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(1964). Symposium on Fantasy—Some Problems of a Metapsychological Formulation of Fantasy. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 45:199-202.

(1964). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 45:199-202

Symposium on Fantasy—Some Problems of a Metapsychological Formulation of Fantasy


Although the preceding searching and illuminating contributions to the Symposium on Fantasy spoke for themselves, there may yet be some value in a final attempt to survey, as objectively as possible, the various views that were presented to us. That each of the authors upheld his own line of thought is as it ought to be: a manifestation of the fact that the healthy narcissism of the creator has been transferred on to the product. When the work has been finished, however, and especially after it has been communicated, there is need for a diminution of the narcissistic investment and for the corresponding increase in objective judgement. If this shift does not occur—whether in individuals or in whole schools of thought—we are confronted, at best, with what Freud referred to as the 'narcissism of small differences'; at worst, with the pursuit of an overvalued or dominant scientific idea or theory. Here lies, indeed, a danger for psycho-analysis, as anyone acquainted with its history knows. Giving due credit to the contributions which legitimate scientific controversy (as well as resistances and unconscious ambivalence) make to the schisms and school formations which have plagued psycho-analysis from early on, we must not under-estimate in this context the harmful effect of the narcissistic overvaluation of otherwise well-founded and relevant ideas and theories. A single set of theories which has become identified as the spiritual property of a specific author (and is loyally defended by his pupils) is explicitly or implicitly presented as 'the' principal explanation for the entire spectrum of normal and abnormal psychological states.

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