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Hinsie, L.E. (1926). Psychoanalysis and Heaven. Psychoanal. Rev., 13(3):323-338.

(1926). Psychoanalytic Review, 13(3):323-338

Psychoanalysis and Heaven

Leland E. Hinsie, M.D.

A thorough investigation into the attitude of John's mother to him gave rise to the opinion that she always“babied” him. But she did so because he encouraged it; the tenderness and affection flowed from one to the other in about equal measure. Her life was not unhappy without him, but it was made so much happier with him. When he was thirteen years old they developed an intense attachment for each other; John had sustained a fractured humerus; for several months she nursed him with devotion that was far out of proportion to her usual attitude toward him. In spite of the fact that later in the course of the injury he was able to do much for himself, she insisted kindly that he be quiet while she did everything for him. Every time that he has been sick, whether it was of a physical or of a mental nature, she has been unusually attentive to him. As John said, “I was made to feel utterly helpless no matter how simple my complaints were; I was treated just like an infant.”

John is thirty—three years old. We may well introduce the dominating theme of his life by a quotation recently made by him: “I have incestuous ideas all the while; actually I want sexual intercourse with my mother; yet, again, I don't want it. It's a natural desire. I often want to go to my mother's bed. I can now recall sleeping with her, when I was real young, waking up in the middle of the night in her arms. I often imagine I'm like my mother; I'm the image of her; I've always imitated her traits. I've even tried to arrange my penis so as to make my genital region look like a woman's.” This, of course, is a symbolic arrangement of the castration phantasy. “When Dr. K., in a lecture, mentioned rebirth, it made me think of my own case. Being inside the mother is the same as rest and death. It means lack of action, inertness, luxury; it's the same as the Happy Hunting Grounds of the Indians; it means Paradise in Heaven.

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