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Schroeder, T. (1922). Prenatal Psychisms and Mystical Pantheism. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 3:445-466.

(1922). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 3:445-466

Prenatal Psychisms and Mystical Pantheism

Theodore Schroeder

I propose to use the psychoanalytic approach (not its technique) for making an excursion into one of the most obscure and most difficult fields of psychologic research. I refer to the alleged human experience of the infinite—of God. Quite unavoidably this will lead to an exposition of some important, but as yet inconclusive, support for a tentative theory of the mental mechanisms and the psychogenetics of some theologic concepts, and of some philosophic theories. It will also furnish a fragment of an evolutionary concept of the human psyche. In its psychologic aspect, some experience as of the infinite is believed to be the very essence of all Christian mysticism. Such experiences are also the basis of mystical pantheism and perhaps of all mysticism. Probably in a lesser degree of intensity this same subjective condition is a psychologic preparedness for the ready acceptance of the philosophic creed of the idealist monists. By this route will come some suggestive contribution to the psychology of philosophers and of their philosophies.

As a part of this program some comparison will be made between the limitations of mental processes involved in these mystical experiences and some of the limitations which hamper the prenatal psyche. In the prenatal psyche the limitations which we are to consider, are due chiefly to the physical limitations, imposed by the foetal status. The corresponding limitations in the physically mature humans will appear to be psychogenetic, and the immediate result of emotional inhibitions. Such speculations about a prenatal psyche will hereinafter be compared with the mental processes of an actual case, wherein psychologic inhibitions, which duplicate some of the limitations imposed on the foetus, did produce 'experiences of the infinite'. Thus we may come to see that much mysticism may be the product of morbid eroticisms.

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