proved completely unable to assist us in an understanding of these diseases. Breuer and Freud were the first to discover behind the grotesque incomprehensible manifestations of hysteria that magnificent protective arrangement, the mechanism of repression, which enables the mind to escape from tormenting ideas, from insight into the painful reality, by submerging such contents of consciousness into a deeper psychic stratum, into the unconscious whence it is only allowed to re-emerge in a distorted and, even for the patient himself, incomprehensible and therefore more supportable form, by way of psychic symptoms. To begin with, Freud searched for this repressed ideational material by recalling to hypnotized patients all the painful complexes from which they had taken refuge in illness. Later he gave up hypnotism and only made use of the so-called’ free association of ideas’; he got the patient to tell him un-selectively everything that occurred to him without regard to the logical, ethical, or aesthetic value of the ideas. In this way there came to light, usually after the overcoming of powerful resistances, the ideas hitherto repressed or their clear or interpretable indications. The analysis of dreams, the scientific interpretation of dreams, gave us our first glimpse into the unconscious mental world of healthy people also. Then in turn came the little slips of everyday life, the psychological analysis of forgetting, of slips of the tongue, of the pen, of lesser and greater awkwardnesses, concerning which it was shown how incorrect it was always to put the responsibility for them upon accident, and how very much oftener they were determined by the wish of our unconscious. Thus with the psycho-analysis of wit and the comical, Freud made the first step towards a deeper understanding of aesthetic effect. The astonishing and remarkably uniform result of all these investigations was the demonstration that in the unconscious of the adult and in every way normal individual there also survives a collection of latent repressed primitive human or, more correctly, animal instincts at the same level at which they were condemned to silence in childhood by cultural adaptation. We learn also that these instincts are not inactive; they seek even yet for opportunity to break through the restraints of reason and morality and to make themselves felt. Even where such restraints are sufficiently powerful these instincts manifest themselves at least in the childish, absurd, or malicious guise of jokes, or they annoy our higher logical consciousness by parapraxes, and where all this does not suffice they live themselves out in the symptoms of mental disease. It thus turned out that the neuroses and psychoses in general originate from the conflict between the individual’s sexual instincts and his life interests, and that the same thing holds good of the characteristic qualities of healthy people.

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64. The Symbolism of Bed-Linen. [1913].

Ferenczi, Sandor Karnac Books ePub

(a) A YOUNG man has a pollution regularly every time that his bed-linen is changed. Interpretation: he wishes to soil what is clean (woman); at the same time he compels (unconsciously) the females belonging to the household, who attend to the bed, to concern themselves with his potency.

(b) A man suffers from relative impotence: he can only achieve coitus if previously, with his own hands, he rumples up the bed-linen, which must be quite smooth, or if his wife lies upon a sheet of smooth paper which he crumples up immediately before the act. The symptom proves to be Qver-determined; its elements are: I. love for the (wrinkled) grandmother; 2. sadism (as in the first case); 3. memories of onanism with the help of the bed-clothes.2

Notes

1 Ziilschrift, 1913, Bd. I. S. 378.

2For the identification of skin and bed-linen (both of course are washed !) and of wrinkles and the folds of bed-linen, compare the following joke from Flitgtnden Blatter.’ What do you want, child, with the flat-iron t’ ‘I want to make grandpapa’s face smooth.’

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44. Dread of Cigar and Cigarette Smoking. [1914]

Ferenczi, Sandor Karnac Books ePub
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24. A Transitory Symptom: the Position during Treatment. [1913]

Ferenczi, Sandor Karnac Books ePub
Medium 9781855750852

V. ON THE PART PLAYED DY HOMOSEXUALITY IN THE PATHOGENESIS OP PARANOIA

Ferenczi, Sandor Karnac Books ePub

IN the summer of 1908 I had the opportunity of opening up the problem of paranoia in the course of conversation with Professor Freud, and we arrived at certain tentative ideas, which for the main part were developed by Professor Freud, while I contributed to the final shaping of the train of thought with detached suggestions and criticisms. We laid down to begin with that the mechanism of projection, as explicated by Freud in the only case of paranoia at that time analysed, is characteristic of paranois in general. We assumed further that the paranoiac mechanism stands midway between the opposite mechanisms of neurosis and of dementia praecox. The neurotic gets rid of the affects that have become disagreeable to him by means of the different forms of displacement (conversion, transference, substitution); the patient suffering from dementia praecox, on the other hand, detaches his intcrcst from objects 2 and retracts it to his ego (auto-erotism, grandiose delusions).

The paranoiac also would make an attempt to withdraw his participation (in external interests), but it meets with only a limited success. Some of the desires get happily retracted into the ego— grandiose delusions occur in every case of paranoia—but a greater part of the interest, varying in amount, cannot disengage itself from its original object, or else returns to it. This interest, however, has become so incompatible with the ego that it gets objectified (with a reversal of affect, t. e. with a “negative sign in front”) and thus cast out from the ego. The tendency that has become intolerable, and has been withdrawn from its object, in this way returns from its love-object in the form of a perception of its own negative. The feeling of love is turned into the sensation of its opposite.

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