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Boigon, H.W. (1961). Discussion. Am. J. Psychoanal., 21(2):179-182.

(1961). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 21(2):179-182


Helen W. Boigon, M.D.

When I read Dr. Hulbeck's paper for the first time, I was filled with the kind of pleasure and excitement a small child often feels upon entering a toy shop, that kind of bursting glee at meeting, as the poet Marlowe puts it, “infinite treasure in a little room.” To me, Dr. Hulbeck's paper is obviously the distillate of many years of association with an inner struggle in the fields of art, psychology, and philosophy. These fields at their boundaries are, of course, no longer discrete, but merge imperceptibly, one with the others. Dr. Hulbeck, having walked the pilgrim's way for so long, knows the pilgrim's path well enough to be able to express the simple truths so succinctly and present them in so nice an order that unless one has some familiarity of his own with the journey, he could easily dismiss the fine condensation as naïvely plain and unprofound, or so complex and abstruse that the clinician would be wasting his time in study of it.

I asked to discuss Dr. Hulbeck's paper without having the vaguest idea of its contents because of my own ever-increasing conviction that work in medical psychology demands interest in human nature, and that human nature is most adequately expressed in the arts and in philosophy, which subsumes religion. I had always wanted, along with Freud and many others, to have it that one day we would be explicable to ourselves in terms of physics and chemistry. Life, the great analyst, has shown that no matter what we discover about the workings of desozyribonucleic acid and other chemicals that compose us, the fundamental aspects of the human soul will be, as always, visible by direct encounter and inapprehensible by explanation.

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