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De Saussure, R. (1949). L'Angoisse Et La Pensée Magique (Anxiety and Magic Thinking): By Charles Odier. First Volume. Neuchâtel and Paris: Delachaux and Niestle, 1948. 248 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 18:503-508.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:503-508

L'Angoisse Et La Pensée Magique (Anxiety and Magic Thinking): By Charles Odier. First Volume. Neuchâtel and Paris: Delachaux and Niestle, 1948. 248 pp.

Review by:
Raymond De Saussure

This is a valuable book which brings to light many new points of view. The author's object is to integrate the genetic psychology of the ego in psychoanalytic theory and to study the intermingling of ego structures with id drives. Describing first the ego development on the basis of James Baldwin's and Jean Piaget's books, he distinguishes three stages.

1. The adualistic stage is characterized by a complete confusion, due to projective mechanisms. The child locates outside the mind what happens within it; it lends its feelings and thoughts to other people. As Piaget observed, the child projects not only its own feelings, but very often their complements. A child frightened by fire does not think that the fire is afraid, but attributes to it threatening intentions. At the same stage, the child introjects; it confuses elements from outside with its ego; it attributes to itself the thinking of other people. 2. Piaget has completed these remarks of Baldwin in describing what he calls children's realism, the attitude that phenomena are as the child perceives them; for instance, that colors and shadow exist in themselves.

At this point Odier introduces two new concepts: affective realism and exteriorism. Affective realism is the projection of one's feelings upon other people; the feelings are given an existence outside of oneself. Such is the luck which derives not from an activity but which befalls one; such is happiness resident in love objects, but independent of one's search for it. Exteriorism is any form of children's realism persisting into adult life, whether due to delayed development or to regression. 3. In his brilliant book, The Moral Judgment in the Child, Piaget has shown that the child grows out of realism through coöperation with children of its own age. This social experience leads it to objectivity, reciprocity, relativity, rationality, and the establishment of an autonomous conscience. These qualities are the signs of maturity. Odier proposes three other signs of ego maturity: acquisition and maintenance of inner security (processes of endogenous security); acquisition of the feeling of self-esteem (processes of endogenous estimation); acquisition of a feeling of autonomy (processes of endogenous autonomization).

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