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Blum, H.P. (1981). The Forbidden Quest and the Analytic Ideal: The Superego and Insight. Psychoanal Q., 50:535-556.

(1981). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 50:535-556

The Forbidden Quest and the Analytic Ideal: The Superego and Insight

Harold P. Blum, M.D.


As is evident in the history of civilization, in myths and dreams, and in Freud's self-analysis, insight has been both prohibited and heroically sought. Psychoanalytic insight into unconscious processes and contents involves a gradual transformation of inner interdictions and ideals through the tolerance of previously forbidden curiosity and knowledge. The analytic process depends upon relaxation of censorship and analysis of the motives and modes of self-criticism and self-punishment. While the superego may also uphold truth, the ideal of insight into psychic reality is relatively rare. The formation and consolidation of an analytic ideal of insight is an outgrowth of and contribution to analysis and analytic education. Analytic education should result in freedom from inner constraints on insight, in independent thought and judgment, and in a continuing "after-education."

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