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Pöstényi, A. (1984). Some Reflections on Interpretation, Holding and Psychoanalysis as a Science. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 7(2):113-131.

(1984). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 7(2):113-131

Some Reflections on Interpretation, Holding and Psychoanalysis as a Science

András Pöstényi, M.D.

Psychoanalysis And Utopia

Freud (1916-1917) compared psychoanalysis to two earlier scientific revolutions, connected with the names of Copernicus and Darwin. According to Freud, all these three revolutions hurt deeply the narcissism of man, and, to make things worse, each of them added to the previous injury. Since Copernicus, man has had to face the fact that he does not inhabit the centre of the universe, but its periphery. His unique position, even on this planet, was seriously called in doubt by Darwin. After the discovery of the unconscious, man cannot even claim to be the master of his own person. In his injured narcissism, he pronounces anathema upon psychoanalysis, as he once pronounced anathema upon heliocentrism and the theory of evolution.

However convincing this parallel may sound, it represents only one aspect of the truth, because the Freudian revolution has also an opposite signification. What is more, this second signification provokes as much resistance as the first.

The illusion of living in the centre of Creation and of being oneself created in God's image,—illusions which were shattered by Copernicus and Darwin—were precious and hard to give up.

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