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Alexander, F. (1931). Buddhistic Training as an Artificial Catatonia (The Biological Meaning of Psychic Occurrences). Psychoanal. Rev., 18(2):129-145.

(1931). Psychoanalytic Review, 18(2):129-145

Buddhistic Training as an Artificial Catatonia (The Biological Meaning of Psychic Occurrences)

Dr. Franz Alexander

Ladies and Gentlemen

When I review the subject matter of this paper, I find that I could just as accurately have announced as its title “The Psychic Meaning of Biological Occurrences,” instead of the reverse, as I have done. This reciprocal relation forms my thesis, the consistent elaboration of which is my task today, namely: that psychic processes have a biological validity just as biological processes have a psychic one. Today, however, I do not wish to prove this principal upon the basis of individual analytical experience, but rather to turn to the understanding of a definite mental condition. I, therefore, do not start upon the same deductive path which philosophy has always traveled in order to penetrate its fundamental problem, the connection between body and mind. The solutions of the problem by the philosophers have been not a little varied and even at present are not uniform. For example, in the radical materialistic conception of Vogt thoughts are regarded as products of brain secretion, whereas the idealism of Berkeley completely denied the existence of the material world and regarded it as an appearance, as mere mental content. Only one of the philosophical solutions interests us especially. I refer to the identity theory of Spinoza which for the first time expressed the idea that mental events are at the same time physical, and vice versa. “Ordo et connexio idearum idem est ac

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* From a lecture delivered in Berlin at the VII Congress of the International Psycho-analytical Association on the 25th of September, 1922. Reprinted through the courtesy of “Imago.” English translation by Mrs. Margaret J. Powers, New York.

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