Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To search only within a publication time period…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Looking for articles in a specific time period? You can refine your search by using the Year feature in the Search Section. This tool could be useful for studying the impact of historical events on psychoanalytic theories.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Emerson, L.E. (1916). Internationale Zeitschrift für Ärztliche Psychoanalyse. Psychoanal. Rev., 3(4):465-475.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Internationale Zeitschrift für Ärztliche Psychoanalyse

(1916). Psychoanalytic Review, 3(4):465-475


Internationale Zeitschrift für Ärztliche Psychoanalyse

L. E. Emerson, Ph.D.Author Information

(Vol. II, No. 4, July, 1914.)

1.   On the Psychological Foundation of Freudism. Dr. Luise V. Karpinska.

2.   The Activity of Unconscious Death Wishes.—

3.   A Contribution to the Understanding of the Tic. Dr. J. Sadger, Vienna.

1. On the Psychological Foundation of Freudism.—The investigation of the psychic mechanism of the neuroses was the starting point of the Freudian psychology.

One of the first analogies noted by the author is the close resemblance of the psychoanalytic method to the experimental method. In both cases not merely the external observation is regarded as sufficient, but the subject's introspection is needed also; and in both cases the subject has to report without critique just what he observes.

There are, however, differences between the two methods. Experimental psychology seeks the general conditions of psychical phenomena; while psychoanalysis, on the other hand, takes the individual concrete experience in its immediate, manifold, psychical reality, does not divorce itself from the individual person, but seeks to understand their interrelationship.

The psychoanalytic method favors the finding of affect-constellations, since any critique is excluded. Thus freed, the conscious affects of our intimate personal life may be pictured.

The author finds a close analogy between the conceptions of Herbart and Freud. They both start from the presupposition that unconscious psychic causal connections are necessary to understand conscious phenomena. These presuppositions are developed by Herbart in the well-known manner. While Herbart's theory is a dynamics of ideas, Freud's theory is a dynamics of affects, these affects being separable from ideas and being capable of increase, transference, and diminution. The “false connection” between affect and idea Freud calls “Transposition.” Thus arise phobias and compulsions. There is also a peculiarity of feelings, the so-called “ambivalence,” meaning opposite feelings for the same thing, i. e., love and hate for the same person.

- 465 -

According to Freud the unconscious is the general basis of our psychic life. Between the conscious and unconscious lies the fore-conscious. The unconscious is the result of psychic evolution brought about by the mechanism of repression. Freud starts from the presupposition of a primitive psychic reflex mechanism which is sensitive and responds only to external stimuli and vital needs. This mechanism strives to avoid unpleasantness and to gain pleasantness. In this turning away from unpleasantness we see the first steps of repression. But the conditions of unpleasantness are reality. Thus a higher principle comes in, i. e., the principle of reality. Here then lies the conflict, reality vs. pleasantness.

According to the author, Freud founds his psychopathology on psychology inasmuch as he regards any pathological disturbance as merely a disturbance in the normal development of the psyche. The kernel of the psychic mechanism of the neuroses Freud holds to be “repression,” hence an act common to daily life. The symptoms of illness show the repression to be unsuccessful. Psychic illness is a sign of retarded development, is a regression to the standpoint of infantilism, or a flight from life, from reality, to the kingdom of phantasy, where the original principle of desire uncontrolled rules.

Freud takes a through and through teleological standpoint. He identifies causality with suitableness. The effect, according to him, is an accomplished purpose, and the condition the motive of a phenomenon and vice versa. First, Freud identifies causality with biological fitness, which can be called a fitness a posteriori. Second, he identifies causality with a fitness a priori, which is known to us only through our conscious will act's, where, for our consciousness, cause and purpose are identical.

In the opinion of the author Freud's service to psychology consists not in discovering the unconscious, but in showing that the conscious is determined by emotional factors.

2. The Activity of Unconscious Death Wishes.—The author of this analysis is anonymous. The reason for this is that most of the analyses were of the thoughts of the author himself. Thus, he says, there can be no doubt of his psychic soundness.

His father died June 16, 1906, of arterio-sclerosis. The author was eighteen. He describes how he was sent at the last moment to get some medicine and how he ran, and then stopped, and then ran harder. The reason he stopped running was because he had a sort of image of his father already dead, and of himself as head of the family. His excuse to himself for stopping was that he was out of breath. When he got home his father was dead.

In the next few days he felt a strongly increased, objectless, sexual desire. Although he had masturbated occasionally since puberty, he now sought and found normal sexual intercourse. This was followed by severe self-reproach. He had a sort of belief in immortality and thought

- 466 -

his father might know and punish him. He was very much afraid, thus, of venereal disease. As a defense reaction he worked at his studies from early till late.

Relief from all this came when the author got hold of some Freudian literature. He takes occasion to criticize the Zürich school for bringing in morals. What he needed, he thought, was freedom from moral scruples, and understanding, in the psychoanalytic sense.

The author compares his own increase of libido after his father's death to the festivals of joy of the savage after the death of the totem animal.

The author gets nearer understanding his death thoughts against his father through the following experience. The girl he wanted to marry was very sick and he was on his way to visit her, when suddenly the thought struck him, if I don't go to see my sister (who lived near) Dora will die. This thought was so powerful it turned him back to his sister's. Trying to understand why he should have felt so, he remembered he had received recently a letter from his sister telling him to come to her and together they would burn a candle in memory of their father's death. The analysis of the thought made a little clearer the origin of the compulsion. It might be expressed thus: “If I don't go to K and burn a candle in memory of my father Dora will die.”

The author also had a strong feeling of enmity towards Dora's father because he protected his daughter so much, and indulged in a death phantasy about him. He regarded him as a neurotic and his unconscious thoughts against him formed a great part of the psychic material for the development of his later compulsive thoughts. As he says, he had similar thoughts against his own father. There came a moment when the two men were identified in the author's unconscious.

The author points out, following Freud, the parallel between compulsive acts and religious practices. (Kleine Schriften zur Neurosenlehre, Bd. II.)

The author also shows how his thoughts were complex and over-determined on account of his race and religion, he being a Jew. After a period of indifference his feelings for his race and its future grew in intensity, especially during his father's illness and after his death. All this was further complicated by the fact that Dora's father was strongly anti-semitic and her mother had changed her religion.

The author received the sanction of his mother to his love for Dora, and on the very day of his mother's death, Dora came to make them a visit. Thus his thoughts turned to her still more strongly and he later found he had identified her and his mother in his unconscious, as well as her father with his father.

The author next develops the account of his incestuous feelings for his mother and death wishes against his father. He also shows how the vacillation between men and women as objects of love is shown in the

- 467 -

compelling thought that Dora would die if he failed to honor his father. Thus she is, to a certain extent, identified with his father also.

Further “over-determination” was shown by his feeling against his sister Irene. His feeling for Dora conflicted with his feeling for his sister. Irene was very jealous of Dora. Her demand that he do his duty by his father's memory was also a demand that he do his duty by her. His feeling for the memorial act, therefore, was an expression of his feeling of guilt at part neglect of his sister. The author analyses one of his dreams and shows that its roots, as of his thoughts, lie in the castration complex. He wanted his father to die because he threatened him with castration on account of his masturbation.

The author, in addition to the analysis of his own death wishes, also as to Dora, which he fully analyses.

The author, in addition to the analysis of his own death wishes, also gives an account of some concealed and rationalized death wishes in others.

He was teaching a young woman German and for practice had her write him a letter. She knew about his relations to Dora through conversations and wrote: “How is Fräulein Dora? I regretted that I had not asked you to telephone me the latest news, because I am so anxious. She must have laughed well over my letter and perhaps there is some psychoanalytic explanation for that—Just now I hear carriages going by; they are coming from a wedding—poor people, unlucky festivall … I hope you will get good news today.”

The author shows how the writer wished Dora dead so she could marry him, etc., the whole letter being hypocritical.

Although nothing new is presented, other examples of the same psychic mechanisms are given with the analyses of their symbolisms.

3. A Contribution to the Understanding of the Tic.—A twenty-three year old young woman, of narrow intelligence, had suffered from her eighth year with a tic-like chronic twitching and tremor, forehead, mouth, nose, arms and hands. This took place especially when she was angry and excited. She had this especially when she thought of her mother and wondering if any accident had befallen her. It was worse since the death of her father who was killed by a paralytic stroke at the age of 49.

On account of her shaking, her father said she was mentally deranged while her mother took her part and protected her. Therefore she clung more and more to her mother.

In spite of these differences the death of the father was a severe blow to the mother, as well as to the seven children. The mother merged into a lasting depression. The children now took every care from her, but she was always complaining and morbidly anxious. “I blame her that I am so nervous,” said the patient.

But to understand the situation it is necessary to show the influence of the father on the patient in her earliest years. He was a drinking

- 468 -

man, although he could not carry liquor well, but came home angry and easily upset. The children had to be very quiet, etc. And when he did punish them, they felt it was unjustly. He could get so angry and scream so terribly the patient would shake all over with fright. Neither father nor mother was affectionate, but the father would play with the children on good days. The patient was just like her father. First she would grumble and be so passionate and the next moment be sorry and not know how she could make it all right.

The author goes on to show how loving and affectionate the patient is. She has great need for love. But one of her ways of showing her affection was to pinch and torment the object, and bite, too. She liked to bite the arm of one she loved. She liked to be tickled, pinched, and teased, herself. As the author shows, this means a skin and muscle erotism.

The author thinks the tic and the trembling to mean a wish-fulfilment. He says it is easy to understand why she trembles when she thinks of her fiancé, of caresses, or anything grossly sexual. But the point of the matter seems to be that the shaking of the head, shrugging of the shoulders, wrinkling up the nose means, “No! I may not!” In other words is an opposition to concealed wishes.

Because of the too short time and the limited intelligence of the patient the treatment was only partially successful.

The author combats the theory that the tic is due to a weakness of the will, but thinks it due to a conflict between conscious and unconscious strivings.

(Vol. II, No. 5, September, 1914.)

1.   Transformations of the Affect-life. Dr. M. Weissfeld.

2.   Right and Left in Delusions. A. Stärcke, Dolder, Holland.

3.   The Spontaneous Recovery of a Catatonic. Dr. Karl Landauer, Vienna.

1. Transformations of the Affect-life.—The author in his introduction says we must distinguish clearly between voluntary processes and vegetative processes. He criticizes Jung for confusing them. Jung says, the libido which originally served the purpose of producing eggs and semen must be also used and organized to nest-building and to eating and there is no essential difference between the will to build a nest and the will to eat. The author says it is quite true there is no essential distinction between the will to eat or the will to build a nest but there is an essential difference between these two wills and the production of eggs and semen, which are vegetative processes. The essential difference between the two processes is the one is experienced with inner emotion while the other is not experienced.

In other words the affective life is not to be confused with its object. Anger, for instance, is not identical with the object which aroused it.

- 469 -

The problem the author sets himself is what is the transformation relation between the affective inner experiences and the vegetative processes and whether one can be transformed into the other or not.

Transformations within the affective life are only possible when in both members of the transformation there is something common. For instance if a sexual excitement is changed into hysterical pain, we have the affectivity as a constant quantity, which coincides with the sexual excitement as well as with the pain, in so far as one considers both of these experiences as inner experiences.

The author criticizes Jung still more for the doctrine that the “affect” may be transformed and ends by saying the affect remains constant; it is the “object” which changes. This doctrine he takes from the “Three Contributions.” How this can be he shows as follows:

1. The affect (or volitional experience) as an inner experience is qualitatively neutral. This is not to be changed for “objectless,” however. There is no such thing as an objectless affect. Anger, for instance, at the action of another, separated from its object, has no qualities. Anger, in itself, has nothing angry. It is merely an “urge” nothing more. In other words the apple the boy wants and reaches for is red, large, nice, etc., but his “wish” is not red, large, etc., it has no qualities. An affect always has an object, but it is itself no “What.” This lack of quality, however, does not deny its being. It is something although it has no intrinsic qualities; etc., etc.

2. The affect (or will processes, etc.) is not conditioned by the nature of its objects, and therefore can be taken from one object and transferred to another.

The author ends with a restatement of his three principles:

1.   All affects are directed towards an object.

2.   Affectivity is without quality.

3.   Affects are independent of the nature of their objects.

2. Right and Left in Delusions.—A paranoiac complained of creeping sensations in his ears.

If the creeping were in the right ear it meant “give him eight strokes —confess that you have seduced a girl” (he meant that the whole world persecuted him to make him confess that he had raped a girl).

“And if the creeping was in the left ear, that means all we have spoken of—of sadism; that I have not had coitus with my wife; homosexuality, and all those things.”

As further explanation he hinted that one taught children to use their right hands first, that one asked a maiden for her hand, that at marriage one shall give his right hand and that the marriage ring was worn on the right hand, while the engagement ring was worn on the left. In the lessons in gymnastics he had difficulty in remembering whether he began with the right or left leg. Therefore his mother made him carry his handkerchief in the right pocket of his trousers to help his memory.

- 470 -

He is a doubter between right and left, between activity and passivity, between man and woman.

The patient had a dream in which his right leg became helpless by going to sleep. The analysis showed that “right” meant normal, normal sexual craving, normal coitus. The right leg meant perhaps the penis.

Further analysis led to the fact that “right” and “left” also referred to “front” and “back.” He might have said “the woman does not satisfy me; I will satisfy myself some other way; or I prefer the posterior to the anterior erogenous zone.”

It is shown that the choice bewteen “right” and “left” goes back to a choice between “front” and “back.”

The patient showed how the delusion works with the same symbols as the dream; that the delusion becomes conscious because of the mechanism of projection.

3. The Spontaneous Recovery of a Catatonic.—As the author says, a recovery from catatonia is not frequent (according to Kraepelin 13 per cent.).

The patient was 23 years old, of medium weight, and sound inner organs. Her muscles allowed passive motion without much rigidity. The pupils were equal, round, and reacted to light and accommodation, although retarded.

The patient was an actress. Her mother died at her birth. Her father had remarried twice. He lost his money finally speculating and one night about eleven o'clock shot himself in the left temple. At the shot the seventeen-year-old girl was terribly frightened, snatched the pistol away from her father, and injured herself by a shot in the same place. The persons who ran in found her laughing, with staring look rushing around the room, humming, “He is dead! He is dead! Eleven o'clock.” They took her to a sanatorium where she remained eight weeks. She would not speak but lay in bed grinning and laughing, “He is dead! He is dead! Eleven o'clock!” Suddenly this condition left her and she returned, recovered, to life.

Compelled to work she went to a neighboring city, at the age of eighteen to a theater. She lived to herself and had no intimates. In the summer vacation she returned home and took up with an old friend of her father's, the family physician, a Jew. She sat in his lap and was much pleased to see that he became sexually excited. Another time she came alone to his room although not encouraged. Again she sat in his lap and although warned by him excited him by caressing him and tickling, etc. Finally they had intercourse. Since then she saw him occasionally when she came home. But the intercourse diminished and finally was stopped. Till this she had confined herself to masturbation. Later she turned to homosexual practices. She would get as excited as if with a man.

When the patient was about fifteen years old she happened to see her father and mother having intercourse. This had a profound effect.

- 471 -

It was found later, that in the catatonic condition she was having phantasies of having intercourse with her mother. She also had many sadistic phantasies. She hated her father. This was due to jealousy. This is one reason why she was glad as well as horrified at his death.

Here, then, as the author shows, are two fundamental reasons for the psychosis:

1.   Hate against the father.

2.   Love for the mother.

In other words she identified herself with her father, in her love for her mother; and also in her hate, she played the dead. But the mother also was dead. She identified herself also with her. Here the recovery must have started.

The author goes on to develop the consequences of double identification and of the impulse to exhibitionism.

The prognosis is doubtful. She stands in danger of another psychosis, in case she withdraws her libido from a normal sexual object (the father-image) in favor of her ego, which means Narcissism.

(Vol. II, No. 6, November, 1914.)

1.   Further Remarks on the Technique of Psychoanalysis. Sigmund Freud.

2.   The “Pleasant-Unpleasant” Principle and the “Reality” Principle. Dr. Paul Federn (Vienna).

3.   The Origin of the Interest in Money. Dr. S. Ferenczi (Budapest).

1. Further Remarks on the Technique of Psychoanalysis.—Freud reminds the learner again of the great difference between the present technique and the first. At first remembrance and abreaction, and the help of hypnosis, were used to get at the direct ideas and experiences of the symptoms creations.

After giving up hypnosis the attempt then was to get at the forgotten and repressed memories by free-associations. The work here lay in overcoming the resistances. The next step in advance came in making the patient aware of his resistances and repressions and helping him to overcome them. The purpose of this technique naturally remains the same. Descriptive: the filling in of gaps in the memory; dynamic: the recovering of repression resistances.

There is another type of patient who may be said not to remember his part but who acts it out in the present. They reproduce, not the memory, but the fact, without knowing, naturally, that they are reproducing it. For instance the patient may not remember that he was defiant and disbelieving towards the authority of his parents but he acts in that way towards the physician. He does not remember that he was stuck in his infantile sexual investigations but has a confused dream. He does not remember that he was very much ashamed of his sexual

- 472 -

activities, but he acts ashamed during the treatment and tries to keep everything of that sort secret. Only with such reproductions goes the cure. Often when one tells the patient to tell everything that occurs to him (give up self-criticism) he says he remembers nothing or thinks of nothing. This is nothing less than a homosexual idea, which acts as a resistance and represses every recollection. As long as he continues the treatment he is controlled by this—one understands after a while that this is his manner of remembering.

The Ubertragung itself is only a bit of repetition of the forgotten past, not only with respect to the physician but also as to all other aspect of the present situation. If the cure begins with a mild and not too obvious transference and progresses to a deeper level of the memory while the symptoms become less insistent; but if in the course of the treatment the Übertragung becomes too great, or negative, then instead of remembering, recurrence takes place. From now on the patient takes from the arsenal of the past weapons to protect himself from a progressive improvement and which we must wrench from him one by one. The question comes up: What does the patient recapitulate? What does he reénact? The answer is: He repeats his inhibited ideas, his pathological characteristics.

In the process of the cure it may come about that deeper-lying tendencies are found which cannot be overcome, or the damage of life is so great as to diminish the chances of a lasting health.

The thing for the analyst to do here is to enter into a constant struggle with the patient to keep all impulses in the psychic field and prevent memories being lost through action.

The principal means, however, of overcoming the compulsion to repetition, and change that into motives for memory lies in the manipulation of the Übertragung. We open up for him the Übertragung as a wrestling place where he can meet in freedom pathological tendencies which he has been indulging in in secret. When the patient comes to respect the existential conditions of the treatment, it has been our regular experience that all symptoms of illness get a new set of conditions in the Übertragung, from which he can be cured through the therapeutic work. The Übertragung becomes a sort of intermediate ground between illness and life, over which the passage from the one to the other may be made.

To those who become discouraged because they fail even though they discover resistances and tell them to their patients and the patients get no better, Freud says they must not stop at the beginning of the real cure but give the patient time to work through his resistances to deeper levels.

2. The “Pleasant-Unpleasant” Principle and the “Reality” Principle.—Many psychoanalysts are of the opinion that Freud's “Lust-Unlust” or “Pleasant-Unpleasant” principle, which he said obtained in the” Unconscious,” was exclusively confined to this domain, and that

- 473 -

the principle of “Reality” exclusively functioned in consciousness. This, says the author, is not so. The first only is true. And that is a fundamental hypothesis.

The unconscious follows the instincts, and all cravings seek and find their satisfaction in the unconscious, if only the unconscious is active, as in the newborn, or in deep sleep, or in manic states. Where we are investigating the conscious processes of normal adults, however, the unconscious processes are already regulated and used in the activity of the conscious and only an analysis can show the presence of unconscious strivings, and hence the activity of the pleasant-unpleasant principle.

According to the author the “pleasant-unpleasant” principle is distinguished from the “reality” principle through three things:

1.   The “reality” principle does not desire the immediate change of momentary affective states of the psyche.

2.   Not the gaining of pleasure, but knowledge, is the aim of the reaction. This aim is ordinarily useful to the individual, but it can serve other purposes.

3.   Not only the immediately present affects have influence on the reaction, but also memories of past experiences and the expectation of future occurrences.

A necessary presupposition for the appreciation of the “realityprinciple” is the knowledge of temporal succession. Thus the understanding of causality becomes possible. This is a “conscious” process. But, on the other hand, “in the unconscious time does not exist.” The category of time belongs exclusively to consciousness.

Hence, if we wish to use the reality-principle we must inhibit the instinctive pleasant-unpleasant principle of reaction.

The “reality principle” finds its necessary conditions in consciousness because in consciousness the single psychical elements are temporally and emotionally correctly grouped. This grouping follows the temporal and affect-content of the separate experiences. The principle of reality brings the psychic elements into agreement with activity.

“The cultural height of man can thus be measured by how far—according to his will—in spite of a strong affectivity, the reality principle can rule. In this relation Bismarck reached the height of German culture.”

3. The Origin of the Interest in Money.—The problem Ferenczi sets himself is whether and how far individual experience gives support to the theory of the transformation of anal eroticism into the love of money. He quotes Freud as saying this transformation is shown in archaic thinking, in ancient culture, in myths, fairy tales, superstitions, unconscious thought, in dreams and neuroses.

According to the author, the observation of the impulses of children and the analyses of neuroses, shows the pleasure in defecation and in holding it back for future enjoyment. The holding back of fecal matter

- 474 -

is the first economy, and remains as such in the unconscious. The feces are also one of the first things children play with. Thus, in a sense, they become one of the first objects of love.

Ferenczi thinks the interest of children in sand is because it is nothing but a symbol, deodorized and desiccated, of excrement. Children use water, too, sometimes their own, thus bringing the symbol nearer to the object symbolized. Various smells also become symbolical of the same thing. The child also fabricates beloved objects out of this material, thus endowing it with a certain value. He makes things to eat, cookies, cakes, bon-bons, etc. The advance of the sense of cleanliness leads the child to the next stage of his evolution—the stone age. He collects pebbles. The capitalistic possibilities of stones are obvious. The child becomes stone rich, in a certain sense of the word. After stones come art products, such as glass marbles, buttons, the kernels of fruit, etc. Only one step and the identification of excrement with gold is complete. The gold piece is odorless, desiccated, and shining excrement.

- 475 -

Article Citation [Who Cited This?]

Emerson, L.E. (1916). Internationale Zeitschrift für Ärztliche Psychoanalyse. Psychoanal. Rev., 3(4):465-475

Copyright © 2021, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.