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Eigen, M. (1983). Dual Union or Undifferentiation? a Critique of Marion Milner's View of the Sense of Psychic Creativeness. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 10:415-428.

(1983). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 10:415-428

Dual Union or Undifferentiation? a Critique of Marion Milner's View of the Sense of Psychic Creativeness

Michael Eigen


An exploration of Marion Milner's work opens questions as to how one might best characterize soft boundaries between self and other. A primary double directional tendency of both union and distinction dimensions is postulated at all levels of the self's biography. This use of 'dual union' is distinguished from viewpoints (e.g. Mahler's) which base the self on one or another of its multi-dimensional movements. Terms like undifferentiation, fusion, oneness and the like are seen as not doing justice to the complexity of states involved in issues of permeability. Interweaving and difference require rather than exclude each other.

The 'dual union' structure posited here can express and explore ways difference-union dimensions are co-constitutive in many ways. For example, this analysis is applied to the origin of mental and physical self as well as self and other. A re-evaluation of Freud's assertion that the ego is first and foremost a body ego is proposed. The need for a more serious study of distinctions between experience, consciousness and self is also considered.

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