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Hermann, T. (1921). Normal Psychology. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 2:207-209.

(1921). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 2:207-209

Normal Psychology

T. Hermann


Freud (8) dwells on the importance of the distinction, which he had already made in 'The Interpretation of Dreams', between Consciousness in the descriptive sense and in the systematic sense (the System Bw.). Under normal conditions this System Bw. controls the paths leading to Affection and Movement. It exercises a much firmer control over the latter than over the former, which indeed often escapes from the mastery of the Bw. Consciousness as a descriptive concept is a symptom and must not be confused with Consciousness in the systematic sense. The process of becoming conscious is no mere act of perception, but is probably conditioned by a 'over-charge' of psychic energy (berbesetzung).

In virtue of its access to motor innervation the System Bw. is able to distinguish between 'inner' and 'outer'—a distinction that is essential in order to carry out the 'Test of Reality' (9). The ego, which lives at first in the phase of hallucinatory wishfulfilment, is—by means of the Test of Reality—freed from this phase; the Test of Reality constitutes, like the Censorship, one of the great 'Institutions of the Ego'. In sleep, with the partial withdrawal of energy from all the systems which characterises this condition, the Test of Reality is abandoned; the sleeper turns himself away from the outer world. In the dream therefore the System Bw. receives its energy from within.

A further Institution of the Self consists of Conscience, to the consideration of which Freud is led by his analysis of Melancholia (10).

Tausk (33) considers more in detail the development of the Ego and reaches much the same conclusions as those arrived at earlier by Ferenczi. According to Tausk the formation of the Ego can begin only after the process of object-finding has commenced.

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