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Ehrenwald, J. (1960). Schizophrenia, Neurotic Compliance and the PSI Hypothesis. Psychoanal. Rev., 47B(2):43-54.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Review, 47B(2):43-54

Schizophrenia, Neurotic Compliance and the PSI Hypothesis

Jan Ehrenwald

Telepathy has been defined as the sharing by one person of another person's mental processes without the aid of sensory channels, rational inferences, parallel reasoning, or the like. Modern parapsychology studies occurrences of this type—including so-called clairvoyance, precognition, psychokinesis—under the heading of psi phenomena. It introduced this term in order to dissociate itself from the welter of pre-scientific or frankly superstitious concepts which have been attached to such phenomena from ancient times.

But the fact is that popular belief in telepathy and related phenomena is still steeped in the tradition of primitive magic and demonology. Worse still, some of the most enthusiastic supporters of modern parapsychological theories are recruited from the ranks of paranoid schizophrenics to whom the possibility of action and interaction at a distance, of “thought reading” and “thought transference” seems to be a matter of everyday experience. The schizophrenic is committed to an essentially magic mode of existence, and G. Roheim 12 described schizophrenia as the magic psychosis par excellence. In effect, some of the paranoid patient's delusional claims might well be considered as distorted versions of the telepathy hypothesis held by the parapsychologists of our day—an admittedly embarrassing consensus of opinions.


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