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Eder, M.D. (1929). On the Economics and the Future of the Super-Ego. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 10:249-255.

(1929). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 10:249-255

On the Economics and the Future of the Super-Ego

M. D. Eder

In the analysis of our patients we have come to regard the unconscious part of the super-ego, the need for punishment, as the factor chiefly responsible for repression, resistance, and in the end as the main obstacle to the patient's adjustment or readjustment to life. The impression grows that if the id impulses could have been controlled by something less inflexible, less severe, more adaptable, and yet less fantastic than the super-ego, the individual could not have been forced into the compromise of a neurotic character or of neurotic symptoms—a compromise that usually manages to get the worst of both worlds, giving satisfaction neither to instinctual desire, nor to the opposing claims of a moral self, making of the wretched patient, as one expressed himself to me, for ever a shuttlecock between Ormuzd and Ahriman.

The exact genesis of the super-ego is not germane to the question that is now to be considered. It will suffice to refer to the view of its structure brought forward by Ernest Jones, that the hard and illiberal aspects of the super-ego are due to a fusion of the libidinal and the ego instincts. 'Part [of hate impulses] fuses with the libidinal impulses and helps to give them their sadistic character.' Jones suggests that in general 'it may be that the secret of the desexualization of the libidinal impulses, perhaps also of the preceding regression of them to the anal-sadistic level, will be found in the influence on them of the hate impulses (ego instincts in general).'

Battling with mental functions whose rigours are not due, or at any rate not wholly due, to difficulties imposed by the external world, by reality, but are the creations, phylogenetic and ontogenetic, of human effort and human weaknesses, it is small wonder that analysts look forward to the disappearance of the control exercised by the super-ego over the id and the taking over of this control by the ego, as the more hopeful line of progress for the individual and even for the race.

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