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Riggall, R.M. (1925). General: Alfred Carver. Primary Identification and Mysticism. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 1924, Vol. IV, p. 102.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 6:60-61.
    
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: General: Alfred Carver. Primary Identification and Mysticism. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 1924, Vol. IV, p. 102.

(1925). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 6:60-61

General: Alfred Carver. Primary Identification and Mysticism. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 1924, Vol. IV, p. 102.

Robert M. Riggall

This study is based on the analysis of an alcoholic man aged thirty-eight, who had cultivated a mystical pantheism enabling him to feel in harmony with nature, which he personified as 'The Earth Angel.' Carver contends that the patient's mysticism is due to regression to an early time of life described by Burrow as the stage of primary subjective identification. Alcohol helped him to obtain 'direct throbbing communion with his mystical Earth-Angel'. The outstanding features of this case are his attitude towards his mother and his mysticism. Carver finds an explanation of these factors in Burrow's principle of primary identification, which is based on this observer's theory of the harmony existing between mother and foetus in utero and which persists in a modified form during early infancy. Ferenczi describes this as the stage of 'magical hallucinatory omnipotence'. Carver's case failed to reach the stage of object-investment, but continued fixed in the subjective mode of primary identification with the mother. During the stage of development of object-love and the Oedipus situation, disgust and hatred occurred towards the mother instead of love. The passive homosexual trends present in this case appear to be explained by Burrow's theory that unconscious homosexuality arises from primary identification with the mother which leads to auto-erotism and consequent love of the same sex. Following the suggestions of Burrow and Schroeder, the patient's strivings for mystical oneness with the universe are regarded as a regression to the subjective phase of existence in utero. Carver questions how far a neurosis should be regarded as sexual, and examines the motivation of sexual instincts found in urge and union: the first being entirely egoistic and the second associated with

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altruistic relationships. If fixations occur in the primary subjective stage, which the author regards as pre-sexual, the wisdom of speaking of the resultant neurosis as sexual is questioned. He appears to regard the theses of Burrow and Schroeder as valuable additions to Freud's work.

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Article Citation

Riggall, R.M. (1925). General. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 6:60-61

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