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(1936). Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse. Psychoanal. Rev., 23B(2):209-218.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse

(1936). Psychoanalytic Review, 23B(2):209-218

Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse

(Vol. XVI, Nos. 3 and 4, 1930)

1.   Waeldee, Robert. The Principle of Multiple Function.

2.   Nunberg, H. The Synthetic Function of the Ego.

3.   Fenichel, Otto. On the Pregenital History of the Oedipus Complex.

4.   Alexander, Franz. Dreams with Painful Content.

5.   Alexander, Franz. On the Genesis of the Castration Complex.

6.   Reich, Wilhelm. On Phobias in Childhood and Character Formation.

7.   Feigenbaum, D. Paranois and Magic.

8.   Sterba, Richard. The Problem of the Theory of Sublimation.

9.   Bornstein, Berta. On the Psychogenesis of Pseudodebility.

10.  Bornstein, Steff. The Problem of Narcissistic Identification.

11.  Spitz, R. A. Affect and Damming Back of Needs.

12.  Laforgue, René. On the Erotization of Anxiety.

13.  Pfister, Oskar. Thoughts and Phantasies Connected with Shock.

14.  Searl, N. Danger Situations of the Immature Ego.

15.  Vowinckel, Eda. The Present Status of the Psychiatric Knowledge of Schizophrenia.

16.  Cases:

(a)  Bonaparte, M. A Kleptomanic Impulse.

(b)  Fuchs, S. H. The Determing Force of a Name in a Case of Schizophrenia.

(c)  Eder, M. D. Symbolic and Metaphoric Significance of Ideas.

1.   The Principle of Multiple Function.—In considering the behavior of persons where decisions are necessary, Waelder proposes a scheme in which the processes of the es fall into urge and expression of the urge, those of the ego into problem given and problem solved. The ego is always confronted by problems for which it must find solutions, even in impulsive acts which seem to spring directly from pure instinct, from the vis a tergo, so to speak. The ego determines to a certain extent in what way the satisfaction shall take place, and it is clear that the ego strives, aside from any danger threatened from without, to restrain excessive upwelling of instincts, which would disturb the organization as a whole.

The function of the ego is not, therefore, limited to the solution of problems presented by the ego itself, by the repetition compulsion, by the super-ego and by the id, but in each of these four fields problems of limitations and restrictions are presented to the ego for reconciliation into an integrated whole.

There are therefore eight problems which confront the ego; four are

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presented to the ego and four the ego sets for itself; or rather there are eight groups of problems, for in each group there are numerous special ones; for example, the es presents as many different problems as there are different ways of seeking satisfaction. In accordance with this the ego of a human being is characterized by a number of specific methods of solving problems.

It would seem, therefore, that in the psychic life there is a general principle which may be termed the principle of multiple function. The solution of each separate problem is undertaken in such manner that, at the same time, in some way or other, a solution of the other problems is attained. In every psychic act the aim is to solve the problems in all eight groups simultaneously.

In studying this principle it at once becomes apparent that it is fundamentally impossible for all eight solutions to be equally successful, or successful in the same degree; for some of the solutions are of contradictory character. This contradiction is evident, for example, when the ego is confronted with the problem of satisfying the instinctual urge, on the one hand, and of limiting it, on the other; when it is impelled to carry out the commands of the super-ego or assimilate the super-ego. From this contradiction it follows that every psychic act has the nature of a compromise.

Assuming this point of view, the writer explains overdetermination, not as formerly accounted for in analogy with a summation of stimuli, but in line with biology, as a sort of total reaction without adequate differentiation.

He claims that his principle also gives logical foundation for the oft criticized pansexualism which psychoanalysis is inclined to see in every act, even where another significance appears obvious. As every act has a multiple function, hence a multiple significance, and as one of these functions or meanings is always oriented toward the satisfaction of instinctual craving, and as the sexual instinct in man is never in abeyance, everything that man does must have greater or less connection with his sexual instinct.

Specific aptitudes for love or work appear as expressions of the multiple function. They signify that it is possible to solve particular conflicts between the eight groups only when certain strong instinctual cravings are satisfied in a certain way. From this point of view various processes become understandable, as counter-investment, reaction formation, sublimation, etc. Sublimation, for example, may be defined as successful solution of a conflict in which there is adaptation to the outer world, bringing with it also satisfaction of the strong inner drives.

In general, it seems that the psychoanalytic process implies a sort of polyphonic theory of the psychic life, in which there may be consonances and dissonances.

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Particularly the theory throws light on the problems of the neuroses, the character, and the problem of form. Adler's theory of the neuroses is simply an overcoming of the external world. Alexander's implies punishment because of the fulfilling of the instinctual drives. In general, there are various permutations and combinations of the eight groups which account for neurotic disturbances.

The character formation results from the permanent manner in which a person adjusts these elements. For example, the oral attitude may predominate, or identification or projection may be the determining factor.

The form which reactions take is determined by the manner in which the content is elaborated when both the social life and the satisfaction of inner drives are taken into consideration.

The es, ego, and super-ego are not here considered as distinctly different parts of the personality, but rather as different facets of the developed human being, recognizable in every psychic act. Each act and each phantasy has its ego, its id and its super-ego side, and also one corresponding to the repetition compulsion.

In conclusion, a biological analogy is drawn: The instinctual drive is common to all organic life; the ego, or something morphologically similar, makes its appearance simultaneously with a central control of the organism, that is, with individuation in animal life; the super-ego is the peculiar domain of human beings. When this instance develops the organism becomes able to regard itself as an object among objects, recognizing in other objects the nature and value belonging to them. In man alone is this faculty present.

2.   The Synthetic Function of the Ego.—See Psychoanal. Rev., Vol. XVII, No. 4, Oct. 1930, p. 475.

3.   On the Pregenital History of the Oedipus Complex.—Fenichel, following Freud, recognizes the Oedipus complex as the nucleus of the neuroses and is convinced that the more profound understanding of this complex is constantly leading to the explanation and cure of cases which have hitherto baffled successful analysis.

He cites evidence from various writers to show that the Oedipus relation begins at a much earlier period than was at first supposed, and traces it throughout the pregenital stages.

He describes three cases, the first a man and the others women, who sought his advice because of neurotic disturbances and character traits.

The first case, the man, had shown throughout his early life a strong pregenital fixation on the mother (represented by an indulgent wet nurse and grandmother). There followed a heterosexual fixation but always on the pattern of the pregenital relation to the mother. While the relation to the father was inimical and sadistic, it took the form of dependence for support and exorbitant demands for money, thus betraying the pregenital determination.

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In the second case, a woman, there was first oral and afterward anal attachment to the mother, followed by grave disillusionment (of which the original element was forced weaning because of mastitis). There was also a castration complex connected through experiences in childhood with the idea of being ill. As result of these situations there was an ambivalently determined turning to the father for help. The demand was made on him for what she felt the mother had robbed her of (penis identified with anal phantasies).

The third case, another woman, was forty-five years old, of neurotic character, with predominant symptoms of anxiety hysteria. There was strong mother fixation (first oral and later anal) and early disillusionment in regard to the mother, with reactive aggression toward her and anxiety because of fear of losing her love. The aggression was repressed with resulting increase of anxiety. Attachment to the father was possible only in phantasy, and male persons were always surrogates for the mother. Sadism was manifested as reaction to the renunciation of the object of fixation. The castration anxiety, originally felt in regard to the mother, became displaced to men.

Interpreting the material, Fenichel draws several theoretical conclusions: The last two cases contribute to the understanding of the controversial question of the “change of object” in women. Reviewing the opinions of Horney, Lampl de Groot, and others, the writer finds that these cases confirm Freud's view. Both women first manifested pregenital fixation on the mother, turned to the father with the wish for a child; in both the absence of a penis played an important role, and both blamed the mother for the deprivation.

These two cases are more typical than the first (the man) and seem to offer a paradigm of the female Oedipus complex. The bisexuality was apparent in varying degrees of disturbance of the father relation. The feeling of hate for the mother was retained and transferred to the father.

In the man's case the development was probably determined by the circumstance that the boy, disillusioned by the father, turned with redoubled fixation to the mother. The attachment to the female attributes continued, even after the withdrawal of the objects (nurse and grandmother), and when the patient turned to the father he ascribed to him the characteristics of the mother and retained the pregenital attitude in that he looked to the father for help in sickness and depended on him for support.

Discussing the oral, anal, and genital relation, the writer finds in the women a direct transition of the wish for oral incorporation passing to an anal stage and finally to the vaginal (as maintained by Helene Deutsch). These cases confirm the view that the three orifices represent one another in succession. In the second case the coitus wish was particularly evident as a direct continuation of the oral wish for incorporation. In this sense Jones speaks of an equivalent series in the female organs.

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The active phallic libido, concerning which nothing can be directly inferred from these cases, is derived from the excretion component of the anal factor; the passive or female libido from the retention component. This leads to the ultimate factors of excretion and retention and confirms the assumption of a concurrence or sequence of these tendencies in each of the erogenous zones, in conformity with Abraham, instead of a localization of all excretory libido in the urethra and all retention libido in the anus. The relation to the object begins in the pregenital period and the full genital development may include components from the earlier periods.

4.   Dreams with Painful Content.—Dreams with painful content often seem to be in contradiction to the wishfulfilling theory. The fuller understanding of the construction of the personality, however, offers explanation of this apparent contradiction. In the system of the total personality the super-ego lives its own life, with its own wishes which strive for satisfaction and sleep has no more effect on these than on the asocial tendencies, so that repressed elements from the super-ego may arise in dream to cause pain. In support of this view two cases are cited.

5.   The Origin of the Castration Complex.—A case is described to illustrate a general technical principle: The analysis of the actual situation as presented to the physician (the transference being considered as one principle factor in this situation) is the best means of bringing infantile material into consciousness. This fact is explicable theoretically. The repressions of adult life are determined by infantile repression, that is to say, the adult repressed material is similar to that which was repressed in childhood (consists of emotions qualitatively similar). The essential difference between the situations in adult life and those in childhood is in the relative strength of the ego, which deals with impulses. The weak, helpless infantile ego is obliged to repress conflicts which are quite within the power of the adult ego to solve. Therefore the chances of bringing recent repressed material to consciousness are much greater than of bringing like infantile material to recognition. In other words, the interpretation of recent unconscious material increases the permeability of the ego for infantile repressed affects. In the transference situation the patient repeats his infantile situation, but in place of his infantile ego he now has an adult ego to confront an affect like that which, in childhood, from the weakness of the ego he was obliged to repress.

Further, the affects which arise in the transference relation are less intense than the corresponding infantile affects, for they are only experimental examples.

Everything cannot be remembered during an analysis, but what can be is best obtained after the affective content of the transference and the situations of life at the time of the analysis have become conscious.

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6.   On Phobias in Childhood and Character Formation.—Reich brings clinical material to show that infantile anxieties and other conflicts traceable to the Oedipus complex may result in the structure of the character, the childhood experiences or inner psychic situations, so to speak, being preserved in a two-fold sense: in the content as unconscious material and in form as a characterological attitude of the ego.

The same element of the infantile situation comes to experience in these two ways: in what the individual does and says, and in the manner in which he acts and speaks. It is very interesting and sufficiently apparent that the analysis of the content, or what is done or said, does not touch on the formal or structural side of the conduct, but nevertheless the content is the slide rule of the formal or structural side and the content or “what” once brought to consciousness, the “how “or formal side of the affect becomes manifest. The disturbance of the narcissistic equilibrium, which is necessary for the analysis, gives a clue for the interpretation of the structural or characterological attitude.

7.   Paranoia and Magic.—In Feigenbaum's case, Rachel Jane, he found that:

(1)  Mechanisms in paranoia which assume a magical aspect may be important factors in the development of homosexuality, frigidity, and impotence.

(2)  The paranoic system depends in part on the primitive thirst for blood and pronounced wishes for vengeance.

(3)  Magic realization of the thirst for blood in paranoia causes a weakening of the mechanism of projection by strengthening the feeling of guilt and thus really predisposes to recovery.

(4)  Just as the recovery of his own case could be traced to a magic realization of primitive wishes, so apparently in other psychoses some remissions may be traced to the same cause.

8.   Problem of the Theory of Sublimation.—The writer finds justification for assuming a scale of sublimation of which the degrees are determined by the deviation of the goal from the primitive instinct. He calls attention to the main steps as determined by this deviation.

1.   The first form of deviation appears as the change from sensuous to tender or sympathetic trends. The object and the direction of the instinct are unaltered, the deviation consisting in the bounds which are set to the instinctive drive. This process may be called a limitation of goal rather than a deviation.

2.   The next point in the line of deviation is found in a simple impetus in the direction of primitive symbolism. The use of fire may serve as an example of this stage, and here it is difficult to decide whether this usage represents a sexualized extension of the ego or a desexualized striving of the es.

3.   The next point in the scale is artistic sublimation, the most essential

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element of which is the transformation of the phantasied satisfaction of the instinct to social participation in this satisfaction. The work of the artist is still perceptibly related to erotic wishes. The desexualization comes to expression in the changing of the original satisfaction of instinct to a narcissistic investment of the work.

4.   Here belongs the occupation of the welfare worker, which partakes of homosexuality in the form of “Paulistic love,” on the one hand, and is a reaction against aggressive tendencies, on the other.

5.   Next to this on the scale come the accomplishments and activities of the scientist. Of this form of sublimation Leonardo da Vinci is a shining example.

6.   The last stage of sublimation consists of a variable energy of abstract nature, where relation with the original instinct is no longer recognizable. This abstract energy at the disposal of the ego is a participant in the structure of both the ego and the ego-ideal. The most desexu-alized application is in the form of small quantities whose variations within the psyche give rise to the activity which we call thought. The process of thinking may be regarded as the most abstract expression of instinctive energy.

Freud warns against the overvaluation of the therapeutic possibilities of sublimation. This may be the case for sublimation from stage one to five of the hierarchy, but in so far as the aim of therapy is to form a strong ego, sublimation cannot be omitted, for a strong ego is one which has control of a large amount of abstract cathexis. This originates in Eros and is therefore a sublimated instinctive energy. The special conditions for the change to nonqualitative cathexis, in which secondary narcissism plays a principal role, seems not as yet to have been sufficiently studied.

9.   Pathogenesis of Pseudodebility of Children.—The writer studied the case of a child in whom there was decided intellectual disability which, she found, was dependent on conflicts. This case may be considered as a paradigm for others.

A girl nearing puberty, physically developed beyond her years, was exceedingly deficient in mental activities. She had a vocabulary of a beginner in school, had no interests in common with children of her own age, made no contacts with them, was unable to understand explanations, even when formulated in the most simple language. Through analysis the writer discovered that this attitude was related to developmental difficulties, that the stupidity was based on defenses and overcompensations in the evolution of her character. Tracing the family situation, Bornstein found a strong mother identification, attachment to the father heightened by rivalry with her brother and with her sisters.

10.  The Problem of Narcissistic Identification.—Believing that analysis of children may throw light on the problem of narcissistic identification,

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that is to say, where a lost love object is replaced by a change in the ego itself in such a manner that the person assumes the traits of the lost object, Bornstein gives an account of a case. This was a boy six and one-half years old who was suffering from various symptoms and inhibitions. He was a problem child with hyperkinetic disturbances, temper tantrums, always excited, satisfied with nothing. The resemblance of his speech to that of his mother was remarkable. He imitated her in wishes and opinions to a degree that was grotesque.

An analysis of a year and a half revealed disappointment at the loss of the mother's love, who, he discovered, preferred a younger sister and the father. The child had strong oral tendencies and these were aroused anew and fortified when he saw the mother nursing the younger sister. He also inferred that the mother engaged in oral activities with the father. The enmity determined by the oral deprivation and the fear of oral castration found possibility of expression intrapsychically, namely, by identification with the mother.

In this attitude participated love and hate for both the father and the mother.

Love for the mother: In accordance with the mechanism of displacement the patient is able to substitute other attributes of the mother, as the “soul,” the voice, the manner of speaking, her opinions, for the loved part, that is to say, the breast. He had assumed these other qualities of the mother to such an extent that he had almost lost independent orientation. He even phantasied that he was of the opposite sex.

Hate for the mother: By identification with her she removed from the objective world. This was as much as to say, “If she gives me nothing, I eat her.” “Why do I need the mother; I am myself the mother.”

Love for the father: The tender relation was changed into a passive homosexual one by identification with the mother.

Hate for the father: As woman he can castrate the father with the phantasied vagina dentate.

The process viewed from the economic side may be described thus: In identification with the mother the ego avoided the punishment of oral castration which he fears. The instinctive wishes of the es are satisfied—both the love for the mother and the sadistic tendencies to both mother and father. The super-ego, too, which strives against the desire to become the rival of the father, is satisfied.

While in the super-ego of normal persons love is the principal element, in the super-ego of this neurotic child hate predominated. The world is “consumed by eating.” It seems that the ego elaborated in itself the qualifies which it most feared in the object.

11.  Affect and Damming Back of Needs.—Spitz notes that Freud, in “Inhibition, Symptom and Anxiety,” has described the reaction to the birth trauma as the original pattern of anxiety. A number of human

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instinctive needs do not fit in with this formula. Hunger, thirst and cold, and possibly pain, do not directly cause anxiety, even when felt to an extreme degree. If they awaken anxiety it is in a roundabout way, when it is feared, for example, that death may result. The problem is, however, why these deprivations do not immediately cause anxiety.

Spitz enumerates needs which do cause anxiety, as the need for air and sexual tension. Examining these phenomena from the physiological side, he finds that anxiety is directly caused by needs which have to do with the function of excretion. The need for introducing substances into the organism, on the other hand, does not seem to directly cause anxiety.

12.  On the Erotization of Anxiety.—See Psychoanal. Rev., Vol. XXII, No. 2, April, 1936, p. 226.

13.  Thoughts and Phantasies Connected with Shock.—As introduction to his own study, Pfister gives a short history of the observations others have made of these phenomena, both before and since psychoanalysis. The psychological processes are reviewed under the headings of regressive selection and dějà vue, the impression of seeing the whole life, the victory of the pleasure principle over the reality principle in hallucinatory phantasies, the tempo of mental shock processes and introversion processes. The part played by the unconscious, consciousness, and the foreconscious is also examined, and in conclusion Pfister says:

A study of the relation of thinking in shock and the shock phantasies to thinking phantasies, generally, is in order, to test whether all thinking and mental technique may not be regarded as protective measures against the hardships of life and inner discontent; whether thinking in shock is not of the same nature, and whether, further, all art, poetry, and religion, viewed from this angle, may not be related to shock phantasies. It may be anticipated that this manner of regarding the subject will give rise to controversy because we are accustomed to consider real thinking and wishful thinking as different processes, indeed, almost as opposites, although in reality they both tend to one ideal—a full and contented life. Just these psychic shock processes in the face of death should put us on guard against embracing a cheap and pleasant illusion when confronted by difficulties.

14.  Danger Situations of the Immature Ego.—See Psychoanal. Rev., Vol. XVII, No. 4, Dec. 1930, p. 483.

15.  The Present Status of Psychiatric Knowledge of Schizophrenia.—The writer reviews the trends and limitations of psychiatric research during the last decade, in the field of schizophrenia. She brings into relief the difficulties presented by the picture of the disease, which sometimes suggests a psychogenic origin, sometimes an exogenous, and sometimes an organic. From these difficulties may be explained the constant efforts of phenomenological psychiatrists to give the symptoms in greater detail

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and precision for the sake of a better differential diagnosis, and also the tireless study of biological reactions in the attempt to establish a pathobiological foundation for the disease, on the part of those clinicians who hold that schizophrenia is an organic disease. She seeks to show that pathological anatomy and studies of heredity have failed as yet to give any satisfactory evidence of the unity of the disease and have discovered no etiology. Though Kretschmer has sought to establish a constitutional basis, when his characterological researches were extended to the schizoid group it was found necessary to separate the schizophrenic symptomatology from schizoid reactions, which psychiatrists themselves do not regard as arising from inherent defects. She calls attention only to certain controversies of the adherents of the psychoanalytic viewpoint which seem to demand explanation for the sake of reconciliation—as the concept of character and “psychogenesis.” She finds Schilder's effort to bridge the two of value, but that his hypotheses seem to outrun actual experience and to obliterate the boundary between somatic and psychic. It has not been determined what causes, on the basis of the schizophrenic constitution, release the psychosis, whether inhibition in this type, incapable of renunciation, leads to choking of libido, according to the psychoanalytic view, or whether there are autotoxic influences, for example, an imbalance of internal secretions which furnish a somatic correlate of the libido disturbances. In her opinion, a plurality of possibilities may concur. She compares schizophrenia with an unscalable mountain, under which psychiatry and psychoanalysis have tunneled from opposite sides.

16.  Cases:

(a)  A Kleptomanic Impulse.—See Psychoanal. Rev., Vol. XXI, No. 3, Oct. 1934, p. 350.

(b)  The Determining Force of a Name in Schizophrenia.—Clinical notes on a schizophrenic who gave peculiar significance to his own name in his psychosis. The name of the patient was Tigier. He associated it with tiger and with Clemenceau, and in the course of the psychosis built up a system in which the tiger became for him a real totem animal connected with the father imago, quite on the pattern of totems of primitive peoples.

(c)  Symbolic and Metaphoric Significance of Ideas.—See Psychoanal. Rev., Vol. XX, No. 1, Jan. 1935, p. 85.

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Article Citation

(1936). Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse. Psychoanal. Rev., 23B(2):209-218

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