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Flescher, J. (1949). Political Life and Super-Ego Regression. Psychoanal. Rev., 36(4):416-428.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Review, 36(4):416-428

Political Life and Super-Ego Regression

Joachim Flescher, M.D.

No more interesting subject could have been chosen, I think, to provide a topic for our opening session than the phenomena of political life. These have indeed grown in the last decades to such size and forms as to make escape from them well-nigh impossible, even for those least interested in the vicissitudes of public life.

For some considerable time a basic phenomenon of the most advanced forms of collective life has attracted the attention of psychologists, namely, mass formation and mass psychology. To this subject Freud devoted a study whose importance is due not only to the profound analysis with which he was able to delve into this multifaced phenomenon, but also to the wealth of deductions he was to derive from it. These deductions threw a new light on some problems of individual psychology, owing to the close relationship existing—as constantly asserted by psychoanalytical research—between our ancestral psychic accretions and the modes of reaction of modern man, a fact which has been exalted by some dissenters of the psychoanalytic movement into a new and fundamental principle (Jung). Admittedly, one misses in the aforesaid study of Freud those amplifications and that bringing up to date which every branch of science is bound to undergo with the progress of time. It must be added, however, that Freud pointed out himself that his work touched only on certain aspects of the vast subject he was dealing with.

I myself have had the opportunity to deal elsewhere with mass psychology. Before summing up my opinion on this subject and proceeding to deal with my present theme, however, I deem it appropriate to point out some aspects of Freud's aforesaid work, which would need revision in the very light of other contributions by the same author.


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