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Teslaar, J.S. (1914). Imago: Zeitschrift Fur Anwendung Der Psychoanalyse Auf Die Geisteswissenschaften. Psychoanal. Rev., 1(2):217-221.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Imago: Zeitschrift Fur Anwendung Der Psychoanalyse Auf Die Geisteswissenschaften

(1914). Psychoanalytic Review, 1(2):217-221


Imago: Zeitschrift Fur Anwendung Der Psychoanalyse Auf Die Geisteswissenschaften

Van J. S. TeslaarAuthor Information

(Vol. I, No. I)

1.   Development and Outlook of Psychoanalysis. Otto Rank und Dr. Hans Sachs.

2.   The Savage and the Neurotic. I. The Fear of Incest. Prof. S. Freud.

3.   The Meaning of the Griselda Tale. Otto Rank.

4.   The Gift of Story Writing. Dr. Eduard Hitschmann.

5.   The Application of Psychoanalysis to Pedagogy and Mental Hygiene. Pfarrer Dr. O. Pfister.

6.   Symbolic Thought in Chemical Research. Dr. alfred robitsek.

1. Development and Outlook of Psychoanalysis.—A well-condensed

statement of the origin of psychoanalysis in the clinical observations of Breuer, its development through the genial studies of Breuer's gifted pupil, its development and rapid rise to the rank of a scientific discipline of highest importance as the result of the new stimulus furnished by the epoch making discoveries of Freud.

As a therapeutic measure in the treatment of psychoneuroses, in connection with which it had been discovered, psychoanalysis confined itself at first to problems of individual psychopathology. Soon it became evident that as the mental processes in the individual with which psychoanalysis deals have their counterpart and analogies upon the field of social psychology, the discoveries and inductive observations of psychoanalysis are also applicable in large measure to the problems in the latter field. It was logical therefore that psychoanalysis should gradually extend to problems in mythology, religion, folklore, anthropology, in fact to all problems which present a psychogenetic aspect, no matter what the scientific discipline or category may be to which such problems belong by reason of their content or theme. Towards the investigation of all such problems psy

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choanalysis contributes an empirically established and scientifically proven concept,—the subconscious, and other technical aids the importance of which in the development of all cultural manifestations, such as religion, art, morals, law, it would be difficult to overestimate. The functional role of the subconscious as mapped out through the study of psychoneuroses and through the analysis of dreams in individual cases is equally great in all the various ramifications of the collective mind. New proofs are rapidly accumulating of the applicability of psychoanalysis to the. study of cultural problems. The various forms of religion, art, morals, myths, laws, which man evolved in the course of his existence from the earliest cave stage to the present level of culture, represent so many means of expressing man's undying wishes and affects. It is the latter that, in the last analysis, furnish the problems of all cultural sciences. The mental aspect of all cultural problems establishes a common, unifying foundation for all sciences, and the mental aspect proper is the direct concern of psychoanalysis, so that the principles and results of the latter, in their turn, are the concern of all other sciences.

Indeed, a genuine psychology that shall investigate the fancies continuously sprouting forth out of the depths of the subconscious and trace them to their proper roots in the life of individual and of race, possessing a technique whereby it is enabled to check up all fluctuations in meaning so as not to become lost in the maze of psychologic details, is bound to open up new problems as well as give new and unexpected solutions to old problems in psychology, including all its various ramifications.

Imago proposes to bring proof that psychoanalysis is already in a fair position to consider the broader problems of social psychology which thus fall within its scope. Incidentally it may be mentioned that the psychoanalytic review, as an organ devoted to the understanding of human conduct, also aims to cover, for the benefit of the English scholar and student, the ground which our German confreres have outlined for Imago.

This outline of their program, signed by the two editors, Otto Rank and Hans Sachs, must be pointed out as a model of condensation and temperate statement of a most difficult subject.

2. The Savage and the Neurotic. I. The Fear of Incest.—Analysis of trustworthy records describing the life and customs of the most primitive Australian races still extant, shows that, far from leading a life of erotic abandon and indiscriminate sexual debauchery, these races are hemmed in and their sexual habits restricted by numerous

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customs, proscriptions and taboos. In many respects their sexual life is even more restricted than among people of culture.

In the first place, marriage selection is restricted by the totem,—an animal, more rarely some plant or some natural power,—which stands in a peculiar relation to the whole tribe. The totem is the progenitor of the tribe, its protector, and through the medium of oracles, its chief counsellor in all matters pertaining to the welfare of the tribe. Things pertaining to the totem, or representing it in any way, are not to be used or eaten. Such things are, in a word, taboo. The breaking of this rule is punishable by death.

In this broad custom Freud sees an arbitrary limitation of incest. As the totem is inherited through the female line of descent only, this custom amounts to a protection of the father against the sexual prowess of the son. Members of a totem tribe cannot intermarry. Thus the son, since he belongs to his mother's totem, is excluded from endogamic (intertribal) marriage. But the father and daughter belong to different totems. An intermarriage between them is permissible.

There are other restrictions to marriage, notably through the so-called “phratries” into which members of a tribe are subdivided, so that the chances of a young man's marriage are frequently restricted to a choice from among one twelfth of the number of available women.

Numerous other tribal customs, otherwise perplexing and unexplained, lose their mystery and become clear enough in the light of Freud's theory that these restrictions upon marriage are prompted by the desire to avoid incest,—an infantile impulse which breaks out also in certain neuroses. Thus Freud proves a close genetic correspondence between certain neurotic outbreaks in modern culture and certain taboos relating to marriage among the aborigines of Australia.

3. The Meaning of the Griselda Tale.—It is a fundamental discovery of psychoanalytical research that neurotic breakdowns usually occur over family complexes. The application of this concept has been extended so that we are now beginning to appreciate the remarkable fact that family complexes are of capital significance in the elaboration of story, myth and poetic fancies generally.

This paper attempts to show that the Griselda story rests on an incest wish phantasy. The complex is traced through the different variants of the Griselda story and the various superstructures of detail are examined with reference to the underlying motive they are masking.

A feature constantly recurring in the different versions of the Griselda plot but hitherto overlooked by those who have attempted to

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explain its origin was found by Rank to indicate its true psychic motivation—yearning for union with the parent.

The different versions of the Griselda plot, from Boccaccio's romance to Hauptmann's drama, represent different conceptions and settings of an incest phantasy.

4. The Gift of Story Writing.—Hitschmann records some psychoanalytical observations on a poetic story, the output of a precocious youth. The story, entitled “Schlafst du, Mutter?” by Jakob Wasser-mann, is largely autobiographic and is concerned largely with the mental life of a nine-year-old boy. In the treatment of his theme the author illustrates very closely the whole of the psychic mechanism which Freud has elsewhere outlined by careful inductive analysis as characteristic of literary talent and dramatic ingenuity generally. The infantile hatred of the father and the strong libido fixed on the mother are clearly portrayed in this child. The thoughts and dreams of the boy are frequently invaded by curiosity about sexual matters. The problem of death, too, becomes characteristically intermingled with the question of the origin of children.

This story and the manner of its treatment presents a strong intuitive verification of Freudian theories on the part of a writer uninfluenced by any psychoanalytical “preconceptions.”

5. The Applications of Psychoanalysis to Pedagogy and Mental tHygiene.—Pfister selects a number of specific problems and conditions and points out what psychoanalysis may be expected to do in such cases by way of illustrating its applicability to education. In fact, the educational value of psychoanalysis in the training of the young promises to rise to a degree of importance at least equal in importance to its therapeutic value in the management of psychoneuroses.

Among the problems which await psychoanalytic solutions Pfister mentions, the tendency of children to kleptomania, indolence, torture of animals and cruelty generally; antipathy for certain articles of diet. Through psychoanalysis all such peculiarities of conduct may be understood and properly controlled.

6. Symbolic Thought in Chemical Research.—Basing his deductions on the autosymbolic phenomenon described by Silberer the author records a remarkable instance to illustrate a similar psycho-genetic motivation for scientific discovery.

The instance given is August Kekule, the chemical investigator. His carbohydrate theory and his theory of benzol structure were conceived during dreams. The dreams are given and analyzed and their relationship traced to the whole of Kekule's psychic experience. Significant regressions and mnemonic remants of infantile experiences

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are revealed in these dreams of Kekulé, thus showing some internal connection between them and his chemical discoveries.

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Article Citation

Teslaar, J.S. (1914). Imago: Zeitschrift Fur Anwendung Der Psychoanalyse Auf Die Geisteswissenschaften. Psychoanal. Rev., 1(2):217-221

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