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Goldberg, A. (2008). Boundary Exegesis: Response to Commentaries on “Some Limits of the Boundary Concept”. Psychoanal Q., 77(3):915-919.

(2008). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 77(3):915-919

Boundary Exegesis: Response to Commentaries on “Some Limits of the Boundary Concept” Related Papers

Arnold Goldberg

The eminent theologian Paul Tillich titled his autobiography On the Boundary (1966), and this title served to echo his lifelong struggle between absolute faith and persistent doubt. The word boundary does indeed seem to suggest a struggle between differences, be they those of right and wrong, belongers and outsiders, the sacred and the profane, and always of certainty and uncertainty. Of course, I am pleased that my commentators, most of whom are old friends of mine, chose to struggle not so much with me, but rather with the relevant issue of how psychoanalysis has dealt with this particular concept.

To step back for a moment, I cannot help but wonder if most (or at least many) of the advances in our field have been made by those who were not bounded by what they had been taught about psychoanalysis, but were committed to the essence of psychoanalysis, which, I feel, is its boundlessness—or, perhaps better said, its necessary uncertainty. I became interested in the factors that made psychoanalysis seem a rigid and even fossilized field when I wrote Moral Stealth (2007). I hoped therein to demonstrate how our preoccupation with moral issues lent a sort of straitjacket to our practice. My concern with boundary violations is inextricably tied to these moral stealth-like constraints.

I probably failed in my abbreviated essay to make clear how we have become blind to the intrusion of morality into our technical concerns.

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