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Federn, P. (1932). Ego Feeling in Dreams. Psychoanal Q., 1:511-542.

(1932). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 1:511-542

Ego Feeling in Dreams

Paul Federn

I cannot assume that every reader interested in this study of the dream will care to read or reread my previous communications; therefore, by way of introduction, I should like to review the more important results of my previous studies of ego feeling and outline the conception of the ego which grew out of them.

Ego feeling is the sensation, constantly present, of one's own person–the ego's own perception of itself. This statement reaffirms the idea, emphasized especially by Österreicher, that "the ego" is not a mere abstraction devised to convey in a single word the idea of the "ego participation" (Ichbezogenheit) of actions and events. Neither is the ego solely the sum of these ego participations, nor do I regard it merely as the sum of the ego functions (Nunberg), nor yet simply as the "psychic representation" of that which refers to one's own person (Sterba): these are all aspects of the ego–they represent functions performed by the ego or which belong within the ego. The ego, however, is more inclusive; more especially, it includes the subjective psychic experience of these functions with a characteristic sensation. This self experience is a permanent, though never equal, entity, which is not an abstraction but a reality. It is an entity which stands in relation to the continuity of the person in respect to time, space, and causality. It can be recognized objectively and is constantly felt and perceived subjectively.

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