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Krasner, R.F. (1986). Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XIX, 1983: Janusian Process and Scientific Creativity. Albert Rothenberg. Pp. 100-119.. Psychoanal Q., 55:204-205.

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Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XIX, 1983: Janusian Process and Scientific Creativity. Albert Rothenberg. Pp. 100-119.

(1986). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 55:204-205

Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XIX, 1983: Janusian Process and Scientific Creativity. Albert Rothenberg. Pp. 100-119.

Ronald F. Krasner

Niels Bohr, the Danish physicist and contemporary of Albert Einstein, was instrumental in unearthing the secrets of the atom. His creative thought processes in establishing the important and influential principle of complementarity are studied in this paper. Rothenberg contends that the process of Janusian thinking is central not only to Bohr's discovery, but also to the creative process in general. He reports conducting more than 1700 hours of research interviews with sixty Nobel and Pulitzer


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Prize winners and winners of the National Book Awards, as well as with other major literary, artistic, and scientific prize winners. Janusian creative process is defined as the simultaneous conception of two or more opposites. These opposites or antitheses are posited as existing side by side and being equally operative, valid, and true. Faced with the seemingly unsolvable paradox of the electron possessing properties of both particle and wave, Bohr proposed in 1927 the Principle of Complementarity. The idea that two mutually exclusive sets of concepts are both necessary for a complete description is not a concept of synthesis, simultaneity, or alternation. In a psychological sense, Janusian process is an ego function of secondary process. In creativity, the individual employs this, a non-Aristotelian logic that does not reconcile conflict, but preserves it. As Bohr's co-worker Heisenberg stated, "That was perhaps the strongest experience of these months—that gradually I saw that one will always have to live under this tension. You could never hope to avoid this tension."


WARNING! This text is printed for the personal use of the PEPWeb subscriber and is copyright to the Journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to copy, distribute or circulate it in any form.
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Article Citation

Krasner, R.F. (1986). Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XIX, 1983. Psychoanal. Q., 55:204-205

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WARNING! This text is printed for the personal use of the subscriber to PEP Web and is copyright to the Journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to copy, distribute or circulate it in any form whatsoever.