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Pinsky, A. (1961). Discussion. Am. J. Psychoanal., 21(2):171-172.

(1961). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 21(2):171-172


Abe Pinsky, M.D.

I am in sympathy with the optimistic tenor of Dr. Lynd's paper as demonstrated by the fact that she makes a distinction between unavoidable alienation (man's fate) and alterable alienation which is the result of shortcomings in our society.

A bit later I will raise the question of whether we have to accept entirely the concept of unavoidable alienation, namely, that there are some aspects of man's situation that make his existence abnormal. At present, I wish to state that I, too, spurn the notion that man's alienation is forever fixed, no matter what the state of his society. I believe rather, that man, given sufficiently healthy motivation and constructive use of his intelligence may, using Dr. Lynd's phrasing, “cause doorways to be discovered” even when confronting the absolute shape of the existence.

I now want to discuss a problem arising out of this paper, a problem of definition and inclusion. Dr. Lynd, in common with most workers in the field of social science, stresses the idea that alienation implies an estrangement from the environment. She says the term “alienation” directs attention to the situation of man in society and it suggests that “with the question, who am I?” one must consider the question “where do I belong?” Psychoanalysts, on the other hand, do not use the word “alienation” in the above sense, but use it to indicate an estrangement of a person from his real self, an estrangement brought about by the evolutionary development of the neurotic character structure.

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