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Rosenman, S. (1956). Black Magic and Superego Formation. Psychoanal. Rev., 43(3):272-319.

(1956). Psychoanalytic Review, 43(3):272-319

Black Magic and Superego Formation

Stanley Rosenman, Ph.D.

Introjection—Drawbacks and Advantages

One may well wonder that the individual invariably entrusts with internal lodgment an alien being possessing alien standards. Astonishment grows when this unabashed visitor, boldly assuming the role of conscience, imperiously commands, relentlessly reproaches, and contemptuously belittles his hapless host.

As an internal representation of the collectivity, under the guise of demanding selfless and devoted behavior, this guest may subject its carrier to maiming and death to realize the unethical goals of the community. Or, with equal malignancy, the deceptive caller may trick and bully the person into wrongdoing, only self-righteously to betray him to his fellows or to insist upon severe penance (33, 65, 66).

And only at such times does this internal fifth column appear to ally itself with the carrier's instinctual gratifications. Generally it divorces him from his own biological mainsprings, separates him from his bodily sensations, leaves him indifferent to the outside world of sense, and renders him passive towards intellectual speculation. In compensation for the individual's disdain of carnal delights and reality perception, it invites merger with itself for false and temporary states of mystical ecstasy in which the secrets of the universe are orgastically revealed—only to tumble its duped lover back to the same deprived condition. Or it may glibly promise an illusory future bliss. And should the subject choose to indulge himself, usually with trepidation and without enjoyment, he must purchase his right to physical satisfaction by submitting to the internal ruler's demand for suffering (1, 55).

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