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Money-Kyrle, R. (1935). General: Paul Federn. 'Die Ichbesetzung bei den Fehlleistungen.' Imago, 1933, Bd. XIX, S. 312–338, 433–453.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 16:362-363.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: General: Paul Federn. 'Die Ichbesetzung bei den Fehlleistungen.' Imago, 1933, Bd. XIX, S. 312–338, 433–453.

(1935). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 16:362-363

General: Paul Federn. 'Die Ichbesetzung bei den Fehlleistungen.' Imago, 1933, Bd. XIX, S. 312–338, 433–453.

R. Money-Kyrle

The word 'ego' has had a long and chequered history. To theologians it was the soul—a homunculus within the man—a concept which Roheim has exposed as an introjected phallus, but which still survives, in a vaguer form, in the writings of metaphysicians and even of psychologists. Meanwhile, Hume and his followers identified it, more usefully, with the stream of consciousness, that is, with the impressions, ideas and feelings that compose a mental life. To metapsycho-analysts like Federn, however, the word has both a wider and narrower scope. According to their usage, part of the ego is unconscious and part of consciousness is outside the ego. It

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forms that section of the psychic realm (conscious, preconscious and unconscious) which we feel we own, or, to adopt a circular definition, that part which is characterized by 'ego-feeling'. This means, I think, that it includes thoughts and affects and bodily sensations—except those which it projects (or which belong to the id or the super-ego), and excludes external perceptions—except those which it introjects (i.e. as parts of the ego, not of the super-ego).

The normal ego accepts ideas and affects as they emerge by association from the Preconscious or the Unconscious. In Federn's terminology, they are cathected with ego-feeling and become parts of the ego boundary. This ego boundary is constantly changing; the cathected ideas that form it at one instant determine those that form it at the next.

The psychotic ego, on the other hand, does not accept some of the ideas and affects that emerge. It barricades itself against them. They are not cathected with ego-feeling, do not become part of the ego boundary, and thus seem to proceed from the external world—which, I suppose, is another way of saying that they are projected.

Similarly, many of the ideas and affects that emerge in dreams seem to come from without, because they make no connexion with the ego and do not become parts of the ego boundary.

Now, according to Federn, the barricading of the ego against ideas, which occurs in psychoses and in dreams, is a necessary, though not a sufficient, condition for all slips. Every slip involves a little psychosis, a temporary disturbance of the ego. A slip expresses an unconscious impulse; but it could not occur if an ego boundary with a complete cathexis was available for the right word or action. The ego disturbance may be of various kinds. We speak of 'distraction' when different ego boundaries are cathected at the same time; of 'lack of concentration' when different objects make simultaneous demands on the ego boundaries; of 'absent-mindedness' when the ego loiters with an object that disturbs the further train of thought; of 'being in a dream' when this disturbing object is a pure fantasy; and of 'being lost' when such a fantasy loses itself in the unconscious. Opportunities for forgetting (misplacing, mistaking and confounding are special cases of forgetting) occur whenever the ego remains behind, or hurries ahead of, the object representative; and opportunities for lapsus linguoe (miswriting, mishearing and misreading are analogous) when several ego boundaries are simultaneously stimulated by it.

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Article Citation

Money-Kyrle, R. (1935). General. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 16:362-363

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