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Jelliffe, S.E. (1930). British Journal of Medical Psychology.. Psychoanal. Rev., 17(3):348-359.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: British Journal of Medical Psychology.

(1930). Psychoanalytic Review, 17(3):348-359


British Journal of Medical Psychology.

Smith Ely Jelliffe, M.D.

(Vol. 6, No. 1, March, 1926)

1.   Tredgold, A. F. The Definition and Diagnosis of Moral Imbecility. 1-9.

2.   Burt, Cyril. The Definition and Diagnosis of Moral Imbecility. 10-46.

3.   Smith, Hamblin M. The Definition and Diagnosis of Moral Imbecility. 47-54.

4.   Thomas, Rees WM. The Definition and Diagnosis of Moral Imbecility. 55-69.

5.   Shrubsall, F. C. The Definition and Diagnosis of Moral Imbecility. 70-.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Here are five papers, contributions to a Symposium arranged by the Education and Medical Sections of the British Psychological Society in March, 1926. Although there is little or no reference made to the psychoanalytic study of any particular individual or individuals that according to the British Mental Deficiency Act of 1913, and classed as “Moral Imbeciles,” a few lines might be given indicating the general scope of the discussion.

Moral Imbecility is one of four classes of mental defect illy defined under this Act. The discussion is aimed at the effort to clarify the concept for medicolegal purposes. It is more or less remarkable that the closely allied grouping, so outstanding in German psychiatry, psychopathic personal is mostly passed over.

Tredgold in his opening remarks shows that the legal concept is that of a combination of mental defect and marked misconduct. His discussion is chiefly clinical. Organic instinctive behavior patterns of long ancestry are first posited. These are at first egoistic and antisocial and later experiences give rise to sentiments of rightness or wrongness which serve as brakes to control the primitive selfish instincts. Moral sense he thinks is essentially emotional and conative. Moral perception or discrimination is a purely intellectual process, the former having greater influence upon inhibition of antisocial conduct than the latter. Three stages are laid down. For the first few years of life conduct consists in the carrying out of certain ingrained tendencies. Second, following precept or example habits of obedience to authority are formed; finally feeling towards acts

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develops. Rightness or wrongness are attached to these. This is stated to be a very bald outline. Thus innate control and environmental influences are important. An individual possessing strong antisocial propensities, with defective moral sense and wisdom; this is what he would call a moral imbecile. Such an one is not incapable of acquiring ordinary school knowledge. He may be clever or even intellectually brilliant, nimble witted, engaging in conversation, plausible and often a ready liar, lying when truth even might be more serviceable. Moral and altruistic feeling are defective. Static conceptions prevail throughout this first paper.

Burt's contribution starts with the analysis of a single case. This analysis is conducted upon the basis of a point, percentage system in which innate intellectual conditions, acquired intellectual conditions, innate temperamental conditions, acquired temperamental conditions, and acquired moral conditions check up certain percentages. In fifteen years he has put his calipers upon nearly 3,000 delinquents and mental defectives, of which 116 he has classed moral imbeciles. These are set down in beautiful percentage figures even to the decimals. [One sometimes wonders what 6/10 of a delinquent can be, or 2/10 of a precox or paretic is, or 3/10 of an epileptic means, but of such is the fiction of pseudoexactness. Decimals in this kind of presentation reduce the thing to a force. J.] Nevertheless the general clinical states are of some value. At all events he is sound in being out of sympathy with the British Act definition. An interesting historical summary of the whole concept is to be here found. Naturally specific moral facilities are remnants of early scholastic and theological dogmas. Psychoanalytic ideas of ethics in the dynamic sense are found in footnotes (p. 24) but in general Burt's discussion is scholastic with certain inclusions of the semischolastic developments of Shand's and McDougall's social psychological notions. For practical medicolegal purposes the discussion is quite advanced, especially that part of it that deals with the code. His objections to the clause defining the moral imbecile as of the Act of 1913 are well set forth in his Summary.

M. Hamblin Smith would also like to begin with a definition of the undefinable which is “ill defined” in the Act. Morality, i.e., ethics, is his nubbin of discussion and he would try to pin morality down to etymologies. The folkways are outlined, common sense is the slogan. An absolute system of morality does not exist. If there was, all would be altered! Only theology—as revelation—knows this. [From Moses to the Rev. Roach Stratton.] Rivers, and the herd instinct are introduced, and relativity in ethics is sensibly presented. He regards the whole discussion on the present lines as futile. From the jurisprudence side, moral imbecility is of no standing, the cases can all be brought under feebleminded categories or psychotic categories, or of mental conflict and repression.

Rees Thomas admits the difficulty of the situation, both because the Act lacks clearness of meaning and possibly fails to outline what it is all about; excellent reasons for conceiving it as difficult. He also cannot

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localize the moral sense. Psychoanalysis is mentioned (p. 61) because “through its application certain of these patients are ‘cured’,” i.e., no longer are “moral imbeciles” and yet in the next line, no “specific cure” is to hand, when the antisocial conduct has persisted a long time and furthermore to apply the method of psychoanalysis in all cases of social maladjustment is impracticable. [In 1870 the same argument was used as to the uselessness of surgery.] Back to the child. Thomas is an individualist and writes a lot of sense about the problem as “each tub standing on its own bottom.”

Shrubsall's contribution sticks closely to the legal requirements of the situation.

On the whole the 83 pages are well worth reading.

(Vol. 6, Part 2, Sept., 1926)

1.   Flournoy, Henri. The Biological Point of View of Adolf Meyer in Psychology and Psychiatry. 85-92.

2.   Glover, James. Divergent Tendencies in Psychotherapy. 93-109.

3.   Burke, Noel H. M. Some Aspects of the Inter-Relation between Bodily and Mental Disease. 110-120.

4.   Descriptive Notice. Glove, E., of Freud's Hemmung, Symptom und Angst. Book Reviews.

1.   Flournoy, Henri: Adolf Meyer's Biological Point of View in Psychiatry.—This is a paper which constitutes a part of a larger discussion appearing in the “Archives de Psychologie” in which a former pupil of Dr. Meyer gives an appreciative summary of his ideas, and therefore a resume of a definite development of psychiatry in the United States under the leadership of a number of neuropsychiaters of whom Meyer is here picked out for special attention. The science of the behavior of the organism as a whole, biological, and dynamic is the slogan of this school, in which Meyer, Campbell, Kirby, White and Jelliffe are more or less outstanding figures. What the general formulations are are here well considered.

2.   Glover, James: Divergent Tendencies in Psychotherapy.—In the history of the development of a true psychotherapy two trends are noticeable both tending to minimize its validity in the medical mind. On the one hand a tendency towards transcendental explanations has to be fought with, with its many quasi religious and magic working formulæ, on the other nonmental explanations. Both have advanced from crude to subtle stages of development. Modern psychopathology is ripe now to develop its own concepts, strengthen its own formulations, and perfect its own technic. Physiological bias is always at hand to weaken reliance on purely psychological technics. Its tendency is to unduly accent the significance of the stimuli from without, i.e., the environmental factors.

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It neglects the stimuli from within, i.e., instinctive forces which are all too easily summarized as ‘constitutional.’ Modern psychopathology has paid particular attention to these instinctual urges. Out of them have come reaction patterns which a dynamic psychology founded upon genetic lines can observe and apply for the treatment of those disorders for which a scientific psychotherapy is adapted. Such a scientific psychotherapy is in sight when it is realized that neurotic illnesses are the outcome of imperfect cultural modification of primary instinctual impulses directed to culturally archaic goals, and that their unrealized persistence behind the too precarious acquisitions of the cultural self, maintains a state of internal conflict which unfits the patient for adequate adaptation to his social environment. This state of internal stress may bring about somatic disturbances, endocrine or visceral. Actual details of the grouping of the instinct units or details of psychogenesis are secondary, in view of the validity of the main formulation. This will survive and the details be rendered more clear as application of its principles progresses. It does not need the support of crass drug therapy on the one hand, nor of philosophical or religious doctrines on the other hand. Individual patients may need such adjuncts temporarily or even permanently but this does not change the situation so far as a scientific psychotherapy is concerned.

Glover then calls attention to the crucial affective situation in psychotherapy, as particularly embodied in the classical conception of transference in psychoanalysis—he restates what happens in the free association method. The analyst becomes a blank screen upon which are projected pictures of the patient's infantile life. Now the analyst may satisfy one of two drives: one epistemophilic, which harnesses the forces of his curiosity for the purposes of science, or the other he may gratify his will to power which as unconscious desire for omnipotence exists in us all. In Glover's view the acquiring of a psychotherapeutic technic demands only the wisdom of an intelligent medical graduate and the morality of his Hippocratic oath.

3.   Burke, Noel H. M.: Some Aspects of the Interrelation between Bodily and Mental Disease.—The author disclaims that there is little strictly psychological in this paper. Four cases are cited: A. had hysterical signs (?) but a gastric ulcer perforated while under psychological treatment. An X-ray would have demonstrated it. B. had anxiety symptoms and a radiological examination showed an ulcer of the stomach. C. was thought to have an hysterical weakness; myotonia atrophica was the outcome. D., a so-called neurasthenic, had renal calculi. Mistakes if this kind often cause an overcompensatory chuckle on the part of the materialistic organicist; he makes the same kind of mistake, perhaps in an opposite direction probably (ten to one) by piling in drugs, etc., in purely mental cases. The author then goes on to a rapid resume of the vegetative nervous system and of the endocrinopathies. He then mentions the Jackson level hypothesis and cites gastrointestinal, thyroid, glycosural,

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and other syndromes and concludes that a psychotherapeutist must always remain a physician who is treating a patient who is ill.

4.   Descriptive Note.—An excellent extensive abstract of Freud's recent work upon Hemmung, Symptom and Angst by E. Glover.

(Vol. 6, No. 3)

1.   Mccurdy, J. T. Hypothetical Mental Constitution of Compulsive Thinkers. 159.

2.   Goitein, P. L. A New Approach to the Analysis of Mary Rose. 178.

3.   Burrow, T. The Reabsorbed Affect and its Elimination. 209.

4.   Report on Symposium on Moral Imbecility. 219.

1.   Mccurdy, J. T.: Compulsive Thinkers.—In this paper the offer of an apology is made that there is no case material. It is the outline of a scheme, an hypothesis, which the author states has helped him to get around problems of psychopathology which have bothered him for years. Compulsive thinking is meant in a wider sense than compulsive neurotics. Compulsive thinkers are those who cannot give up their efforts at solving situations, valuable or the reverse. What lies behind unprofitable compulsive thinking? With what taboo is the personality of the compulsive thinker guarded?

An even more puzzling conjunction is that of unconscious sadism with exercise of intelligence. The cruelty of wit, thanks to Freud's brilliant analysis, we can understand. But others than himself have seen evidence in their patients of unconscious sadism motivating intellectual keenness that seems to have the discomfiture of no one in view. In other words mental acuity seems to be one mode of expression for sadism and this may be quite constructive in character. Constructive intelligence is at bottom fantasy-building. If the fantasies in question had the injury or destruction of others as their object, the association would be understandable. But evidence for this is often lacking. Of all the aberrations of sex none is, of its very nature, so definitely inimical to constructiveness as sadism. One might suspect that we were here dealing with some kind of a reaction formation. But sympathy—the antidote to cruelty—although not destructive is certainly not constructive in tendency. It works much more for the maintenance of the status quo. The conclusion seems therefore justifiable that the connection between sadism and constructive thinking is not direct and causal in spite of the intimacy of the association. We are consequently forced to look for some other impulse with constructive potentialities so closely integrated with the sadism that action of the one means action of the other, that they reinforce one another mutually. What can this X be?

A hint may, perhaps, be secured by correlating this problem with the one before. The compulsive thinker acts as if in terror of loss of his personality. He also acts as if he must destroy something—something, moreover,

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that is dear to him, else it would not be sadism. Here, then, is the sketch of a conflict and, judged by its seriousness, a deadly one. Now in any fight the issue depends on the comparative powers of the antagonists. Weakening of self is strength to the opponent; strength to one's self is a weakening of the opponent. Thus we arrive at a clue. Our search must be for some conflict still progressing in the unconscious. The personality of the patient is threatened; he can protect himself by destroying another or by making himself the stronger. One characteristic of this hypothetical conflict must be pointed out at once. It is not a physical battle, for the patients do not present bodily symptoms. The sufferer from compulsions is harrowed by purely subjective woes and rarely presents anything more like physiological disturbances than stammering. (McCurdy can recall only two cases of compulsive thinking in which there were physical complaints and in both of these the whole clinical picture was singularly confused.) If the struggle be carried out on the mental plane, in terms of fantasies, this would naturally be a stimulus for intellectual activity—an activity that would have compulsive force, if the issue meant life or death.

To elaborate this hypothesis logically we must look for some conjunction of circumstances in childhood that would make such a strange conflict probable. This might be found in a marked discrepancy between the behavior of the most-loved object and the characteristics assigned to this object in imagination. In other words it would be a sharp contrast between the character of the real object and of the Imago. Before describing this situation further one must try to make clear just what is meant by the Imago and how it comes into being.

Mention is made of the great stumbling block to treatment which the rigidity of personality in the compulsive neurotic presents. They have insight for their symptoms but none for defects of character; nay, further, they are unwilling even to discuss such defects. This point need not be labored further. But it should be pointed out that this complication in treatment is not confined to the compulsion neurosis. It occurs whenever symptoms become integrated with the personality. Such union is particularly liable to occur in invalidism, when the patient actually gains something from his symptoms. One example of this is, perhaps, worth citing. The patient was a woman who had suffered for eight years with a facial neuralgia, the behavior of which showed it to be neurotic. During these years she had spent all her money on doctors and had become dependent on friends, one of the “brave sufferers” with whom analysts are all familiar. Analysis was attempted. She accepted placidly the usual œdipus and lurid autoerotic interpretations and actually began to show some improvement. Then it was suggested that it was time she got a job and earned a little money. As this was accepted without enthusiasm the analyst ventured most inconsiderately to remind her that she was not paying for her treatment. At this she exploded almost literally. She had

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never been so insulted in her life, of course she was going to pay me, and so on. The next day came a letter enclosing a small sum of money. She wrote that she had never suffered so in her life, only her tremendous strength of character had kept her from suicide and she charged me never to say such an unfeeling thing to any patient again. I have not seen or heard of her again.

If the hypothesis about compulsive thinking be sound, it may offer some grain of hope therapeutically. So long as the personality remains rigid symptoms are bound to recur. But if the central defect of his make-up be brought home to the patient he may be able to make a virtue of it. All that is necessary—although this is a Herculean task—is for the central egoism to become engaged in the task of reconstruction. Let pride and self-preservation once be turned to the task of self-analysis and it becomes compulsively necessary for the patient to anticipate the analyst in his discoveries. One such case is cited. The patient worked as if possessed, in a frenzy to detect his complexes and to interpret them accurately. It excluded practically all other thoughts from his mind until each dream was analyzed, even if this took him all day or all night. But in his endeavor he was, in the main, successful; in fact this hypothesis is largely the outcome of that analysis.

In conclusion McCurdy enumerates the characteristics of the compulsive thinker which he ought to show, according to this hypothesis and which, if demonstrated consistently in a large series of cases, ought to go a long way towards validating the theory. In the first instance there should be a history indicating a marked discrepancy between the characters of the object Imago and of the person who ought to be the representative thereof. Secondly, the personality of the patient ought to show rigidity of the type here described. He ought to be unduly resistive to criticism and much less amenable to suggestion than is the normal man. One should be surprised to meet an individual with prominent compulsive thinking who identified himself emotionally with groups or group ideas unless he were the dominating figure in the band. In other words he could lead, or more likely drive, but he could never follow. Similarly his jealous maintenance of the idea of self would prevent his having true religious experience; or, if he did achieve this a revolutionary change of character would ensue. Marked development of compulsive thinking and the abandonment of self which true religion demands are, I believe, utterly incompatible. Finally, if treatment be undertaken and a survey of the patient's dreams be made, the symbolizing of his unconscious motivations would be found to involve an unusual amount of intellectualization.

Summary.—The problem is to correlate the following phenomena in compulsive thinkers: compulsive thoughts, often of extraordinary crudity; prominence of unconscious sadism; intellectual superiority; and obduracy to treatment. The hypothesis is that there exists in early childhood a marked discrepancy between the actual behavior and that expected from

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the idealized object of love (Imago). This leads to a conflict between the idealized mother (or father or their surrogates) and the idealized self, which can be solved only by the victory of one over the other. The instinct of self-preservation is attached to the ideal of self rather than to the body, and so that ideal becomes inviolate. The real object must then be destroyed in order to preserve the ideal of self and its related idealization of the object. This tends to make expression of interest in the real object take a sadistic form. But physical expression of animosity is futile in a child, so it plans the destruction of the object in fantasy. This is an intellectual operation and is carried out compulsively because the life of the Self depends upon it—it is a panic reaction. Sadism and the compulsive use of intellectual processes are thus established and intertwined. As the individual matures, the ideal of self becomes more elaborate and socialized but remains peculiarly sacred. When failure of adaptation occurs, the unconscious sadism emerges: it shocks the personality and so the personality is not adapted to it; it comes compulsively and in relatively its original form. Treatment is difficult, not for lack of intelligence, but because there is a stubborn refusal to allow change of outlook which means change of personality; i.e., treatment resuscitates the old panic reaction. Insight is present only for symptoms and not for defects of character. This type of mental constitution probably occurs in many people of intellectual vigor who never develop compulsive symptoms.

2.   Goitein, P. L.: Mary Rose.—The dream tragedy Mary Rose (which tells of the emotional stirrings, storm and calm, in a once vivacious household when they find that their son is married to a fading Shadow), is made the subject of a reflective analysis in the light of the poet's phantasies, personal experiences and belief. It sharply differentiates the ‘manifest content’ for the spectator, from the all-significant ‘latent story,’ for the dramatist; but emphasizes that just as a fusion of diverse personalities in life creates the composite figure of the dream, so divers themes in the Unconscious make up the ‘manifest Drama,’ by fusing their currents back into a complex whole. These themes are variously reconstructed from the viewpoints of audience, philosopher, mystic and poet; and the analytical bearings of each discussed. The impress of symbolism in the last-named is analyzed at greater length; and opportunity is taken of approaching the problem from different levels of mind, down to the play's basic Unconscious significance and back to its highest sublimation, in the form of a Sacred Drama. Certain psychological determinants from the individual and from life are finally suggested as motivating the surface story; and a judicious interweaving of comparable quotation from other literature is attempted. But to appreciate its finer subtleties the original essay must be read of itself, in view of its detailed citations from Barrie's play; and for the gradual steps in justification of, what is offered as, a fresh analytical approach. The essay is written in nontechnical language, and is evidently intended for a wider circle of readers than the intiates

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of the new psychology. Its concluding passage in summing up the heroine (who gives her name to the play) says:

“… But as we cast a last long lingering look behind on our fading Eurydice, we realize that that sad character is there to give us consolation in the knowledge ‘that hope keeps breaking through,’ and in the feeling of which she provides the living evidence—that those we loved of yesterday and whose memories we cherish, grow younger ever younger as we grow old; and our love for some Elder's image at the first, is still fostered unchanged as we advance, even kindly rejuvenated somewhere while we sleep, until in after years, we the aging turn back to glance at it, to find it is the image of a child!”

3.   Burrow, T.: The Reabsorbed Affect and its Elimination.—A theoretical discussion without case material of the early formulations about “you and me” in infantile psychology and their later evolution into subjective images of values to the individual's own narcissism with further estimations of the value of group analysis.

4.   A continuation of the symposium on Moral Imbecility with no psychoanalytic material.

(Part 4)

1.   Hart, Bernard. The Conception of Dissociation. 241.

2.   Jones, Ernest. The Psychology of Religion. 264.

3.   Rickman, John. A Survey. 270.

1.   Hart, B.: Dissociation.—The aim of the present paper is to consider the nature of Janet's conceptions of dissociation and of the subconscious, to elucidate the difference of plane which marks off these conceptions from those created by Freud, and to discuss the relationships and oppositions which exist between them.

The hypothesis that mental elements may exist outside the limits of ordinary consciousness can be traced far back in the history of philosophy. In one of its forms these extraconscious elements, e.g., the ‘petites perceptions’ of Leibniz, were regarded as being identical in nature with the constituents of normal consciousness, and differing from the latter only in intensity. This corresponds to the ‘fringe of consciousness’ of later psychologists, and describes a range of phenomena which has nothing to do with the conceptions we are now examining, although the term ‘subconscious’ is sometimes confusingly applied thereto. In another of its forms, however, the hypothesis assumes that mental processes exist outside consciousness, which are radically different from those occurring within consciousness, but which are able to modify and affect the course of the latter. This notion is to be found in Kant and Schopenhauer, and is elaborately developed in Hartmann's Philosophy of the Unconscious. It is clearly to be regarded as the logical ancestor of the Freudian ‘unconscious.’

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The value of Janet's conception as a weapon of understanding is beyond question, and it has cast a flood of light upon some of the problems of hypnosis and hysteria. Nevertheless it presents certain defects and inconsistencies which, at any rate in the form in which Janet cast it, oppose considerable difficulties in the way of its complete acceptance. Janet is a descendant of the associationists, and he talks glibly of the sticking together and unsticking of bits of mind-stuff, in a manner which is repugnant to the psychology of today. Moreover, his conception of dissociation is constructed in that spatial metaphor which so often produces a superficial appearance of clarity at the expense of a gross distortion of the underlying facts. Dissociation is for Janet the separation en masse of a number of mental elements from that greater aggregation of elements which constitutes the totality of the mind, a splitting of the mind into two independent pieces. Now this picture cannot be satisfactorily reconciled with the observed facts.

The unconscious of Freud has been created by him in order to explain the processes occurring in consciousness. It is not in itself a fact of consciousness, and its existence cannot be demonstrated in the way in which the existence of Janet's dissociated streams can be demonstrated, any more than we can demonstrate the existence of the ether which has been created in order to explain the facts of light and heat.

The ‘subconscious’ of Janet is a description of phenomenal facts, while the ‘unconscious’ of Freud is a conceptual construction, an imagined entity created in order to explain phenomenal facts.

These criticisms upon the fascinating speculations of Das Ich und das Es are put forward with some diffidence, because they have been hastily cast together, and are in need of further thought and consideration before they can be clearly presented, but they will serve to indicate the difficulty experienced when we endeavor to envisage, from the standpoint of methodology, the extraordinarily fluid and plastic concepts which Freud employs. Freud's work has been carried out along the road of clinical observation, and he has made and modified his concepts as he went along. It is to this circumstance that the fluidity and plasticity are presumably to be ascribed. The modification of concepts in the light of further facts of observation is of course an unimpeachable proceeding, but it carries with it the possibility that the concepts may ultimately have ascribed to them a complex mass of attributes which do not easily hang together. Such a characterization, while it facilitates the fitting of the observed facts into the theories, inevitably blurs the precision and definition of the latter, a serious defect when we are dealing with a system of conceptual constructions.

2.   Jones, Ernest: The Psychology of Religion.—This is a very condensed paper read at the International Congress of Psychology held at Groningen. Psychoanalysis has called attention to a region which should logically be investigated before recourse is had to the more obscure and

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remote region of the inherited instincts. This is the infantile mind, which is continued in later life as the unconscious mind and constitutes the essence of the latter. Both the content and the mode of functioning of the infantile mind differ widely from those of the adult conscious one and the greater part of it becomes buried in later life, ‘repressed’ and inaccessible to consciousness, as the result of powerful forces acting in this direction. There is the strongest possible tendency to depreciate the significance of infantile mental processes, which are felt to be merely ‘childish,’ so that any attempt to correlate them with important adult ones meets with instinctive incredulity. To take a simple illustration of this: If one were to correlate the object fear of supernatural agencies that has been experienced so many countless times, and the fear that can still be experienced of the awful wrath of God, with the fear that a child may feel for his father, no one can well appreciate the significance of this who has not had personal experience, through psychoanalysis of the unconscious, of how intense the child's dread of the father can be.

In the past quarter of a century a vast experience has accumulated from psychoanalytic investigation of the religious life of individuals, and in addition a great number of works have been published containing psychoanalytic studies of various aspects of religious beliefs and other phenomena. The outstanding conclusion that emerges from all this investigation is that the religious life represents a dramatization on a cosmic plane of the emotions, fears and longings which arose in the child's relation to his parents. This is a sentence which must remain without much meaning for those who have not taken cognizance of the modern study of the unconscious, but it is pregnant for those who have.

The five aspects of the problem of religion thus enumerated may be commented on in order:

(1)  Relation to a supernatural spiritual order, characteristically to supernatural beings. The attributes of power and taboo connected with these, and the varying emotional attitudes, notably those of dependence, fear, love and reverence, are all direct reproductions of the child's attitude towards his parents. The child's sense of the absolute as felt in its original attitude towards his own importance is, when it becomes impaired by contact with reality, partly continued as the anthropocentric view of the universe implicit in all religions and partly displaced, first on to the parents and then, when this also fails, on to divine beings; the earthly father is replaced by the Heavenly Father. The conflicts with the parents that necessarily arise during the process of upbringing, the essence of which consists in the regulation of—or interference with—the infantile sexuality (or child's love life, if the phrase be preferred), are for the greater part unconscious even at the time. They lead to repressed death wishes against the parents, with a consequent fear of retaliation, and from this comes the familiar religious impulse to propitiate the spirits of dead ancestors or other spiritual beings. The accompanying love leads to the desire for forgiveness, reconciliation, help and succor.

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(2)  All the emotional problems surrounding death arise, not from the philosophical contemplation of dead strangers, but from ambivalence towards the person's loved ones. Dread of death invariably proves clinically to be hte expression of repressed death wishes against loved objects. It is further found that the themes of death and castration (or the equivalent withdrawal of the loved object—are extremely closely associated and that anxiety concerning indefinite survival of the personality constantly expresses the fear of a punitive impotence.

(3)  The primal self-love and self-importance of the child, which more nearly approaches the absolute than any other experience in life, is commonly displaced on to a selected portion of the mind called the superego, an ideal of what the ego longs to be as the result of its moral education. The sense of supreme values, of a rich ‘meaning’ in life, which plays a cardinal part in all the higher religions, is a typical manifestation of this striving. It is, of course, related to the desire to be reconciled with God and to be approved of by Him.

(4)  The constant association of religion with morality is another aspect of this same feature.

(5)  The sense of inadequacy in coping with life, Janet's “sentiment d'incompletude,” Freud's “inferiority complex,” may appear in any aspect of life, physically, morally, intellectually, and so on. Psychoanalysis of the phenomenon, however, reveals a unitary origin, namely, in the sense of sin or guilt aroused in the child in his endeavor to make all his impulses conform with adult standards. It is thus psychologically comprehensible that all manifestations of inadequacy, in whatever sphere, can be allayed by dealing with their origin by religious means; to be reconciled with the Father is the same thing as to obtain assistance from Him. It is well known what a central part the conviction of sin plays in religion; without it, and the consequent necessity for salvation, the Christian religion, for instance, would be well-nigh emptied of meaning. In conclusion Jones writes that the simplistic appearance of the foregoing propositions be not taken as a token of their nature. It is an inevitable result of the attempt to present in a few words an exceedingly complicated and novel body of doctrine.

3.   Rickman, John: The Development of the Psychoanalytic Theory of the Psychoses.—This is a condensation of a paper since elaborated and published as a monograph (International Journal of Psycho-Analysis Monographs, No. 2) which gives a masterly summary of the developments of psychoanalytic theory to the study of the psychoses. Only one part of three is here given. The Schreber case is digested very completely. (See Adolf Meyer's discussion of the same in White and Jelliffe's Modern Treatment of Nervous and Mental Diseases, Vol. II, 1913.) (See Vol. 7 for further installments.)

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Article Citation

Jelliffe, S.E. (1930). British Journal of Medical Psychology.. Psychoanal. Rev., 17(3):348-359

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