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Horney, K. (1932). Modern Education: A Critique of Its Fundamental Ideas. By Otto Rank. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1932. 243 p.. Psychoanal Q., 1:349-350.

(1932). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 1:349-350

Modern Education: A Critique of Its Fundamental Ideas. By Otto Rank. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1932. 243 p.

Review by:
Karen Horney

After the resistances, with which a new discovery is at first met, are overcome and followed by an enthusiastic response, a reaction usually sets in; this reaction, as yet incapable of self-conscious and orderly critical thought, presents as a rule a critical devaluation of the new idea and an overevaluation of the older and even oldest principles which have been abandoned.

The new book by Rank dealing with modern education may be viewed as being essentially an exposition of this return to the past. Thus, if Freud's new concepts postulated that character formation is essentially determined by experiences related to the first few years of one's life, Rank brings to the foreground the emphasis on the important factors of later life, such as accidental occurrences, profession, success in life, etc. If Freud broadened our vision by his new understanding of the instinctual life of the child, Rank lays stress on other feelings of the child: he avers the child racks its brain much less over sexual problems than over the general mysteries of life, i. e., over problems of a philosophic or religious nature. If Freud taught us to appreciate how important it is that the child understand more fully certain things, Rank points out the dangers involved in the tendency to understand everything. If Freud gives extraordinary insight into the psychology of the individual, Rank comes to point out how relatively irrelevant this insight is as compared with the importance of broad sociological factors.

However, to point out that the book is an expression of a retrogressive trend does not mean that its value is thus properly estimated. One may ponder over those things which gifted men before Freud have known well and yet produce a welcome and valuable contribution; also, it is beyond any doubt that a critical review of the body of knowledge which is embraced by psychoanalysis could undoubtedly be of great value.

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