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Brink, L. (1916). Imago: Zeitschrift Für Anwendung Der Psychoanalyse Auf Die Geisteswissenschaften. Psychoanal. Rev., 3(3):336-351.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Imago: Zeitschrift Für Anwendung Der Psychoanalyse Auf Die Geisteswissenschaften

(1916). Psychoanalytic Review, 3(3):336-351


Imago: Zeitschrift Für Anwendung Der Psychoanalyse Auf Die Geisteswissenschaften

Louise BrinkAuthor Information

(Vol. II, No. 1)

1.   Some Similarities in the Mental Life of Primitive and Neurotic People. III. Animism, Magic and the Omnipotence of Thought. Sigm. Freud.

2.   The Titan Motive in General Mythology. Presentation and Analysis. Emil Franz Lorenz.

3.   Carl Spitteler. Hans Sachs.

4.   The True Nature of the Child Psyche. Edited by H. v. Hug-Hellmuth. I. Earliest Infantile Memories. H. v. Hug-Hellmuth. II. “From the Soul of the Child.” Theodor Reik. III. Leo N. Tolstoi, Childhood. Autobiographic Novel. Emil Franz Lorenz.

1. Animism, Magic and the Omnipotence of Thought.—Freud employs the psychoanalytic insight for the understanding of that branch of mental science, the vast territory known as animism. He uses the term to denote the remarkable conception of nature and the world held by primitive peoples, by which they fill the world with countless spirits, good or evil, and animate the inanimate things of nature. This conception still belongs with us, though narrowed to a limited belief in spirits and in the explanation of processes of nature through impersonal forces. Primitive man believed in individual human souls, which are the agents of individual spiritual activity and are to a certain degree independent of the body. Originally they resembled the individual and only reached a partial degree of spiritualization. This idea of the soul and of spirits was influenced doubtless in large measure by sleep with its dreams, by shadows and mirrored forms, but most of all by man's denial of death and demand for immortal life.

This conception is primitive man's reaction to the consideration of the outer world. He builds up an idea of the soul and then transfers it to the outer world. Wundt considers it, in view of its universality, as “a necessary psychological product of the myth building consciousness and

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the psychic expression of the condition of human nature, so far as we may observe it.” Animism is a system of thought which permits of a unified conception of the world. It precedes the religious and the scientific conceptions and is perhaps the most fruitful, the most creative, still existent in our superstitions, or in the groundwork of our language, faith and philosophy. It prepares the way for later religious structure.

Practical need to master and control the world rather than speculative desire for knowledge led man to the creation of this world system, by which he gains this end through magic and charms. Through the latter he seeks to control the spirits but magic is probably even more primitive, existing before spiritualization has reached any degree of completeness. It rests on the false idea which “mistakes an ideal connection for a real one.” It is illustrated in the attempt to injure an enemy through effigy, to produce rain or promote fructification by imitation ceremonies, or negatively by refraining from the likeness of that which should be averted; all of which is what Frazer calls imitative or homeopathic magic. Parallel with this is another form of magic, contagious magic, according to Frazer, which exercises its power through contact with some object that has once touched the person to be affected, or been otherwise associated with him. It may be merely his name, which accounts for countless taboos of speech, or cannibalistic partaking of a human body in order to imbibe its former qualities, which principle is also productive of restrictions of diet.

The principle underlying all this is the mastery of idea association, or, according to Frazer, mistaking the order of ideas for the order of nature and thereby imagining the same control over things that seemed to exist over thoughts. This explains the method of magic, but the essential nature is discovered by a deeper penetration of this association theory, which reveals its dynamic origin to be the wishes of mankind, and man's confidence in their omnipotence. The play of the child and the imitative representations of the savage act as substitutes for the satisfaction of which they are not yet otherwise capable. This, however, is not a proof of modesty or resignation to a realization of weakness, but the result rather of the overvaluation of the wish and the will dependent upon it with the method it chooses. In time the psychic accent is displaced from the motive of the act to the means so that the magic performance, on account of its similarity to what is desired, seems to cause the result to come to pass. Thought is valued above reality. Things go back to the idea; what belongs to the thought world and the relations between ideas are presumed to belong to actual things. Thought knows neither space nor time, so these are eliminated from things. The reflections of the inner world have eclipsed every other world picture. Both similarity and contiguity are one in principle, one in the direct, the other in a transferred sense. Briefly the principle of magic, of the animistic conception, is the omnipotence of thought.

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Freud adopts this expression from an intelligent patient who suffered from a compulsive neurosis, who thus characterized the apparent control of his thoughts over an unexpected meeting with a friend, the expectation of the death of an enemy because he had wished him evil. He could usually during the analysis trace the source of his illusion and what he had done to strengthen himself in his superstitious presentments. In all psychoneuroses, most clearly and nearest consciousness in the compulsive neuroses, the reality of thought rather than experience is responsible for the symptomatic picture. Those things which intensively occupy the thought, ideas bound with affect, are the things that are actual in the neurotic world. They may by chance agree with reality. The hysteric repeats experiences which belong only to phantasy, of course, in the last analysis similar to actual occurrences or based on them. The exaggerated consciousness of guilt in a neurotic who passes among his fellows as most considerate and conscientious is based on intensive and frequent death wishes in the unconscious. The bringing of the hidden wishes to consciousness in the early part of an analysis is sometimes accompanied by the fear that this will make them actual. This shows how close the neurotic stands to primitive man, who believes he can alter the world merely by his thought. Compulsive actions are magic, or at least counter magic against the unholy wishes, which Freud has found are usually death wishes. In fact the death problem probably stands at the beginning of primitive philosophy with its animistic ideas of dreams and of soul. The displacement of the compulsive ideas upon trivial objects makes it difficult to judge whether these defense reactions follow the principle of similarity or of contact. The formulas of compulsive neurosis, however, find their counterpart in the charm formulas of magic. They begin, removed as far as possible from the sexual, as charms against evil wishes in order to end as substitutes for forbidden sexual activity, which they copy with great truthfulness.

The first stage in individual development of libidinous striving is that of autoerotism, which again passes over into narcissism, when the object is found but is still that of the self, a stage which is probably never entirely given up. The qualities of later love objects are emanations of the libido still in love with the ego. The high degree of sexualization in the thought of primitive man accounts for his belief in the omnipotence of thought and his own confidence in his ability to control the world. This attitude remains with the neurotic while the sexualization is strengthened by the repression which has entered in. There results then the intellectual narcissism, the omnipotence of thought. Animism then corresponds to narcissism, as the religious period does to the first stage of object love bound with the parents, and the scientific to the time of maturity, when the pleasure principle is renounced and the individual adjusted to the external world.

Primitive man transferred to the outer world the laws of his own

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psychical structure but yet learned while he used magic something of the real nature of things. Spirits also were objects of his magic but in time a part of the omnipotence of thought was transferred to them and religion began. The spirits and demons were projections of his own feelings, by which his affect life peopled the world, like the paranoic Schreber, who found the binding and freeing of his libido in the vicissitudes of the “God rays” combined by him. The paranoiac's projection formation expresses a psychical relief for the struggle between ambivalent feelings, when the strivings after omnipotence have come into conflict with each other. Such a feeling of conflict which death forced upon mankind created belief in spirits, as well as moral limitations, taboo. It was the first recognition of restraint opposing itself to man's narcissism. The psychologic structure of this projection system rests upon a principle of duality which arises from the not understood existence of perception and memory, or coexistence of the conscious and the unconscious. Animism as a system of thought has something in common with the, dream. The essential thing in the dream is the latent content, which does not partake of the irrationality and disconnectedness of the manifest content. The “secondary work” of the dream, however, has produced a rearrangement in favor of a new meaning. This furnishes a striking example of the demand of the intellectual function within us for unity, coherence, and intelligibility of the content of thought which would even build up an incorrect connection if the correct one were not at hand. This appears in phobias, compulsive thinking, delusions. It is present in all psychoneuroses, but is a most marked characteristic of the paranoid picture. The psychic material is rearranged to fit a new goal, a compelling one, which has both a delusive motivation and a real one. Freud illustrates this from a patient of his who was actuated by external causes to demand that her husband should put a particular razor quite away, while the real cause lay in the unconscious wish for his death. The compelling idea drew upon itself an external network of conditions. An abasia or an agoraphobia is formed in the same way in a purposeful new arrangement of details, which form the symptomatic expression of the unconscious phantasy, or reminiscence. Like the manifest content of the dream, the symptomatic picture may be multiform and contradictory until the real motivation is discovered. These symptoms are methods of defense just as we must recognize primitive animism to have been. It was the early beginning of repression, which has been the means of cultural advance. The superstitious restrictions contained the germ of later hygiene and esthetic development. Freud cites in closing a superstition which forbids the laying of a knife with the edge uppermost lest God and the angels may injure themselves, and asks if this does not conceal also the unconscious evil impulses.

2. The Titan Motive in General Mythology.—Lorenz has made a

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profound analysis of this important form of myth with particular reference to the gradual transformation it has undergone in the advance of culture. He contrasts first the mode of procedure of psychic activity and that of natural events. The latter follows an order of law of reality, whose rationalization belongs to intellect alone. The chief peculiarity of psychic procedure is a half insight and then a guess into facts, which is incongruous with reality. We must not forget however that it is the activity of living beings. The psychic life is then a result of the complications and sublimations of such illusions, but not without some real product. That which acts in this way is an unconscious-rational law, whose proof belongs to natural science. The instincts are the expression of this law and the leading and decisive factors in human life. We seek through philosophical evaluation of the psychical life a way out of the limitation of the conscious sphere which this knowledge of the instincts entails, and so reverse the genetic order and seize the extra-psychical as that which is comprehensible. The pure instinct, however, which accepts the idea as the source of pleasure in the absence of the object, proves to be empty and barren in presence of the multiplicity of the world of ideas, the very multiplicity being in fact the object of all the activity. It is necessary to distinguish the instinct of self-preservation from that of race preservation, the former being really a special form of the latter, as the individual is one in the series of members of the race. The universality of the racial instinct is nevertheless frequently obscured by the pleasure bound with it.

Both instincts are at work in myth formation. We recognize the element of nature interpretation, sometimes plain, sometimes obscured, and which arises out of the attempt at orientation toward nature necessary for self-preservation. Only recently has the concealed sexual meaning been discovered. The nature interpretation has always been the controlling one. It has suffered shipwreck however on those fundamental elements which it could not satisfactorily explain. The widespread Jonah myth is an example, where the nature mythologists essay to explain the recurring motive of the hairlessness of the hero on the ground of the heat of the sun's rays at the equator, while psychoanalysis recognizes it as part of the birth phantasy on which the myth is formed, and which explains its universality, as an equator phenomenon surely fails to do. The wish phantasy theory of psychoanalysis also explains the motive of the hero as the youngest son, which manifests itself in the Titan myths. The psychological interpretation, first employed upon the œdipus myth, where it proved the myth the fulfilment of repressed sexual wishes, has since discovered the similarity of the myth and the individual dream whereby they are parallel developments of one and the same wish fulfilling tendency, the one for the individual the other for the mass. This method of interpretation better evaluates the inner factors and moreover shows its chief strength just at those points where

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nature interpretation failed, the shocking, incestuous elements, the immorality of the myth, which can now be explained by the proof which psychoanalysis has brought of the unconscious reality of such ideas and wishes. Nature interpretation is part of that further elaboration, to which the myth early began to submit. Already primitive man, under the influence of repression, particularly of the incest impulse, gratified his prescribed wishes through sexualization of nature and projection of these impulses, as Rank has said, and thus robbed the myth of its shocking character and given it justification. The motive of nature interpretation was of sufficient intensity to obscure the earlier human origin, and moreover primitive phantasy needed the stimulation of outward phenomena, though not exclusively conditioned by them. The nature interpretation motive then is as old as the consciousness of the instinct for self-preservation. The myth in its primitive form is a very complex picture, not more complex however than the man who created it. The instinct for self-preservation creates the nature interpretation, the sexual instinct the fulfilment of typical sexual wishes. The latter instinct is more fundamental partly because of its nature, partly because through its incestuous choice of object it is further withdrawn from consciousness. The much more conscious products of the instinct for self-preservation assert themselves more and more and influence the form, the myth becomes increasingly a wrestling ground of sexual wishes, the nature-mythical again disappears and gives place to a myth of human passion.

On such a basis Lorenz attempts the explanation of the inner thought development of the Titan myth, typical of all other myths. This is the myth of the strife between father and son, embodied in the separation of the father heaven god from the mother earth and the further mutilation of the father by the successful son. The Polynesian form of the myth, which relates the forcible separation by a number of sons of heaven and earth united in the embrace of darkness, gives an almost complete balance between the nature-mythological and the psychological factors. Mythical thought reaches its highest development in the Greek form of the tradition, which furnishes the most complete repression of the nature interpretation and the widest unfolding of the psychological. The many variants of the myth all contain these essential elements. Earth and heaven are the parents of existence. At the beginning they lie in sexual embrace. The hostile attitude of the children results in separation of the parents and emasculation of the father. The myth of the Yoruba tribe in Africa reveals plainly the incest element and moreover manifests the myth proceeding in the order of racial development in the succession of generations among the gods. A number of causes lead to this. It comes about through intermingling of old and new gods following conquest, also through historical religious development which represses certain gods no longer ethically needed. The ethical is here

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only a figure of speech, for quite other motives control this phantasy, built as it is upon the incestuous characteristics which are found in the original parents of the series of generations and in their descendants as well.

The Babylonian form of the myth, which shows its great age by going back to the female as the one original being from whose division heaven and earth arise, reveals the infantile sadistic birth theory mingled with the titanic separation motive. The Titan motive is sometimes obscured in the Greek forms, by a powerful motive, which, existing apart from the vital necessity which lay at the bottom of the formation of the nature myth, was so much more able to bring to complete development the affective factors belonging to the unconscious. This influenced Hesiod, who is the oldest source of these myths. His purpose was an apparently ethical one, to forward the power and authority of Zeus in the face of the oppression of the aristocracy ruling in his day, and so he built up a consoling wish structure of a world order under a supreme god. The Titan-motive is thus presented in the “Theogony.” Uranos arises without a father from the earth, Gaia, and in his union with her, his mother, produces the race of Titans, the Cyclopes and the hundred-handed giants, or Hekatoncheiraneans. Of the Titan brood Kronos is the youngest and it is he who is instigated by the mother to relieve her of the burden of her sons, whom the father hating them had imprisoned within the mother earth. He separates the father from the mother as he embraces her by night and emasculates him. Kronos becomes a cult god, the god of nature and of birth, and is also identified with the Semitic Moloch. There are traces in Greek customs of a former sacrifice of children to Kronos as the god of vegetative and animal life. Out of this probably grew the myth of the swallowing of his sons in order to prevent their usurping his authority. There are other myths of the swallowing, which Rank interprets as again the birth phantasy united with the incest motive. This explanation is ruled out here by the fact that it is the father, not the mother, who swallows the children. In the myth Zeus is spared through his mother's efforts and takes revenge of the father. The threats of the mutilated Uranos against his children are carried out through Zeus, his grandson, in his victory in the famous battle of the Titans. Zeus enlists as allies for his brothers, whom his father had spewed out again, the Hekatoncheiraneans, who must needs take the field with the opponent of the heaven god, be he Uranos or Zeus. A much older division is suggested between the Titans and the Hekatoncheiraneans, which reveals the brother rivalry motive.

Egyptian mythology offers, too, its form of the Titan myth, not close enough in similarity to support the theory of its adoption as the source of the Greek myth. The conception is deflected into a great variety of forms of the myth. In one of its principal forms it shows the result of inversion, where in graphic form the union of the parents is set to one

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side, the mother Nut becoming the heaven god above, whom the figure of the son separates from the earth god Queb, who reclines below. The permanent surviving point in this myth is the son Schu, bearer of the heavens and founder of a new world order. A northern saga repeats the same motive in the form of Ymir, bisexually the parent of a race of giants. He is killed (variation of emasculation) and from his body the world is formed, which conception is paralleled in other parts of the world. A form of the Titan myth found in the Odyssey, which represents the attempt to effect an entrance into Olympus, leads to a consideration of the myth of the tower of Babel. The third book of the Jewish Sibyl contains in its account of the building of the tower a motive evidently belonging to the oldest tradition, which is especially noteworthy. It is represented there and accepted by later commentators that it was through the wind at the service of the deity that the builders of the tower were discomfited and scattered. In the Polynesian myth it is the wind god who alone among the sons takes the part of the heaven god, arid again “the wind of Elohim” seems to be an intepretation of the probably earlier “bird of Elohim” brooding over the waters in the Genesis creation story. The wind, through the blowing of the trumpets, seems to be the cause of the fall of the walls of Jericho.

There are external causes for the widely different forms in which the Titan myth is found, a difference in the mental capacity of the social group to which it belongs, and also a difference in the outer conditions in which they live which determines their controlling interest. The inner purely psychological factor which alters the myth is the displacement of the participation which the narrator has in the traditional forms, and this is due to the psychic affective roots. These lie in the instincts and desires of living, willing man, which, hindered in fulfilment, create this secondary source of pleasure. Kronos is both the subject of the myth and the god of a cult. Man can guard himself better against anticipated danger if the object of his fear has human form, and obtain in the same way hope and peace. Kronos who had freed his brothers from his mother's womb was fitted to help mankind in birth. The nature-mythical factor enters also because of a certain theoretic interest, the form of development taken by that striving for orientation serviceable to the will, united with an affectively toned intellectual functional pleasure, which craves knowledge concerning the origin of things. The nature conception, however, cannot explain the essential content of the myth, which must be taken literally as a psychic reality. The myth is of course an attempt to explain the origin of light, the succession of day and night and other natural phenomena, but all this takes place under a controlling apperception mass, which affectively toned develops a psychic energy for its effectiveness. This controlling apperception mass in the Titan myth is composed of father hatred and mother incest, which are existent in the narrator as in his hearers. Penetration into the unconscious

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reveals these impulses, once consciously present at a certain stage of development, still active in dreams, neuroses and poetic creation. These are the libidinous impulses present in childhood, which manifest themselves in various erogenous areas and later become centralized in the primacy of the genital zone. The first object is the parent, particularly the one of the opposite sex, with a desire to set aside the other one and have origin from the one alone. The myth is then in its original and its developed form a logical, purposeful whole.

The universal conception of mother earth contains the endless cycle of birth, return to the mother as goal of death and rebirth. The earliest father conception is less distinct, due doubtless to the early ignorance of the causal connection between cohabitation and conception. Gradually, nevertheless, the conception of the world parents was formed from observation of the phenomena of the sowing of seed and its springing up, of the rain streaming from heaven and particularly of the darkness of night when the heaven appeared to descend upon the the earth. Then man began to transfer to this parent couple the relations of the child to his actual parents. Therefore we discover in the Titan myth the same elements which psychic investigation has proved in the unconscious, emphasizing again that the myth represents the wishes and dreams of the childhood of the race. The course of development of the Titan myth reveals the same transition through which the individual psyche passes by which these impulses are in part forgotten, in part altered. In the earliest form of the myth the narrator identifies himself completely with the Titan heroes. The myths of richer form, as the Greek and Polynesian, soon show the presence of defense elements. There is one actor who ranges himself on the side of the heaven god, even though under constraint. Those who rebel against the father cannot maintain order among themselves, when the father's avenger appears. They atone for their deed with complete dismemberment. The Titan act is one of self-defense in which the infantile hatred is projected upon the father, who performs shameless deeds. Only the youngest son, whom the mother conceals in her mouth (another wish fulfilment) dares to undertake his overthrow. An older form mitigates the deed by having all the children share in it. An ethical element now enters corresponding to the feeling in the latent period of individual development, which condemns the rebellious deed. The myth none the less serves repressed wish phantasies, in fact the moral masking justifies them. Sympathy for the rebellious here is now undergoing repression and so Prometheus is punished by Zeus for his benefits to mankind, who become the titanic aggressors. The next step in development is the inversion of the original hate and desire for overcoming the father, into filial love which would preserve the father and honor his authority. Thus Zeus is merely the stern god of vengeance who mercilessly punishes the friend of man, and also through identification with Uranos

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completes the revenge which the latter threatened the Titans after his mutilation. This last psychical stage establishes the world authority of Zeus, as in the individual the changing and shifting over of parental authority into the demands of social authority condition a cultural advance which frees the powers of self, through the sacrifice of personal freedom and egotistic source of pleasure, that they may build up an external world of objective value.

There is a limited class of individuals who do not stop here. A second conflict against authority arises in them and bears all the marks of a tragedy when the individual in whom this arises is of a noble nature whose best is dragged into his rebellious struggle against the order of the world and who must then bear the ultimate consequences. Prometheus typifies this tragedy. The transformation of the hatred was only a temporary conclusion for him. The question thrust itself upon him of the worth of the personal sacrifice, whether it would not be better that he should live resolutely according to his own will. Æschylus presents this hero taking the part of Zeus after in vain warning his brother Titans against the conflict, but rewarded only by punishment, the object of the wrath of Zeus against titanic man. Zeus represents the insatiable demands of society toward the individual and the desire for his overthrow. Prometheus, however, even in his extreme punishment has not completely Surrendered; he stubbornly retains the secret of Zeus's final overthrow which he alone possesses. In this secondary rebellion against the world order the same infantile characteristics of the original rebellion against authority appear. This order depends on the avoidance of every such slip back into the unconscious infantile attitude. The story of the revelation of the secret Prometheus possesses significantly bears infantile elements. He reveals the knowledge to Io who flees from the wrath of Zeus. The son who considers himself the victim of the father's tyranny recognizes in Io the mother whom he must likewise rescue from the father's power, and her offspring Heracles shall be the instrument, a representation again of the family constellation. In this secret (wish phantasy) the Titans defy fate and realize after further punishment its fulfilment in a compromise which releases Prometheus and wins the knowledge of the secret for Zeus. Such a compromise attitude of mutual concession between father and son, the authority of the older generation and the rights of the younger, is the condition of advance.

The golden age of childhood, a widespread conception, is a mass phantasy like that of the individual which seeks satisfaction in an ideal past and future in contrast to the present with its evils. Thus the age of Kronos was a golden age when he had overcome the father and reigned upon earth, establishing blessing and fruitfulness upon it. The ethical transfer of sympathy allowed this phantasy to exist side by side with the opposite conception of Kronos the patricide. But are not these

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two motives the negative expression, the one of the other? The golden age is the substitute for the repressed crises in the psychosexual family constellation.

The Polynesian myth manifests the same course of development as the Greek. The myth of the tower of Babel shows theological influence in the advanced stage of sympathy against all the titanic human race reached by it. The German myth, separated from its later Christian influence, reveals the earliest developments only, where the aggressor has not yet become an object of scorn and suspicion. Repression is however already evident here in the insertion of a female figure and the transference of the titanic deed to the instigation of the mother. This reminds us of the form of the Indian and Babylonian myths which manifest the infantile sadistic birth phantasy and which remains the far stronger component of the myth, less capable than the psychosexual attitude toward the father of affective, ethical and cultural development.

Lorenz now returns to the question of the relationship of the nature and psychological interpretations to each other in the various developmental stages of the Titan mythology. The attempt at orientation in the material world on the part of the instinct for self-preservation, under the controlling apperception mass of a sexual nature, finds in the external world fulfilment and justification for its typical sexual wishes. The nature-mythical element is surely to be recognized in the earlier forms. This primitive layer had not yet taken full advantage of the source of pleasure which lay in the inadvertently introduced nature interpretation. But as the myth is experienced as a source of pleasure it demands a changed manner of presentation. The myth like the dream falls under the censor because the wish thoughts which the phantasy seeks to gratify are incestuous and a defensive repression arises, as when the sympathies are transferred from the original hero to the father, a significant step in freeing the myth from its external natural foundations, for this displacement of sympathy has no place among those fundamental facts with the explanation of which the myth first occupied itself. The myth flourishes none the less removed from these original factors, even while the freed affect strives in a logical further development for ever new forms. This gives added proof that the affective factor must have been latent in the myth from the beginning. Otherwise the development would not have been organic, but the history of the myth would have consisted of two parts merely connected externally. The effort to discover the approximation of the two motives arises fom the attempt, successfully made by Sachs, to conceive of the origin of animism as a hetero-erotic substitute formation arising, through the repression of the autoerotic libido, out of the primary narcissistic libido fulfilment in its undifferentiated unity. Such an attempt gives the unifying link between the autoerotic root of the nature-mythical components and the hetero-erotic foundation of the sexual apperception; namely, libido attainment upon the different levels of sublimation.

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3. Carl Spitteler.—The artist's creative phantasies, Sachs says, have necessarily the deepest unconscious source and represent a mighty struggle between desire and prohibition, wish and anxiety. His ability to bring this struggle to full expression, in which he loses himself to find himself again, separates him from the mere dreamer or the madman. The measure of the psychical power necessary to the complete overcoming of resistances and the freedom of artistic creation appears to be the secret of genius seemingly independent of fate or of the order of cause and effect.

Carl Spitteler, the Swiss poet and unconsciously sponsor for the title of this periodical, has this wonderful intuitive gift of insight into unconscious processes. His “Imago” is a narrative illustrative of the love returning from the repression and seeking ever new forms rather than the original love object, and revealing thus the very heart of the unconscious complex, the œdipus situation, in which the imago of the original father-mother object persists, rather than the actual parent forms themselves. These dwell in the heart of every one, influencing the love life and only with the neurotic becoming again actually merged into the real father and mother. Victor, the hero, escapes the world of illusion because he is a poet and maintains the upper hand over his creatures, and instead of setting them falsely into reality creates for them a new world where they live freely, a “purer” kingdom than that of reality, but of the nature of the dream world; that is, the kingdom of his art. The poem teaches many things concerning the neurotic mechanism, without detractng from its artistic value. Victor in half conscious irony recognizes these mechanisms which he uses to overcome his phantasies; he exemplifies also the “Psychopathology of Everyday Life” in the failure to remember the house number of his beloved and the crowding back of the unpleasantly affective incident, which among others reveals his mistake. He had come as the “judge” to punish her for unfaithfulness, yet the sound of a child's laughter, which arose from the wrong house, was crowded back to the latest recognition as of possible relation to her.

“Konrad der Leutnant” unfolds the conflict of a cultured man, who is finally destroyed through the rebellion against his father and the love of his sister. The one fetters his freedom of action, the other prevents his independence of family in the choice of his love object. The hidden death wish against the father gradually manifests itself. Even though in a fortunate hour he obtains the father's authority and also chooses his bride, he soon finds that his conflict is an enduring one. His father bewails that his son has dealt him a death blow, and at the same time all the jealousy in regard to sister and bride flame out. The one urges him from his undertaking against his father (Sachs has given but meager details of the story), the other drives him to it. In the struggle he himself receives the death blow, the victim of the unconscious striving for self-injury, even self-destruction, which the poet's insight recognizes.

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Spitteler reveals in “Die Mädchenfeinde” an insight into the reality of infantile sexuality as an aggressive impulse long before it is directed toward the true goal and object. Sachs has furnished only glimpses into the poet's penetrating insight into the unconscious, but they suggest the psychological as well as the artistic value of his work.

4. The True Nature of the Child Psyche. I. Earliest Infantile Memories.—Von Hug-Hellmuth himself contributes the first of the series edited by him on the psychology of early childhood. He says that the few memories that rise clearly out of the great blank in memory which lies usually beyond our seventh year are denied any special significance by most adults. Psychoanalysis, however, furnishes the means for following the traces of psychical events back into the first years of life, when the psyche was open to the influences of joy and pain and, under the impression of its first feeling, realized self-consciousness. Children forget partly through the mobility of elements in the infantile psyche, but also through repression of certain trends of thought which were of sufficient importance to have been retained. The absence of ethical and moral valuation allows of a more intense valuation under the influence of the sexual and erotic feelings than with adults. But this earliest thought and emotional life learns an early repression from the conscious to the unconscious. The repression is strongest exactly with this forbidden content, and indifferent things take the prominent place in memory.

Otto Ernst furnishes an illustration of outstanding memories from childhood evidently strongly affective, but with the memory centered upon the accessories of the scenes in which the feelings were roused. His little hero recalls the setting of a conversation between his mother and a neighbor but not the important affective element belonging to it. He also rejoices in the memory of the glittering and unusual accompaniments of a happy Sunday morning in company with his beloved “godlike” father, the affective joy in whose presence was displaced upon these lesser details. Ganghofer's early recollections reveal somewhat more clearly the erotic tone. His earliest impression is of fear of sudden darkness from which he cries out, explained by his mother who recalls with difficulty a scene when he overthrew a lamp and cried to her out of the darkness for the comfort, with which of course she rushed to him. A second impression is of running along with painful feet, shivering with cold though the sun shines, followed by people running and laughing. This arises from a gleeful childish escape from the bathtub, where his mother had left him a moment, out into the street and straight to the forestry office where his father worked to throw himself in this complete exhibitionism and at such an unaccustomed hour upon the tenderness of the beloved father. A more painful experience reveals how early the eternal mystery between man and woman makes itself felt in the childish soul. The little fellow, four years old, was sent from

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home to spend the night in the care of a young woman with whom he had spent many happy hours of play. He was put to sleep in her bed and, awaking as she retired, a fine frolic took place. When all was quiet and both had lain down to sleep, the young woman suddenly crept over him to fetch something from a table near. “Like an Alpine avalanche upon an unsuspecting sleeper” a sudden fright fell upon him, and from that time on the child was no more able to submit to the kisses or the teasing of his former friend; for many years indeed there was a resistance to all girls. The unconscious desire to spy upon the mysterious secret had been unexpectedly gratified but through a woman still further removed from him than the mother to whom the desire was really directed. But the forces of education already busy at repression aroused only anxiety and disgust. Only one little playmate escaped his feeling of disgust. She followed his example one hot summer day, put off her clothing and leapt with him into the brook. Then he discovered that the dear God had made her an ideal creature who not only had nothing in common with the shocking appearance of the older maiden, but had even no organs which necessitated the performance of the bodily functions for which in himself he had a strong aversion. The fact that he had discovered at home on his return from the night at the young woman's house a newborn brother and that this brother died a few months later, brought the mystery of birth and death with greater intensity to his childish soul. Other reminiscences which our author quotes probably owe their persistance to erotically toned accompaniments of the actually remembered experiences. Goltz reports a memory from his childhood in which, like primitive man, he makes the earth a sleeping woman, the Allmother on whose bosom the child nestles at night to be soothed from his disturbing dreams. Two reminiscences from von Hug-Hellmuth's own childhood give the suggestion of the importance of play with water as bearing some of the interest of the natural functions; also another shows the importance for memory of scenes in which the child in some unusual scene escapes somewhat from the ordinary restraint of the parents and also becomes more than usual a center of uncommon events. Selma Lagerlöf, mourning the loss of the beloved grandmother and the fairy tales which went out of the house with her “in the long, black coffin,” reveals how the child's longing centers about these accessory things which distract the child from the reality of death. She reveals also a glimpse of the child's erotic interest when she says that it is the tale of the birth of Jesus which alone remains in her memory. Recollections of childhood illnesses contain a hint of the egoistic pleasure derived from the unusual tenderness and solicitude of the parents. The clearness with which early memories of childhood stand out among the confused memory product of a lifetime prove that the emotional life is most active in childhood, and moreover that the intensity of emotion is the decisive factor in remembering and forgetting.

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Most of the child's mental life is hidden from sight and only some extraordinary situation grants us a glimpse into its real content. It is because of the pleasure and egoistic advantage to the child that festival occasions hold such a firm place in adult memory and arouse especial longing for old scenes and faces. Several instances are given to show how the sexually colored experience retains a hold on the memory, though the sexual element may be repressed. Punishments which excite the masochistic impulse are an example. The disappearance and sudden reappearance of a forgotten incident is illustrated through the child who forgot very soon his beloved white rabbit because he had shared with the rabbit the disgrace of accidental uncleanness. When the child had overcome this habit in himself then again the memory of the rabbit came out of its repression. The study of infantile memories gives the means whereby we may understand the mistakes children make, their peculiarities which lead to stubbornness or incapacity when the child does not understand his own inner life. It furnishes a prophylactic agent against many an aberration in character development, and grants to the psychoanalyst illuminating insight into psychic disturbances.

II. “From the Soul of the Child.”—Reik reproduces certain pictures from this book in which Bäumer and Droescher have gathered rich material for the knowledge of the child psyche, but which needed psychoanalytic interpretation in order to reveal its profound value. The first illustration shows us the doubt aroused in the soul of a child because of a slight accident to the father. It destroyed his perfect faith in the omnipotence of the father, and this repressed is the first cause of later doubt, religious scepticism and arrogance, which often appear as elements of the neurosis. Tolstoi expresses the ambivalent attitude toward the father, the vacillation between reverence and envy, tenderness and hatred. At first it seemed to him like the desecration of a sacred temple to attempt to understand the secrets of the father's life which the child conceived as inaccessibly above his. Yet his unconscious was engaged in this very desecration. On the occasion of a humiliating punishment by his tutor he gives himself up to an elaborate day dream, which contains the elements of the family complex, now familiar to psychoanalysis. Tutor, Czar, and God himself represent the father about whom the phantasy spins through the mazes of the myth of the abused foster child, who discovers the secret concerning his birth and in spite of the entreaties of the foster father refuses to remain longer in the house, goes forth, wins glory in battle for the Czar, putting the latter under obligation to him and seeks as reward revenge upon the tutor. Again he dies in the garret whither the tutor's punishment has banished him, and the father sternly reproaches the tutor with his death. The phantasy then mounts to its supreme goal, blissful union with the mother in the realms of heaven, when suddenly he awakens to reality to find himself sitting in the lonely garret room, his face wet with tears. The questioning of the

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justice of God, which had passed also through his phantasy, was like an evil seed of doubt which sprang up to bear later fruit. The phantasy betrays the two fundamental wishes, to take vengeance upon the father and overcome him and to be loved by the mother.

III. Leo N. Tolstoi. Childhood. Autobiographic Novel.—Lorenz has contributed further material from Tolstoi's self-revelations. The part that the family constellation, exaggerated by the death of his mother in his tenderest years and the early death of his father, plays in Tolstoi's thought proves that poetic phantasy is not enriched by mere chance but projects its creations from itself, pictures which yield in no way to actuality. His childish longing is on one occasion gratified by the sight of his mother's face diminutive in size, corresponding to the psychic desire in keeping with a bodily weariness. Again a phantasy of the mother and the familiar scenes in which he had known her comforts him for the mortification he had brought upon his father and brother and so upon himself by his awkwardness at a family ball. Curiously, at another time, he made use of his mother's death to disguise his true feelings of hatred. His tutor had annoyed him through various means employed to awaken him until Tolstoi had finally burst into tears of anger and hatred. The tutor with ready sympathy inquired if he had had a bad dream. Immediately the child repented of his feeling of hatred and in order not to confess it answered that he had dreamed of his mother and at the further friendly sympathy of his tutor began to consider the dream as real and continued to sob as he pulled on his stockings and thought of the frightful dream. This ambivalent feeling toward the teacher is perhaps a point in the parent complex. This artist shows not only the power of imaginative anticipation but a knowledge of actual experiences. He describes the kiss which he imprinted on the suddenly bared shoulder of a maiden bending over a caterpillar, and in describing the delight that accompanied it makes a comparison with the pleasure experienced on gazing upon his own arm, significantly expressive of the transference from the autoerotic to the hetero-erotic. This maiden was soon replaced in his affections by a lad who absorbed all his thought and became the center of all his dreams, but he in turn was also displaced. He confesses to the pleasure he experienced in this faithlessness in love and the strengthening of heart that seemed to come from the merging of devotion which had passed, into the mystery of an unknown love. To give up one love and take on another meant to him to love doubly. Tolstoi himself connects the attainment of this “normal” erotic tendency with the death of his mother.

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Article Citation

Brink, L. (1916). Imago: Zeitschrift Für Anwendung Der Psychoanalyse Auf Die Geisteswissenschaften. Psychoanal. Rev., 3(3):336-351

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