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Eissler, K.R. (1945). The Universality of Symbols: A. A. Brill. Psa. Rev., XXX, 1943, pp. 1–18.. Psychoanal Q., 14:266-266.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: The Universality of Symbols: A. A. Brill. Psa. Rev., XXX, 1943, pp. 1–18.

(1945). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 14:266-266

The Universality of Symbols: A. A. Brill. Psa. Rev., XXX, 1943, pp. 1–18.

Kurt R. Eissler

In this paper Brill presents only a part of the tremendous clinical material he has collected on the subject of symbols. He reviews briefly the theory of Jung, Freud and Jones on the subject. He discusses mainly two symbols, namely, that of the peacock and that of the riderless horse and adds valuable material concerning man's relationship to domestic animals in general. He demonstrates the theory that symbols are independent of cultural milieu (the same symbol for the same problem in dreams of a Southern woman and an Indian Maharanee) and of historical period (same symbol in Greek mythology and modern folklore). The myths of Centaur, Pan and Satyrs are compared with the modern Kuno-Andros fable. Various expressions in present day language referring to animals prove the persistence of the symbolic value of animals, especially the dog, in our culture. In view of the appearance of symbols in all forms of unconscious imaginations in all people and at all times 'there is no gap between phylogeny and ontogeny'. The author confirms Bleuler's opinion that only schizophrenic patients are able to interpret their own symbols correctly. However, the reviewer is of the opinion that it is not the mere ability of correct interpretation, but the degree of cathexis of symbols and their context in the personality structure which indicate whether a schizophrenic psychosis or psychological intuition underlies a person's insight into his own symbolic ideation.

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Article Citation

Eissler, K.R. (1945). The Universality of Symbols. Psychoanal. Q., 14:266-266

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