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Ikonen, P. (1988). Ideologies, Psychoanalysis and Narcissism. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 11(1):57-65.

(1988). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 11(1):57-65

Ideologies, Psychoanalysis and Narcissism

Pentti Ikonen, Phil.Mag.

In the following, my point of view in dealing with ideologies and psychoanalysis and their interrelations is that of narcissism.

So as to have some background for the subject, I call to mind a few relevant points in the formation of the ego ideal.

When man's hopes and strivings lead to frustration, he can turn them into a narcissistic offence against himself. He then feels insufficient and no good. Narcissistic libido has lost its object; the feeling that I have my own value, and that life is worth living is no longer as naive and obvious as before. This is a trauma that demands an enormous amount of working through, but it can be deceptively passed over by the formation of the ego ideal. The ego ideal contains both the acknowledgement of the trauma and the defence against it: I am no good, but I shall be good. Narcissistic libido then gets a new object of the ego ideal, and this new object has quite as absolute a value as the inviolable self had earlier. Freud says the same thing, as follows: “What he projects before him as his ideal is the substitute for the lost narcissism of his childhood in which he was his own ideal” (Freud, 1914). Rescuing the self-evidence and the absoluteness of childhood narcissim is the defensive psycho-economic task of the ego ideal. An ideal that has become doubtful can no longer be an ideal. It is on this basic defensive function, on the preservation of the self-evident and absolute narcissistic value of self and of life that the illusoriness of an ideal is based. The inconstancy and contrariness of the needs and desires of man make the absolute ideal illusory. “Gold has its merits at one time, iron at another.”

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