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Ellman, S. (2012). Response to Fernando. Canadian J. Psychoanal., 20(2):257-259.

(2012). Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis, 20(2):257-259

Response to Fernando Related Papers

Steven Ellman

(1) Unfortunately when I presented my talk I only had a brief period of time to look at Dr. Fernando's discussion. I was appreciative of the time he took to discuss my work. Unfortunately it seems to me he is translating my theoretical statement as a form of ethology where there are fixed action patterns that are preprogrammed for survival. This is not at all what I meant to say and I hope that I have made this clear in this publication. In my book I am more explicit. My assumption is that there are relatively few fixed action patterns remaining in mammals. Most ethological research in the past has been in birds. Although contemporary ethologists are much more sophisticated and nuanced in their conceptualizations, their point of view is distant from mine. I see the activation of the ICSS network as involving a variety of centres with multiple possibilities leading directly and indirectly to a variety of influences on cognition and phantasy. When Dr. Fernando uses the term endogenous instincts, it is not a term I would use. My term and concept is endogenous stimulation, and I imagine that the fluidity of influence with this type of stimulation is quite large.

Let me talk for a moment about the issue of survival. I would have to say that survival can often demand a variety of thoughts, actions, and induced phantasies. I have also tried to state that survival has many derivative meanings such as self-esteem, self-regard, etc. I might also mention that Freud's first drive theory contrasted survival of the self and survival of the species. This theory (as does mine) still included sexuality and aggression, but sex and aggression were seen as manifestations of more inclusive tendencies.

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