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X. Conclusion

John Bremner Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

DONALD MELTZER

By the time that a book has written itself and its various parts been put together, perhaps in particular, as in the present instance, when several people have worked together and separately on it, what has emerged seems very different from what was envisaged. One can step back and see the brushstrokes melt away and a scheme emerge whose organization was never planned or expected. It is suddenly clear that the transformation of experiences into a book has changed oneself; in becoming part of one’s history it alters the person who views what has gone on as well as altering his view of the world outside.

For instance, I find on looking inward that a rather particular admiration and fondness has grown up in my feelings for these children which I think can be separated off from feelings towards the analytic work or method, the friends involved, the great amount of the time-of-my-life expended, etc. No, it is a special admiration for these children and, in a way, for autism. I can see that, for instance, in the text I have made links to Oates, Lincoln, the fable of the True Cross, Crusaders. Clearly I feel something heroic in these children and see, albeit exaggerated and incapacitating, the germ of some greatness, some ‘leap into the dark’, as Kierkegaard would call it. I suspect that I am witnessing his ‘knight of faith’ gone wrong at the start, the eccentricity of the true individual hyper-trophied beyond its root-system in psychic reality. It is my impression that this counter-transference of mine is shared by those who actually worked with and knew the children. I only actually met one of them, Barry, and that was in consultation before his analysis. My own countertransference is to the group as a compound individual whose history is arranged as are the chapters HI-VI. It is this vertex that I wish to explore as a way of drawing together the material of the volume.

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9. The Development of War (1937)

Roger Money-Kyrle Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

A Psychological Approach

I. MOTIVES OF WAR

According to Bacon, we should collect our facts before we start to theorize. But facts are so numerous that the pure Baconian would never get beyond the collecting stage. In practice we all start with a theory and look for facts to fit it, and are sufficiently scientific if we are prepared to modify the theory every time they fail to do so. In other words, we proceed by a series of approximations.

(1) Conscious Motives

As far as conscious motives of war are concerned, many theories have been suggested. In the first place, it has been attributed to necessity and the struggle for existence, that is, to the pressure of the population upon the food supply. And those who hold this view usually accept it as the common lot of animals as well as men. But among rabbits, over-population brings starvation and disease, not war – and biologically this may be more beneficial to the species. Even the higher carnivores do not, so far as I know, prey upon their own species when food is short. Man, of course, does fight for food and land to grow it in; but he fights quite as often for other causes, or for no sound cause at all. Indeed, I imagine it would be true to say that primitive man fights most readily when all his economic needs are satisfied. The season of plenty is the time of war. Mars was a god of spring as well as battle – and significantly enough of marriage too.

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4. A contribution to the metapsychology of cyclothymic states (1963)

Donald Meltzer Karnac Books ePub

Detailed clinical examples from a 5½-year analysis illustrate the nature of internal objects that underlies the tendency to regress from obsessional organizations to hypomarxia. The basis of mania in unconscious phantasy expresses itself by a tendency to turn against good internal objects with oral greeddue to unintegrated primal envywith the aim of violently removing a structure integral to the breast felt to be penis-like, co-extensive with the nipple, and a source of strength, creativity, and Judgement in the mother. The breast-penis, because it is not retained after being stolen without becoming highly persecuting, is projected into father’s penis, which becomes idealized and an object of greed at all levels and zones. The breast, now reduced to being a passive container, is open to further attacks, since love and admiration for it have greatly diminished.

A

considerable body of knowledge has been built up on the metapsychology of cyclothymic states, in both the symptomatic (manic-depressive psychosis) and characterologic (cyclothymic character) forms, through the contributions of Freud, Abraham, Klein, Lewin, Helene Deutsch, Fenichel, and Schilder. to mention only a few of the major investigators who have taken a special interest in this area.

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Introduction

Donald Meltzer Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

If we take the beginning of Anna O’s treatment with Breuer as the start of the Psycho-analytical Era, 1980 would be its centenary. There can be little doubt of die influence diat diis science has had upon Western thought and culture, both acknowledged and denied. It is certainly the premier method of clinical research into the deeper sources of personality development and functioning. It nourishes with its methodology and its discoveries a host of related disciplines. But it is not a unified discipline itself. It has developed in many different directions, in method, phenomenology, theory. The difficulty in describing die ineffable events of the consulting room has widened die manifest gap between various lines of develop ment, in a way that probably generates political groupings, where genuine disagreements, as against differing points of view, may very well be minimal. It is no tribute to die efficacy of psychoanalytical dierapy, and its slight variant die training analysis, diat analysts eagerly attach diemselves to diese political groupings and play out in dieir societies dramas hardly distinguishable from die internal affairs of emergent nations.

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XIV. 1926 The Last Years (Anxiety and the Economics of the Mind)

Donald Meltzer Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

We come now to the rather sad last years of Freud’s life: the last twelve years from the writing of ‘Inhibition, Symptom and Anxiety’ until his death. For despite being ill he seems to have worked a lot: in between a dozen operations he wrote three volumes of papers. His interest certainly turned very strongly toward retrospection on the implications of psycho-analytic findings for other fields - anthropology, sociology, and politics; and he produced these works: “The Future of an Illusion’, ‘Civilization and its Discontents’, and ‘Moses and Monotheism’, which I personally do not find very interesting. There is a change in his style of writing: it becomes very prolix and diffuse in many places; I think writing had probably become a necessary part of his life, and of course the people who followed him were interested in anything written by him.

However, I do not wish to discuss these works; rather, I propose to study the winding-up and tying together of his clinical ideas and the tools and equipment of psycho-analysis -developments in his attitudes rather than his technique: such as the problem of female sexuality; a more definitive view of the perversions; and a clearer shape to the concept of splitting of the ego and the mechanisms of psycho-pathology. All this makes a substantial though not perhaps a major contribution, such as occurred throughout the marvellous six years from 1990 to 1926, in which the whole theory was revised to become the Structural Theory, and with it the model of the mind for use in the consulting room. ‘Inhibition, Symptom and Anxiety’, or ‘The Problem of Anxiety’ as it is sometimes called, really reversed Freud’s previous stand concerning anxiety. He tended earlier to consider it to be a kind of noise made in the mind as a result of the stagnation of sexual impulses and their transformation into mental pain. But here he decides that anxiety is really at the heart of the matter, and he uses the term not simply as a descriptive one (as previously), but as a general term for die kind of mental pain that functions as a signal of some impending disorder in the mind. This signal theory of anxiety is the one with which we actually work; although of course the theory of anxiety has undergone a considerable change in the hands of Mrs Klein, though her division of it into persecutory anxiety (corresponding to Freud’s signal) and depressive anxieties, which corresponds more to a concept of mental pain.

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