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Padel, J.H. (1976). A Discussion of the Paper by Donald Meltzer on 'The Delusion of Clarity of Insight'—Two Modes of Thinking and Perceiving. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 57:147-150.

(1976). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 57:147-150

A Discussion of the Paper by Donald Meltzer on 'The Delusion of Clarity of Insight'—Two Modes of Thinking and Perceiving

John H. Padel

1. There are features of Dr Meltzer's paper (this issue) that I welcome and I will begin with these. One is his emphasis on the use of dream-material as providing the analyst with a richness of interpretative possibilities (¶5), because of the way the dream unites the internal and external worlds. A second is the notion of two modes of perception and two modes of thinking corresponding with two organizations of the mind (he calls them narcissistic and introjective but I prefer two more neutral terms like 'binary' and 'ternary' because they describe better the two-person and three-person modes of relating, in which the two organizations of the mind are based). A third is his doubt whether the shift from one mode to the other is always mediated by the mental manoeuvre that has been labelled 'projective identification'. A fourth is his conviction that different identification-processes are at the root of the two organizations of the mind.

2. I find myself strongly in agreement with his patient, Mrs D., in her belief (¶20) that evidence and the laws of evidence are more important criteria of truth-function than are aesthetic experiences. In fact, if Dr Meltzer himself did not ultimately agree with us, he would never have complained that she preferred the Oxford English Dictionary to any evidence that he could offer from his own past experience. What I miss in her case-history are certain facts that we would need in order to estimate the analytic process and its reality for his patient.

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