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Ross, N. (1966). Insight and Responsibility: Lectures on the Ethical Implications of Psychoanalytic Insight: By Erik H. Erikson. (New York: Norton, 1964; London: Faber, 1966. Pp. 256. $5.00. 30s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 47:562-568.
(1966). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 47:562-568
Insight and Responsibility: Lectures on the Ethical Implications of Psychoanalytic Insight: By Erik H. Erikson. (New York: Norton, 1964; London: Faber, 1966. Pp. 256. $5.00. 30s.)
Review by: Nathaniel Ross
Mallarmé said 'Poetry is the language of crisis.' While the 'crisis' of the poet is evidently a pejorative one and thus only one alternative of the meaning of the term as stated by Erikson, the poetry of the psycho-analyst of 'crisis' is unequivocal in its impact and beauty. His ideas, which constitute, for the first time in psycho-analytic theory, a firm and systematic foundation for the long-awaited construction of a bridge between that theory and the social sciences, are expressed with an elegance and a passion which do not for a moment sacrifice scientific meaning and precision to the well-turned phrase. Thus, speaking of Freud, Erikson says that he intends 'to review some of the dimensions of lonely discovery.' And what other analyst writing to-day is capable of this compact expression of measured scorn:
Compared with this ethical position, I find our literary salesmen of partial conversion and of part-time mysticism obsessed by, rather than freed from their selves.
Among the numerous controversies besetting the problems of psycho-analytic education, this gives me, at least, pause to ask why we seem to be missing so conspicuously an undoubtedly considerable number of young applicants capable of at least an approach to such literacy and the human qualities it so poignantly conveys.
From this group of six lectures presented to various types of audience and considerably expanded and edited by the author, I shall attempt to distill the unifying themes.
From the subtitle, 'Lectures on the Ethical Implications of Insight', we gather that Erikson does not hesitate to tread on hallowed ground.
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