Top: Jewish Mind Control: Freudianism
By Ned Hamblin, GSTX News Service
The very basis of Marxist Communism's focus on the 'healing' of society's illness through 'analysis' (dialectical analysis) is an outgrowth of the same vicious animism of 'healingness' seen in Sigmund Freud's 'healing' individuals through an 'analysis' of their previous life experiences to determine how the person 'got' to where he is today.
In Marxism, society's past needs to be repaired. In Freudianism, individual pasts need to be repaired. In both worlds, these Jewish thinkers believe that the 'Yahweh' or "Invisible God' both hide things necessary for human perfection from all men from the beginning of time and that only through 'extracation' of society (Marx) and of (unconscious mind) Freud could the reality of the forbidden fruit--Perfection--be achieved. Thus, both philosophers failed to extracate themselves from their own histories in forging their ideas. Instead of creating new sciences of economics and psychology, Marx and Freud simply produced exerpts of the Judeo World Views they grew up with, blending them with pseudo observations of history and biographies to produce a New Eden for their clients--e.g., for Marx, society; for Freud, the patient.
By twisting their Jewish religious learning and histories into new ways of thinking, Marx and Freud destroyed the underlying surface of Christianity into which the world had been evolving for centuries. Caught in the underlying conflict of Christian tolerant acceptance of foibles and the Judeo non-acceptance of deviation in all areas of life, both Marx and Freud committed the world to violent upheaval and dangerous hazards which proved to be too uncontrollable. The result was catastrophic.
During this time, the newspapers of the world as well as the film studios, magazines, radio news services, and publishing houses, continued to discuss world realities in terms of Judeo guilt complexes as Jews worldwide, through their tight monopolization, access to, and total control of presses, sought to extracate Christianity from the world and its peoples through the magic world of print. This Yahweh-esque, hidden, control-freak reporting attempted to interpret what was happening to the collapsing Christian World, all of it in Jewish terms alone, in a world where Jews had become the hidden Yahweh God who looked out and controlled the little paeons who were their audiences and which they mis-used to place Jewish mind control upon these non-Jews of the world who were their continuous and daily victims. In having to read these highly selective and editorialized reports, the world fell under Jewish control. One of the interesting facts concerning these reports in newspapers in nations with few Jews is the large number of totally banal references to Jews, Zionism, Palestine, Communism, Freudianism, Psychiatry, Liberalism, Civil Rights, and all of the other Jewish philosophies unleashed against humanity by the Jews.
Thus, the Jews who were less than 2% of the world corrupted and utterly destroyed what the entireity which had been and will always be non-Jewish had produced. By 1998, Jews owned 90% of the world's communications and were continuing to monopolize ideas, historical interpretations, and access to politicians around the world. The world was theirs, and, even though Freud and Marx were discredited, their words had spun their web, confusing the non-Jews into forming parties dedicated to communist ideals of irresponsibility and healing through magical, highly expensive methods including taxation of approximately 50% of Americans to freely give their earnings to persons who either did not wish to work and pay taxes or who hovered next to the New Temple--Goverment--which performed in its new role as the controlling Jewish God, a powerful God surrounded by the Jews who controlled the mass media and lined the halls of Congress and the White House and the Supreme Court, casting a shadown far in excess of their rightful numbers would indicate might be a just representatino, and making the world well using the legalized, Pharasaic tithes (taxes) given up unwillingly by the enslaved Goyim.
What Freud sought to bring to the surface in analysis, the news mongers placed back into the background, where the purveyors of Jewish ideals hid behind their paper pages, hiding their Jewish identities, and all the while scribbling their instructions to their new slaves. The perfect world was made perfect by perfecting the often told Jewish tale of woe, of persons needing the hard-earned money of the worker, and all, the while, the Jews were profiting by using the votes of Negroes, immigrants, Hispanics, and other non-Jews whom they herded together into anti-European voting blocks to launch and support communism under the party format of the Democrats which the Jews sought to control and always have, not for the benefit of Americans, but for the benefit of Jews--the communists, liberals, and Israelis.
This hidden unconscious mind of America is the Marxist subconscious of the modern American and European societies. The mind of these worlds are strictly created and controlled by Jews, and it is done cleanly and with utlimate, Yaweh-esque perfection.
Archived Material. Austrian National Tourist
Sigmund Freud's most notable followers were:
C.G. Jung, the founder of the "Analytical Psychology". He contributed considerably to Freud's "orthodox" teachings, by coining the term "complex" for example.
Alfred Adler was the founder of the "Individual Psychology". Further followers and disciples of Freud were Herbert Silberer, Wilhelm Stekel, and Otto Rank.
However, most of his notable followers pursued their own ideas and methods and eventually broke with him, at least partially. Freud was deeply hurt about this. Only today psychoanalysts of the third generation so to speak seek to join forces again stressing unifying ideas and principles.
Freud's daughter Dr. Anna Freud (1895-1982), however, was to become his most notable follower. Already in 1934 she had been heading the Institute of the Viennese Society of Psychoanalysis. Through seminars and from 1937 onwards through leading the Montessori kindergarten on Vienna's Rudolfsplatz she had already become widely known and accepted in international psychoanalytical circles. In 1938 she emigrated to England with her parents. She was working at the War Children's Home "Hamstead Nurseries", founded 1940, which in 1947 was to turn into her Hamstead Child-Therapy Courses, a school for child psychoanalysis.
Freud's psychoanalytical principles had a strong impact on literature (for instance Graham Greene's novels) and modern painting as well.
Archived Material. Austrian National Tourist
In his function as a neuropathologist Freud came to realize that he had no clear understanding of neurotic patterns despite his thorough studies of the human brain. From 1895 onwards he associated intensely with the Viennese internist Josef Breuer. Both discovered that hypnosis removed neurotic symptoms. The case of patient Anna O. became famous.
By applying this method, Freud came to understand the correlation between emotional disorders and the formation of mental (at that time mainly hysterical) symptoms. Through hypnosis as a method of "mental catharsis" the patient recalls and relives repressed traumatic situations and is eventually relieved and healed. Freud was now convinced that functional diseases had a mental cause. In the following he discovered how mental energies may cause physical symptoms.
After breaking with Breuer Freud found out that the abnormal emotional state of neurotics was almost invariably associated with conflicts involving the sexual impulse. Based on these findings he developed his theory on repression and defense as well as the sexual aspect of neurotic behavior.
Freud was unjustly blamed with "pansexualism". His theories created a storm in medical circles and were often and heavily rejected. However, what Freud had theoretically taught most of his life was rather a "dialectic of the sexual impulse" than its omnipotence. After breaking with Breuer Freud carried on his research work alone. Instead of hypnosis he applied the method of "free association" with his patients and soon recognized the traumatic impact of early sexual experience during childhood, seductions on the part of adults, above all the parents.
In 1887, suffering from his own neurotic crisis, Freud discovered in a brave self-analysis that patients' phantasies and wishful thinking rather than real experiences play an unconscious role in the onset of neuroses.
Freud's findings broke new ground in often misinterpreted areas like infantile sexuality and led to a completely new and expanded understanding of sexuality. His epochal achievement was to help prove the existence of the psyche as an independent system.
In "Traumdeutung"/"The Interpretation of Dreams" published in 1900 Freud unveiled the dream as a disguised fulfillment of repressed wishes. Within the European culture and civilization this was a sensational disclosure of Freud's (sometimes also personal) fight for self-realization and truth.
The term "the Unconscious" was introduced by C.G. Carus before Freud. However, Freud is the true discoverer of the regular dynamics of the Unconscious.
In 1920 Freud came out with "Jenseits des Lustprinzips" describing a new dualistic theory of the sexual impulse based on the concept of the death impulse and aggression as explanations for destructive sexual behavior.
According to Freud the Unconscious is not a static system as memory was presumed to be by psychologists then but the bearer of hidden, unfaced conflicts and biographical data. It thus consists of repressed, disguised truths that want to be revealed by the conscious mind.
The so-called "Oedipus complex" is part of this subject matter too. It manifests itself in infantile sexuality causing the child to seek to possess for himself the parent of the opposite sex and hate the one of the same sex. Thus an unconsious conflict arises. The "Oedipus complex" is one of the most famous and most significant of Sigmund Freud's discoveries.
With his thoughts Freud not only influenced psychology but also modern time's conception of the world. His trail-blazing principles advanced the technique of psychoanalysis, with himself as his first patient. He was successful in overcoming inhibitions as to the logics of his own thoughts as well as to the general prudery of his time.
Without blaming other people he succeeded in finding clear solutions for many human problems with the help of psychoanalysis.
According to his motto "Where Id was Ego will develop" he succeeded in creating harmony to the individual person - the precondition for a relatively free life. According to Freud failing to achieve self-awareness was not so much caused by the natural impulses as by the bad conscience accumulated.
And so Sigmund Freud was also a great critic of many parameters of Europe's cultural traditions. He himself never saw psychoanalysis as a dogmatic but rather as an empiric method.
Freud was always open for new insights and theoretical explanations for
mental processes- without doubt the central theme of psychoanalysis.
Three years ago I read a paper here in New York titled The Mind As Conflict And Compromise Formation. In it I proposed to revise the view that the mind is best understood as composed of threee agencies. Tonight's paper is by way of a follow up on the paper of three years ago.
I suppose it was inevitable that my proposal should acquire a new title. It's now called Beyond The Ego And The Id. That's the cover title of the issue of The Journal Of Clinical Psychoanalysis in which it appears along with discussions by a number of colleagues: Arlow, Boesky, Kramer, Mahon, Shane, and Shapiro. It has also been put on the internet in the website of the A. A. Brill Memorial Library, where it has likewise led to some discussion by two other colleagues, Dr. Hanna Segal of London and Dr. Henry Smith of Boston.
In any branch of scientific work it is important not to be wedded to a theory, especially not to a new theory that one has introduced oneself. Every theory, new or old, should be constantly tested against newly emerging data of observation. In psychoanalysis one can't devise experiments to test theories, but one can and should try to evaluate the degree of support or lack of support that newly emerging data offer to one's theories. In this task the arguments of critics are of great potential value. There's nothing like a sceptical, negative view to make one think.
With this as my introduction, let me first outline for you the revisions in the psychoanalytic theory of mental functioning that I have proposed. There are today several theories of mental development and functioning in the psychoanalytic marketplace. There's self psychology, there's object relations theory, there's Kleinian theory, there's social interactional theory, there's conflict theory, and there's eclecticism, to name what seem to be the principal contenders. What I'm concerned with in this context is conflict theory, because I believe it to be correct. That is, I believe it to be the theory that conforms best with the data available to us about mental development and functioning and that best explains those data. I would add what is probably unnecessary to mention in talking to this audience, namely that conflict theory rests largely on data made available by the application of the psychoanalytic method. Without psychoanalytic data, conflict theory would have little to recommend it. With psychoanalytic data, it's clearly, to me, the front runner.
It was on the basis of psychoanalytic data that Freud evolved conflict theory, just over 100 years ago with his papers on what he called the neuropsychoses of defence. In those papers, on the basis of the data made available by his newly devised psychoanalytic method of treatment, he postulated that psychoneurotic symptoms are compromise formations that result from conflict between repressed wishes and reactions of moral and/or esthetic repugnance to those wishes. In course of time he extended his formulations concerning conflict to include dreams and the psychopathology of everyday life. In what we today call the topographic theory of mental functioning psychopathological conflicts were explained by postulating two systems, the system Ucs. and the system Cs.-Pcs. Neurotic symptoms, said Freud, are compromise formations that result from conflict between the Ucs. and the Cs.-Pcs. Beginning in 1905, Freud identified the wishes that give rise to such pathogenic conflicts as perverse and incestuous sexual wishes. These he attributed to the part of the Ucs. called the repressed. The moral and esthetic standards that oppose such wishes were attributed to the Cs.-Pcs.
This was only a beginning, of course. In the light of later data revealed by the psychoanalytic method, especially data having to do with defense analysis, with an unconscious need for punishment, and with the closely related phenomena of masochism, Freud revised his theory of the mental apparatus. What he finally proposed is what is familiar to us as the structural theory. The functioning of the mental apparatus, said Freud, is best understood as being the result of the interaction among three agencies or structures, which he labeled id, ego, and superego.
It is important to recognize that what persuaded Freud to redefine and relabel the several elements or agencies of the mental apparatus was the emergence of new data that had been unearthed by the application of the psychoanalytic method, that is, by new, psychoanalytic data. In 1905 Freud believed that the thoughts and feelings -- the mental contents -- that are actively barred from access to consciousness -- that are repressed, in other words -- are sexual wishes of childhood origin. By 1925 he had learned that a need for punishment can be quite as inaccessible to consciousness as a libidinal wish. He had also observed that repression is not the only defense employed in psychic conflict; that a repudiated wish or conflictual memory can be accessible to consciousness and, finally, that defenses and the motives for defense against wishes that give rise to mental conflict are often themselves inaccessible to consciousness. As he put it, it often requires analytic work to help a patient become aware, not only of the instinctual side of the patient's pathogenic conflicts, but of their defensive aspect as well.
By 1925, then, Freud's theory of the mental apparatus had been remodeled to fit the new data about the dynamics of mental conflict that had emerged over the course of the previous two decades. The id is the repository of an individual's sexual and aggressive wishes -- of an individual's drive derivatives -- the ego mediates between the id and the external world, warding off dangerous id wishes by various defenses, and the superego is the aspect of mental functioning that has to do with morality, with what is right or wrong in the moral sense of those words.
It's also worth noting that in 1925, and for many years thereafter, conflict and compromise formation connoted pathology. Either serious pathology, as in the psychoneuroses, or trivial pathology, as in dreams or in the slips and errors of daily life. When Freud wrote about the fate of the oedipus complex in 1924, for example, the view he put forward was that in the course of normal development oedipal conflicts disappear and are replaced by the identifications that he believed constitute the superego. The prevalent view for many years was that after the oedipal phase of life, or at least after reaching adulthood, a normal person doesn't have conflict over oedipal wishes or, alternatively, that to the extent that a normal paerson does have such conflicts as an adult, that normal person is neurotic, however slightly. Even today analysts habitually speak and, what is more important, think of successful analysis as resolving pathogenic conflicts, as though the conflicts over the sexual and aggressive wishes that give rise to neurotic symptoms disappear when one is restored to health by analysis.
To return to the concepts of id, ego, and superego, they were introduced into psychoanalytic theory for the same reasons that their predecessors, the systems Ucs. and Cs.-Pcs. had been: to explain the data about psychic conflict that the application of the psychoanalytic method had brought to light. The new data had shown the existing theory to be inadequate, so Freud revised the theory and, in so doing, changed its nomenclature. After 1923, instead of describing conflict as between Ucs. and Cs.-Pcs., it was described as being of two sorts. Some conflicts were described as being between id drive derivatives on the one side and the anti-instinctual forces of the ego and superego on the opposite side. Other conflicts were described as being between self-punitive superego demands on the one side and the ego's defenses on the other. To put matters very schematically, the new theory said that there are conflicts between id and ego plus superego and there are conflicts between ego and superego. And so matters stood till very recently.
What I suggested three years ago is that current psychoanalytic data concerning psychic conflict require another change in our theory. I proposed the view that current data speak against the idea that mental conflict, as well as other aspects of mental functioning, are best explained by assuming that the mental apparatus consists of two or three agencies, systems, or structures, the two system theory being the topographic theory and the three system theory being the structural theory.
What are the analytic data that speak against the idea (= theory) that mental functioning is best understood as an interaction among three agencies: id, ego, and superego?
Let's begin with the id which is, in fact, the most difficult of the concepts to discuss critically. The reason for the difficulty is simple: there is no consensus at present as to what the concept is. In 1963 at the fall meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association there was a panel on the concept of the id. It was chaired by Arlow, who summarized the day's discussion by saying that everyone on the panel and in the audience agreed that there was confusion about the concept of the id. The only thing the panelists agreed on was that the id is not to be defined in terms of primary or secondary process, but rather in terms of its function as part of the mental apparatus. There was disagreement with respect to every other attribute or description of the id. (Panel, 1963.) The ensuing years have brought analysts no closer to agreement. For example, Hanna Segal, in a contribution to a discussion of the subject on the Internet (Segal, 1995), expressed the opinion that the very concept of an id is redundant, that it is a way of disowning one's instincts and unconscious phantasies, as though to say of that aspect of one's mental functioning, "It's not me; it is it."
In light of the lack of consensus about the id among analysts in recent years it seems reasonable to use as a basis for the present discussion Freud's own definition of the concept. Put very briefly, it is that the id is the mental representation of the drives, a seething cauldron of pleasure seeking wishes, both libidinal and aggressive. It deserves to be distinguished as a separate agency of the mind on two grounds. First, because such wishes give rise to conflict with those other aspects of mental functioning that Freud called ego and superego ( = because of its role in psychic conflict). Second, because it functions in a special and characteristic way, a way of functioning that Freud labeled the primary process. In particular the id takes no account of external reality, i.e., of the persons and things of the environment, and it is non-verbal. What is of special interest to us as clinicians is that when wishes for libidinal and aggressive satisfaction give rise to unpleasure and are, in consequence, defended against ( = warded off) in one way or another, they are assigned to the id. In Freud's formulation the id includes libidinal and aggressive wishes that have been repressed and/or otherwise warded off.
What are the analytic data that speak against the validity of a theory that postulates such an agency, a theory that proposes to explain the facts of mental functioning as we know them by assuming that there are some aspects of mental functioning that are non-verbal and that pursue their course without regard to the people and things of the outer world? The answer, it seems to me, is obvious. What analytic data make apparent to us as analysts is that pleasure seeking wishes of childhood origin are continually pressing for satisfaction. Some of these wishes are gratified as such in behavior and in fantasy. Others, the ones that demand most attention clinically, are warded off and kept from gratification by the ego's defenses. Despite being warded off they remain active determinants of thought and behavior, as witness those compromise formations called neurotic symptoms and character traits. All of this, so far, is perfectly in line with the theory that Freud proposed. But do our data support the view that the warded off wishes are non-verbal? I think just the opposite. "I want to marry mommy," or, "I want daddy to give me a baby," are thoughts in verbal form. Such wishes are more or less infantile, childish, illogical, mutually contradictory, and so forth, but they are clearly verbal as far as our data go. Moreover, even the most simple and infantile of them that can be revealed by our best methods of investigation take account of the environment. Infantile sexual and aggressive wishes have to do with particular persons, with particular events, with individual sense impressions in every case with which we are familiar.
If one agrees that the wishes characteristic of what, till now, has been called the id are both verbal in nature and shaped by experience, what becomes of the idea of an agency of the mind that is unconcerned with external reality and that functions in a special, non-verbal way? There is no doubt about the data that the concept, id, is intended to explain. Every one of us is driven by pleasure seeking wishes that are beyond our ken, wishes that, as Segal and many others, beginning with Freud himself, have pointed out, we are eager to disown. Such wishes are like a something in our minds that force us to think and behave as we do. In particular, they give rise to the conflicts and compromise formations that are called neurotic symptoms and character traits. The data as they appear in every analytic treatment are indisputable and unquestionably important. The only question is how best to explain them. For the reasons just given I think that the data, especially the psychoanalytic data, do not support Freud's theory of the id as a special agency of the mind. As Freud emphasized, we are all constantly engaged in trying to gratify our sexual and aggressive wishes of childhood origin, but those wishes do not constitute a special part or agency of the mind that is distinguished from the rest by being non-verbal and by taking no heed of sense impressions from the environment.
What are the data that speak against the concept of an agency called the ego and, by extension, of the superego? If one equates ego with defense, the theory of agencies or structures seems to fit the facts quite well. But the concept, ego, in current psychoanalytic theory embraces much more than just defense. By ego is meant a part of the mind that is oriented toward the environment, a part that bears the same relation to reality as the id does to the drives. We are told that the ego, at least in adult life, does not tolerate contradictions, is bound by logic, and is verbal.
What are the facts? The facts, as available by the psychoanalytic method of investigation, are that the aspects of normal mental functioning attributed to the structure, the ego, are just as much determined by conflicts over the sexual and aggressive wishes of early childhood as are the abnormal aspects of mental functioning that we call neurotic symptoms. Normal mental functioning is shot through with illogicality and other infantilisms (Brenner, 1968). Psychoanalysis demonstrates the incorrectness of the premise that is basic to the theory of mental structures or agencies, namely, that normal mental functioning is relatively far removed from instinctual conflict. This was the premise, as many of you will recall, that led Hartmann, for example, to extend Freud's suggestion that the ego operates with non-instinctual or neutralized energies; that ego functions are normally conflict free. Nothing could be further from the truth. Normal aspects of mental functioning are just as closely related to conflict as are pathological ones. All of so-called ego functioning is in fact dynamically a compromise formation, whether normal or pathological. One never expects or even hopes that one's patients will achieve a stage of conflict free functioning, because there is no such stage, either absolutely or even relatively. The evidence available to us simply does not support the hypothesis that there is a separable mental structure that functions in the ways attributed, by definition, to the ego.
How about the moral aspect of mental functioning? What speaks against attributing that to an agency, in this case the superego?
One reason why the idea of an integrated structure is so appealing when it comes to explaining the moral aspect of mental functioning is that Freud explained the formation of the superego as arising from identification with the moral code of one or both parents. To dramatize slightly, the idea is that originally one was judged by a parent, then one identified with the parent, introjected ( = identified with) the parent's superego (real and fantasied) and thus set up in one's mind, as part of one's own mental apparatus, a structure whose origin was a person. It is plausible to think of a depersonified person as a unitary structure.
As many analysts have noted, beginning with Ferenczi, things are not that simple, however. Even if one agrees with Freud, as I do, that the violent conflicts of the oedipal period are the major contibutors to what Freud identified as superego formation, one must admit both that morality has preoedipal roots as well as oedipal ones and that what happens in latency and in adolescence is likewise of considerable importance. It is excessively schematic to think of morality as the result of introjecting or identifying with just one or two persons.
Even more important, however, is the fact that the origins of moral mental functioning are not to be attributed solely to identification. As I have argued elsewhere, for every young child what is right is what wins parental approval and what is wrong is what forfeits parental approval. What mummy and daddy say is right, in the moral sense of the word, is what's right. What they say is wrong is what's wrong. Punishment by one's parents is the calamity that defines one part of what is called morality. Atonement as a way of mitigating punishment and winning approval defines the other. One way of avoiding punishment and of winning approval is, as Freud pointed out, by identifying with a parent and punishing oneself. But that is only one way. Another is by inhibiting one's "bad" wishes and becoming asexual and/or unaggressive. Another, by being closely tied to a parent and, overtly at least, non-competitive. Still another, by being sexually seductive, perhaps in a displaced, sadomasochistic way. Whatever one does to avoid, to mitigate, or to undo parental disapproval and punishment, real or fantasied, qualifies as morality. Clinical observations do not support the idea that moral functioning is either unified or integrated and they are quite at odds with the idea that morality is impersonal or depersonified. On the contrary, unconscious moral fantasies have always to do with an adversary or assailant, with a person, howver disguised the person's identity may be. The most accessible and persuasive illustration of this last assertion would seem to be the fantasy, conscious and/or unconscious, of an omniscient god playing the role of a judge.
So much for what seem to me persuasive reasons for discarding the idea that the human mental apparatus consists of separable structures or agencies. Before going further, however, I must emphasize that this is the only part of psychoanalytic theory that I am suggesting should be changed. I have been charged with suggesting that the structural theory be dropped in toto, a charge that is due to an obvious ambiguity. The term, structural theory, is often used to designate the whole of psychoanalytic conflict theory. It should be obvious from what I've said up to now that I am offering no suggestion that psychoanalytic conflict theory as a whole should be discarded. On the contrary, as I stated at the beginning of my paper, I believe that conflict theory conforms best with the data available to us about mental development and functioning and that it is the theory that best explains those data. I am suggesting only that the idea of explaining mental conflict by the assumption that the mind consists of separately definable structures does not conform well with some of the data available to us at present and that it is an idea that can and should be dropped. If my suggestion should be judged acceptable and should be adopted, one would speak no longer of structural theory, but rather of conflict theory.
This was what I proposed three years ago, namely, that the mind no longer be understood as consisting of or divisible into separate structures and that the facts as we know them about mental functioning are better understood in a different way. This different way doesn't at all change the view that conflict over the libidinal and aggressive wishes of childhood occupies the center of the stage of mental life, but it explains such conflicts without postulating that they take place between separable agencies. It asserts that when unpleasure arises in association with a pleasure seeking wish of childhood origin, the mind functions in such a way as to minimize the unpleasure while at the same time permitting as much gratification to the drive derivative as is compatible with not too much unpleasure. This characteristic of mental functioning is what is meant by the term, compromise formation. Wish, unpleasure, defense, and compromise formation all play as central and as important a role in this proposed theory of mental development and functioning as they have always played in what is called the structural theory. The only great change is that the idea of the mind as composed of structures is dropped.
From the very beginning Freud conceived of psychopathology in terms of conflict. He came only much later (Freud, 1926) to the realization that such conflicts are an inevitable part of every person's development. It was for this reason, I believe, that he never fully accepted the idea that so-called normal mental functioning and so-called pathological mental functioning differ only in degree and not in kind, even though he himself wrote just that in chapter 7 (Freud, 1900). The idea of a qualitative difference between normality and pathology in mental functioning is, I think, at the bottom of the attempt to understand mental functioning in terms of separate systems, agencies, or structures that are described as being, in some respects at least, qualitatively different from one another in their mode of functioning.
As I indicated earlier, my suggestion that we go beyond the ego and the id has aroused considerable discussion. I shall try to summarize for you such of the discussion as I am familiar with and to respond to it. As I said at the start, there's nothing like good criticism to make one think.
Interestingly enough there has been general agreement among the discussants that they don't use the concepts of id and ego in thinking about their clinical work while analyzing their patients' conflicts. Equally interestingly, there has been little objection expressed to the idea of dropping the concept of the id. The idea of dropping the concept of the ego, however, has roused considerable objection, objections that have been most fully expressed by Boesky.
It's true, said Boesky, that such an egoless theory as I suggest works perfectly well for day to day clinical work with patients' conflicts. The concepts of wish, unpleasure, defense and compromise formation are all that we need. But, he added, what of longitudinal development? "I wonder," he wrote, "if Brenner's new formulations will allow us to account for developmental vicissitudes in a better way... [The] new proposals seem to float without developmental anchors. Compromise formations give us a better cross-sectional or horizontal view of local conflicts but the three agencies give us a better longitudinal view of macrointeractions which is advantageous for the study of the developmental vicissitudes of the components of conflict... What... accounts for the stability of conflicts both in normal and pathological conditions? How do Brenner's new proposals account for functional stability in the human mind in a manner that will replace that explanation in our prior theory? Aside from a new terminology, are Brenner's proposals still not linked to the structural notion of a commitment to describe the human mind in terms of its dynamic functions?" (Boesky, 1994, pp. 512-513.)
As you can see from what I've just quoted, Boesky's concern is to take into account the fact that peoples' mental functioning stays the same over the years as far as conflict and compromise formation are concerned. "How account for that," he asks, "without postulating a persisting agency, the ego?" Granting that normal character traits are compromise formations, the compromise formations that we call character traits have a developmental history and a functional stability (or, if you prefer, a persistence over time) that Boesky said can be best accounted for by postulating an ego, as Freud suggested. And the same is true, according to Boesky, for persistent neurotic symptoms. Those compromise formations also have a persistence over time that seems to Boesky to require one to postulate an ego.
Boesky also pointed to the aspect of mental functioning that Freud explained by attributing to the ego a synthetic or, as Hartmann preferred to call it, an integrative function. "I don't think," Boesky wrote, "we can yet dispense with the notions of the organizing, integrative, and synthetic functions of the ego. How else do we account for the creation, maintenance, and coordination of the various compromise formations?" i.e., of character traits and neurotic symptoms" (Boesky 1994, p. 517).
Somewhat later Boesky went a step farther: "The most important question about which Brenner and I disagree is whether or not we can preserve the definition of unconscious conflict without some kind of notion of psychic structure. Brenner would be the first to agree," he continued, "that the concept of unconscious conflict is a bedrock definitional requirement for psychoanalysis. He and I would therefore also agree that pathological compromise formations are often enduring and stable. But this means that the components of the compromise formation remain continuously interactive and that requires the assumption of functional continuity. I do not see how one can have a notion of unconscious conflict without an assumption of functional continuity in the human mind. Functional continuity is essentially another term for psychic structure." (Boesky, 1994, p. 528.) You see the steps in Boesky's argument: conflict occupies a central place in mental functioning; pathological compromise formations ( = neurotic symptoms) tend to be enduring ( = stable) just as normal compromise formations ( = e.g., character traits) do; "enduring" entails functional continuity; functional continuity is another name for psychic structure; therefore the fact that pathological compromise formations ( = neurotic symptoms) are stable over time requires that psychic structure ( = the structural theory) be part of the psychoanalytic theory of the mind.
T. Shapiro also insisted that psychoanalytic data cannot be adequately explained unless one postulates an agency of the mind that corresponds to what Freud called the ego. How, he asked, could one account for such features of mental life as personality organization, whether normal or pathological, distortions of reality, the synthetic function, dissociative phenomena, and psychoses without postulating an ego? "How does a theory without mechanisms or operative rules work to account for these surface appearances?...I also find myself wondering how Dr. Brenner can opt for an egoless psychology if we are to consider the data of memory, and what has (sic) been called the autonomous ego functions. They must be relatively untouched by compromise formation for us to learn...Or is his egoless psychoanalysis a theory that only accounts for clinical data?" (Shapiro, 1994, pp. 556,557.) The ego, he added, is what permits the expression of drives within the context of what is reasonable and within the limitations imposed by the environment.
I should add that, in my paper I wrote, "Instead of positing 'an ego,' the new theory speaks simply of an individual, of a person, and of that person's mind." Both Boesky and Shapiro, as well as others, objected to my use of the words, person and individual, as both incorrect and misleading. I was told that I should have said that the new theory refers simply to mental functioning (or, perhaps, the mind) and to how the mind functions in seeking pleasure and avoiding unpleasure. I believe those objections are correct and I have made the necessary corrections in terminology in what I have written for presentation this evening.
I am not persuaded, however, by the arguments advanced by Boesky and Shapiro concerning the necessity of positing a special agency, the ego, if one is to offer a satisfactory explanation of the currently known facts of mental development and of mental functioning over time. There is no doubt about the facts to which Boesky, for example, pointed in such a detailed and clear way. Character traits ( = normal compromise formations) and neurotic symptoms ( = pathological compromise formations) have functional stability. If one equates functional stability with psychic structure, as Boesky asserts that one should do (in his words: "Functional continuity is essentially another term for psychic structure"), then one must agree that structuralization is an important aspect of mental development and mental functioning. I would be the first to maintain, to insist, in fact, that many of the pleasure seeking wishes ( = libidinal and aggressive drive derivatives) of early childhood, together with the unpleasure and defenses associated with them, persist throughout life. To be sure, many of the myriad compromise formations that result from such conflicts do change. If they didn't, or couldn't, psychoanalysis would be impossible as a therapeutic procedure, for example. But many don't change, at least not in any fundamental or substantial way. To say all that, however, doesn't require that one postulate an agency, the ego, to explain it. All that one should conclude from the facts I've just summarized is that childhood conflicts, as well as some of the compromise formations to which they give rise, persist throughout life. They have structure, if you will. What my discussants have added, and in doing this they have followed Freud's lead, is that these persistent compromise formations are somehow integrated into a consistent whole, a whole that is more or less reasonable and realistic. This is the conclusion with which I take issue, because I don't believe that the facts as we know them today bear it out.
In an earlier paper (Brenner, 1968) I questioned whether it is really true that logic, consistency, and consonance with reality are the norm in adults for what were, then as now, called ego functions. As an example, consider man's attitude toward death. In early chldhood the concept of one's own death is meaningless. It acquires meaning gradually as we mature. Since it often unconsciously comes to symbolize castration, object loss, and loss of love, it is not surprising that in adults thoughts of death are associated with conflict and anxiety... [As] a result, even a normal adult's attitude toward death is far from being logical, consistent and integrated. Childhood attitudes persist into adulthood and exist unchanged alongside more mature attitudes: every adult knows he will die, yet when he consciously thinks about death, his first thought is often that his own death is impossible...Thus the final adult attitude is a combination of mutually inconsistent and unreconciled ideas...Dynamically the situation is similar to what exists in [many neurotic illnesses.] The unconscious forces responsible for lack of integration and for persistence of infantile attitudes are doubtless the same in the normal as in the pathological: e.g. fear of castration, separation and loss of love. Yet one hesitates to class as pathological a disbelief in the possibility of one's own death, since it is so nearly universal... As further evidence...consider the case of words with two opposite meanings. The use of a word to mean its opposite is usually considered characteristic for the id (primary process mentation). It is not likely to be attributed to normal, adult ego functioning. Yet in fact it can be observed as an everyday characteristic of [adult speech]. In ordinary conversation the word, yes, means either assent or dissent. One must decide which of the two opposite meanings the speaker wishes to convey by the context...The same...for many other words...for long and short, good and bad, etc...The archaic tencency to use a word to signify its opposite must...be recognized as a part of adult [mental] functioning; it cannot be relegated to the id [and denied a part in ego functioning] (pp. 426-427).
From these and other examples I concluded that there seems to be no convincing evidence of a need for consistency or realism in what is thought of as adult ego functioning and that inconsistency, illogic, and disregard for reality are quite natural to those aspects of mental functioning. What I did not see clearly at that time is what I propose today, namely, that the idea that mental functioning is best understood in terms of separable agencies ( = id, ego, and superego) is contradicted by many of the data available to us at present. What is central to a psychoanalytically informed view of mental functioning is psychic conflict and its consequence, compromise formation. As Kris wrote many years ago, psychoanalysis is human behavior viewed as conflict. What I suggest further is that the idea of understanding mental functioning in terms of agencies that compete and cooperate with one another is unnecessary, often confusing, and at times disadvantageous.
Charles Brenner, M.D.
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