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Ohayon, S.I. (1982). In Search of Akhnaton. Am. Imago, 39(2):165-179.

(1982). American Imago, 39(2):165-179

In Search of Akhnaton

Stephen Issac Ohayon, Ph.D.

The aim of this paper is to shed some light on the intra-psychic drama that unfolded in Akhnaton, specifically the crisis that led to heresy on the religious plane and to the dissolution of an empire on the political and economic plane. I postulate that Akhnaton's motivation was his desire for his father's love. This took form in a vast spiritual system similar to the pathological theology of President Schreber, Freud's famous case study. Underneath the theocidal, patricidal wishes and allegorical deeds, there lurked a powerful wish for his father's compassion and love, and the unsettling fantasy to be impregnated by him. Unable to gratify that longing during his father's reign, Akhnaton removed himself to the spiritual realm where he fashioned a compassionate solar god who visited him with his rays and made him fertile. From this perspective, Akhnaton's homosexual quest was the wish to be penetrated by his father, to be merged with his creator.

In the psychoanalysis of the phenomenon known as “the return of the repressed,” Freud analyzed Schreber's longing for his father and subsequent intra-psychic repression of that wish. Freud stated that “What as internally repressed returns from without.” We find similar intra-psychic dynamics in Akhnaton's rebellion against his father and his attempt to found a new spiritual paternity.

Biographical data of great significance found in our research illustrates thematically the issue of theocide which, viewed from a psychoanalytical angle, is a camouflage for patricide, the dramatization on the metaphysical plane of a familial conflict, a filial crisis between a paranoid son and a father.

Akhnaton

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