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Tähkä, V. (1987). On the Early Formation of the Mind I: Differentiation. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 68:229-250.

(1987). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 68:229-250

On the Early Formation of the Mind I: Differentiation

Veikko Tähkä


This is the first of three papers, in which the early structuralization of the mind is investigated. The main themes dealt with in this paper are the following: The earliest ways of experiencing are discussed and two successive levels of psychological experiencing are distinguished. The undifferentiated mind is conceptualized as a pure pleasure formation. Undifferentiation is regarded as especially susceptible to adultomorphic misinterpretations. The part object concept and the ways to conceptualize symbiosis are examples. Undifferentiated representations of gratifications are examined both as primary structures with a regulatory function and as raw material for the emerging self and object. The birth of self-experience, initiating differentiation, is proposed to originate from the first mentally represented pain. Self and object are seen to emerge as 'all good' and are therefore constantly threatened by frustration-aggression, made possible by the differentiation. Drive theory is briefly considered. Drive is defined as a purely energic concept without qualities of its own. Aggression is not regarded as an independent drive but as the way frustration originally becomes mentally represented. Anxiety is defined and discussed as a primary affective experience of the self when its existence is threatened. Finally, after questioning the so-called symbiotic longings, the earliest ways of protecting the primary differentiation are discussed.

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