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Hacker, F.J. (1964). The Reality of Myth. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 45:438-443.

(1964). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 45:438-443

The Reality of Myth

F. J. Hacker

Since this paper offers a short, because highly condensed and, so to speak, telescoped mythological version of a complex theory, an even shorter introduction and explanation may be advisable.

To scientific and particularly to psychoanalytic ears, symbolism and mythology have the ugly sound of loaded terms; they are regarded as almost dirty words when not applied to early developmental or pathological stages. This paper is a plea for the suspension of the value judgement connected with this negative connotation.

Our remarks will tend to prove that each and every piece of evidence ought to be looked at with some suspicion and carefully scrutinized in every available light, including the increased knowledge perhaps obtainable from the considerations we put forward, and others of like kind; but it will also suggest that, except for a radically applied scepticism and perspectivism, there is no reliable means of access to truth and reality beyond, beneath, or aside from the use of reason that for ever reveals and conceals at the same time. This paper, then, is not merely mythoclastic, nor does it assert that psycho-analysis is nothing but another myth. But the point will be stressed that what is called the natural history of myth-making is indeed bound up with many, or all, important steps in personality development, with the various introjective and projective moves, with superego and character formation, and with all processes making for structuralization. The view will be advanced that all psychic structures are relatively simple because they are simplified, based on versions of reality that are selectively chosen summaries and digests.

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