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Ekstein, R. (1976). Psychoanalysis and Education as Allies in the Acquisition of Moral Values and Virtues in the Service of Freedom and Peace. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 3:399-408.

(1976). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 3:399-408

Psychoanalysis and Education as Allies in the Acquisition of Moral Values and Virtues in the Service of Freedom and Peace

Rudolf Ekstein

This is the highest wisdom that I own,

The best that mankind ever knew:

Freedom and life are earned by those alone

Who conquered them each day anew.

Surrounded by such danger, each one thrives,

Childhood, manhood, and age lead active lives.


And now it is to be expected that the other of the two 'Heavenly Powers', eternal Eros, will make an effort to assert himself in the struggle with his equally immortal adversary. But who can foresee with what success and with what result? (Freud, 1930).

Erik Erikson (1964) speaking about 'The Golden Rule in the Light of New Insight' suggests that:

It does not seem easy to speak of ethical subjects without indulging in some moralizing. As an antidote I will conclude with the Talmudic version of the Rule. Rabbi Hillel once was asked by an unbeliever to tell the whole of the Torah while he stood on one foot. I do not know whether he meant to answer the request or to remark on its condition when he said: 'What is hateful to yourself, do not to your fellow man. That is the whole of the Torah and the rest is but commentary.' At any rate, he did not add: 'Act accordingly.' He said: 'Go, and learn it.'

Can we learn it? Can we teach it? In a recent contribution (Ekstein, 1972) I commented on this issue of teachability in: 'suggesting that what is true for the capacity for altriusm and empathy, one of the early values the child acquires is true for all positive values, moral and otherwise.

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