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Goldberg, A. (1999). Response: There are No Pure Forms. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 47(2):395-400.

(1999). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 47(2):395-400

Response: There are No Pure Forms

Arnold Goldberg

I could not help but be pleased that the discussants of my paper, in keeping with Nancy Chodorow's plaint about twos, showed the proper mixture of enjoyment and discontent that any writer should hope to produce. One fails in the writing or delivering of a paper if the audience leaves without worry, since that, I believe, is the crucial emotion for the life of an analyst, who probably should worry her- or himself right to the grave. Contentment, certainty, and calm are the sirens surely of our individual journeys, and I allowed myself a bit of each as I felt I succeeded in properly troubling my listeners and discussants. As much as I like everyone to agree with me, the real pleasure comes from getting someone to feel some of that unsettled state that sometimes succeeds in pulling us away from what we know for sure.

To begin with, Theodore Shapiro is absolutely right that my paper is not about the case of Karl, although a case often serves as a nidus of discussion. The lure of clinical material can, however, at times be addictive, and one anonymous listener pleasantly offered some free supervision to help me see the “compromise formations” I had missed. My reaction to that proffered gift was most precisely just what one should not have—annoyance or dismissal. I can honestly say that I no longer have “compromise formations” as a source of personal interest or worry; quite to the contrary, I was delighted to see that Shapiro was himself frustrated about my questionable allegiance to an unconscious determinant.

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