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Pasche, F. Renard, M. (1956). The Reality of the Object and Economic Point of View. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 37:282-285.

(1956). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 37:282-285

The Reality of the Object and Economic Point of View

F. Pasche and M. Renard

Freud's work may seem baffling inasmuch as certain of its elements appear to have been inspired from almost mystical sources—particularly when he postulates that we retain the memory of primeval events and images, such as the primal scene, parricide, images of castrating and devouring parents, and of animals predatory upon man. (We think it equally necessary to postulate, as in animal psychology, the existence in our memory of patterns of satisfying objects, i.e. parents as protectors, givers of food, sexual partners, etc.) On the other hand those postulates which deal with the economic distribution of instinctual drives, or the quantity of instinctual energy, seem to reveal basically mechanistic convictions. In this short paper our aim is to justify the coexistence of these two concepts in psycho-analytic theory, and to demonstrate that, widely different as they are, they are structurally interdependent. It seems to us that many of Freud's successors, by not retaining the two concepts at the same time, have limited and distorted their theoretical outlook, even if the value of their clinical contributions has not been thereby diminished.

The psycho-analyst must faithfully record all aspects of psychic reality. For example, to reduce this simply to the subject himself without any reference to the real external object is to distort reality. Is not this exactly what happens, however, if the object is presented, more or less implicitly, as an emanation, a secretion or 'projection' of the subject? For this reason we feel it is important to demonstrate that the concept of atavistic memory answers to the necessity of placing the subject, as it were, simultaneously face to face with the object, right from the beginning.

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