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Reik, T. (1921). Mysticism and Occultism. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 2:225-226.

(1921). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 2:225-226

Mysticism and Occultism

Theodor Reik

Silberer's valuable work (19) combining as it does the analytic with methods of other kinds has been already mentioned in the previous Collective Review (Jahrbuch der Psa., Bd. VI. S. 424). To what was then said we may perhaps add that the author's interesting attempt 'to bring the views of Vienna and Zurich into harmony' (S. 424), must be regarded as a failure. His endeavours, however, to bring about a complete synthesis of the analytic and other methods of consideration and to explore the problem of mysticism from all sides would seem to be wider in outlook, though they are possibly premature. In our opinion the way to such a synthesis which is assuredly among one of the most important tasks before science in the future will not be discovered with the means at present at our disposal, while it is dangerously easy seriously to underestimate the analytic contribution—that is to say not to give adequate importance to the operation and significance of repressed instinctive forces in proportion to other factors. In Silberer's treatise on mysticism the significance of the idea of sacrifice is especially emphasised and the anagogic (mystical) factor is in my opinion much overestimated. Riklin's excursus (14) —relating to the Christian mystery of the passion—explains the sacrifice simply as the renunciation of the animal element, original sin as moral principle directed retrogressively on the incest-motif and its symbolism, and sees in the religious mystery a current problem of vital importance which he desires to see implanted as an active principle of morality in the heart. The Jungian conception and interpretation of instinctive processes as expounded by Riklin has here found, with some approach to completeness so far as terminology goes, the 'contact' (perhaps secretly desired) with the ethical or religious formula. The symbol of death and rebirth traced by Silberer (21) from its original forms to its shapings in modern thought is recognised by this author as modelled on some comparatively unimportant moral conflict, as a representation of the change into something better a nearer approach to perfection. Silberer furthermore gives weight after the anagogic to the analytic standpoint.

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