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Fox, H.M. (1974). A Discussion of the Paper by Joseph D. Lichtenberg and Ping-Nie Pao on 'Delusion, Fantasy and Desire'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 55:283-285.

(1974). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 55:283-285

A Discussion of the Paper by Joseph D. Lichtenberg and Ping-Nie Pao on 'Delusion, Fantasy and Desire'

Henry M. Fox

In the summary of their paper Drs Lichtenberg & Pao state that on the basis of their clinical material they have offered a reappraisal of the function, structure and genesis of delusion, fantasy and desire as metapsychological entities. Metapsychology, according to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, refers to philosophical speculation on the origin, structure and function of the mind, and of the relationship between the mind and objective reality.

In the final comment of his paper on 'Ego Autonomy and Psychoanalytic Technique' presented at the Heinz Hartmann Memorial Meeting of the New York Psychoanalytic Society, Loewenstein (1972) stated that Hartmann's widened view of psychoanalysis has enlarged our understanding of the infinite complexity of the individual personality, so that Freud's elegant dictum that where id was, ego shall be must prosaically be modified to include 'where there is conflictual ego, autonomous ego should acquire increased control'. Stating that autonomous ego should acquire increased control can, of course, very easily tempt us to actualize and even to anthropomorphize our structural concepts. As Hartmann et al. pointed out (1946), the functional connotation may thus be lost and one of the psychic systems may be substituted for the total personality. As an illustration they had quoted Freud's sentence: 'The ego presents itself to the superego as love object.' Although this compared the relationship of two psychic organizations to a love relationship between individuals in which one is the lover and the other the beloved, the metaphor did, as the authors pointed out, express an important clinical finding—namely that self-love can easily and does under certain conditions substitute for love of another person.

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