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Arlow, J.A. (1950). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXVIII, 1947: Notes on Psychoanalysis and Integrative Living. Marjorie Brierley. Pp. 57–105.. Psychoanal Q., 19:125-127.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXVIII, 1947: Notes on Psychoanalysis and Integrative Living. Marjorie Brierley. Pp. 57–105.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:125-127

International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXVIII, 1947: Notes on Psychoanalysis and Integrative Living. Marjorie Brierley. Pp. 57–105.

Jacob A. Arlow

In this paper, which is actually the third and final portion of a monograph, Brierley proposes 'to present in broad and tentative outline, the general conception of human nature and attitude towards life with its consequences for behavior which appear … to be inherent in psychoanalysis'. Since neither the philosophy of crude materialism nor the traditional agencies of moral authority have secured stability or freedom from tension for individuals and nations, the need for a new, rational ethic founded on scientific understanding of human psychology seems imperative.

As the summum bonum of this new morality, Brierley proposes the touchstone of 'integration'. By integration is understood 'the sense of wholeness resulting from the organization of dynamic components, a living unity engendered by the harmonious patterning of variety … a stable and unified personality'. By understanding those factors leading to personal integrity, it is hoped that principles conducive to world integration will be derived.

A first step in the process would be the classification of personality types. This task is not possible in our present state of psychoanalytic knowledge, but the ultimate classification, the author maintains, must be a psychosocial one. 'A generation or two might suffice to bring about an appreciable change in the distribution of psychosocial types.' During recent years, Western civilization has favored the development of immature and poorly integrated personalities.

Religion, specifically Christianity, as a method of personal integration is not losing ground. If anything, it is experiencing a revitalization, in spite of its failure to prevent cataclysmic warfare. Psychoanalysts have paid insufficient attention to preoedipal conflicts in religious motivation. Religious mysticism is motivated largely by such drives. In rare instances a life of sanctity may represent an extremely adequate and gratifying form of personal integration. Although psychoanalysis may lead to a complete understanding of the intrapsychic economy of religious experience, it cannot settle ultimate issues. The objective reality of God's existence and man's communion with him is an open question. Telepathy and psi phenomena in general, if established as valid, would influence the decision.

'Optimal integration is as much a goal of world organization as it is of mental organization. The fundamental principles of governing nations and of bringing up children may indeed be identical, but their application will necessarily vary widely in different fields.' The pressure of Christian culture upon the Oedipal conflict has brought about a personality pattern in which much of instinct is identified with the denigrated infantile and parental erotic and sadistic self. The child thus purchases a precarious ego security at a heavy cost of poverty of available instinctual energy. There is, therefore,

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little hope for individual integration or for world stability until the fundamental psychological phenomena of infancy are as well understood and taken for granted as are the bodily events. Libidinal freedom under a regime of common sense restriction is the means of fostering personal and therefore world integrity. A greater capacity of libidinization implies a lesser need for the direct expression of aggression, although some unmodified aggression can serve integrative ends. Surplus frustrated aggression without outlet may lead to wars or revolutions. Only after individuals acquire more confidence in their ability to control their own impulses by using them effectively can people be free from personal anxiety about aggression and from the threat to social stability. Civilized living could offer plenty of scope for domesticated uses of aggression if only human beings did not feel constrained to apologize for having any aggressive impulses at all.

Brierley believes that the most fundamental problems of personal development and social organization probably are the same for all human beings at every time and in every place. This is reflected in a relative constancy of moral standards. Early personal values are solidly based on real experiences of pleasure and pain, but as development proceeds, subsequently differentiated values tend to diverge from reality to the extent that the family ethics fail to coincide with actual needs and facts. This is most detrimental to the development of a realistic capacity for moral judgment. A clearer understanding of the earlier (preoedipal) protomorality is essential.

'A good life can result only in so far as the demands of instinct and of conscience can be harmonized sufficiently well to give the ego some measure of united backing in its conduct of daily life… Integrative valuation can be based only on the assessment of instinctual needs, of conscience demands and of environmental requirements.' Psychoanalysis accepts man as a psychosocial being, whose psychological needs, as a result of development, go beyond gratification of his primary animal requirements.

To create the atmosphere conducive to integrated personality and world organization a reassessment of values, ancient and modern, is required. The development of a more stable civilization depends upon the discovery and practice of more efficient methods of psychosocial integration than Christianity has yet achieved. Every personal attempt to live integratively is a direct, if minute, contribution to the raising of the psychological standard of living for all.

Throughout this article almost no acknowledgment is given the very complex historical, social, economic, and political conditions which constitute the framework within which human existence and even analytic investigation take place. Formulations derived from the psychoanalysis of individuals are applied with little hesitation to the phenomena of social ethics. Such a one-sided methodological misapplication of psychoanalytic knowledge led other authors, for example, to the ludicrous suggestion that wars could be avoided if heads of states supplied a psychoanalyst with every ministerial portfolio. Little respect for psychoanalysis as a scientific discipline accrues from such an approach. Although many articles like Melitta Schmideberg's

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After the Analysis have discussed the meaning of the unrealistic, omnipotent expectations from analysis, such illusions continue to flourish, even among psychoanalysts themselves.

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Article Citation

Arlow, J.A. (1950). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXVIII, 1947. Psychoanal. Q., 19:125-127

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