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Gray, M. (1954). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXIII, 1952: Metapsychological Considerations on the Concept of Work. Barbara Lantos. Pp. 439-443.. Psychoanal Q., 23:143-144.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXIII, 1952: Metapsychological Considerations on the Concept of Work. Barbara Lantos. Pp. 439-443.

(1954). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 23:143-144

International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXIII, 1952: Metapsychological Considerations on the Concept of Work. Barbara Lantos. Pp. 439-443.

Milton Gray

This paper is a consideration of what work is in terms of psychoanalytic concepts, especially structural ones. The author distinguishes between the

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activities of animals and of man—the activities of the former being always direct responses to need, instinctual responses, whereas with man this is not always so. Certain human activities have broken out of the sequence: need, urge, activity, gratification. The breaking of this sequence in man is related to the long period of dependence in infancy and childhood. The energies used by animals in the satiation of their needs are in man set free by this period of dependence. The energies so freed are placed largely at the disposal of the ego, but a certain part of them, mainly aggressive, goes into superego formation.

The period of purely pleasure-seeking activity of childhood play gradually becomes changed with the appearance of the superego, and the child slowly becomes able to endure. It is the participation of the superego that changes play activities into work activities. Work is a highly integrated ego activity aimed at procuring from the environment all possible means for the gratification of innate and culturally developed needs. This ego activity derives its energies from libidinal and aggressive sources that operate in a neutralized form in the mature ego. These instinctual energies need supplementation by aggressive drives turning inward against the ego and directed by the superego. The superego forces, however, are no longer destructive but act on the ego in a constructive self-disciplinary manner.

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Article Citation

Gray, M. (1954). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXIII, 1952. Psychoanal. Q., 23:143-144

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