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Rank, O. Sachs, H. Payne, C.R. (1916). The Significance of Psychoanalysis for the Mental Sciences. Psychoanal. Rev., 3(2):189-214.

(1916). Psychoanalytic Review, 3(2):189-214

The Significance of Psychoanalysis for the Mental Sciences

Otto Rank, Hanns Sachs and Charles R. Payne

We have, at the beginning, called the repression the result of the culture of the community acting on the individual. Now, we see that its counterpart, the unconscious, also stretches out beyond the bounds of the individual and represents the return of the first beginnings of our species, in which everyone must begin afresh as a child; these early conditions are withdrawn from consciousness with the progressive adaptation to civilization but never destroyed or rendered of no effect. Hidden by the superstructure of the higher mental life, the unconscious nevertheless remains alive and represents, since it comprises within itself simultaneously the past of the individual and that of the species, the universal human of the personality, the connection which binds the most highly developed, as well as those who have lagged behind, to the whole.

This hypothesis, rendered possible by psychoanalysis, is nothing else than a transference of the socalled biogenetic principle put forward by Hackel, according to which, the individual repeats in the mental life the mode of development of the species. The question is at hand, why psychoanalysis should be indispensable to such an hypothesis since the fundamental observation of the child's mental life seems to suffice for it. To this it may be replied that the stages, most important in this respect, have already been passed through when the child has become capable of clear expression and thereby become a suitable object for study.

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