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Schilder, P. (1935). Personality in the Light of Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. Rev., 22(1):36-48.

(1935). Psychoanalytic Review, 22(1):36-48

Personality in the Light of Psychoanalysis

Paul Schilder, M.D., Ph.D.

The psychologist, G. E. Mueller, distinguishes between psycho-nomic and apsychonomic psychic experiences. According to him some of the events of our psychic life follow psychological laws and can be understood from a merely psychological point of view. Others are due to influences coming from the somatic sphere and do not follow the psychological principles. Fatigue and sleep are such physical influences. According to the opinion of this representative psychologist there would be a personality, but it would find its psychic expression only occasionally. The somatic influences would disrupt continually the inner unity of psychic life. It appears checkered with ununderstandable experience. The dream would be one of these ununderstandable foreign bodies in the psyche. This assumption was the outstanding although unformulated conception concerning personality before the advent of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis shows that there are no apsychonomic events in psychic life. There is a continual flow of connected experiences. The psychic laws do not only determine the actions and thoughts taking place in the full light of consciousness but also the dream life, the mistakes in every-day life and the phenomena which appear senseless and outside of the realm of understanding to the superficial observer. It is one of the underlying principles of analysis that psychic life is governed by psychic laws and follows its own course and its own rules irrespective of what may go on in the organism. This sentence certainly does not mean that the body is without influence on the psyche but it means the somatic changes and influences do not disrupt the inner unity of psychic experience and cannot interpolate foreign bodies into the psychic sphere. The inroad of the body into the psyche, as I have previously formulated, reveals merely other sides of the personality. If it would not be so any attempt at understanding personalities would be hopeless. Waves come continually from the organism. The metabolism is in a continual flux. Every meal means a far-going change in the organism. There is a continual change in the function of the central nervous system. The sleep mechanism is also acting during the day.

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