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Loewald, H.W. (1962). The Superego and the Ego-Ideal. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 43:264-268.

(1962). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 43:264-268

The Superego and the Ego-Ideal

Hans W. Loewald

II. Superego and Time

I am going to present a particular point of view from which I intend to consider the superego here. My approach to the problem will thus be onesided. It is an experiment in thinking and should be taken as such. As I began to concern myself with the theory of the superego, it soon became apparent that this led, among other things, to the problem of psychic structure. What is psychic structure? Physical structures are arrangements in space or, perhaps more accurately, arrangements characterized by spatial relations. What is the principle of arrangement, what is the nature of the relations obtaining in and between psychic structures? We cannot conceive of them as spatial. If we do, we leave psychology and the psychic realm and consider possible physical substrata of psychic structures, not psychic structure as such. The relations between ego and superego, for example, or the relations between various elements within the ego, are not spatial relations. Yet they must, insofar as we think in terms of structure and structural relations at all, conform to some principle of arrangement which allows us to conceive of them as structural relations. I suggest that this principle is time, that psychic structures are temporal in nature.

Psychic structures exist in time and develop in time. But I do not speak of time here as a linear continuum of duration or of the sequence of events in physical time-space as observed in objective external reality. The time concept involved here, psychic time, implies an active relation between the temporal modes past, present and future.

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