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Kupper, H.I. (1950). Psychodynamics of the 'Intellectual'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 31:85-94.

(1950). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 31:85-94

Psychodynamics of the 'Intellectual'

Herbert I. Kupper, M.D.

One of the interesting phenomena of our times has been the frequency with which many individuals who are renowned as thinkers or creators have suddenly announced their initiation into an old or new faith. These attitudes on the part of many well-known people are usually accompanied by a wish to explain their transformation. They also attempt to rationalize their conversions by indicating that their new-found spirituality is only a logical extension of a lifetime of thinking. It is not the purpose of this paper to argue the validity of the conversions or new beliefs. It is, however, the writer's opinion that the motivations of people who have lived a lifetime of logical and rational thought, only to turn to a realm which is admittedly mystical by comparison, may contain a key to the mysteries of the personality of the 'intellectual'. When hard-won scientific thought is overrun by animistic thought, then the cause must lie primarily in the individual's psychodynamics.

Historically, the modern intellectual, as we loosely call men who pursue knowledge and thought for its own sake, originated in recent centuries with the monks during the Middle Ages. During those dark days these religious men nurtured the seeds of truth and beauty which later gave rise to the Renaissance. There was the same cloistered, disinterested pursuit of knowledge which we associate with thinkers of our own day. It is interesting, in view of the present return to religion, to note that these religious men began to turn to rational thinking in spite of a background of centuries when magic and animistic thinking were at their height in the history of mankind.

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