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(1934). Modern Education. A Critique of Its Fundamental Ideas, by Otto Rank. Translated from the German by Mabel E. Moxon. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1932. Pp. 243, plux Index.. Psychoanal. Rev., 21(1):109-110.

(1934). Psychoanalytic Review, 21(1):109-110

Modern Education. A Critique of Its Fundamental Ideas, by Otto Rank. Translated from the German by Mabel E. Moxon. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1932. Pp. 243, plux Index.

Rank, as is well known, has broken away, somewhat at least, from the orthodox Freudian group, particularly heretofore in his elaboration of the theory of the birth trauma. In the present book he still further elaborates his lack of accord with orthodox psychoanalytic principles and sets up a critical attitude towards a number of them so far as they have to do with the subject in hand, namely, education.

The outstanding feature and the fundamental theme of Rank's position with regard to education is that the sole end and aim of education is to fit the individual for social life by transferring to him the ideology of the herd, or the “collective ideology “as he terms it. The aim of psychoanalysis per contra is individualism, and as such, therefore, it must largely be antagonistic to the aims of education as ordinarily pursued by the pedagogue. The book is very considerably devoted to a discussion of the formation if ideologies, either by the process of introjection and identification or by the process of projection. Incidentally there is a running criticism of the Freudian psychoanalytic principles here and there, particularly a criticism of the orthodox interpretation of the GEdipus complex. This complex ordinarily is interpreted as expressing a wish of the son. On the contrary, Rank sees it as representative of a conflict between the demands of the community, on the one hand, and the desires of the individual on the other.

The whole theory elaborated by the psychoanalysts of the significance of sex, particularly in neurotic disturbances, the author calls in question; and aside from the general statement that all human impulses are not sex impulses he would go further and indicate that the fundamental conflict which is at the bottom of all is not to be expressed in Freudian terms as a conflict in which the sex influence plays the distinctive part but is a conflict between the individual's desire and the requirements of the race-preservative instinct. This means, of course, that the conflict goes very much deeper than sex, because after all living beings have not always been sexual, reproduction has not always been sexual and in its later elaborations as a bi-sexual process it has apparently grown up to meet the necessities of increasingly complex requirements.

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