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THE LAST RESISTANCE

SUNY series, Alternatives in Psychology Michael A. Wallach, editor

THE LAST RESISTANCE


The Concept of Science as a Defense against Psychoanalysis

MARCUS BOWMAN

State University of New York Press

Published by State University of New York Press 2002 State University of New York All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission. No part of this book may be stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means including electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission in writing of the publisher. For information, address State University of New York Press, 90 State Street, Suite 700, Albany, NY 12207 Production by Marilyn P. Semerad Marketing by Fran Keneston Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Bowman, Marcus R. The last resistance : the concept of science as a defense against psychoanalysis / Marcus Bowman. p. cm.(SUNY series, alternatives in psychology) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-7914-5451-7 (acid-free)ISBN 0-7914-5452-5 (pbk. : acid-free) 1. PsychoanalysisPhilosophy. 2. Freud, Sigmund, 18561939. I. Title. II. Series. BF173 .B717 2002 150.19'5dc21 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

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CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS CHAPTER ONE. INTRODUCTION: DEPTH PSYCHOLOGY AND THE PROBLEM OF SCIENCE Science and the Corrosion of Tradition Science and the Self The Metaphors of Science Science and Consensus The Distortion of Defense CHAPTER TWO. PLACING PSYCHOANALYSIS AS A SCIENCE The Cartesian Separation of Mind from Science Psychoanalysis and Hermeneutics Freuds Own Remarks on the Classification of Psychoanalysis CHAPTER THREE. NIETZSCHE AND THE CRITIQUE OF INTENTION The Challenge to Dualism from Pragmatism Nietzsches Critique of Intention Applications to Psychopathology CHAPTER FOUR. ISSUES FROM STUDIES ON HYSTERIA Individuation and Neurosis Breuers Case of Anna O. The Case of Elisabeth von R. Catharsis and Psychoanalysis

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1 8 13 19 28

37 37 43 54

61 61 68 77

85 85 92 97 106

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CHAPTER FIVE. DEFENSE AND THE PROBLEM OF IDENTITY Defense and the Conflict between Hunger and Overabundance Exception and Rule in Freudian Metapsychology General Summary and Conclusion NOTES BIBLIOGRAPHY INDEX

117 117 128 132 139 171 179

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank Jane Bunker and Marilyn Semerad at State University of New York Press for their help in the completion of this work. I am indebted also to Margaret Copeley for copyediting the text. Some material in this book, particularly in chapter two, appeared in an earlier form in my article On the Idea of Natural Science as a Resistance to Psychoanalysis in Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, Vol. 19 (1996): 371402. I am grateful to the editors of that journal for permission to review here some of the points that were made there.

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Chapter One INTRODUCTION: DEPTH PSYCHOLOGY AND THE PROBLEM OF SCIENCE


SCIENCE AND THE CORROSION OF TRADITION
The problem of the relation between psychoanalysis and science is rooted in the way science has changed our understanding of our relation with the rest of nature. It can be understood only when viewed in the context of this change. In the past, human beings believed they stood apart in some fundamental way from nature. Modern science has undermined this dualist belief. The most important consequence of the decline of dualism has been the decline of faith in tradition and received wisdom and a corresponding increase in a critical attitude towards these things. In psychoanalysis and depth psychology this is reflected in the questioning of personal assumptions, prejudices, and convictions. The aim of this is to achieve a deepened level of personal emotional autonomy. Emotional autonomy is characterized by the capacity to live fruitfully by conditional values, that is, by values and aims that are always open to reexamination, rather than being dependent upon the idea of unconditional imperatives that are assumed to be inherently beyond question. The questioning of the scientific credentials of psychoanalysis in recent times has been motivated, in large part, by an unconscious wish to return to a more unconditional world and thereby to lessen the demands of autonomy. Its underlying aim is to argue that a scientific culture does not in fact impose this ethic of autonomy on us. Until at least relatively recent times, most human beings believed there was an essential difference between what went on in 1

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their own minds and what went on in the rest of nature. In particular, they thought themselves to be motivated in some way clearly distinct from other animals. If they were asked to clarify that distinction, they would have been likely to say that human beings had the capacity to reason and the capacity to make moral judgements of right and wrong whereas other creatures lacked these capacities. Human beings had a reasoning soul, linking them to something divine, to something, that is, above and beyond the principles governing the rest of nature. Other creatures did not have such a soul. There is no doubt how prevalent this view once was. All the most influential shapers of European moral thought endorsed it. From Plato and Aristotle in the ancient world, through to Descartes and Kant in more modern times, this view of the human animal has been the governing one, the official view, as it were. When Descartes claims that reason is the only thing which makes us men and distinguishes us from the animals, he is speaking for this predominant tradition.1 In the last two hundred years or so, as we all know, this ancient consensus has broken down. The dualism that drew a clear distinction between human beings and the rest of nature has lost its governing role in Western thought. It has been displaced, of course, by the rise of modern science. Whatever else it may be besides, modern science is the story of human beings pulling things apart to study more closely how they work. Driven by this impulse of curiosity, the sciences have taught us more and more about the role of necessity in events. More precisely, they have taught us how to describe ever more accurately the conditions behind events.2 That is to say, they have taught us to describe events ever more carefully within the context of other events, rather than having to regard things as disconnected and therefore mysterious. Drawing ever wider and more intricate connections between things, the sciences have inevitably changed our sense of our own relation with nature. As we have learned ever more accurately to describe the conditions behind our experiences, we have seen ourselves drawn ever more deeply into nature. The idea that there is some fundamental disjunction between ourselves and nature has seemed ever more implausible. Certain episodes in the history of the sciences have become familiar symbols of this deepening understanding of the conditions of nature, and of the deepening implication of human beings within nature. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Copernicus and his successors showed there is nothing privileged about our physical home. It is only one of probably countless similar dependent stellar

Introduction

systems. In the nineteenth century Darwin made plain there is nothing privileged about our organic nature either. We are just another branch on the tree of life. We fight for a place in the sun along with the other creatures. We have been made what we are by the long history of that fight, and in sickness and in health we are shaped still by the demands of organic competition. Seventeenth-century cosmology and nineteenth-century evolutionary theory are universally regarded as the two unequivocal success stories of science. The conditional narratives of science like these have, however, been achieved at a particular price. It is not just that they have undermined the idea that human beings have a free, that is, a detached, unconditioned will guiding their thoughts and actions. When all is said and done this is a highly abstract idea and the general decline of belief in it has probably changed the behavior and experience of human beings little, if at all. The real, tangible price exacted by the sciences is to be found elsewhere. It is to be found in their relentlessly corrosive effect on the power of received wisdom. What the narratives of science have so greatly weakened, in other words, is the power of custom and tradition. This is the most important practical consequence of the fading of dualism, of the fading of the idea that there is some fundamental separation between human beings and the rest of nature. It is not just this or that particular custom or tradition that has been undermined by science. Faith in tradition as such has been undermined.3 Five hundred years ago, almost any idea that had the authority of long tradition on its side became by virtue of that fact more acceptable. Even a hundred years ago tradition could confer authority on an idea. What has changed is that now no ideacertainly no idea that aspires to scientific credibilitycan successfully defend itself against criticism by resorting to the authority of tradition. From a historical perspective this amounts to a fundamental shift in human attitudes. For the first time in history, perhaps, we now feel under a positive obligation to question what is traditional, old and sacred. Science, in other words, has generated a new kind of ethical imperative: we must not be governed by tradition; instead, we must govern ourselves. The divisions within ourselves created by this new obligation are deeper than we generally realize. In one way or another, we are all now at war with what we have inherited. And this is true not just of the larger historical traditions but also of the private customs and habits we have each personally inherited from family and home. Because this internal war of the spirit causes us so many stresses and

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strains, older, more dualist ways of thinking about the world retain a continuing, though unconscious, appeal for us. To go back to a world where the critical spirit of science was excluded from our most personal valuations and experiences would be to go back to a world of significantly greater certainty, greater trust in precedent, and hence less intense inner conflict. The appeal of such a prospect is reflected in the widespread attempts in modern intellectual life to draw limits and boundaries for science. The arguments we have seen in recent times questioning the scientific status of psychoanalysis are one important part of this. One way or another, all these arguments about psychoanalysis and science have attempted to withdraw science from the personal life and confine it to the areas it occupied before Freud put pen to paper. The debates in contemporary life about just where the legitimate boundaries of science are to be drawn are symptomatic of the fact that we are torn in our attitude towards science. We want the power that science promises. But in an inarticulate way we are anxious about losing what little remains of our traditions. We fear to lose these remains because it is from our traditions and customs that we take our sense of identity, our sense of who we are. Tradition gives us a sense of belonging in some particular place and, more important, to some particular community. This sense of belonging appears to be a vital part of human self-esteem and self-assurance. Perhaps this is because it is by adhering to traditions and customs that we have always preserved ourselves from the potential chaos of divergent inclinations within us, and prevented it from leading to paralysis. The less tradition there is to adhere to, the more we have to organize this potential chaos in a conscious and deliberate way ourselves. This organizing of potential chaos is the characteristic burden of modern life. What we do not know is how far we can carry this process of sloughing off tradition. Historically, human beings have never been able to live in a creative way without traditions and it is not clear to what extent they can dispense with them without losing the power to be creative. The pressure which everyone is conscious of in modern life to make decisions for the shorter term only, at the expense of longer term objectives, is a reflection of the disappearance of larger, overarching traditions. This raises the possibility that as a culture, because of science, we may already face an erosion in our deeper creative capacity. If we do go on replacing what remains of our unexamined customs with scientific truth we cannot be sure what will become of our creative humanity, of our sense of self-worth, of our

Introduction

sense of duty towards ourselves and towards others.4 As we leave ever further behind a culture in which we were sure we were something special, we dont know how much of our sense of what it means to be human may yet have to be sacrificed. It is questions like these and the fears that go with them that animate contemporary arguments about what science is and what its legitimate boundaries are. And they also animate the controversies over psychoanalysis. Freud carries the scientific spirit of inquiry into the realm of our most personal customs and traditions. In general, these are the customs we acquire as we interact with our immediate family as we grow up. Freud found a way of asking questions about these customs, and the conditions behind them, that is unmatched in its penetration. Some of the answers he made to his own questions are mistaken. Some of the answers later psychoanalysts and others have made to his questions have also been mistaken. But the questions themselves have proven so illuminating that we cannot now avoid asking them. Their very power, however, provokes the unconscious anxiety that they may rob us of what is left of our customs and the sense of identity we get from these customs. Fundamentally, it is this underlying anxiety that has made the controversies over psychoanalysis so intense, and often so unforgiving.5 The focal point for these controversies has been the question of the precise relationship between psychoanalysis and the rest of science. This should not surprise us. After all, if it could be shown that psychoanalysis was at variance with the tenets of science, this would invalidate, or at least seriously undermine, the challenge it poses to our personal customs. Most significant of all, it would mean that the spirit of science actually did not impose an obligation to question how our characters are shaped by personal experiences and early identifications. A deep, unconscious wish would thereby be satisfied: the wish that we can have a culture based on science, without the final threat to our sense of who we are. The controversies we have seen over the scientific status of psychoanalysis are, therefore, ultimately about science itself, rather than psychoanalysis as such. They are about our hopes and fears from science and the divisions within us between the wish to push science to its limits and the wish to confine science for fear it undermines us. Properly understood, the arguments in recent times about the scientific status of psychoanalysis are only the most recent and overt manifestation of a conflict that has been brewing for a number of centuries. From at least the time of Copernicus, science has generated a conflict between a sense of obligation to truth and a

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sense of obligation to tradition. To understand the modern arguments about psychoanalysis we have to bear in mind this wider historical context. The conflict provoked with tradition by the rise of modern science is revealed most clearly in the attempts by philosophers after Copernicus to define science and trace its limits. Some of the most influential of modern philosophers, like Descartes and Kant for instance, sought to reconcile science with tradition by doing this. They tried to show that actually there is not a conflict between them. This is the psychological key to understanding their work and it is the key to understanding their influence: they tried to defuse a gathering crisis no one knew how to confront. For Descartes in the seventeenth century the way to reconcile science and tradition was to make as unequivocal as possible the ancient distinction between mind and matter. Descartes conceives science as the minds knowledge of matter, its knowledge of what it sees looking out through the windows of the soul onto the world. Presenting the problem as one of how we can know this world with certainty, he then argues that this knowledge actually depends upon the traditional certainties of faith in God. Without this faith, he insists, we could never trust our knowledge.6 The unspoken argument in all this is that if science depends upon the traditions of faith, it obviously cannot be a threat to them. For Kant, working a century and a half after Descartes, the way to address the conflict between tradition and knowledge was to argue that science is founded upon a series of highly intricate intellectual categories. These, he argued, are sealed off from the categories upon which rest morality and faith. According to this view, science is not a threat to faith, because science and faith inhabit entirely different intellectual worlds.7 Descartes and Kant did help to allay the unarticulated anxieties generated by the rise of modern science, for a time. But what they did not do was to help the development of a serious science of the human psyche. On the contrary, they argued, in effect, that such a science would be a contradiction in terms. According to their way of looking at the world, natural science simply cannot tell us anything essential about human volition and the traditions and customs that condition it. This viewpoint, implicit in Descartes, becomes explicit in Kant.8 A science of human volition finally did emerge, however, at the end of the nineteenth century, with Nietzsche and with Freud. Inevitably, it proceeds from presuppositions that are radically divergent

Introduction

from those of the two great dualist philosophers. This is precisely why it is the ideas of Descartes and Kant that are still used, in a received form, to try to invalidate that science. We shall consider this a little more closely in the pages ahead. Of course, there have been philosophers of a different intellectual temperament, philosophers like Hume, for instance, in the eighteenth century, or like Schopenhauer and Kierkegaard, in the nineteenth. Writers like these accept that the development of science does indeed entail the loss of ancient and fundamental assumptions about the nature of human beings and the human mind. In the view of thinkers such as these, we have to accept that human reason is not in fact complete and entire, as Descartes maintains that it is.9 Nature will always maintain her rights, and prevail in the end over any abstract reasoning whatsoever, as Hume puts it in a powerful assertion of the monist position.10 The implication is that the human soul is not immune from critical scientific scrutiny. On the contrary, just like everything else in nature, the processes of human thought and feeling are conditioned, and therefore must in principle be amenable to scientific exploration. Such a realization, for a man of Schopenhauers temperament, seems to offer only the despair of a world driven by a godless will. If we are just the plaything of our natural passions, he concludes, the best thing is to live with as few passions as possible.11 For others, like Kierkegaard, the only way to save a sense of what is sacred in man from being swept into the contingencies of nature is to uncouple the concept of the soul from rational argument altogether. For such a thinker, the soul can be saved now only at the price of a severance of the dialogue with science.12 This is the position of existentialism which, of course, in one form or another has had a major impact on the thought of the last hundred years. Hume, Schopenhauer, and Kierkegaard are very diverse thinkers. Even in their diversity, however, they are each closer to the spirit of modern depth psychology than are Descartes and Kant. They are so, because none of them pretends that there is not a profound conflict between science and the traditions of faith and morality. They square up to this conflict, while the dualists try to talk around it. Nevertheless, perhaps their somewhat pessimistic reactions to the development of science are premature. Certainly, science is in the process of a major assault on all our received notions of what it means to be human, just as it has already revised all our received notions about material and organic nature. We know that science is in that sense clearing the ground. What we do not yet know is whether

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we are going to be able to build something genuinely robust and fruitful on that cleared ground. Just possibly, however, out of this painful collision between knowledge and faith, there might yet emerge a new, healthier understanding of what it means to be human. Perhaps the soul can after all survive in a scientific world, perhaps even find new kinds of strength in it.

SCIENCE AND THE SELF


Before Freud the sciences were esoteric, in that each science studied experiences that were accessible only to men who became specialists in that science. Freud changed this by making everyday, personal experiences which everyone shares for the first time the subject of science. He thus drew into science the problems of the self, of identity, of the soul. This has drawn the criticism of those who believe that the soul is a valid notion but one that has no place in science. It has drawn also the criticism of those who believe that the notion of the soul is a relic of a prescientific age and is in the process of being abolished by science. However, whichever of these two positions they adopt, the modern critics of depth psychology all revert to conceptions of science that reached maturity before the twentieth century. That is to say, they take their models of science from a time when the problems of the soul and the problems of science were still clearly separated out one from another. They deny, in other words, that the form of science itself may undergo evolution so as to include the soul. Science has been slowly changing our perspective on ourselves for many centuries. Until the nineteenth century, however, it was doing so in a way that was rather remote from the everyday concerns of most people. Freud changed this. He brought science home. Before him, the sciences were all more or less esoteric. They studied conditions behind experiences that were familiar only to very restricted groups of men who were practiced in those experiences. For instance, in the early seventeenth century Kepler wrestled to work out the mathematical formulas that describe the periods of the planets. As he did so, only a handful of men were familiar with the dimensions of the problem to be solved. To this day, the great majority of

Introduction

us can only take on trust that it has been solved. In the nineteenth century, Darwin spent years trying to satisfy himself that competition really could account for divergent evolution. Again, only a relatively small group of people have ever been sufficiently familiar with the data to judge how well his theory actually works. Freud developed a science that is not at all like this. He considered experiences that are familiar to everyone, experiences that do not require special skill or special instruments; they require only that one be human. He made science personal in a way it had not been before. Copernicus and Kepler, and Newton, and Darwin all made human beings reexamine the way they think about the world. Freud made them reexamine the way they feel about themselves. This is the most important reason psychoanalysis seems so anomalous among the sciences. Generally, it is the methods of psychoanalysis that are criticized as unscientific. Whole libraries have been written on how these methods fail to live up to the standards of science. But, ultimately, this is not the thing that makes it anomalous. The thing is that it studies experiences that are familiar to everyone, and not just to a community of specialists. The apparatus of the physical sciences and their esoteric reasoning are necessary to make possible remote and unusual regions of experience. In psychoanalysis these things are simply absent. Many of the familiar connotations we have come to associate with sciencelike the laboratory, the technical instrumentation, the sophisticated mathematics never make an appearance in psychoanalysis. A further problem that people encounter when they are asked to think of psychoanalysis as a science is that although the experiences psychoanalysis explains are familiar to everyone, the account it offers of the conditions behind those experiences is in many ways esoteric and difficult. Freud writes with great clarity, but his ideas are not as accessible as they can seem at first sight. The key ideas of psychological defense and displacement, for instance, are intricate, they have many ramifications, and they are not easy to understand properly. They require a significant degree of thought and learning. Freud thus explains intimate and familiar experiences with unfamiliar and demanding ideas. It is not comfortable to have ones most personal experiences treated in this way and this is a further reason why there is always a receptive audience for the claim that to proceed in this way is not scientific.13 Of all the sciences, psychoanalysis is the one that explores that region of experience that is most familiar of allit is so familiar it does not even have an agreed name. We can refer to it as the I, as

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Freud often does. We can call it the soul, as Freud also does.14 More simply, we can call it the region of the self. There is no perfect word to cover this region of the most intimate and familiar of everyday human experiences, which everyone shares.15 Studying the dynamics of this self, depth psychology views human beings wholly within nature, but wishes at the same time to do proper justice to the essential strangeness of human beings. This is a difficult intellectual position to maintain because it tends to draw the accusation either that one is hanging on to outmoded dualist notionssomething that the soul, because of its long religious associations, can readily be portrayed as beingor, that one is naively applying science in an inappropriate way to human complexities. These, in fact, are just the two directions from which Freuds claims to science have always been criticized. They are criticized, first, by those who believe that the principles of science we have learned from the study of nature in the past are paramount. Critics who take this view maintain that these scientific principles must not be compromised by what they see as Freuds misguided and premature efforts to accommodate the peculiarities of human beings within the sphere of science. They are criticized, second, by those who believe that faithfulness to the peculiarities of the human condition is the essential thing. These critics maintain that Freud is guilty essentially of a contradiction in terms in trying to describe those peculiarities within a framework that calls itself natural science. The first criticism can be regarded as positivist, the second as existentialist. Positivism maintains, in effect, that the soul is a fiction; it is something that will be replaced eventually by more scientific notions. Existentialism maintains, in contrast, that the soul has its own inalienable rights with which science simply has nothing to do. Both viewpoints, however, lead in practice to much the same result: the complex pathways of internal human conflict are effectively excluded from rational inquiry and investigation. Psychoanalysis is precisely an inquiry into the conditions of internal human conflict. Specifically, it is an inquiry into what, for want of a better metaphor, is often called the child within the self. In psychoanalytic work, we are exploring the implications of Nietzsches dictum that within nature, man is the child as such.16 This is the way we give expression to the exceptional place of the human animal in nature, while emphasizing that it is not exempt from nature. It is important to underline at the outset one thing that the child within the self is not. It is not the historical or biological child of human infancy. The child within the self is, therefore, not to be

Introduction

11

found in the memories of infancy. This mistake is the single most prevalent error in the critical literature on psychoanalysis, where repeatedly we find the unconscious misconstrued as forgotten childhood memory.17 The child within the self is a metaphorical expression for the inherently divided or fissured nature of human intention. Even into adulthood we are like children because we are torn perpetually between the need to find security and the need to grow. When we speak of the child within the self we speak of this perpetual suspension between the need for the security of custom, and the need to explore the limits of custom and to make something new. The child within is an expression of the intrinsically ambivalent nature of all our wishes along their entire length. Our wishes are always divided, always fissured, always equivocal. In psychoanalytic science we consider human action and experience insofar as it is conditioned by this inherent fissuring in our intentions. We seek to make the self less afraid of its own ambiguities, and more able to take responsibility for governing them. The aim is to make the self stronger, more creative, less resentful, less dependent on fictitious certainties, and less addicted to the experience of suffering. We are all nevertheless a little afraid, and some of us are significantly afraid, that we do not have the strength to bear responsibility for our own internal divisions and ambiguities. This is the underlying anxiety that science in general provokes in us. And it is the underlying anxiety that psychoanalysis in particular provokes in us. There are, therefore, powerful forces in each one of us at the personal level, and also in our culture as a whole, working against the scientific uncovering of our divisions and ambiguities. As we have noted, the predominant intellectual tradition in Western thought has emphasized the separation of mind and nature, and has argued against the possibility of understanding our most personal experiences through the careful study of our intentions. In contemporary thought, this dualist tradition in philosophy continues to act in this waythat is, it functions as a defense against the anxiety of science. The long legacy of dualism continues even at this late stage to make respectable the wish to keep the searching, critical spirit of scientific inquiry away from ourselves. It serves to make respectable the wish to keep hidden the divisions within the self and thus avoid the difficult responsibility of being self-governing. It does so through the old assumptions it helps to maintain about the relation between science and human life. These assumptions

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were shaped originally by the philosophers after the Copernican revolution who tried to make sense of the emergence of modern science against the backdrop of traditional faith. The most influential of these philosophers, like Descartes and Kant, regarded it as axiomatic that science could not encompass human wishing and acting, at least not the essence of these things. To such thinkers it appeared to be self-evident that human volition belonged to the region of faith and morals, not to scientific investigation. Unconsciously, therefore, they conceived science in such a way that it fitted into this dualist framework. They portrayed science as something that can tell us about the world, but will not ask questions about our values and morality. These old assumptions about science are still quietly prevalent in many areas of modern thought and feeling. And it is precisely these old assumptions about science that have been drawn on by contemporary critics to question the scientific credentials of psychoanalysis and depth psychology.18 All those who question the scientific status of psychoanalysis point in support of their argument to versions of science that reached maturity before the twentieth centuryabove all, physics and evolutionary theory. The significance of these sciences in the context of the argument about psychoanalysis is that they do not tell us anything about our own wishing and acting and our everyday decisions and problems. In other words, they do not infringe the dualist principle of separating the study of what is human from the study of nature. Those who question the scientific status of depth psychology say, in effect, that these forms of science offer us authoritative models that we can use to judge anything else that claims scientific status. Obviously, if the criteria for science are drawn up in this way, depth psychology must fail the test. What we see here is how dualist assumptions condition contemporary intellectual debate, not in an explicit way, where they are open to criticism, but in an unconscious, covert way, where they evade criticism. The important critical literature on psychoanalysis over the past thirty years or so can be understood only in this light. I have in mind here in particular the critiques of analysis such as those of Karl Popper in Conjectures & Refutations (1972), Frank Sulloway in Freud: Biologist of the Mind (1979), Adolf Grnbaum in The Foundations of Psychoanalysis (1984) and Validation in the Clinical Theory of Psychoanalysis (1993), and Richard Webster in Why Freud Was Wrong (1995). This literature draws on one or other variant of the old dualist perspective to try to invalidate the rational exploration of our fissured intentions. All of these writers profess to

Introduction

13

know how a scientific psychology is to be defined, and all define it in such a way that the ambiguities in human intention are immunized from its exploration. Each of these writers defines scientific psychology in such a way that the problem addressed by psychoanalysis disappears from view. Each examines psychoanalysis as if the problem of psychic conflict and human ambivalence, the problem that defines it, did not enter into it. In place of an examination of this problem, we are given arguments about how science must not deviate from its past forms. For Popper and Grnbaum, this means psychoanalysis must be an application of the principles of physics. For Sulloway and Webster, it means it must be an application of the principles of evolutionary biology. By undermining the certainties maintained by tradition and custom, science as a whole has increased the demands on each one of us to find our own equilibrium and balance. The weaker tradition and custom are, the less we can fall back upon them to organize life. These critical writers speak to our hunger for an escape from these demands imposed by a scientific culture. Their work expresses a nostalgic wish to return to a world before we stumbled into the labyrinth of the self, a world where more certainties were permitted.19 Their work reflects a fundamental lack of faith in the human self. They are saying, not overtly but by implication, that if we do proceed with science and explore ourselves as we have explored other parts of nature, then we will cease to function creatively. We do not have, they say, the resources to live by self-governance. So we must hold on to those external imperatives that still remain to us from custom and tradition. This is the fear which, unconsciously, they express.

THE METAPHORS OF SCIENCE


The human sciences have always looked to the successful physical sciences for guidance as to how to proceed. Positivists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries looked to Newton and later to Darwin as sources of precedent for human science. Modern-day positivist critics of psychoanalysis differ from their predecessors in that they use the arguments of old sciences not to see how it is possible to achieve new knowledge, but to try to invalidate knowledge we have already acquired. We might call this attitude scientific monotheism. It is

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characterized by the elevation of a single template for science as the only legitimate form that may be adopted. In contrast to these positivist critics, Freud never allows any single scientific analogy to dominate his thinking. He never allows himself to become the prisoner of any single scientific metaphor. The sciences of human motivation, like depth psychology, history, economics, social science, and so on, study the choices human beings make in life and, no less important, the feelings they have about those choices and the evaluations they put upon them. This distinguishes them from the physical sciences and from physical medicine. For these sciences of human motivation there has always been the difficulty of deciding what is the best way to describe the conditions behind human choices, because it is not self-evident just what that best way is. There has always been a tendency for those who have faced this difficulty to look to the earlier physical sciences for guidance, since these sciences have been so successful. Instinctively, everyone feels that the older sciences of nature must contain the proper precedents for a successful science of the human. In certain quarters, for instance, there has long been the hope that some way can be found of translating the form of Newtonian science into a basis for a successful human science. There have been perennial attempts to make human science exact science, especially for instance in economics, where there is scope for a lot of quantification. But this approach has never yielded anything like a unifying, Newtonian theory of human behavior. This failure exasperated, notably, J. S. Mill. He described the human sciences of his own day as abandoned to the uncertainties of vague and popular discussion, and as representing a blot on the face of science.20 If we can account so successfully for the motion of the sun and the stars, he felt, surely we can find a way to account for ourselves just as precisely. The hope of a human science modeled on physical science is still with us. One only has to look at the criticisms of psychoanalysis made by philosophers like Popper and Grnbaum. Positivists like these want to see the conditions of human experience described not in the way Freud describes them but in the way physicists describe the conditions of matter. The Darwinian revolution provoked analogous hopes to those raised by the scientific revolutions of the seventeenth century. If Darwinian theory can explain something as difficult as evolution, the ar-

Introduction

15

gument goes, then surely some elaboration of it must be capable of explaining human experience and action. This was the hope of the Social Darwinists of the nineteenth century. It is still the ostensible hope of critics of psychoanalysis like Sulloway and Webster. The substance of their criticism is the same as that of Popper and Grnbaum: The form of the narrative that psychoanalysis develops is the wrong form. For Popper and Grnbaum, Freud fails because his propositions are not like those of Newton and Einstein. For Sulloway and Webster, he fails because his propositions are not like those of Darwin. Ostensibly, all these critics want to draw psychoanalysis in a direction that is more like older sciences. The real point of their criticisms, however, although they are careful to deny this, is that psychoanalysis fails because it cannot be drawn in this direction. Whatever they may claim to the contrary about wishing to improve psychoanalysis, or rescue it, their real aim is to invalidate it as it stands in Freuds work, and in that of his successors. The arguments of these critics have received a lot of attention in recent times. This is not because they stand up to serious examination, or because they lead anywhere new, but because they manage to criticize Freud while at the same time appearing to be respectable from a scientific point of view. Newton, Einstein, and Darwin were all great scientists, and are universally revered. So, the argument runs, how could psychoanalysis fail to become more scientific by following them more closely? The rhetoric here is powerful, but the reasoning is flawed. The flaw is that science does not develop by repeating its history. Newton, Einstein, and Darwin were all great scientists. One indication of that greatness is that each changed the form of science in his own field. No one would suggest that Darwin or Einstein would have been better scientists had they produced results more like those of Newton. This, however, is the obvious corollary of the suggestion that psychoanalysis itself should be modeled on the work of one of these earlier scientists. The fact is that none of these other scientists is a particularly useful guide in the science of the human unconscious because, as it happens, they were not interested in the human unconscious. This point is so obvious one would think it hardly worth making. But the perennial calls for Einsteinian and Darwinian improvements to psychoanalysis show the truth is otherwise. Essentially, and again unconsciously, the idea of improving psychoanalysis by making it conform to older sciences appeals precisely because it is impossible to fulfill. By imposing an impossible demand

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The Last Resistance

on psychoanalysis, a demand that apparently has the authority of science behind it, the prospect is raised of an escape from psychoanalysis altogether. More precisely, the prospect is raised of an escape from the quintessentially modern burden of emotional self-governance. The unconscious appeal of the positivist critics of psychoanalysis is that of an appeal for a return to a time when our frame of reference for the self was not yet a conditional one, as in the time of Newton, and in the time of Darwin. The implication of their work is that science does not after all impose an ethic of autonomy on us. The traditional weakness of positivism was that it always expected the sciences of the future to look too much like the sciences of the past. We simply do not know what forms science may yet manifest in the future. If we did, we would possess knowledge and not still be in search of it. Nevertheless, the argument of positivism that we should look to older models of science to develop newer ones like psychology should not in itself be dismissed. Setting up older sciences as authorities by which newer sciences are to be judged is a mistake, but using older sciences as guides and precedents to help us to work creatively in newer sciences is not. When we try to describe human beings in a scientific way it is often helpful to look to the precedents offered by other sciences. Everything hinges, however, on doing this in an appropriate manner. We use the other sciences as a source of ideas for human science not because we expect the latter eventually to mimic the former, but for an altogether different reason. We have reached now the point in history where we have begun to understand that our investigations into nature have always been, unconsciously, an exploration of ourselves, strange as this may sound. Originally, we thought the sciences gave us objective statements about the world, that is to say, statements about the world as it would be independent of any human agent acting upon it. Now, we know that what the sciences actually give us is statements about our own relation with the world, and about our own capacities in the world. The sciences tell us how the world looks to the human eye and how it feels to the human hand. No matter how sophisticated they become that is all they tell us. Know yourself is the whole of science, notes Nietzsche. Only at the end of knowledge of all things will man have come to know himself. Because things are only the limits of man.21 The history of science is the history of mans search for the limits of his own capacities. It is the history of his discovery of what he can do with the world and what the world can mean to an animal constituted with his particular purposes. The important thing is that

Introduction

17

natural science is actually a human story, even though we usually forget to think of it in these terms. What we also too readily forget is that all the sciences began by projecting familiar experience onto more remote and esoteric experiences. Science develops by assuming that the unfamiliar is like the familiar, and then seeing how far this assumption has to be modified. The sciences of the physical world developed by progressively refining analogies originally taken from more everyday events. The sophistication of modern science conceals this origin but the essentially metaphorical and anthropomorphic nature of all scientific knowledge has to be remembered.22 It is because of this anthropomorphic quality of our knowledge of the natural world that, in developing human science, we are quite justified in borrowing back analogies from the physical sciences, provided that we do not forget that they are analogies. This is the way in which the natural sciences do indeed offer us precedents for the human sciences. The most important anticipation of the way Freud borrows back scientific analogies can be found in the work of Goethe. Goethe points out that the terms we use in the physical sciences reflect a fundamental, though concealed, anthropomorphism. As he remarks, Man never grasps how anthropomorphic he is.23 This insight was not unique to Goethe but he was ahead of his contemporaries in perceiving the possibility of reappropriating the terms of the physical sciences as metaphors for human behavior. His most significant experiment here is his novel Elective Affinities, dating from 1809. Elective Affinities tells how the relations between a husband and wife are altered by the arrival in their household of two acquaintances. Erotic and destructive energies between the couple are released and recombine together in new forms as they form attachments with the new arrivals. Near the beginning of the book the characters compare what is happening between them to the dissolution and recombination of chemical compoundshence the title Elective Affinities. The details of the novel do not matter here. What is important is the insight underlying it. Goethe himself makes explicit what this is: In the doctrines of nature we very often use ethical similes in order to bring closer something that is far distant from the circle of human knowledge. Therefore, in a moral case, I wanted to return a chemical simile to its spiritual origin. All the more so, since there is assuredly only one nature everywhere. And through even the realms of cheerful free reason the tracks of a more somber, passionate necessity ineluctably run.24

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The Last Resistance

Goethe is not suggesting here that the study of human activity can be made into a branch of physical science. He is saying something more subtle: that the development of knowledge everywhere depends upon the use of analogies and metaphors, and that the physical sciences now offer us a new source of analogies for describing what happens between human beings, a rival source to that traditionally offered by religious teaching and the morality that goes with it. And it is just in accordance with this insight that Freud proceeds. No one has more effectively employed the other sciences as sources of metaphors for psychology than did he. It does not follow, however, as our clumsy modern positivists imagine, that he aspired to be a Newton or a Darwin of the mind, in any literal sense. Freud is highly eclectic in his use of analogies from the sciences. He takes one up and then he drops it again, depending on how useful he finds it for illustrating any particular point.25 There are, of course, Darwinian analogies throughout his work. For instance, he views the mind as an organic entity, and as an entity that is shaped by its evolution. If one searches hard, there are even a few Newtonian (or rather, Galilean) analogies. In chapter seven of The Interpretation of Dreams, he draws an analogy between mental mechanisms and the structure of a telescope, the suggestion being that wishes are bent and distorted through the levels of the unconscious just as light beams are refracted by a series of lenses.26 It must be remembered, however, that some of his most significant analogiesfor instance, the censor of dreams or, for himself, the archaeologistdo not come from the realms of physics or biology. There are few pages in Freuds writing where he does not go to pains to show us what he is thinking of by an apt image which is easy to visualize in the imagination. Often, these images have physiological connotations. But his ability to describe clearly what are frequently very difficult abstract ideas should not be confused with an adherence to any simplistic conception of science. Freud was describing new truths about the psyche. To do that, he had no choice but to create new metaphors.27 What sets Freud apart from the positivist critics of the scientific form of psychoanalysis is that he does not become the prisoner of any particular scientific metaphor. It is he who uses the metaphor, not the metaphor which uses him. For Popper, for Grnbaum, for Sulloway, for Webster, in contrast, it is the metaphor which rules. For them, the objection to psychoanalysis is that it does not make the science of the self obedient to any single scientific metaphor.

Introduction

19

In the science of the mind, however, as in every science, there is a point at which every analogy breaks down. As a source of analogy, no scientific precedent ever lasts us quite as long as we would like. If Freud had a genius for anything, it was for knowing the point at which every analogy and metaphor must be replaced by another. He notes, In psychology we can describe things only with the help of analogies. There is nothing unusual in this, it is the same elsewhere. But we have to keep changing these analogies, because none lasts us long enough.28 The positivist critics of the scientific form of psychoanalysis do not understand this. They want to make us dependent upon a single source of analogy, whether physics or Darwinism. When we try to describe the intricate problems of the human self in a rational way, excessive dependence on one analogy, or on one restricted group of analogies, leaves us only with an unnecessary handicap. Of course, it may allow us to purchase the look of scientific rigor and respectability. This is not, however, what we need. What we need is to retain intellectual freedom of movement so as to overcome the ever new ways we contrive of concealing our conflicts and anxieties from ourselves. Investing the expressions of old sciences with an ideal status and saying that our investigations must follow their form only, and no other, is one way that helps to rationalize such concealment. It gives us the appearance of endorsing science while at the same time allowing us to sidestep the creative responsibility science imposes on us to examine the way we live.

SCIENCE AND CONSENSUS


Science depends upon the exercise of the individual conscience in the face of received wisdom and consensually endorsed assumptions. This is exemplified in psychoanalysis itself when it is properly practiced. The positivist critics of psychoanalysis misrepresent scientific truth as being decided by consensus. At the same time, they misrepresent psychoanalysis as a process closed from external checks in which the analyst is free to impose an interpretation of history onto his patient. These distortions are motivated by the wish to deny that the ethic of autonomy, which is the ethic of psychoanalysis, is intimately connected with the rise of a scientific culture.

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The Last Resistance

Science is the most respected and feared of modern ideas. Indeed, it is the only universally respected and feared of modern ideas. We respect it because we want the power science promises. We fear it because we fear its corrosive effect on our customs and sense of identity. The philosophers of science like Popper and Grnbaum, who have criticized the scientific form of psychoanalysis, tap into and exaggerate these rather ambivalent feelings we all have in some measure about science.29 These positivist critics endow science with an authority greater than it should be given, while at the same time making every effort to confine science to the regions it has occupied in the past. This exaggeration of the authority of science, together with the anxious wish to confine it, reflects a discomfort with the ethical imperative that goes with science, which is that of being able to take a critical attitude towards authority while at the same time taking a critical attitude towards ones own motives. In a scientific culture, to be fully human we have continually to be willing to question our customs and habits so as to understand more clearly what may be destructive and inhibiting in them. We each have to try to master the customs we have inherited and try to develop them in as fruitful a way as we can. We have to find a fruitful way of maintaining the often very difficult balance between criticism of custom and preservation of it. More frequently than we would like, this balance breaks down and it degenerates into anxious enslavement to fruitless habits, along with despairing, self-punitive attempts to escape from them. As a therapy, the task of psychoanalysis is to help to restore this balance where it has been lost. It does this by strengthening within the individual the sense of uniqueness of the self and the duty to be true to this uniqueness. In a scientific culture, those who are not comfortable with this personal ethos have a vested interest in denying its intimate connection with science. The wish to deny the scientific element in the talking cure comes from the wish to deny that this difficult ethic of autonomy, which is the heart of the talking cure, goes hand in hand with science. The positivist critics of analysis obscure this link by presenting a distorted picture both of science in general and of psychoanalysis in particular. These critics distort science in general by exaggerating the part played in it by consensus and agreement. At the same time, they underplay the extent to which an essential condition of truth, in any field of science, is the readiness continually to question consensus. Consistent with this view of science, they portray the main concern of the analyst as being that of achieving the patients agreement with

Introduction

21

the analysts own hypotheses. They are entirely unaware of the extent to which the analytic process depends upon and cultivates a divergence of viewpoint between patient and analyst. They further distort the real nature of psychoanalysis by exaggerating the extent to which the analytic relation is closed from the influence of external checks and balances. The proper scientist is portrayed by these writers as someone whose ideas are constantly subject to verification by others. The psychoanalyst, in contrast, is portrayed as being free from the constraints of consensual testing and therefore as being free arbitrarily to impose interpretations on the material his patient brings him. Clearly, the principle that scientific knowledge must be regulated by agreement among a community of qualified researchers is an important one. For any idea to be regarded as true, it must prove fruitful in a variety of contexts beyond the one in which it originates. The skilful transference of insight acquired in one investigative setting to another is one of the essential bases of all science. A new idea or procedure that cannot successfully be transferred into other contexts and settings by skilled researchers will, in any event, die out. In the context of psychoanalysis, however, this principle has been invoked in a tendentious manner. Too often the critics of psychoanalysis have vulgarized it into the implied suggestion that science in general relies on procedures that are accessible to and understood by a widely participating audience. A contrast is then drawn with psychoanalysis, which is portrayed as being closed off from external assessment. It was this simplistic idea of the consensual nature of scientific truth that gave appeal, for instance, to Poppers influential notion of falsifiability. To those who found the notion persuasive, falsifiability seemed to pinpoint what distinguishes a genuinely open and testable science, like physics, from a closed pseudoscience, like psychoanalysis, which supposedly evades putting its ideas to test in the public arena. In reality, Poppers arguments about falsifiability were much more involved, and ultimately much more evasive, than this simple distinction between science and pseudoscience suggests. His real claim was that falsifiability was a quality inherent in scientific statements. He maintained that this quality made them amenable to reproducible testing, and thereby distinguished them from every other type of statement, such as those of religion, metaphysics, or pseudoscience.30 In practice, however, he was never able to define falsifiability in a way that stood up to close examination. Modern physics, for

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The Last Resistance

instance, because of its reliance upon statements of probability, turned out not to be falsifiable in the sense he had hoped.31 He never examined the life sciences at all, apart from the theory of evolution, which he concluded was not properly scientific because it was not falsifiable in the sense he meant either.32 And in order to be made a plausible notion for the economic and social sciences, falsifiability had to be defined in an entirely different manner from the way he had attempted to apply it in the context of physics.33 In short, falsifiability, as Popper conceived it, could not be applied to any of the existing sciences. There turned out to be no universal scientific criterion of this nature. In trying to find an essence common to all scientific statements, what Popper unwittingly demonstrated was just how diverse the different sciences actually are.34 Because the real argument Popper was proposing led him into such intricate details of logic, and because he was compelled continually to redefine what falsifiability might actually mean, the idea itself became increasingly vague. Ironically, however, its very vagueness only increased its impact because the more imprecise it became, the more it appeared to be simply a technical statement of the popular idea that science is dependent upon consensual, public, repeatable tests. This appeared to be what Popper was talking about. Many people who had never worked through Poppers often highly technical arguments missed the fact that he was actually talking about properties of statements. Mistakenly, they assumed he must have extracted from physics a rule about method, a rule about the public testing of hypotheses, and that this could be applied as a test to all the other sciences.35 In turn, this misconception had a significant impact on the debate about psychoanalysis because the private and highly individual nature of analytic work seems to set it so clearly apart from other sciences. It is widely assumed now that the scientific credentials of psychoanalysis are flawed. Probably nothing has contributed as much to this climate of opinion as the confusions to which Poppers falsifiability gave rise. Poppers falsifiability argument was also the starting point for Grnbaums more detailed criticisms of psychoanalysis. Sharing the mistaken view that Popper was making a point about scientific method, Grnbaum aimed to refute him by insisting that psychoanalytic hypotheses are testable in a public way; they can, as he puts it, be tested extraclinically.36 Grnbaums suggestions for extraclinical tests are, however, every bit as confused as Poppers ideas about falsifiability. They are confused because, like the falsifiability argument, they reflect the

Introduction

23

mistaken view of psychoanalysis as a closed procedure which attempts to verify propositions while remaining immunized from external checks. Like falsifiability, the proposal of extraclinical tests leads us in circles because it is a solution to a problem that does not actually exist. To the extent that Grnbaum is pointing out that psychoanalytic ideas do have applications outside the clinical relationship between patient and therapist, he is not telling us anything new. Plainly, psychoanalytic ideas have had a huge impact in the social and cultural sciences and in the writing of history and biography. Grnbaums real claim, however, is that Popper was wrong to make so much of the contrast between Einstein and Freud and that extraclinical tests for psychoanalysis can indeed turn it into a science rather like physics. Whereas Popper argued (or gave the impression of arguing) that psychoanalysis simply fails as a science because it is too private, Grnbaum holds out the prospect of redeeming the private nature of psychoanalysis by turning it into something like physical science. In fundamentals, however, Grnbaums writings on psychoanalysis are only a more detailed repeat of Poppers arguments because he endorses Poppers misleading contrast between psychoanalysis as something that tries to shelter its ideas from public refutation and the rest of science, which does not. For Grnbaum, as for Popper, the significance of physics is that it is an open science; it exemplifies a science that does its work in public. At its best, they maintain, science gives us truth that can be checked by consensus and agreement among a large number of people. And physics is science at its best. According to their portrayal of it, every hypothesis put forward in physics can be checked and crosschecked by any number of researchers. Faulty hypotheses are immediately eradicated because the process of survival of the fittest is so ruthless and efficient. The message is clear. Psychoanalysis must either turn itself into a branch of physics or it must forgo the status of serious science. Without this transformation, Grnbaum insists, the causal hypotheses of psychoanalysis are worth nothing because there is no brake on the analysts powers of suggestion over his patient. Even if the patient feels better this proves nothing about the correctness of the analysts ideas because suggestion may always be at work. Revealingly, it never occurs to Grnbaum that the therapist might take the greatest satisfaction in his work precisely when his patient shows the greatest independence of mind from himself. This obsession with science as a process leading to consensus and confirmation, in contrast with psychoanalysis as a process supposedly geared to producing suggestions, animates also Ernest

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Gellners well-known polemical attack on psychoanalysis in The Psychoanalytic Movement. This is written, as he himself emphasizes, in close sympathy with the position adopted by Popper and Grnbaum.37 The virtue of Gellners criticisms is that, unlike those of the two philosophers of science, they do not get lost in abstruse epistemological technicalities. Gellner strips the arguments of the philosophers down to essentials and spells out more clearly than either of them what their philosophy of science really means for psychoanalysis: Cure, he writes, must firmly, unambiguously be a concept applicable and applied in the public domain. In other words, its meaning and application must be governed by criteria which can be applied impartially by any reasonably intelligent and well-informed person.38 In short, if psychoanalytic cure were unambiguously defined and clearly visible in the public domain, Grnbaums concern that the analyst will suggest false causes to his patient would be taken care of. It would be taken care of because we would define cure in such a way that it always excluded cases where the patient felt better merely because he had become persuaded by the constructions put upon his life by his analyst. Poppers concerns about the falsifiability of psychoanalytic hypotheses would also be resolved because if we had a publicly accepted notion of what cure is, then either psychoanalysis would be seen to produce such cures, or else it would be falsified. The ever elusive goal of confirming and validating psychoanalysis or, as so many hope, disconfirming and invalidating it, would at last be achieved. Following Popper and Grnbaum, critics like Gellner like to play up the popular stereotype of science progressing by means of the endlessly repeatable test before a widely comprehending public because, superficially, this seems so unlike what happens in psychoanalysis. In reality, of course, scientific progress is a much more esoteric, prejudiced, and irrational business than this stereotype suggests. In all the sciences, the number of people qualified to interpret or repeat any given test or procedure is always limited to those with specialist knowledge and experience. If anything, the other sciences are more closed in this respect than psychoanalysis. Contrary to what Gellner implies, the truth of science never turns upon proofs accessible to the general public, not even to reasonably intelligent and well-informed members of the general public. In that sense, science is not, and has never been, in the public domain. Just as Gellner paints a misleadingly open picture of science in general, so he complements this with a misleadingly closed picture of

Introduction

25

psychoanalysis. He speaks of the need for psychoanalytic cure to be governed by criteria which can be applied impartially by any reasonably intelligent and well-informed person. In fact, psychoanalytic cure generally is governed by such criteria. Every good therapist knows quite well which patients he has helped and which he has failed to help. Patients, too, do not mistake where they have been helped by therapy and where not. Provided one genuinely is well informed on the unique characteristics of any given case history, and provided one has skill and practice at making such judgements, it is not difficult to tell how successful any given therapy has been. The idea of psychotherapy as an unusually closed procedure where results are peculiarly inaccessible to external assessment is simply a myth. What is true, however, is that psychotherapy is an investigation into and a cultivation of the individual conscience. This is what critics like Gellner and Grnbaum, and so many others, do not like about it. This is why these critics want a publicly preestablished definition of cure, so that cure may become no longer a matter for the individual conscience but rather, as Gellner puts it, firmly, unambiguously a concept applicable and applied in the public domain. If cure were a public concept, the analyst and his patient would be denied the freedom to determine what the aims and criteria of success in the treatment are to be. It is here that the positivists obsession with falsification and extraclinical testing, which looks so reasonable at first glance, betrays its essentially dogmatic inclinations. The whole purpose of these proposals is to challenge the exercise of the individual conscience in the conduct of life and in the achievement of health. The myth of science as an open, public process turns out to be a mask for the wish to subject the conduct of private life to majority vote. And this wish, in turn, is a reflection of a fundamental inability to govern oneself, or of an anxiety that one will be unable to govern oneself.39 The work of psychoanalysis is to explore the truth about the human self. For each one of us, the most difficult part of this work is coming to accept the unique nature of our history and the unique nature of the needs that that history has cultivated in us. It is not easy to accept that there must always exist a degree of divergence between our own most fundamental needs and the expectations of others, especially those others who are closest to us. There is an inescapably conflictual, and to that extent tragic, aspect to our condition. A central part of psychoanalysis involves understanding this and working to come to terms with it. The important point here is that the achievement of greater depths of truth about the human

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The Last Resistance

condition does not have any necessary connection with greater consensus and agreement. This disconnection between truth and consensus, between science and consensus, is one of the things we find hardest to accept. To some extent it frightens all of us because it means that to put order and health into our lives there are times we shall have to act without the sanction and approval of those who are most important to us and to our definition of ourselves. Those who insist that truth can invariably be decided by recourse to consensus are trying to deny this difficult aspect of the human state. All neurosis is rooted in the unconscious feeling that it is better to be barren but accepted than it is to be creative and independent. All proper psychoanalysis involves a questioning of that feeling. In psychotherapy, we cannot speak of cure unless the patient has achieved greater emotional strength to be true to himself, which means being more independent of consensus than he was at the outset. The patient should be less afraid to break with consensus when his own conscience requires this and he should be able to do this without taking flight into self-punitive patterns of behavior. It goes without saying, or rather it should go without saying, that this also must include intellectual and emotional independence from the therapist. This imposes significant limits on the possibility of any widely agreed definition of cure in psychotherapy, as opposed to the detailed understanding of cure that each patient and therapist can achieve privately between them. Whenever we attempt a wide, public definition of cure, it is impossible legitimately to go beyond rather anodyne criteria such as maturation, fruitfulness, acceptance, creativity, and so on. All these notions are important. Above all, their absence gives us a good test for the absence of cure. But in each case history these terms will mean something unique. On their own, they tell us little about how we may judge when cure has been achieved in any particular case. To do that, we have to have detailed knowledge of the history involved. This is why the people who are usually best placed to judge the success of the treatment are the two people most closely involved with it: the patient and the therapist. The problems that come to psychoanalysis are the problems of the human conscience brought about by living in a scientific culture. In such a culture, custom and tradition are routinely under critical review. Often, however, for whatever reasons of personal history, the individual is unable to resolve his relationship with the personal customs and traditions that govern him in particular. He finds that he cannot live with these customs and yet has not the

Introduction

27

strength to break free of them or modify them so that they can become part of a fruitful life. In the days of greater moral certainty and stronger traditional faith, before science had established its imperative of criticism and skepticism over our cultural life as a whole, personal conflicts of this nature were resolved either by recourse to some generally accepted moral principle, or by recourse to religious teaching itself, or by recourse to those who claimed to be able to interpret religious teaching. The individual could look outside himself to these sources of authority in the expectation that they would provide answers to the dilemmas of life. Whether he chose to go along with those answers, of course, was up to him, but the important thing is that answers were provided. In contemporary life, in contrast, answers are no longer provided. What falls to psychoanalysis and psychotherapy generally are precisely those dilemmas of conscience that arise in personal life because, in contemporary culture, there no longer exists a moral consensus for resolving them. These are the dilemmas for which, when traditional moral expectations were stronger, there may once have been solutions in the public domain, but which are no longer to be found there. Science has thrown back on to each one of us the question of how a human being becomes healthy. We must each now find our own answer to this question. Some can find the answer through their own resources. But for some, it leads to debilitating conflict, or at least to periods of debilitating conflict. To assume that such individuals are necessarily weaker than the average would be a mistake. In a world where values have become uncertain, it is often the most intricate, most original, and most conscientious individuals who find the task of being true to themselves most difficult. The less that problems of conscience can be resolved by recourse to tradition and consensus, the more the individual is called on to govern himself. When the old unspoken codes of morality lose their power it is not that the burden on the individual conscience becomes any less. In some respects it becomes greater. It may be that our fear of losing the support and sanction of others actually increases as consensus over the correct conduct of life becomes more uncertain, because it is less clear what is expected from us. And the more that we feel unsure of the support of others, the more we turn unconsciously to self-punitive patterns of behavior in an irrational attempt to secure that support. Perhaps nothing characterizes the present era more than the combination of an unprecedented lack of consensus over values and an unprecedented degree of unconsciously self-punitive behavior on the part of the confused individual conscience. Those who want to

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return to a consensus definition of cure are reflecting this stress, but their solution to it is premature and untenable. Critics like Popper, Grnbaum, and Gellner who would apply the criterion of consensual testing to psychoanalysis do not understand its place in modern culture and its relationship with science. To the extent their arguments have been popular, it is because they appeal to those fears, which in some measure we all share, of breaking with consensus and being true to what is unique within us. At one level, we would all like to be reassured that science, the great engine of modern culture, does not necessitate the cultivation of a private conscience that requires us to be independent of others. The questioning of the scientific status of psychoanalysis has become so acceptable because it carries this reassuring message concealed within it.

THE DISTORTION OF DEFENSE


To learn about ourselves and to cure ourselves we have to question the identifications that define us and we have to reform them within our own emotional economy. We seek to evade this work out of fear of alienation from those we are close to emotionally. This is psychological defense. This problem is at the center of psychoanalysis. In the critical literature on psychoanalysis there is, however, a consistent misrepresentation of defense as a problem about memory. This distorts the real nature of psychoanalytic work. Once the nature of the problem is distorted in this way, it is easier to rationalize the argument that the principles of psychoanalysis are in some fundamental way illegitimate and that it should therefore be subordinated to the principles of some other science. There exists always a divergence between our own most fundamental needs and the expectations of others, even those others who, through our identification with them, play an essential part in shaping our sense of who we are. When this proposition is laid out before us we have no conscious problem in assenting to it. Unconsciously, however, at a deeper level where our most personal identifications hold sway, it is anxiety over this divergence that always makes it difficult to be true to ourselves and therefore to live as well as we might.

Introduction

29

The problem for the person who has become emotionally ill is that he is entangled in identifications that inhibit him from living in accord with his own best nature. The neurotic has purchased his identity, as it were, at the price of habits and self-evaluations that are destructive to him. His primary identifications, generally those with his family, are conflictual, in that he has a powerful sense of the need to retain them, and an equally powerful sense that retaining them is undermining him. This conflictual attitude is carried over into his relations with the rest of the world. The neurotic has invariably an acute sense of needing to belong, of not belonging, and of being punished because of his failure to belong. The task of psychotherapy is to meliorate the anger and the guilt in this dependent stance towards the world and to help the patient to achieve trust in himself. For any one of us to achieve a greater degree of emotional autonomy we have to be able to depart in some measure from the identifications that have defined us. This kind of departure brings with it the deep-rooted anxiety that we may lose the recognition of those from whom we originally took our identity. There is a part of us that recognizes as legitimate only those wishes that have been accepted by the customs and identifications of the past. For the neurotic, the recognition and development of new, more innovative and creative wishes within the self is prevented by the fear that this will be met by incomprehension by others, and thus by condemnation and rejection. Attempts at renewal are smothered through the fear of isolation. This is the problem of psychological defense. We defend ourselves against something that does not yet exist and cannot yet be defined: the healthier version of ourselves. This problem of defense is the kernel of psychoanalytic theory and psychotherapeutic practice. However, because defense is a difficult issue emotionally, it is also an inherently difficult issue to handle conceptually. In the critical literature it has been widely misrepresented. Repeatedly, the problem of defense has been misrepresented as a problem about memory. The roots of this misconception go back to Freuds early work, especially Studies On Hysteria in 1895 where, in part, he too thinks of defense in these mistaken terms. In 1896, in his famous paper The Aetiology of Hysteria, he momentarily abandons the theory of defense altogether in favor of a theory of forgotten memories. In this guise, however, the problem ceases to be about how the self defends itself against itself, and becomes instead the problem of how the self defends itself against what happened to it in the past. All the celebrated critics of psychoanalysis in recent times have resorted to this distortion of defense.

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The most widely noted instance of this in recent times has been that provided by Jeffrey Masson in The Assault on Truth (1984). In fairness to Masson, he is not distorting the problem of defense so much as saying that we should ignore it altogether. His claim is that Freud was right in 1896 and that in the rest of his work he dodges the real problem in neurosis by maintaining it is something other than a problem about memory. According to Masson, Freud simply misdiagnosed what was wrong with his patients because they were actually the victims of sexual abuse in childhood. According to this theory, the problem of neurosis is not the conflicts experienced by the metaphorical child that lives within the adult with its divided intentions between loyalty to others and loyalty to itself. The problem is, rather, what the historical child experienced at the hands of adults. Those who subscribe to this theory believe that to get at the source of emotional suffering what we need to do is to reconstruct the memories of that historical child and that this, therefore, should be the object of psychotherapy. The problem with this theory is simply that it is untrue. Some people who suffer emotional problems were sexually abused as children but the majority were not. This hypothesis, therefore, does not provide us with a general theory of or procedure for psychopathology. The theory of defense, in contrast, does provide us with such a theory and such a procedure. In psychoanalysis properly conceived we do not regard memories as the conditioning factors in neurotic suffering. We treat memories, rather, as the complex and ambiguous symbols of the conditioning factors we are interested in, namely the conflicts between our presently existing wishes and inclinations. This distinction between memories and the presently existing conflicts that may use memories to express themselves is fatally easy to blur, but it is essential. From a psychoanalytic point of view, all memories, whether they relate to events yesterday or to those of fifty years ago, are treated as the symbols of the conflicts within the self that exist today. Nevertheless, the mistaken argument that memories are the causal factor in emotional suffering enjoys perennial appeal. It does so because it allows one to sidestep the problem of confronting oneself. It is the classic form of defense. It says, I cannot become who I am because of what happened in the past. I cannot become who I am because I am a victim of the past, or because I am guilty of what I did in the past. Implicitly or explicitly, this argument is used always as a way of avoiding the task of psychoanalysis, which is to strengthen

Introduction

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the self so that it is able to use what has happened in the past to create something better in the future. The most banal way this strategy is used to avoid confrontation with the self is the attempt to turn psychotherapy into a search for supposedly forgotten memories of childhood abuse.40 At a more interesting level, however, this argument about memory is used to justify the attempt to subsume psychoanalysis under other sciencesthus rationalizing the wish to apply some extraneous set of rules to it. Critics like Sulloway, Grnbaum, and Webster all wish to assimilate psychoanalysis to some other science. To do this, they all have to take out of psychoanalysis the problem that uniquely characterizes it, the problem of conflict within the self. To take this problem out, they all reconstruct the problem of defense as a problem in the restoration of memory. Frank Sulloway, for instance, giving inordinate importance to Freuds unpublished Project for a Scientific Psychology of 1895 (which he believes holds the key to the problem of repression and defense), writes of Freuds supposed preoccupation with the difference between normal, everyday psychical defense against unpleasant or intolerable ideas and the clinically more elusive phenomenon of repression followed by complete amnesia concerning what has been repressed. Freud, Sulloway maintains, thought in purely psychological terms about the former, but the latter and highly pathological forms of repression he wanted to account for in physiological terms.41 Sulloways suggestion that Freud was preoccupied with two kinds of defense, one purely psychological and the other pathological, physiological, and leading to complete amnesia, is without foundation.42 The point Freud makes about neurosis is just the reverse of this supposed distinction: even clinically significant forms of defense have a psychological, and not simply a physiological, aspect. What Freud is saying is that we achieve a much deeper understanding of the symptoms of hysteria, of obsessional neurosis, of anxiety and depression, when we look at them not just as physiological events, but also in the context of emotional conflicts within the self. Freud had no special interest in cases of complete amnesia, and certainly not in contradistinction to purely psychological forms of repression. The point of Sulloways distinction here is only that it serves his own strange thesis that Freud was secretly more concerned with biology than he let on. According to Sulloway, he pretended he was inventing a new psychology, as a form of self-glorification, when

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in fact he was a crypto-biologist; he was only doing what was, in essence, an old, Darwinian biology. Sulloways point is that we should go back to the old biology and forget the new psychology. However, to make way for the assimilation of psychoanalytic questions by Darwinism, Sulloway has to dispose of the issue of defense because Darwin does not deal with this issue. Therefore, the problem of defense is portrayed as a problem of complete amnesia, which for Sulloway is a problem in pure biology. Clearly, if the problem of defense is not after all about the investigation of the self, then we do not need psychoanalysis. An analogous thing happens with Adolf Grnbaum. For Sulloway, psychoanalysis is a branch of evolutionary biology and should not claim to be a science in its own right with its own problems and procedures. For Grnbaum, psychoanalysis is not to be granted even this degree of autonomy: it should be considered as a form of physics because all natural science is a form of physics.43 To maintain this fiction, like Sulloway he has to get rid of the problem that makes psychoanalysis unique, the problem of how the self takes flight from itself. To accomplish this, again as with Sulloway, the issue of defense is turned into one of memory. The central causal and explanatory significance enjoyed by unconscious ideation in the entire clinical theory, he writes, rests . . . on . . . inductive inferences drawn by Breuer and Freud. . . . It had turned out that, for each distinct symptom S afflicting . . . a neurotic, the victim had repressed the memory of a trauma.44 Grnbaum identifies the theory of psychoanalysis with Breuers cathartic cure because catharsis does in fact treat memories as the causal factor in hysteria. The theory of catharsis, however, predates Freuds theory of defense, which is the beginning of psychoanalysis. We shall look at the complicated theoretical relations between Breuer and Freud when we come to consider Studies On Hysteria. For Grnbaum, however, it is essential to pretend that Freud simply followed Breuer, since this enables him to argue that psychoanalysis is about something other than conflict within the self. Richard Webster, like Sulloway, urges us to pass beyond psychoanalysis in order to construct a theory of human nature which is consonant with Darwinian biology.45 Again, he removes from it the question of the self and portrays the problem of defense as one of memory. Like Grnbaum, he finds the easiest way to do this is to pretend that Freuds thinking is the same as Breuers: Whereas the claim that repressed emotions could engender psychological distress would have been traditional and in some cases perhaps true, the

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claim made by Freud and Breuer was of a quite different order. For what they believed they had discovered was an etiological theory which could explain the origins of a particular disease and cure this disease by uncovering repressed memories.46 As for Sulloway and Grnbaum, it is essential to Webster to argue that Freud was deeply rooted in physical science in contradistinction to the science of the soul. Precisely because Webster tries to fit Freud into this mistaken dualist framework, he resorts to the inaccuracy of treating Breuer and Freud as sharing a common theoretical view. The theory that repressed memories cause emotional illness is indeed implicit in Breuers cathartic cure. Because it does not consider emotions and motives as the causal factors in the illness, the cathartic theory implicitly leaves intact the distinction between medicine and the science of the soul. Freuds innovation, however, was to replace this with the theory of defense against shameful or dangerous emotions, rather than memories as such, thereby drawing the problems of the soul into medicine and natural science. In Freuds theory, neurotic illness is attributed to a current emotional conflict. The memories of the past which are significant to the patient are just one part of a range of symbols, of which the physical symptoms are another, through which that current conflict expresses itself. Through his development of the theory of defensive conflict, Freud shows that the self of everyday experiences and emotions can be made the object of a conditional scientific inquiry. This new field of science coheres with the older sciences, especially the biological sciences, and it applies many of the lessons implicit in them. However, it does not submerge itself in the other sciences. It is tackling problems that are unique to it, for which there are no exact precedents in the other sciences. Sulloway, Masson, Grnbaum, and Webster all portray Freud as doing something other than this. They all criticize him for failing at something other than what he was actually trying to do. Masson, the least theoretically pretentious of the Freud critics and in a way the most honest, criticizes him for failing to blame adults for the misfortunes of children. Sulloway and Webster criticize him for not being sufficiently faithful to Darwin. For Grnbaum, his failing is that he is not sufficiently true to physics, or to what Grnbaum conceives to be physics. What animates these critics is the unacknowledged wish to deny that the self can in fact be made amenable to conditional inquiry. For all of them, the self is made to disappear as a possible subject of knowledge. To achieve this, the central problem of psychological

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defense is portrayed as a problem about lost memories. This misconstrual is then combined with elaborate, contradictory argumentation about the need to get psychoanalysis to obey the principles of some other science, that is, some science whose field is something other than that of the human self. Freuds significance in modern thought is that he brings into the open the challenge that has been gathering in science over the last few centuries: the need to study in a rational way the dynamics of the human conscience and the need to create, and constantly to recreate, autonomy within the self. Each of these writers seeks to evade this challenge. They each represent a position of intellectual regression back to a point in the history of science where the self is not yet experienced as a part of nature and, therefore, not yet a subject for rational inquiry. They are nostalgic for a world where nature and mind are still disjoined, and where the complex, intricate problems of the adult self are not yet opened up to conditional reflection. Psychoanalysis is not an exercise in recovering forgotten memory; it is an exercise in finding out how to use whatever painful legacy the past has left us with to make a better future. Its first task is to explore the ambiguity of memories, their open nature, the complexity of motives they express, the hidden richness of the past. Then, its task is to make this ambiguity more fruitful, by finding the possible futures that reside within it. Only when we have understood something of this symbolic nature of our memories do we take possession of the past, rather than being possessed by it. Only then do we start to overcome our defenses against ourselves. To mistake memories for the causal factors in emotional suffering is to deny their symbolic nature and thus to deny our own creative capacity for restoration. In psychoanalysis we are seeking the not-yet-defined, the notyet-classified, that which can speak only to the third ear. The third ear listens for what has not been said before, what has never been heard in the public domain and is still looking for an acceptable form of expression. A successful psychoanalysis is one which finds this and cultivates it. Modern science is the most significant creation of the rebellious child within man. In one sense, it is a great self-inflicted injury, since it is an assault on the traditions that have kept us alive for centuries. Freud draws out some of the consequences for the individual of this assault on tradition. In the process, he raises certain fundamental questions for which we do not as yet have answers: Are human beings in general able to hold in a conditional and tentative

Introduction

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manner to the traditions that have shaped them? Are they in general able to retain a creative sense of identity within themselves if they abandon the idea that their traditions can be a source of unquestioned convictions? In sum, are human beings strong enough to retain their creative humanity in spite of their loss of belief in the existence of unconditioned truths and imperatives? We do not yet have the answer to psychoanalysis, but there are no good grounds now for us to be distracted by misleading arguments about science from understanding the question.

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Chapter Two PLACING PSYCHOANALYSIS AS A SCIENCE


THE CARTESIAN SEPARATION OF MIND FROM SCIENCE
There is a long tradition in European philosophy of regarding the world as being divided between the principles of matter and the principles of mind. This tradition is exemplified in the philosophy of Descartes. It is the outcome of the psychological crisis brought about by the Copernican revolution and it aims, unconsciously, to immunize the mind from the skeptical inquiry of science. In due course Kant made Descartess distinction between matter and mind the basis of his own influential system of philosophy. He goes to great lengths to define nature as the realm of Newtonian science. This draws the strongest possible contrast with the realm of the mind. Kants division of the sciences forms the basis of the modern debate between positivism and hermeneutics. In turn, it is this debate that has conditioned the contemporary arguments about the scientific status of psychoanalysis. We have noted briefly some of the modern criticisms of psychoanalysis as a science. All of these, ultimately, rely upon older and narrower definitions of science than the one Freud works with. This narrowing of the field of science, this wish to prescribe limits for scientific inquiry, has a history that long predates psychoanalysis. The modern criticisms of psychoanalysis draw on this established history. This is why their claim that psychoanalysis is flawed as a science has been quite widely accepted, even though their reporting of the history and theory of psychoanalysis is often manifestly inaccurate. There is, in particular, a long tradition in philosophy of regarding mechanics or physics as some kind of ideal natural science. This view of mechanics is implicit in Descartess conception of the world

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in which things are divided quite cleanly between matter and mind. Kant makes this distinction more explicit, and much more elaborate, by dividing the world into a sphere governed by Newtonian physics, on the one hand, and a sphere of freedom and morality, on the other. Many years ago Gilbert Ryle pointed out that since Descartes philosophers have too often looked on the laws of physics as the ultimate laws of nature. The laws of physics have been presented as an ideal type towards which all other scientific accounts should tend: Newtonian physics was proclaimed as the all-embracing science of what exists in space. The Cartesian picture left no place for Mendel or Darwin. Nor did it leave a place for Freud, described by Ryle as psychologys one man of genius.1 This feeling about the special place of physics among the sciences is still with us. One only has to look at writers like Popper and Grnbaum. Generally, among writers who take this view the special place of physics is not explicitly asserted. It tends rather to be treated as self-evidently true. A critic like Grnbaum, for instance, clearly sees no need to justify treating physics as the model for everything else that claims the status of natural science. It is quite true that such an extreme positivist position is probably not held now by the majority of philosophers of science.2 Nevertheless, the intriguing question remains of how this strange attenuation of the idea of nature came to be so readily acceptable in the first place. In part, of course, the special status accorded physics is simply a reflection of history. The scientific revolt against traditional authority enjoyed its first indubitable success at the hands of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton. These men were all physicists; they were not biologists, nor political scientists, nor psychologists. Indeed the fact that their field of inquiry was so esoteric and so far removed from the everyday concerns of life only made their success seem all the more impressive. It must have felt a little as if they had challenged God at his own game, and won. The scientific revolution of Copernicus and his successors nevertheless produced a psychological crisis, at least for educated people. Science was displacing man. In the most obvious sense it was physically displacing him, by relocating his home from the center of the universe to the periphery. But in a more significant sense it was bringing about a spiritual and emotional displacement. The sciences were showing that key beliefs held by long custom, for example Aristotles cosmology, were not necessarily reliable. The message was that custom and tradition were not after all to be trusted.

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At every point, of course, European civilization relied upon custom and tradition. Without them there was no culture and no morality. Thus, in the pursuit of scientific truth, a whole civilization had embarked on a questioning of its own foundations. Initially, no doubt, only the most thoughtful people had a sense of this crisis. Now, however, we all live with it. We are all torn now between adhering to tradition and custom, and breaking with them. Descartess philosophy can be understood as a response to this looming crisis. The central dilemma with which his philosophy deals is how to reconcile the need for certainty and faith with the need to question customary opinions. Descartes is in no doubt how much science depends upon the criticism of opinion. He is positively obsessive in his wish to question opinion. He remarks, I shall apply myself seriously and freely to the general destruction of all my former opinions. . . . Reason persuades me that I must avoid believing things which are not entirely certain and indubitable no less carefully than those things which seem manifestly false.3 Nevertheless, in spite of this enthusiastic skepticism Descartes is not prepared to accept that he might end up having to regard all his ideas as hypothetical. In his view, knowledge must be certain. It must be built upon indubitable foundations. To get round this problem he persuades himself that if we strip away from our judgements everything based merely on custom we will eventually be left with a core of ideas that present themselves so clearly and so distinctly to our minds that we can no longer place them in doubt.4 Everything must be questioned, yet at the end of our questioning, somehow, we must arrive at certainty.5 At the safety of this distance in time, Descartess approach to the problem of knowledge looks premature. It is a little easier for us to accept than it was for him that we cannot rid ourselves entirely of customary beliefs. And we find it a little easier to accept than did he that we cannot have certainty either. Four hundred years on, we see that science does not actually need certainty after all. For Descartes, this was not so easy to see. The age of faith was not that far away. It had been an age that encouraged a belief in the certainty of received wisdom. It must have seemed logical that if one got rid of one kind of certainty, one had to replace it with another. At the time Descartes was writing, therefore, both for intellectual and for emotional reasons there really was no solution to the dilemma created by science. Science was beginning to create the new ethic of accepting uncertainty but people had not yet learned how to live with

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this. Therefore, the conflict between the skeptical spirit of science and the certainty of faith in God, who was the guarantor of custom, had to be hidden. Descartess way of doing this was to portray the danger to faith, from science, as a danger to science, from skepticism. Science was displaced into the position of God, and it was now science, not God, that was in danger from skepticism. So far from being in conflict with God, science actually needed God, as a guarantor of certainty.6 The modern positivist critics of psychoanalysis would of course hotly deny that they have perpetuated Descartes displacement of God with science, but in significant measure this is what has happened. They have presented science as an authority with certain fixed rules that must not be infringed by new kinds of knowledge. What, however, was to become the most important legacy of the way Descartes wrestled with his dilemma was the distinction he drew between a world of matter and science, on the one hand, and a world of mind and intuition, on the other. The world of matter and science, according to Descartes, progresses by questioning custom. The world of mind and intuition, by contrast, is free of custom. This establishes a fateful distinction between the material world as something we learn about progressively, and the world of the mind as something we can know with immediacy. We learn about the material world by criticizing customary beliefs, those, for instance, of Aristotle. But the mind we know immediately because, by virtue of its immediate contact with God, it is free of custom. This conceptual division is obviously very inhibiting of the possibility of a science of the mind. Conceivably, Descartess attempt to reconcile science and faith might have been of little more than historical interest by now had it not been for Kants influential renewal of it at the end of the eighteenth century.7 Kant develops Cartesian dualism of mind and matter into an extraordinary philosophic system whose purpose is to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith.8 It is said sometimes that Kants problem is how to justify moral rules in a world apparently governed by Newtonian laws. On the surface, this is the problem to be solved. But the more fundamental psychological problem for Kant is to persuade us, or to persuade himself, that the world actually is governed by Newtonian laws. In the first instance, he has to show that a properly scientific view of the world can be only a Newtonian view. Only once this has been achieved do we have a conception of natural science that leaves it as remote as possible from the dilemmas of human life, and thus from morality. Only this very particular, very narrow con-

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ception of natural science makes room for faith in Kants sense. Faith in Kants sense means faith in unconditioned moral rules, faith in the categorical imperative. To this end, Kant has to put the scientific status of any science that is not Newtonian in doubt. This means, most importantly, the status of the biological sciences, since these sciences provide an obvious intellectual link between human beings and the rest of nature. Kant accomplishes this by defining the science of nature as the science of inert physical matter, that is to say, matter in so far as it does not display any purpose or function. In Kants philosophy, the relation of cause and effect in the strict scientific sense is always one of inorganic, timeless laws. Scientific causation is only fully valid for him if it is described in these terms.9 Explanations that resort to aims and needs are squeezed to the margin of science by Kant. The concept of purposeany teleological conceptis excluded from nature by him. Unlike the idea of Newtonian universal law, the idea of purpose, in Kants view, belongs properly only to our judgements of human life. Certainly, he concedes, the idea of purpose is essential for understanding living things. Nevertheless, he insists, when we use the idea in this way we are really only borrowing it from its proper sphere of application, which is human life. The concept of a natural purpose, he writes, . . . would introduce a new causality into natural science which we only borrow from ourselves and attribute to other beings, without wishing to assume that they are constituted in a similar way to us.10 In this framework, biological science is reduced to a compromise status. It borrows some of its concepts from natural science in the proper Newtonian sense. The rest it borrows from the study of human beings. In consequence, it is a natural science without proper autonomy. And the connection between man and nature comes to appear as tenuous as possible. Nevertheless, Kants argument for excluding man from nature is circular. Purpose, he says, is not a concept belonging to natural science because it is a human concept. We need the concept of purpose to explain human behavior and experience. Therefore, man is not an object of natural science. This solution to the classification of life science is not satisfactory. The biological sciences are, indeed, not Newtonian. Since, however, they clearly are natural sciences, the idea of purpose is clearly a natural concept as well as being a human concept. When, in turn, we explore the behavior of human beings in terms of the purposes that drive them, we are studying them in a way that is much closer to natural science than Kant suggests.

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Since the late eighteenth century, when Kant was writing, there have been fundamental developments in the sciences, not least the theory of evolution. For all that, the suggestion that there are some fixed set of principles that define natural science has remained perhaps the most tenacious of all Kants propositions. Where it has been accepted, it has resulted in an inevitable division of opinion about the prospects for the sciences of the psychic and cultural life of man. On the one hand, there has been the view that if scientific knowledge of man is to be possible at all, then it must come in the same essential form as the knowledge we have of other things in nature. For uncompromising positivists this means it must give us the kind of nonhistorical, nonteleological propositions we find in physics. This is the approach to human science exemplified by J. S. Mill in the nineteenth century and in the twentieth by Popper.11 For the more compromising positivists it means that human science must come in the form of one or another area of life science, Darwinian theory, for example, or animal ethology.12 Positivists have differed, therefore, over what precisely should be the criterion of a natural science of man. But they are agreed in the opinion that if we can pin down exactly what it is that determines our particular ideal of natural science, then we shall know what can be legitimately demanded of a natural science of man. On the other hand, nominally opposed to positivism, there is the view that the form of the knowledge we can have of man is fundamentally different from our knowledge of nature. This position is exemplified in the work of the neo-Kantian philosophers at the end of the nineteenth century, Wilhelm Dilthey and Heinrich Rickert.13 These writers argued that the human sciences are sciences of the spirit, Geisteswissenschaften, and that this fact clearly distinguishes them from natural science. Dilthey argued that understanding human action is more like interpreting a text than understanding a natural law. He was the first to use the term hermeneutics to distinguish human science from natural science, an innovation that has since been hugely influential. In its origins, the hermeneutic school arose in opposition to the kind of uncompromising positivism represented by J. S. Mill. Its adherents stressed that knowledge of human processes involves a study of certain things that appear to play no role in physics, in particular historical change, values, and language. As positivism has evolved to advocate later forms of natural science like evolutionary theory, which involves historical processes, and animal ethology, which involves an interpretation of purposes and intentions, the hermeneutic tradition has shifted its ground to stress above all the

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place of language in human processes because language is the one thing we seem to find nowhere in nature outside the human sphere. The hermeneutic tradition has always been regarded as opposed to positivism. However, both traditions spring ultimately from Kants philosophy and they both leave unquestioned his key assumption that natural science may not evolve to encompass human beings. Essentially, this is why the argument between them is never resolved. Ultimately, these two philosophical traditions of positivism and hermeneutics are both animated still by Descartess aim of finding something of certainty behind the shifting, uncertain world opened up by science. They both reflect an attempt to arrive at final statements about the form that legitimate knowledge can take. To that extent, it must be said, they are animated less by the wish to extend and develop science than by the wish to legislate for it.

PSYCHOANALYSIS AND HERMENEUTICS


Those who would assign psychoanalysis to some field outside science like hermeneutics share with the positivists the assumption that we can know in advance what the limits of science are going to be and that the soul falls outside those limits. The differences between hermeneutics and positivism are, therefore, considerably more superficial than they seem and than their respective adherents believe. Ricoeurs attempts to define a hermeneutic field for psychoanalysis lead him only into contradictions and indecision. Lacan, determined to get purpose and meaning out of psychoanalysis because they are too scientific, ends by defining the unconscious as a meaningless chain of signifiers. Like Ricoeur, he seeks an essentially religious solution for the soul, outside the realm of scientific reflection. Hermeneutic and linguistic readings of psychoanalysis are, essentially, overintellectualized resistances to the work of thinking critically about our own motives. The debate between positivism and hermeneutics in the human sciences is reflected in the perennially unresolved debate about how we are supposed to classify psychoanalysis. Ostensibly, the point of this long-running argument is that a correct classification of psychoanalysis will somehow enable us better to assess its claims. The problem, however, is that this debate starts from Kants assumption

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that we can know a priori what the characteristics and limits of natural science are going to be. It overlooks the fact that psychoanalysis involves an extension and development in our understanding of what science is. We have already considered how positivist critics like Popper and Grnbaum distort essential elements in psychoanalysis to fit it into their scheme of things. But this is no less true of those writers, like Paul Ricoeur and Jacques Lacan for instance, who would divorce psychoanalysis from natural science and place it in an opposing realm of hermeneutics or linguistics. Ricoeurs massive Freud and Philosophy (1970) is a heroic attempt to show that psychoanalysis belongs with hermeneutics rather than natural science. Logically, he stays within the traditional dualist framework, retaining Kants distinction between lawlike causation, which he associates with natural science, and explanation that resorts to purpose or intention, which he associates with hermeneutics.14 Ricoeurs attempts to fit psychoanalysis into this scheme of things leads him also into a Kantian multiplication of categories. First he segregates natural science from what he calls the hermeneutic field. Then he divides the hermeneutic field into, first, a hermeneutics of unmasking, demystification, or reduction of illusions, which he associates with Freud, and second, a hermeneutics as restoration of meaning, which he associates with religious faith and a sense of the sacred.15 There is clearly an attempt here to concede that Freud did in fact achieve something like a natural science of the spirit while at the same time insisting that there is something in the spirit beyond the reach of that science. There is, Ricoeur maintains, an unresolved contradiction in Freuds work between a hermeneutic theory of meaning and what he calls energetics, a causal, natural scientific theory. He writes, As I see it, the whole problem of the Freudian epistemology may be centralized in a single question: How can the economic explanation be involved in an interpretation dealing with meanings; and conversely, how can interpretation be an aspect of the economic explanation? It is easier to fall back on a disjunction: either an explanation in terms of energy, or an understanding in terms of phenomenology. It must be recognized, however, that Freudianism exists only on the basis of its refusal of that disjunction.16 Ricoeur never makes it quite clear whether he regards Freuds refusal of this disjunction as a strength or a weakness. He is reluctant to attribute to Freud any simple mistake in attempting a naturalistic perspective on the psyche. For example, he regards as quite

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inadequate a mere linguistic transcription of analysis. He evidently means by this Lacans version of psychoanalysis, in which the natural science aspect of psychoanalysis disappears almost entirely. Against this, Ricoeur insists that the analytic method is unfeasible unless one adopts the naturalistic point of view imposed by the economic model.17 This sounds a fairly uncompromising endorsement of a naturalistic perspective. At the same time, however, Ricoeur maintains that we must first understand the difference between psychoanalysis and scientific psychology, and he claims that psychoanalysis is not a science; it is an interpretation, more comparable to history than to psychology.18 Psychoanalysis, he goes on, speaks not of causes but of motives.19 But Ricoeur cannot make up his mind on this. Only two pages later this view is retracted, when he writes that psychoanalysis is a mixed discourse that falls outside the motive-cause alternative.20 It is thus never clear whether Ricoeur believes Freuds naturalistic approach to the psyche is tenable or untenable. He manifestly wants to assign psychoanalysis to some hermeneutic sphere outside natural science yet ultimately he finds himself unable to do so. Ricoeur does not see, or at least does not see clearly, that Freuds economic perspective, his energetics, although naturalistic, is certainly not Newtonian. Ricoeurs adherence to Kant misleads him here. The Freudian notion of drive is that of purpose or function. It is by recourse to the idea of purpose or function that Freud develops his interpretations. If you like, he deconstructs the idea of purpose into that of drive, and then uses drives to reconstruct unconscious meaning. This is why energetics and interpretation go together in his work; they are inseparable. However, because Freud does not accept the Kantian categorization of purpose as a nonnatural one, he has no difficulty in regarding his interpretive theory as a development within, rather than without, natural science. In psychoanalysis, to interpret human life, to study its meanings, we consider the purposes of human life. In a discipline like this, the concepts purpose, meaning, and determination are largely coincident. Freud stresses, as he says, the complete meaningfulness and determination of even the most apparently obscure and arbitrary phenomena of the mind.21 He writes, Let us agree again as to what is to be understood by the meaning of a psychical process. Nothing other than the purpose it serves, and its position in a psychical sequence. For most of our investigations in place of meaning we can also use purpose, inclination.22

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However, unlike Descartes and Kant, Freud makes no assumption that human purposes are known immediately. On the contrary, most of our purposes are hidden in our habits and customs. Purposes, in short, are unconscious. By explaining human behavior and experiences in terms of hidden, unconscious purposes, we meet at one and the same time the demands of a causal theory, integrating with the conventions of biological science, and of an interpretative theory, integrating with history, biography and the study of human cultural life.23 A science of unconscious purpose is a science of meaning and it is also a science of nature.24 In general, however, we interpret the human unconscious not by identifying some purpose that has not been recognized before, but rather by showing how much of experience is an unacknowledged, and unsatisfactory, compromise between various purposes. Our purposes are more mixed up than we realize. Purposes which we readily associate with one part of life, or one phase of life, spread over into other parts where they are less acceptable and undergo disguise. Because of this interference between purposes, life is full of hidden unconscious contexts. This idea of unconscious context (Zusammenhang) is one that Freud uses frequently. One of the weaknesses of the standard English translations of Freud is their failure to convey how this term becomes in a quiet way something of a leitmotiv in his writing.25 He uses it particularly when considering the essential rationale of psychoanalysis. In 1912, for example, he remarked that psychoanalysis wants nothing other than to uncover contexts, by tracing what is manifest back to what is hidden.26 Freud associates the idea of context with that of a complex web or genealogy of intentions, lying behind experience. It gives expression to the essential complexity of causal factors in psychic life. He stresses this complexity in his psychological writing from the outset, that is, from Studies On Hysteria, in 1895. There, he refers to the principle feature in the etiology of neuroses, namely, that their origin is as a rule overdetermined, that several factors must come together to give this effect.27 What distinguishes the human from the nonhuman is not purpose, as the Kantians assert. Rather, human processes are distinguished from other organic processes by their relative richness of purpose, by the overlayering of meanings and by their consequent ambiguity. Returning to Ricoeur, it should not be forgotten that his perspective on Freud is that of a religious writer. He believes we should not

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lose the sense of something beyond the hermeneutics of demystification and suspicion represented by psychoanalysis: The contrary of suspicion, I will say bluntly, is faith. . . . One reduces by explaining through causes (psychological, social, etc.). . . . One describes by disengaging the . . . intention and its . . . correlatethe something intended, the implicit object in ritual myth, and belief.28 Ricoeur speaks also of the conflictwithin myself and within contemporary culturebetween a hermeneutics that demystifies religion and a hermeneutics that tries to grasp a possible call or kerygma.29 Ricoeur here alludes to the question that Freud should make us focus on. If we place our habits under suspicion by looking for the concealed purposes within them, will we be strong enough creatively to reform our habits by attenuating those purposes that are destructive and cultivating those that make us fruitful? This is the most fundamental question that psychoanalysis leaves us with. If we feel we do not have that strength then we must make recourse to some form of traditional religious faith or moral code. If, however, we feel we do have that strength, then by that very fact we are creating a new kind of faith, in ourselves. A writer who does nothing at all to encourage this new kind of faith and who has made even more elaborate efforts than Ricoeur to impose a regressive dualism onto Freud is Lacan. Lacan is interesting as an illustration of what can happen to psychoanalysis when the attempt is made to find a place for it clearly outside the realm of science. It is not a coincidence that he has become widely studied at a time when the scientific credentials of psychoanalysis have come under intensive questioning. Lacans psychoanalysis is significantly closer in spirit to the positivist critiques of analysis like those of Grnbaum or Webster than it seems on the surface. Like them, it proceeds from a rejection of Freuds attempts to think about the ambiguities and multilayering of human intention in rational and scientific terms. The difference is that whereas the positivists proceed as if science is duty bound to pretend these ambiguities do not exist at all, Lacan claims that they are too primary for science ever to get a handle on them. The result, however, is the same in both cases: a retreat from the rational exploration of the dilemmas of life, a misunderstanding of the unconscious as being revealed in memories and free associations, and, in human terms, a loss of a sense of proportion and balance. Lacan understands clearly the relation between purpose and meaning in Freuds work in a way that Ricoeur does not. But he too

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wants to reach some sphere beyond the analysis of purpose and meaning. Lacan takes his stand at what may perhaps prove to be the final displacement of the hermeneutic defense against science. For him, the line dividing nature and spirit is not that between mechanics and purposeas it is implicitly for Ricoeur and as it was for the neo-Kantians at the turn of the centurybut rather that between purpose and language. By dividing purpose from language, however, this turns out actually to be a line between the rational and the irrational. Like Kierkegaard, Lacan believes the soul can be saved only by withdrawing it from rational dialogue. Lacans claim is that the unconscious is structured like a language.30 He means by this that the unconscious is structured like a language rather than like a biological system. This supposed opposition between language and biology is the centerpiece of his thought. Freud stresses the interaction of language and biology; he emphasizes how biological need is filtered through language. Lacan argues, in contrast, that language suspends the rule of biological need. Language for Lacan is, in effect, a power beyond life and nature.31 Freud weaves nature and spirit together. Lacan separates them out again. He does so, in particular, under the guise of a distinction between what he calls meaning and the symbolic. Meaning, for Lacan, is what we see when we view a human being from a biological point of view. The meaning of an act is the biological need or function it fulfils. The symbolic is what we see when we view a human being as a language-using creature. Lacan argues that because we are a creature dependent on language, we cannot properly achieve knowledge of ourselves. His point is not just that knowledge of ourselves is forever unfinished and imperfect; with that we would all surely agree. His claim is, rather, that knowledge of ourselves is a complete illusion; it is, as he puts it, imaginary. This idea of the imaginary he associates with what he calls the mirror stage of the mind.32 Contrary to what the term may at first suggest, the mirror stage is not intended as a particular historical phase in the development of the infant. Lacan in any event rejects the perspective of developmental stages in psychoanalytic theory.33 The mirror stage, rather, refers to the knowledge we have of ourselves in a mirror, knowledge, that is, that is not mediated by language.34 Lacan equates this imaginary mirror stage not just with our perennial attempts to oversimplify to ourselves our own motives, but with all knowledge of meanings and intentions, however sophisticated and self-disciplined the route by which it is acquired. This equation is, of

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course, quite untenable. Our knowledge of meanings and intentions is mediated by language, just like all our other knowledge; there is nothing imaginary about it. Lacans only purpose in drawing up this false equation is that it allows him to disvalue knowledge of meanings and intentions. Such knowledge, he insists, is not knowledge of what is essentially human. It shows us only the animal in man.35 The only way we can escape the imaginary mirror stage, Lacan argues, is by recognizing the primacy of language, the primacy of what he calls the symbolic order or the order of the signifier. This symbolic order, he emphasizes, is something we are born into; it is not, he insists, anything we have significant power to fashion to our own needs. Language is something which goes infinitely beyond every intention that we might put into it.36 Recognizing the symbolic order means for Lacan recognizing our radical dependence on language. Freud attributes to human beings the capacity to balance in a fruitful way potentially conflicting inclinations. This capacity is what he means when he speaks, from the 1920s onwards, of the ego, or the I, constantly having to strike a balance between the demands of consciencethe superego, or over-Iand new impulsesthe Id, or the It. The stronger the I, the more highly developed is this capacity. For Lacan, in contrast, the belief in such a capacity is simply another reflection of the imaginary mirror stage. He writes, The fundamental fact which analysis reveals to us and which I am in the process of teaching you, is that the ego is an imaginary function.37 Lacans message is that the signifier, that is, language, constantly blocks our attempts to get at the signified, that is, at ourselves. We are forced, he writes, to accept the notion of an incessant sliding of the signified under the signifier. Each time we try to grasp this elusive signified we find instead we have been diverted to yet another signifier. Instead of confronting ourselves, we are confronted with an endlessly unfolding chain of signifiers.38 It is the signifier, not the I, which is autonomous. Lacans theory of the signifier is thus a further expression of his belief in our inherent inability to use language in order better to know ourselves, and of our inability to employ language so as to achieve a more creative fulfillment of our own purposes. At the same time, by equating the unconscious with the signifier, he draws it into an ethereal, purposeless field, taking it unequivocally back towards the old transcendent God.39 In an attempt to escape the analysis of meaning, Lacan argues that our chains of signifiers can be resolved only through recourse to what he calls the

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absolute Other.40 He employs this term with the ambiguity that is his hallmark, but his rejection of the ego and of the ideal of psychological autonomy makes it impossible to interpret this notion other than in a traditionally religious sense. There is, he says, an essential absence or lack within human nature, an absence that can be filled only by recognition of this absolute Other.41 This, for Lacan, is the purpose of psychoanalysis. In setting up a great division between the realm of the signifier and the absolute Other, on the one hand, and the realm of the signified, of meaning, of the imaginary and the mirror stage, on the other, Lacan institutes a full-scale regression from Freuds achievement of unification, while claiming all the while that he is simply bringing us back to the essence of Freud.42 Throughout the 1890s and the first decades of the twentieth century Freud worked to get behind the chains of signifiers produced by free association. He succeeded in doing so by tracing their connections to the conflicts in human intention underlying them. Through his attempts to disconnect associations from their meaning, Lacan aims to reverse this immensely important step. He takes us back to the cathartic model of the unconscious in which we get no further than disconnected chains of associations and memories. Again, notwithstanding the quasi-theological tone in which Lacan expresses his ideas, we should note how close this view of the unconscious is to that of the positivist critics of psychoanalysis like Grnbaum and Webster. This closeness should not surprise us because they too are either unable or unwilling to grasp how Freud draws the conflicts and ambiguities of the soul into the perspective of nature. Writers like Grnbaum and Webster are what we might call naive dualists, in that they believe simply there is no need of a science that takes the ambiguities in human intention into account. Lacan is a much more knowing dualist in that he is intent on getting the ambiguities in human intention out of science. Let us consider again what a chain of signifiers actually is. Lacan himself is extremely poor at giving illustrations, so we will go to Freud, who is so rich in this respect. The aliquis example from The Psychopathology of Everyday Life is a useful illustration here because, on the surface, it appears to be simply an involved play on words. What we learn from it, however, is that word games like this cannot be comprehended if we do not relate them to human intention and, specifically, to the way in which human intention is divided in itself. In other words, we cannot make sense of the signifiers unless we have a grasp of the signified.

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The aliquis example shows how free association works. Notwithstanding what Lacan claims, and many others believe, free association is not in itself a means of uncovering the unconscious. One could free associate forever and still learn nothing about the unconscious because, as such, free associations do not show us the conflicting intentions that give them meaning. Free association is nothing more than a trick for momentarily suspending the conventional rules of dialogue. In this way, it facilitates contradictions and anomalies in expression, thus giving us more clues to work with. That is its only purpose. It is only when we suspend the game of free association and ask why this or that particular association occurred that we begin to uncover the conflicts of intention that are the stuff of the unconscious. The aliquis slip is a complicated symptomatic event. To understand it, we have to consider the whole context of the dialogue in which it occurs. It is only when we take this context as a whole that we can get some idea of the themes that are struggling for expression. In the aliquis case, furthermore, a psychoanalytic dialogue has to all intents and purposes been initiated, and the special characteristics of this kind of dialogue must therefore be included among the conditioning factors in the chain of signifiers produced. The associations are produced by a man who has a positive wish to discuss his problems with Freud and they are produced with this end in view. A young Jewish man falls into conversation with Freud while on a journey. Freud makes clear that the man is not a stranger to him and that he is familiar with his psychoanalytic writing. There is no doubt, therefore, that Freuds presence is a key factor in provoking the slip at the outset; there is something that the man wishes to say to Freud. At some point in the conversation he comes round to expressing his frustration at the social obstacles that have to be overcome by members of his race. To illustrate his feelings, he quotes a line from The Aeneid in which Dido calls on her descendants to revenge her on Aeneas: Exoriar(e) aliquis nostris ex ossibus ultor. (Let someone [aliquis] arise from my bones as an avenger).43 The man omits the word aliquis. He realizes something is missing, but has to turn to Freud to supply the missing word. After Freud has done so, the man challenges him to make a psychoanalytic interpretation of his forgetting. Freud accepts the challenge, getting the man to give him the associations that spring to mind on thinking about aliquis. Liquis reminds him of two things. First, Reliquienrelics, in the sense of religious relics; second, liquefying, or liquefaction and

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thus the idea of fluidity. Relics in turn are associated by him with the theme of Christian saints, in particular Saint Simon, who was sacrificed as a child. The idea of saints leads to a remembered article on Saint Augustines views on women, and then to Saint Januariuslike Augustine, a saint associated with the calendar. Saint Januarius is associated with a miracle involving the periodic liquification of blood and this legend recalls once again the themes of relics and liquefaction. It is this last association that leads the young man to admit that he is preoccupied by the fear that his mistress may prove to be pregnant. At the same time, however, as Freud points out, the choice of that particular line from Virgil is also an expression of his wish for a child. This is the conflict, or rather the first part of the conflict, that is at work in the young mans mind.44 He wants a child and he does not want a child. This is the first conflict in his intentions. Undoubtedly, there is much more behind this conversation than we learn about in Freuds report. Freud does not explore, for instance, the fact that the particular context of the chosen line from Virgil is that of the anger of a scorned mistress, seeking revenge on the lover who has abandoned her. Was the young man tempted to abandon his mistress? Probably. Had he been trapped by her? Perhaps he felt so. Were his difficult relations with the woman a reflection of other problems of identity? Very likely, for every young man has a problem with his identity. What was the young mans emotional relationship with Freud himself? We have no idea. For a proper understanding of the aliquis slip we would have to know how all these themes, and many more, related to the young mans preoccupations about becoming a father. Without such an exploration, we have only a very tenuous idea indeed of the conditions behind the slip. The little game of free association and the chain of signifiers it yields tell us nothing about these conditions. Free association is nothing more than an artificial relaxation of the conventional rules of human communication, so that thoughts and feelings that are at odds with our conventional presentation of ourselves to the world may come closer to finding expression. It is a momentary suspension of the logical, ethical, and aesthetic rules that normally apply to human intercourse because these rules encourage us constantly to make our intentions seem more coherent and more consistent than they actually are. Sebastian Timpanaro offers a lengthy criticism of the aliquis example that has become famous.45 His examination makes plain just how easily the primacy of conflictual processes is lost if we look only

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at the wordplay they produce. He shows that he is able to make free associations to any word of the chosen line from the Aeneid that lead to the theme of unwanted pregnancy. He believes this invalidates Freuds method of interpretation since it shows Freud has not explained why aliquis, and not some other word in the line, is forgotten. This is to misunderstand what Freud is showing. Freud is not explaining why aliquis rather than some other word is forgotten. All that he does show is how an uncomfortable conflict between the wish to reveal a compromising truth about ones own intentions and the wish to keep it secret can result in a bungled, distorted expression. The point of the aliquis example, like the other examples in The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, is that an apparent breakdown in meaningfor instance, the momentary forgetting of a wordoften reflects a conflict between meanings, that is, a conflict between intentions. If, however, we follow Timpanaro, or Grnbaum, or Lacan, and take meaning out of our examination of such problems, this insight is lost. We do not play games with free associations as an end in itself. A chain of associations is not a chain of unconscious causal factors; as such, they demonstrate nothing. Associations only become of interest to us when we place them in the context of conflicting intentions. To do this we look at them, first of all, in the context of a local or short-term conflict, as in the aliquis example. Then, as we learn more about the case history involved, we slowly trace the deeper lines of conflict involved in the individuals striving to be a self-governing human being. Under every chain of signifiers produced by free association there is a conflict of intentions and it is that conflict alone that makes it meaningful. Lacans claim that we can go no deeper than the chain of signifiers and that we are in some way barred from an understanding of our intentions is wrong and it is obscurantist. The work of understanding our intentions is always intricate and demanding. But no one who has acquired an insight into intention will ever be satisfied again with meaningless chains of signifiers. It should be noted that Lacans determination to separate the expressions of the soul from their underlying meanings is matched also by an orthodox, hermeneutic view of the place of psychoanalysis as a science.46 His emphasis on a narrow conception of language (that is, verbal language), his aversion to metaphors that suggest biology or the physical sciences, and the relative absence of clinical data (and the consequent neglect of the comparative method) all place him firmly in the hermeneutic camp, whatever he may say to

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the contrary.47 His view on science is entirely within the dualist framework, though of course he expresses this in his own terminology. What I am calling natural, he remarks, is the field of science in which there is no one who uses the signifier to signify.48 In other words, natural science is part of the imaginary realm of meanings; it is suitable for discovering the animal in man, but not the human. Lacan warns us against propelling psychoanalysis down the path of the prejudices of science, which lets the entire essence of human reality escape.49 Lacan proposes the term conjectural sciences for the human sciences, which he opposes to the exact sciences.50 But this terminological distinction, which he bases on Kants argument that the very idea of determinism is that law is without intention,51 adds nothing new to the traditional dualist view of natural science. It is, in short, impossible not to interpret Lacans view of science, and indeed his entire theory of the signifier, in a neo-Kantian sense. At first sight it might seem that Lacans dualism is at odds with his attitude towards Descartes, of whom he is indeed consistently critical. His aim, he says, is to oppose any philosophy directly issuing from the Cogito.52 But it is not Descartess dualism of matter and mind that concerns him. It is the antitheological strain in Descartes that he objects to: Descartess love of clarity, his faith that experience is a more trustworthy guide than ancient authorities, and his belief in transparent, reasoned argument. Lacans response to Descartes is profoundly irrationalist: I think where I am not, he says, therefore I am where I do not think.53 Most important, however, his criticisms of any Cartesian transparency in the mind are a reflection of his rejection of the autonomy of the self. Autonomy, the will to take responsibility for oneself, is, according to Lacan, imaginary; it is merely another word for adaptation to conventional standards of behavior. The profound irrationalism that marks Lacans thought, his resistance to all forms of consistent or logical argument, should be a sufficient indication to us that the hermeneutic project for psychoanalysis, the attempt to divorce it from dialogue with science, is fundamentally misconceived.

FREUDS OWN REMARKS ON THE CLASSIFICATION OF PSYCHOANALYSIS


Freud regards psychoanalysis as natural science. But he has a flexible idea of what this means. Psychoanalysis studies meanings and intentions, and Freud expressly

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contrasts this with mechanistic and with exact science. Freud also uses the term Geisteswissenschaft frequently but he does not use it in the neo-Kantian sense. He uses the term for the human disciplines generally. He hopes that these disciplines can be integrated more closely with natural science by means of psychoanalysis. In practice, he regards psychoanalysis as a development out of natural science by means of which our understanding of human experience can be integrated more closely with our understanding of the rest of nature. Throughout his writing Freud frequently and unequivocally does describe psychoanalysis as natural science, Naturwissenschaft. His claims in this respect were in no way softened with time. For example, in 1938, when he was eighty-two, he insisted, Whereas the psychology of consciousness never went beyond the broken sequences which were obviously dependent on something else, the other view, which holds that the psychical is in itself unconscious, enables psychology to become a natural science like any other.54 The claim that psychoanalysis is a natural science like any other cannot be sustained. Apart from any other consideration, if it were a science like any other it would not have engendered such a debate about its status. This uncompromising claim, however, is not a reflection of Freuds considered view. Four significant passages in his writing in particular make plain that his view of psychoanalysis as a science was much more nuanced than this rhetorical remark suggests when taken in isolation. First, in The Resistances to Psychoanalysis (1925), he describes psychoanalysis as occupying a middle position between medicine and philosophy, and this has made it difficult to place. Doctors are inclined to suspect that it is a speculative system and not truly part of medicine and science. Philosophers, on the other hand, too readily equate the mind with consciousness and with reason, and do not see what light a psychoanalytic perspective might shed on their concerns.55 Second, in the following year, in The Question of Lay Analysis (1926), he describes analysis as something, sui generis, something new and singular that can only be understood with the help of new insightsor, if you will, new assumptions.56 Clearly, this contradicts the view that analysis is a science like any other. Third, again in The Question of Lay Analysis, he remarks, One could describe the function which the analyst, whether doctor or

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layman, has to fulfil in relation to the public as that of a secular minister of souls (ein weltlicher Seelsorger).57 The religious connotations of this phrase were intended by Freud. The Question of Lay Analysis, he wrote to his friend the pastor Oscar Pfister, was intended to protect analysis from the doctors, just as The Future of an Illusion, written the following year (1927), in which he attacks traditional religion, was intended to protect analysis from the priests.58 Again, in this idea of a secular minister of souls we see the suggestion of a middle position, delicately balanced between medicine and philosophy, or between science and theology, taking inspiration from the traditions of both, perhaps modifying both, but governed by neither. Fourth, in his late paper of 1937, Analysis Terminable and Interminable, Freud suggests, in what has become a famous phrase, that psychoanalysis is an impossible profession, one in which one can be sure at the outset of achieving an unsatisfactory outcome.59 It is important to recall, of course, what the two other, much longer known impossible professions are that he compares it with: education and government. The implication here is that psychoanalysis is concerned with ethical issues in the broadest sense, that is, with the perennial question of how human beings should live. This is a question on which, in stark contrast to those raised by the physical sciences, almost everyone feels themselves to be entitled to a view, and upon which there has never been agreement for any great length of time. Considered together, these four remarks show that taking any particular comment of Freuds on psychoanalysis in isolation from others will give us an overly simple picture of his thinking. That a psychoanalyst should be a secular minister of souls and a practitioner of a natural science at one and the same time certainly requires new insightsor, if you will, new assumptions. One never has to read far in Freud to encounter material that flatly contradicts a positivist interpretation of psychoanalysis. For instance, he expressly contrasts psychoanalytic theory with a mechanistic approach to psychology. In 1925, he looked back on the inability of the most favored medical approaches to account for the somatic phenomena of hysteria, at a time when men such as Charcot and Breuer were exploring this field from a psychic point of view: In this materialist or, better, mechanistic period medicine made tremendous advances, but it also misunderstood in a short-sighted way the chief and most difficult among the problems of life.60

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Prior to this, Freud had given an even more explicit repudiation of positivist ideals in the fifth chapter of the Introductory Lectures: Can you imagine what exact science would say if it learnt we want to make the experiment of finding the meaning of dreams? Perhaps it has already said it. But we wont let ourselves be frightened off. If slips can have a meaning so can the dream, and in very many instances slips do have a meaning, which has escaped exact investigation. So let us acknowledge the prejudice of the ancients and of the people and follow in the footsteps of the dream-interpreters of antiquity.61 We are told often that Freud painfully tried to conform to the conventional wisdoms of a now outdated nineteenth-century view of science. On the contrary, it is evident that, far from being at pains to make his interpretations conform to existing scientific criteria, he positively relished the problems that such a line of investigation created for conventional ideas of science. Freud, then, can certainly not be enlisted as a positivist. But neither can he be claimed for a neo-Kantian hermeneutics.62 He has already anticipated the arguments of this school and moved beyond them. Consider, for instance, how carefully he uses the term Geisteswissenschaft. Since the work of Dilthey and Rickert at the turn of the century, Geisteswissenschaft has come to be widely associated with the view that the science of the human spirit must not be confused with natural science. Freud uses the word with just the opposite implication. He believes that the human spirit is a part of nature, and that the sciences devoted to it should be sensibly integrated with the sciences that explore other aspects of nature. The word Geisteswissenschaft is not given special emphasis by him but he uses it in an interestingly consistent way. Invariably, he uses it when referring to connections between psychoanalysis and the human disciplines in general. A typical example of the way he uses it is the following sentence taken from the tenth of the Introductory Lectures: In psychoanalytic work relations develop to so many other Geisteswissenschaften the investigation of which promises the most valuable results, to the study of myths and philology, to folklore, to the psychology of peoples and the theory of religion.63 Whenever he uses this term it is invariably in this relaxed way as a shorthand for the sciences of human cultural life in general, viewed as potential material for considering from a psychoanalytic perspective. Here is another example: From The Interpretation of Dreams onwards psychoanalysis had a twofold significance. It was

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not only a new therapy for neuroses but it was also a new psychology; it made a claim on the attentions not only of nerve specialists but of all those engaged in a Geisteswissenschaft.64 The view that the Geisteswissenschaften should be kept clearly distinct from natural science is not shared by Freud. He takes as much enjoyment in challenging it as he does in challenging the scope of exact science. A scientific view of things, he insists, need not overlook the claims of the human spirit and the needs of the human soul. . . . Spirit and soul (Geist und Seele) are objects for scientific research like any non-human things. . . . The contribution [of psychoanalysis] consists precisely in the extension of research to the area of the soul.65 This well-known passage from Freuds 1933 New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, On a Weltanschauung, has sometimes been misinterpreted. Grnbaum, for instance, cites it to counter Bettelheims argument that the standard English translations of Freud make him appear more committed to natural science than he really is. In that lecture, Grnbaum writes, Freud declared that psychoanalysis has a special right to speak for the scientific Weltanschauung, . . . the word scientific being intended in the sense of the natural sciences.66 However, Freud understood in a way that Grnbaum does not that the sense of the natural sciences is unfolding and changing all the time. Freud is not a positivist. There is no intention on his part of abolishing the Geisteswissenschaften. His hope, rather, is that psychoanalytic insights and methods can be used to integrate the human disciplines with an extended conception of natural science. The Geisteswissenschaften are the cultural, historical sciences of the human animal. They take as their field of study the way in which human beings make choices and the conditions that govern those choices. The insight of psychoanalysis is that the human animal remains in certain important respects like an infant, even into adulthood. Like an infant, the human animal has constantly to reconcile its creative impulses with its fear of departing from the authority of the traditions that have nurtured it. Freuds hope is that the human cultural sciences can make use of this psychoanalytic insight and apply it as an additional perspective on their problems. In this way, he believes, the study of human culture can be drawn closer to the study of man as a natural being. The traditional disjunction between Naturwissenschaft and Geisteswissenschaft is superseded by Freud. He draws Geist and Natur together and thereby makes redundant the arguments both of

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positivism, which expects the science of human beings to be a repeat of the sciences of nature, and of hermeneutics, which searches for some realm immune from science. We have to revise our understanding of the relation between the sciences devoted to nature and to man. The history of the human spirit has become a department of natural history, just as natural history has become an expression of that spirit.

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Chapter Three NIETZSCHE AND THE CRITIQUE OF INTENTION


THE CHALLENGE TO DUALISM FROM PRAGMATISM
Pragmatism is a style of thought that diverges from dualism. The aim of dualism is to identify the limits of knowledge so as to make room for faith and ensure that the conduct of life is put on a footing of certainty immune from the skeptical examination of science. Pragmatism, in contrast, asks, How can we use the essentially uncertain, open-ended nature of knowledge to shape our conduct in life and thereby maximize our fruitfulness? The pragmatist attitude to truth is the one that now predominates in contemporary intellectual life. However, the current debates about the scientific status of psychoanalysis make plain that, at an unconscious level, dualist habits of mind still exercise a considerable influence on us. The credentials of psychoanalysis as a science have been assailed by modern adherents of dualist ways of thinking. These critics are dualist because, one way or another, they all divorce the soul from nature, even though this is often achieved only at the price of pretending that the dilemmas and complexities of the soul simply do not exist. This seems to be a mode of thought very out of tune with contemporary intellectual attitudes. And indeed it is. The intriguing thing is that these criticisms should be so widely accepted even though they proceed from assumptions about the nature of science and its relation to human beings that, when spelled out, most educated people would now reject. The only conclusion one can draw from this is that the criticisms of psychoanalysis as a science have come to represent a generally accepted form of intellectual revolt, or regression, from what is in fact the now predominant monist view of man and nature, and from the pragmatist view that

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accompanies it of scientific truth as an instrument man has fashioned for dealing with the world. Pragmatism leads to very different conclusions about the nature of science and its relation with human life than does dualism. It has been cultivated and brought to predominance in modern intellectual life by men of a significantly different intellectual temperament from those who promulgated the great dualist perspectives of the past. These are men who as a general rule are more inclined to look on old sciences and systems as a potential source of building materials for new creativity rather than to worry whether such use of old ideas infringes the principles they originally made manifest. They feel they can organize things in a creative way according to their own lights and that the past is to be used as a resource for creating the future without an anxious sense of dependence on inherited customs. They are, therefore, happy to think critically about how their own motives have been shaped by the past and about how they can reshape their own motives to make themselves more creative. They are happy in other words to see themselves as a piece of nature, because their faith is that nature is fundamentally self-reforming and self-repairing. Pragmatism of course is a broad style of thought as much as it is a particular school of philosophy. It encompasses the three important American philosophersCharles S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey. But certain key aspects of the spirit of pragmatism in its contemporary manifestation can be traced back before them, for instance, to the writing of Ralph Waldo Emerson, with its emphasis on man within nature, and before this to Goethe. And although Nietzsche and Freud are not usually labeled as pragmatists, their attitude towards truth is in essentials pragmatist. The categorical imperative of pragmatism is fruitfulness. It is stated by Goethe: Was fruchtbar ist, allein ist wahr. Only what is fruitful is true.1 Goethes work is characterized by pantheism, a sense that what is divine in life is to be found within Nature and her laws rather than in the suspension of these laws; by empiricism, a sense of the importance of reaching truth through our own firsthand experience of life and of things; and by historicism, a sense that to make the present as fruitful as we can we must be aware of how our possibilities are shaped by the past. These three key attitudes are to be found both in the pragmatism of the American philosophers and in the depth psychology of Nietzsche and Freud. Goethes influence on the American pragmatists is mediated by Hegel and by Emerson but on Nietzsche and Freud it is direct.

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Pragmatism stresses the importance of science for life as it is actually lived. The trap existentialism falls into is that of trying to divorce life from science out of an anxiety that our faith in life is threatened by science. The trap that positivism falls into is that of denying that the essential form of science can evolve, so it never encompasses what is vital to us. The pragmatist attitude avoids both these traps through its insistence that science can and must be developed so as to develop a new kind of faith in life. The ethical imperative of pragmatism is that a man must have the strength to question the rules of conduct that have governed him, and turn that questioning into deeper creativity. The ideal of pragmatism is that we should strive for self-possession and self-mastery in the face of the shifting values and perspectives which the pursuit of knowledge must entail. The essayist and poet of pragmatism is Emerson. He writes, Valor consists in the power of self-recovery, so that a man cannot have his flank turned, cannot be out-generalled, but put him where you will, he stands. This can only be by his preferring truth to his past apprehension of truth; and his alert acceptance of it, from whatever quarter; the intrepid conviction that his laws, his relations to society, his Christianity, his world, may at any time be superseded and decease.2 For men of a dualist temperament the primary problem has been to preserve the rules governing the conduct of life from critical scientific scrutiny. Such men say, by implication, that we do not have the strength to become systematically self-reforming creatures so we must preserve our rules for organizing life free from the reforming impact of scientific inquiry. For the dualist tradition, therefore, science may be of any form, provided only it does not threaten those underlying imperatives that govern our conduct. For the pragmatist tradition, in contrast, science may be of any form, provided only that it does indeed lead to a more fruitful conduct of life. This is the fundamental difference between them. Dualist philosophers tackle their problem by trying to determine in some final way which new meanings may legitimately be found in our intellectual categories, and which may not. This is exemplified, for instance, in Kants proposition that one may not find the notion of purpose in the categories of nature. This divorces knowledge from human purpose as far as possible. But this dualist concern with establishing the limits of categories is also unmistakable in those contemporary critics of psychoanalysis who set out to define what science is, in the knowledge that the questions posed by depth psychology will fail to fit into such a definition. Above all, for

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a thinker of dualist temperament, one must not find judgements about human conduct in the propositions of science. Facts and values must be kept immune from each other. We must never allow our knowledge of the way things are to influence our judgements on the rules of conduct we employ for organizing our purposes. In contrast, the pragmatist attitude towards definitions is that we can never be sure exactly what may turn up in our categories. For instance, it often is meaningful to regard nature as including purposes. And the codes and habits governing our purposes generally do benefit from a critical examination in the light of new knowledge. But, the pragmatist insists, we should not fear this uncertainty, because it is a promise of fruitfulness. Our best hope lies not in exhausting ourselves anxiously trying to define our classifications so that they are evermore immune from review. Rather, we should let our classifications evolve in an orderly way in response to the teachings of experience. And we should let our principles of conduct be guided and reformed in the light of our growing knowledge. The pioneering logician of pragmatism is Charles Sanders Peirce.3 Peirce develops his own position in opposition to that of Descartes. As we have noted, in Descartess philosophy everything revolves around the issue of how to reconcile the doubt engendered by science with the certainty required by traditional faith. If custom and habit are questionable, as science shows them to be, there is the danger that doubt will invade everything. The problem is, therefore, to find an island of knowledge untouched by custom and therefore immune to doubt. From that island of knowledge, we can start working outwards again, so that everything is placed on what is ultimately a footing of certainty. Peirce insists that this way of reasoning is a source only of selfdeception. It is simply not possible to doubt in the way Descartes believes and, equally, we have no grounds for claiming that our knowledge is certain. We cannot set the mind free from custom and habit. We cannot achieve a state of mind that is not conditioned by the past. Peirce remarks, Philosophers of very diverse stripes propose that philosophy shall take its start from one or another state of mind in which no man . . . actually is. One proposes that you shall begin by doubting everything, and says that there is only one thing that you cannot doubt, as if doubting were as easy as lying. Another proposes that we should begin by observing the first impressions of sense, forgetting that our very percepts are the results

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of cognitive elaboration. But in truth, there is but one state of mind from which you can set out, namely, the very state of mind in which you actually find yourself at the time you do set outa state in which you are laden with an immense mass of cognition already formed, of which you cannot divest yourself if you would. . . . Do you call it doubting to write down on a piece of paper that you doubt?4 Peirce stresses that we cannot have any unhistorical knowledge of anything. The shape of science is always conditioned by past custom and habit. Science undergoes metamorphosis as our experience develops, but we cannot uproot it from the past. Furthermore, we only know what our scientific knowledge amounts to when we place it in the context of life and see what rules for action proceed from it. A conception, Peirce notes, that is, the rational purport of a word or other expression, lies exclusively in its conceivable bearing upon the conduct of life.5 Therefore, the rational meaning of every proposition lies in the future.6 Until we see what purposes are implicit in our scientific propositions we do not know what they mean. Scientific concepts, therefore, never convey truth in an immediate way. They are, rather, signs, never wholly transparent signs, for the conduct of life.7 Every field of science is really a matrix of implicit rules for human action. Everything we call truth has been derived ultimately in answer to an unconscious question: By which rules for action should we live? The pragmatist attitude to the problem of knowledge is to make this unconscious question overt by asking, Which rules for action follow from our judgements of truth?8 To judge the merits of any science, therefore, instead of measuring it against some ahistorical definition of science, as dualists do, we should study rather what its implicit rules for action are. The crucial question is, do these implicit rules increase our fruitfulness, or do they diminish it? Of the three American pragmatists it is William James who does the most to stress the human implications of pragmatism and who drives home the fact that truth is a human construct: Truth independent; truth that we find merely; truth no longer malleable to human need; truth incorrigible, in a word; such truth exists indeed superabundantlyor is supposed to exist by rationalistically minded thinkers; but then it means only the dead heart of the living tree, and its being there means only that truth also has its paleontology . . . and may grow stiff with years of veteran service and petrified in mens regard by sheer antiquity.9

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In other words, truth that we find merely does not exist at all. We do not find truth, we make it. Where we seem to find it, this is only where we have forgotten how our ancestors made it, or where we for some reason hide from our own making. Even the most apparently objective truth is steeped in human purposes and customs. Scientific truth is part of a human narrative. Objects of natural science, writes Dewey, are not metaphysical rivals of historical events; they are means of directing the latter.10 Our judgements about nature are conditioned always by human needs. There is no real connection between experiences, no natural connection between them, that is not determined by what human beings have historically found useful to connect in experience.11 The limits and properties of each region of experience are determined by the meanings we have habitually found profitable to associate with that region. Thus, for instance, whether we treat the human animal as wholly a part of nature or as the boundary of nature depends entirely upon the properties we feel it is profitable to attribute to this animal. The problem, therefore, of the classification of a discipline like psychoanalysis cannot properly be answered unless we ask, Which purposes are served by which classification of it? Those who feel there is an advantage to be gained by inquiring quite rigorously into their own motives will be happy to emphasize its connections with other disciplines of science. Those who do not feel there is such an advantage will be inclined to divorce it from science in an effort either to discredit it entirely, or to make it subordinate to some other kind of religious or moral program. James speaks provocatively of the practical cash-value of our beliefs.12 The cash-value of a new idea is its value for our existing habits of thought and action. We test the value of a possible belief not against a neutral reality, but in terms of its consequences for existing habits of mind and action that we do not want to give up. As James notes, The greatest enemy of any one of our truths may be the rest of our truths. Truths have once for all this desperate instinct of selfpreservation and of desire to extinguish whatever contradicts them.13 There are thus two general conditions required before we will accept a new idea as true. First, we must be able to integrate it with habits we already trust. Second, we must feel that the idea promises us in some way a new pathway for those old habits to develop. We will judge an idea to be a false if we cannot integrate it with older habits, or if we cannot use it to make those older habits develop. The whole skill in the discovery of truth is, therefore, to be able to distinguish between a new idea that opens richer pathways

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for old habits to develop from one that merely perpetuates them in a sterile way. And in rejecting new ideas, the crucial thing is to distinguish rejection of a new idea because it perpetuates existing habits without allowing them to develop, from resistance to an idea that may be unfamiliar and strange but which is actually potentially fruitful. The pragmatist perspective on science leads us inevitably to a psychological perspective on science in which we ask, Does acceptance or rejection of an idea arise from creative strength, or from creative weakness? It is said sometimes that we are all pragmatists now. In our heads, perhaps, we are. The illusory nature of the timeless, disinterested truth espoused by Descartes and Kant is now acknowledged almost universally. And although it still has its dissenters, the view of scientific truth as an instrument serving human purposes is now the predominant one in modern intellectual life. However, our intellectual assent to this idea still outstrips the state of our unconscious intellectual habits. There is more to doubting than writing down on a piece of paper that we doubt. Perhaps the insight that our judgements on truth are dependent on our creative strength is not always congenial. Intellectually, we adhere to the interested and tentative nature of truth, but the tendency to look for ways of getting round this is still strong in us. And precisely because it has ceased to be intellectually respectable, this tendency adopts all kinds of convolutions and disguises. The positivist critiques of psychoanalysis that claim so insistently to speak for science while carefully defining science so that it excludes psychological questions provide one kind of example of this. Hermeneutic versions of psychoanalysis with their inflated religious theories of language provide another. These popular intellectual trends ignore the lessons of pragmatism. They are saying, in effect, let us restrict scientific knowledge and let us not take the risk of intellectual adulthood by questioning our fundamental habits of mind in a rigorous and honest way. The Cartesian separation of mind and nature results only in an attenuated notion of scientific knowledge that ignores what is truly human, and a correspondingly inflated notion of the human that ignores the disciplines of science. For James, this was the great failing of philosophy at the start of the twentieth century. He noted, You find empiricism with inhumanism and irreligion; or else you find a rationalistic philosophy that indeed may call itself religious, but that keeps out of all definite touch with concrete facts and joys and sorrows.14 A century on, for all our talk of living in a post-modern world, the picture is in surprising ways unchanged. Intellectual

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fashion is currently dominated, on the one hand, by an empiricism that would draw the science of the mind back to Darwin, or even to Einstein, and, on the other, by a hermeneutic poststructuralism that keeps in view the ambiguities of the mind but loses sight of the concrete needs of human beings to organize these ambiguities in a rational way.

NIETZSCHES CRITIQUE OF INTENTION


Nietzsche draws out the consequences of the pragmatist way of thinking about truth. He shows that the ancient problem of what truth is has become the problem of which purposes are healthy for human beings. The problem of truth thus gives way in the modern world to a new intellectual discipline: depth psychology. To begin this new discipline Nietzsche undertakes a new critique of the concept of human purpose. He stresses that all human purposes are inherently ambiguous because there are always two aspects to our intentionality. These two aspects are so radical that they defy precise statement in language. We therefore have to keep revising and improving our terms to try to capture their essence. One way of thinking about the division within us is that of overabundance of life versus hunger for life. We are driven both by an inexhaustible generative something within us, but also by a dependent need for something powerful outside ourselves. Another metaphor for the division within us is that of the rule and the exception. We are torn always between our need to recognize that which is precedented, and our need to be true to that within us which is always unprecedented. A further metaphor is that of the noble and the slavethat within us which acts, and that which reacts. The writer who has done the most to examine the implications of the breakdown of traditional religious faith under the pressure of science is Friedrich Nietzsche. No one has explored as profoundly as has he what the ending of the dualist separation of man from nature means for us.15 Most important, he explores how our judgements of truth are conditioned by creative strength or weakness. This perspective becomes in turn the heart of psychoanalytic interpretation

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because here our primary focus is on distinguishing those constructions of the world that proceed from anxiety and weakness, from those that proceed from strength and potential creativity. In the dualist tradition, truth was thought of as something fixed, timeless, certain. It was thought to be something which, once found, we could unconditionally rely upon. The pragmatist theory of truth, in contrast, developed out of the insight that truth is actually a means to the fulfillment of human purposes. Truth is not to be found in some sphere beyond the historical stream of our own wishes and needs. It is created by us to fulfil those wishes and needs. Nietzsche shares this pragmatist view of truth.16 As he emphasizes, we had been brought up to think of truth as something that was to be found somewhere beyond the play of our own self-interested drives. Truth was something better than these drives, even something standing in opposition to them. Now, we realize that what we think of as the possession of truth is not a state beyond the play of our drives at all. It is, rather, only a particular manifestation of our drives.17 A pragmatist like James would agree with this. Where Nietzsche goes beyond the pragmatists is in his emphasis on just how difficult it is to identify the drives that truth satisfies. These drives go in disguise, sometimes heavy disguise. Of course, Nietzsche would say to the pragmatists, the only test we have of truth is fruitfulness. But, he would point out, unless it is very carefully qualified, fruitfulness is a vague notion. We can easily be misled by it. For instance, judgements that make us fruitful in the shorter term may lead to stagnation in the longer term. Equally, judgements that lead to the flourishing of our noisier, more readily recognized drives, may lead to the suffocation of rarer, more sensitive, but ultimately more innovative drives. Therefore, if we think of truth as those judgements that work for human purposes, the question we have to confront is, work for which purposes? This is the central question Nietzsche poses in his philosophy. We are far yet from understanding all the many implications of this new perspective. Nietzsches importance, however, is that he is the first to point out that the ancient problem of truth has changed its form in this way. The problem of truth is no longer a grand, metaphysical enterprise searching for certainties about things beyond the human. It has turned into something much more empirical, much more tentative and, fundamentally, much more difficult: it has turned into the question of which purposes, or which ordering and arrangement of purposes, are healthy for the human animal?

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The evolution of the problem of truth, therefore, compels us now to try a new kind of science, a psychological science of the health of the soul. The way is open, writes Nietzsche, for new versions and refinements of the soul-hypothesis; and such conceptions as mortal soul, soul as subjective multiplicity, and soul as social structure of the drives and affects, want now to be accorded citizens rights in science.18 This cannot be anything less than a science of our drives and values in all their complexity and contradictions. At every point, we shall be concerned with the intricate and difficult question of which configurations of drives are healthy, and which are not. To lay the foundation for this new science, Nietzsches first step is to reverse Kants strategy of excluding the concept of purpose from science. It is by excluding purpose from science that Kant bars the way for a proper psychology. If intentionality is not properly a scientific problem, then obviously there cannot be a serious science of human motives. What we need for our new science, Nietzsche points out, is not only the inclusion of purpose, but a whole new critique of the concept of purpose.19 We have to think more carefully than we have done in the past about what human intentionality actually involves. When we do this, what we find is that our intentions are inherently ambiguous and conflictual. Because of this, there is an inherent sickness in our condition that we do not find in other animals.20 The ancient problem of truth, therefore, resolves itself in modern intellectual life into the new science of this human emotional sickness. When we reduce human intentionality to its simplest elements, Nietzsche suggests, we find two fundamental dimensions in it. He comments, This seems to me to be one of my most essential steps and advances: I learnt to distinguish the cause of acting from the cause of acting in such-and-such a way, in-this-direction, acting-towards-this-goal. The first kind of cause is a quantum of accumulated strength, which waits to be used, in some way, or in some place; the second kind in contrast is something that, measured against this strength, is completely insignificant, a small occurrence at most, in accord with which the quantum now releases itself.21 The distinction between these two kinds of cause is a fundamental one. Just because it is such a radical distinction, however, it defies precise statement in words. It goes deeper than our use of language allows us to capture as exactly as we would like. It can be described only with analogies. And no analogy ever captures it perfectly. We have therefore to keep refining the analogies we use for

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it. More than any other science, depth psychology is the science of analogy and metaphor. Exactness, in this field, does not mean leaving metaphor behind; it means striving always to improve our metaphors so that they are the clearest we can make them. One rough-and-ready analogy for this division of causes within us is familiar to us from everyday use. It is the distinction between nature and nurture. We are driven by the fundamental purposes of nature within us. And we are governed also by the particular historical circumstances that have nurtured us. Nietzsche offers his own variation on this familiar analogy by suggesting that the distinction is like the one between the driving force of a ship, the steam in its engine, and the directing force, the helmsman at the wheel who guides the ship along its course.22 It is not, however, this distinction between force and guidance in itself that Nietzsche wishes to draw our attention to. Rather, what he wishes to underline for us is the imperfection in this analogy, as in every such attempt to describe the distinction we are interested in. The analogy is imperfect because we never see the power of the steam that drives us, except indirectly, through what the helmsman does with it. In other words, we can only describe the purposes of nature that drive us in the forms given to us by the directing nurture we have received, that is, in the terms and conventions of expression we have inherited from custom. We depend upon nurture, we depend upon conventionally sanctioned language and other forms of expression, to grasp our nature, to express our purposes, to describe them and to fulfil them. Therefore, the two underlying aspects of our intentions constantly interfere with each other; we never encounter them in their pure, unalloyed forms separated out from each other. Ortega once famously remarked that man has no nature but, instead, a history.23 Nietzsches point is just the opposite of this: in every aspect of his life and experience man has a nature and a history, and if we are going to be scientific about ourselves then we must find a way to deal with both these dimensions at one and the same time. As individuals, to fulfill any of our purposes in life we have to share the conventional expressions and forms of life that others recognize and sanction. The human animal cannot fulfill even its most basic organic needs except by becoming, in the broadest sense of the term, a historical animal, that is, an animal that uses the language and symbolism sanctioned by the conventions into which it is born. If we break too completely with convention, we become incomprehensible to others. If we become incomprehensible to others, we become isolated. The danger of isolation is not just that we will perish

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physically. The danger is that we will perish emotionally, that we will be cut off from the larger stream of life that is human history.24 To belong to that stream, we have to use the language and symbolism accepted by others. To use that language, we have to accept many of the values and purposes already implicit within the meanings sanctioned by it. In this sense, none of us can express ourselves directly. Most of the time, we use the expressions that we feel will present us in the most advantageous way to those with whom we identify, or those whose support we feel we need. But even when we are trying to be most honest about ourselves, the best any of us can do is to use the conventional language and symbols that seem least to deviate from our inner nature. Anyone who has tried seriously to convey his inner state of mind to another, as one does in the process of psychotherapy for instance, knows just how difficult this task is. And the perennial question of the psychotherapeutic patient, Are these feelings normal? reflects the anxiety we all feel in the face of the irreducible uniqueness of the self. It feels safer to hold to the purposes that are recognized by the rest of the world. Too often, however, good and creative things within the self are distorted by this need to find acceptance from others. It is because of this inherent imperfection in the match between human nature and the forms on which it depends for its expression that the science of human nature is such a complex and difficult science. The puzzle of understanding human purposes presents us with what, Nietzsche remarks, is the most difficult and intricate of all inferences, the one in which the most mistakes are made. This is the inference, as he says, from the work to the originator, from the act to the perpetrator, from the ideal to him who has need of it, from every manner of thinking and valuing to the commanding need behind it.25 Faced with this most difficult of interpretations, we cannot simply transfer the idea of purpose over from other life forms and apply it directly to ourselves. This is the mistake of the Darwinian positivists and the sociobiologists, for instance. On the contrary, we have to keep in mind always the two elusive, underlying dimensions of human intention: the underground force, and the shifting historical forms in which alone that force can express itself. What is the most elemental way we can formulate these two dimensions of intentionality? We need some form of words that is as free as possible of specific cultural or historical connotations. Well, one formula is to ask, Is it hunger or overabundance that has here

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become creative?26 Again, like every other analogy for the two dimensions of human purpose, this opposition is imperfect. Nevertheless, we can use it as a starting point from which to amplify our ideas. We can think of overabundance as the generative, squandering, exuberant, experimenting energy of life which delights in the individual, the ineffable. It is the unnamable force that sustains us, that carries us through life in spite of all whys and wherefores. It is that within us which never doubts its capacity for self-renewal, never entertains regrets, dreads no future, and is not inhibited by any consciousness of history. This is the overabundance of life of which every living thing in nature partakes. We can think of our hunger, on the other hand, as reflected in our dependent human need for some power external to us to guide us, our need for something to tell us how to express and how to fulfil our needs. It is reflected also in our tendency often to deny the evidence of our own experience in favor of what we believe others expect us to experience. It is a reflection of this hunger that we have developed those things that are unique to us as a species: language, a highly articulated memory, a sense of history, a deep reliance upon habit and tradition, the sense of belonging to a past, the sense of owing debts, of being bound by past promises, of needing to suffer with others, of needing to punish ourselves if we betray their expectations of us. The very fact that we depend on words to describe ourselves and to try to understand ourselves is a reflection of this hunger. So is our reliance upon all the other symbolic forms of expression that we take from history and convention. We cannot express our nature without these conventional forms. And yet we find them outside ourselves, in the history we inherit. Language therefore can never give us more than an imperfect map of our nature; it can never finally do justice to the overabundance of life within us that utilizes it. To define ourselves we must try one analogy and then we must try another. Our hunger for another, better expression is never satisfied. To the extent that we feel ourselves to be different from the rest of nature, it is because of this hunger. It is this hunger that compels us to ask why we live, and why we suffer. It is this hunger that drives us to tell a story with our lives and thus to find a meaning for what we experience and suffer. It is this hunger that sustains the codes and habits that organize our drives and that help to reduce their inherent strangeness. And it is this insatiable need to belong to something beyond ourselves that creates the conflict of imperatives that lies at the heart of emotional suffering. It creates our sense of guilt, it inclines us to interpret misfortune as punishment for the

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infringement of some law, and it creates the intricate webs of selfpunishment that are the neurotics reassurance that in spite of all his rebelliousness he still belongs. Our innate overabundance tells us in broad terms what to do with life: we must build, consume, exercise, reproduce, extend our territory, and so on. But we depend upon history and convention to tell us exactly in what way to do these things. And the intricacies of history and convention often confuse us. They can lead us to misjudge our needs, they can cause us to become unsure of the best way of fulfilling them, they can cause us to indulge certain needs to excess, leaving others to atrophy, and they can leave us trapped in impossible conflicts between needs. Because of the richness of our conventions and our various forms of expression we are more creative and innovative than are other animals in the way we fulfill our basic needs, but because of these things we are also more prone to error and confusion. From the point of view of the other animals, we are a disturbed and comical creature. As a metaphor for the division within human intentions this opposition between hunger and overabundance is stark, but it is also imperfect. Nietzsche therefore goes on to reformulate the division, trying to bring out other qualities in it. In Beyond Good and Evil, for instance, he suggests that if we practice a little psychological vivisection upon ourselves what we shall find is the unconscious war between the rule and the exception.27 This is the war between that which is obedient only to its own inherent law of generation and growth, the principle of the exception, and that which strives to express itself in the forms of life that others will sanction, the principle of the rule. This war generates a tension within every human act and experience. More often than not, we must assume, this war results in the silent destruction within ourselves of any exceptional impulse that cannot find expression in recognized forms. But even when exceptional impulses are strong enough to resist extinction, always they survive only at the price of an accommodation with the rule. This accommodation forces what is exceptional in us into indirect forms of expression. What preserves the rule, Nietzsche remarks, is the unconscious craftiness with which all good, fat, solid, mediocre spirits react to higher spirits and their tasks.28 These mediocre spirits within us are the forces of hunger and anxiety. They are the guardians of precedence, of going on as before, for fear of finding

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something worse. They are the source of what Freud calls resistance.29 They resist what is new, untried, experimental, bold. In unhappy circumstances, the forces of the rule become so strong that they distort what is fresh and courageous within the self into contorted and pathological expressions. This is the condition of neurosis. The individuating powers of the self are not properly deployed. The fear of breaking with the rule has become too strong. The exceptional powers of the individual are distorted into symptoms. They become banal, repetitive, sterile, angry, safe. In On the Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche proposes yet another way of thinking about the underlying war within us. The distinction here is between a noble manner of valuing and acting, and a slave manner of valuing and acting.30 The noble manner of valuing is a development of the metaphor of the exception, and of the overabundance of life. The noble is that in a human being which trusts instinctively in the force of life within itself. It acts, commands, organizes, chooses, perceives differences, solely with a view to what is good for the organism itself. It is not inhibited by any received, historical sense of good and evil. The world is divided into good things and bad things solely on the basis of the needs of the organism itself. On its own, however, the noble element in us lacks calculation and it lacks intelligence. The noble manner of experiencing the world is solipsistic. It is incapable of taking account of the needs of any organism whose constitution differs from its own. It has no sense of empathy. It has no sense of history in the human sense, which is after all an awareness of natures different from oneself. It has no sense of the rules and precedents which are essential to life and which can be acquired only from history. The noble, exceptional way of experiencing is exemplified in the famous metaphor of the blond beast.31 The blond beast is a thought experiment, a mythic creature, conceived as being without conscience and without history. The blond beast is the essence of what the barbarian has meant, in every age. It is something which, left to its own devices, creates a disgusting procession of murder, arson, rape and torture, exhilarated and undisturbed of soul.32 The blond beast is a symbol of vibrant life, but of mindless life.33 The second principle of human experience is that of the slave. The slave is the being whose choices do not spring from its own integral imperatives and needs. On the contrary, they revolve around those of other, more powerful beings. The slave values things not on the basis of what experience has taught him directly is good, or bad,

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for his own constitution, but rather on the basis of what some external power has decreed is good, or evil. The essence of the slave principle in human beings is that it is reactive to the needs of others, of others, that is, who are perceived to be more powerful than oneself and whose constitution differs from ones own. In its purest and most destructive form the slave principle is that within us which is governed solely by the need to negate what has been compelled by some external will. The principle of the slave is, of course, a development of the metaphor of our inherent hunger. It should be understood, however, as a destructive consequence of this hunger, not a simple restatement of it, just as the blond beast is a destructive consequence of overabundance. Only when noble and slave interact together, in a human being, do they become creative. Human beings cannot live without external guidance to tell them how they should wish and what they should wish for. Their dependence upon language, and upon every kind of traditional expression, convention, history and rule, is a reflection of this. What is slavish, however, is not this hungry need of history as such. The cheerful obedience to an honorable ideal handed down from history is not slave morality. What is slavish is the inability to take creative possession of the forms history passes down to us. What is slavish is to be condemned to a continuous negating of the forms of ones history, even as one compulsively repeats thembecause one compulsively repeats them. The slave principle is of its essence a reactive, resentful, destructive stance towards the world, and therefore towards the self.34 The principle of the slave in man has informed some of the most compelling figures in literature; for instance, Shakespeares Iago and Edmund, and both Miltons and Goethes versions of Mephistopheles. In an important sense, each of these characters is a dead end, because each can only negate what already exists; none can create anything new.35 But the perennial fascination of the energy and intelligence of these characters speaks of something essential in each one of us. At the same time, of course, none of these figures is a pure type of the slave. We never come across pure types. In every human event, the noble principle or the principle of the slave is more predominant, but always both strands are interwoven.36 One never exists wholly without the other. The distinction between noble and slave, like that between overabundance and hunger, and that between exception and rule, is an idealized metaphor. It does not pin down exactly the distinction we wish to describe but allows us merely to view it from a new point of view.

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APPLICATIONS TO PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
Human beings are driven both by a hunger for precedent and acceptance, and by an ever flowing overabundant need to create something new and to break with the past. In unhappy circumstances, where the interaction of these two tendencies is not a fruitful one, conflict between them leads to a chronic resentment against the world and against history. In psychoanalytic terms, this is defense. This resentment against the world is also the basis of the lingering appeal of the dualist philosophies, with their essentially reactive stance towards the forward movement of new knowledge and science. In happier circumstances, the interaction of hunger and abundance leads to an attitude of gratitude, towards oneself and ones history. This is the meaning of Nietzsches ideal of the bermensch. As an illustration of this new problem of intentionality, Nietzsche uses some personal events that were pivotal for his own development. At the age of twenty-four, to his surprise, he had been appointed a professor at Basel University. This period of early academic acceptance coincided also with his close friendship with Wagner. As it happened, Wagner was of a similar age to the father Nietzsche had lost in early infancy. Gradually, however, Nietzsche realized that through these early achievements and enthusiasms he had lost touch with something essential in his own nature. He comments, I felt a complete aberration of my instincts. Particular mistakes, whether called Wagner, or the professorship at Basel, were mere signs of this. I was overcome by an impatience with myself. I realized that it was high time to recall and reflect on myself. All at once it became clear to me in a frightful way how much time I had already wasted. . . . Ten years lay behind me in which the nourishment of my spirit had really come to a stop. . . . It was then, too, that I first guessed how an activity chosen in defiance of ones instincts, a so-called vocation for which one does not have the least vocation, is related to the need for deadening the feeling of desolation and hunger by means of a narcotic artfor example, Wagnerian art. Looking about me

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cautiously, I have discovered that a large number of young men experience the same distress: one antinatural step virtually compels the second. . . . Anything seemed preferable to that unseemly selflessness into which I had got myself originally in ignorance and youth, and in which I had got stuck later on from inertia and so-called sense of duty. . . . Sickness detached me slowly. . . . My eyes alone put an end to all bookwormishness. . . . For years I did not read a thingthe greatest benefit I ever conferred on myself. That nethermost self which had, as it were, been buried and grown silent under the continual pressure of having to listen to other selves (and that is after all what reading means) awakened slowly, shyly, dubiouslybut eventually it spoke again.37 What Nietzsche describes here is what we now call the neurotic condition. Nietzsches dilemma was caused by a conflict between two fundamental kinds of obligation, that is, two kinds of need. The first was his need as a young man to master and assimilate the work of othersin his case, as a scholar and as an artist. The second was his need to be himself, to be true to his own creative individuality. At first, the conflict between these two obligations was hidden. It expressed itself only indirectly, in the need for narcosis. For Nietzsche, narcosis came in the form of the excessive flights of Wagnerian drama, with its emphasis on effect and sensation as an end in itself. Gradually, however, the conflict became more intolerable. It emerged in a sense that the whole course of his life had become mistaken. It emerged also in physical symptoms, in particular, severe migraines and the increasing problems he had with his sight. What is important is Nietzsches emphasis upon the ambiguity of this kind of conflictual condition. It manifests itself as sickness. And yet, it is mistaken to regard it simply as sickness. In an obvious sense, it reflects weakness. At the same time, however, it reflects the assertion of strength over weakness. Sickness detached me slowly, he comments. In the various expressions of emotional illness, in the somatic symptoms, in the compulsive thoughts, in the depressed moods, and so on, what one potentially is, speaks indirectly. This is Nietzsches point about the difficulties he had with his eyes. Because of these, he was compelled not to read, not to attend to others, not to listen to anyone other than himself. These symptoms led to his retirement from the university, and to the beginning of his most important work.

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A less creative individual would simply have enjoyed the kind of early success and acceptance that Nietzsche achieved, but would never have made anything new out of it. The paradox is that such an individual would have been too weak to be made sick by it. Emotional illness is not only an indication of an inability to live in the world as it is; it is also an indication of the capacity to reform the world so that it corresponds more closely to the optimum conditions for ones own nature. It is a sign not only of the need, so strong especially in the ignorance of infancy and youth, to be selfless, to belong, to be recognized, to do good, to do ones duty. It is a sign also of the imperative to be ones own self, and not any other. It is this duty to oneself, and the conflict it creates with ones sense of duty towards others, that creates the sickness we now call neurosis. The more generative the individual, the more he has to learn, like a snake, to shed his skin from time to time. Neurotic illness occurs when something interferes with this shedding. Illness of this kind reflects a conflict between a too early adaptation to circumstances, and the needs of a more vital, more original self, struggling to create its own circumstances. Neurotic illnesses are, therefore, also symptoms of health. Tolerance of conflict is itself an indication of strength. It is a reflection of the capacity to reject what has been in the past, and to create something that has not existed before. The suffering this entails is the suffering of the war between the past and the future which is trying to break out of the past. Generally, we become emotionally ill when the constructions and interpretations of the world and of ourselves that we initially seize upon to find acceptance by others turn out to be damaging to our own nature. To paraphrase James, the greatest enemy of our most important truth may be the rest of our truths. It might be a professional vocation mistakenly embarked upon, for instance, as it was for Nietzsche. It might be a mistaken marriage or partnership. But, generally, the roots of emotional illness go deeper than this. Generally, if such mistakes have a lasting emotional impact it is because they reflect earlier, unsatisfactory attempts by the individual to express his nature in the forms of life recognized as valid by his first environment, that is, the environment of the family. The family is the first social system everyone has to adjust to, with its own particular language, traditions, and values. The child is always in some measure in conflict with this system because the child is always a new experiment on the part of nature. Inevitably, the principles by which it flourishes best will not find perfect expression in

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the forms of life already sanctioned by the family. It has, therefore, to try to create its own expressions of life. Some degree of conflict over this is inescapable. Sometimes, however, the degree of conflict is such that the child becomes chronically divorced from its own truth. It then carries this division within itself through into the later stages of life. Unlike Freud, Nietzsche has rather little to say explicitly about childhood. But the connection between this double aspect of human intentionality and the prolonged childhood of man is important. The fear that others will abandon us if our evaluations diverge from theirs is at its strongest in childhood. In addition, our way of judging and evaluating those others from whom we will later adopt values in life tends to be settled in childhood. Nietzsche remarks, We are for the most part our life long the fools of judgements we got used to as children, in the way in which we judge our neighbors (their spirit, rank, morality, whether they are exemplary or reprehensible) and find it necessary to pay homage to their evaluations.38 At the same time, however, precisely because in a certain sense our childhood lasts throughout life, we never lose the capacity to make something new out of the judgements we acquire from our history. Our long childhood therefore cuts both ways. It enlarges both our hungry dependence upon history and our overabundant capacity to synthesize new things out of it. The child within us has constantly to reconcile creative impulse with adherence to precedent. In the form of reconciliation it arrives at there may be a predominance of either hunger or overabundance, in Nietzsches sense. If anxious hunger predominates, the child within becomes governed by the psychology of the slave. That is to say, it makes the family history into which it is born punitive and destructive; it has not the strength to transform it into something fruitful, so it goes to war resentfully against it. Potentially creative impulses become distorted and displaced along fruitless and destructive paths. This, of course, is the condition of the neurotic. In happier circumstances, the child within represents the noble principle, the principle of the creator, the innovator; it becomes the promise of a new cycle.39 In these circumstances, the child knows how to mine the customs it inherits from the family for the elements out of which it can make up a better self. When a human being is in a state of health, the element of overabundance in him is strong enough to utilize in a creative way the historical stream he is attached to. When life is abundant within him, he experiences the stream of history as an abundant source of possibili-

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ties, and therefore as something profoundly good. His predominant attitude towards his own history and experience is one of gratitude.40 More often than we would wish, however, our hunger is too strong for us. It overwhelms the expression of our natural energy, like a vine choking the tree on which it lives. Things turn sour. The stream of historical circumstance distorts our attempts at creative individuation. The creative impulse turns into a curse. It creates an overdependence upon history. The predominant attitude towards history and experience becomes a chronic negating of it. This is the condition of some of the great figures of tragedy, such as Medea, Hamlet, and Hedda Gabler. The native hue of abundant resolution is sicklied over with the pale cast of injured thought. The proper course of life, which is the perfection of the self, is perverted instead into a bitter resentment of the world as such. When hunger predominates over life, it is reflected in a pessimism about life and about the self. Life is lived, but with a sense of bitterness towards its contingencies. The man of resentment blames his history, his circumstances, his times, whatever they happen to be, for his inability to live well. But it is not his history that creates his bitterness, it is his inability to master his history and to utilize it in a fruitful way. He is chronically dependent on his history, he cannot define himself without it, and yet he is profoundly antagonistic towards it. He carries his history around with him, recreating it wherever he can, and yet recreating it in such a way that he is able to condemn it at the same time. The past becomes a source of fixations, that is, forms of life that recur in a compulsive way, and which become vehicles of indeterminate negation, of anger and resentment.41 The central psychoanalytic notion of defense should be understood in these terms. Defense is the smothering and distortion of an exceptional tendency, a noble tendency, in Nietzsches sense, by the rule of those good, fat, mediocre spirits within us. Something creative, adventurous, or risky is smothered by something that may indeed have many good things potentially in it but that has become too cowardly, too dependent, too moralistic. Instead of being destroyed completely, however, that creative something becomes revengeful; it becomes corrupted into a force of resentment. It is unable to overthrow the rule, but lives in such a way as continuously to negate it. That which is not strong enough to reform can only condemn. Defense, therefore, has nothing to do with forgetting the past. It is, on the contrary, an inability to overcome the past and let it go. And overcoming defense in psychotherapy has nothing to do with restoring memories of the past. Overcoming defense means shifting

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the balance of forces within the self so that more creative, more noble forces take on new strength. The child within has the capacity to leave behind destructive ways of feeling in which it condemns both its history and, therefore, itself. It can change the meaning of its history so that it reflects its own exceptional nature. The therapeutic task is to assist and support this. Emotional illness is a characteristically human way of being ill. It tells us things about human nature that purely physical illnesses do not. In its ambiguity it reflects the essentially conflictual nature of all human intention. In treating physiological illness, our primary aim is to remove or alleviate the symptoms. In handling emotional illness, in contrast, our primary aim is to understand the capacities the symptoms indirectly point to. Until these capacities achieve recognition and, in some measure, fulfillment, the symptoms which express them will persist, or they will transform themselves into others equally debilitating. Of course, there are powerful forces all the time at work against this maturing and healing process. There are many who do not feel they are strong enough to reform the meaning of their history in a creative way. The lingering appeal of the old dualist perspectives on science is that they provide intellectual rationalizations for this weakness. They help to make respectable the inability to think critically about how we unconsciously manipulate our history. They do this by holding up a false notion of what science doesfor instance, it follows the principles of Einstein or Darwin, even in the study of things in which these men had no interestand by holding up a false notion of what psychoanalysis doesfor instance, it is an investigation into forgotten memories, working to get the patients assent to the analysts interpretations of those memories. Intellectual arguments that tell us our problems are caused by past injuries, rather than by what we have made of those injuries, will always find a ready audience. The modern criticisms of psychoanalysis have pleased many people because they do this while claiming to have the imprimatur of science itself. However, the more abundant in creative life a man is, the less he will be afraid of considering his weaknesses and his hunger, because he will sense that he has the capacity to govern these things. Of course, learning how to govern ourselves is a task without end, even for the strongestperhaps especially for them. Every day we have to slough off the prejudices that we allow to adhere to us because of our anxious hunger, our need to make sure our own inclinations do not diverge too far from those with whom we identify.

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We have constantly to rediscover ourselves beneath the debris of this anxious need to be accepted. Goethe remarks, Looked at precisely, we have to reform ourselves every day, and protest against others. . . . We face the daily renewed task . . . of making the words we use as immediately coincident as possible with what we feel, see, think, experience, imagine, reason. Let everyone test himself and he will find that this is much harder than one would think. Because, unfortunately, for the human being words are usually surrogates. For the most part, one thinks and knows better than one expresses oneself.42 The symptoms of emotional illness are the expressions of this submerged self, struggling to be heard, but condemned to speak in destructive, angry terms. If we work successfully, we assist in a reconfiguration of the self, one in which the child within is less dominated by the evil status it has unconsciously adopted, and is more free to experience itself and its own needs as something good, something no longer shameful and angry, but as something self-assured in its own powers of regeneration. This is what Nietzsches ideal of the bermensch means. It is an ideal in which the reactive, resentful forces in a human being have been dimmed down to their lowest conceivable extent. We should, Nietzsche says, understand the word bermensch as naming a type of the most extreme turning-out-well.43 He continues, And in what basically does one recognize having turned-outwell? That a man . . . has a taste only for that which is beneficial for him; his pleasure, his desire stops where the measure of what is beneficial for him is overstepped. . . . What does not destroy him makes him stronger. . . . He is a selecting principle, he lets much go past. . . . He knows how to forget.44 In short, the bermensch is the ideal of a man who, because he has acquired knowledge and mastery of himself, has no need any more to reject necessity as it is and existence as it is. He is not all the time anxiously looking for an escape from the rule of necessity in life, because he has no inclination within himself towards things that are not healthy for him. He is not afraid, in a word, of science. The man who cannot master himself, in contrast, will always try to keep science at a distance from his motives because he has not the strength to use science to understand and reshape his purposes so that they make him more fruitful. For such a temperament the best hope is in keeping things as they are, staying with old habits and customs. And this also means, of course, staying with old conceptions of science.

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This psychological ideal of the higher human being is a reflection of our new understanding of what scientific truth is. It is the logical outcome of the pragmatist insight that truth is something we make, for our own purposes, to be as healthy as we can. It replaces the old notion of an unchanging, unconditioned truth coming to us from somewhere beyond ourselves. Depth psychology is our first, tentative experiment in this new understanding of what truth is.

Chapter Four ISSUES FROM STUDIES ON HYSTERIA


INDIVIDUATION AND NEUROSIS
The rise of science has meant that traditions of every kind have become weaker. This in turn has meant that the problem of identity has come to the forefront in modern culture because the individual now has a problematic relation with the traditions that define him or her. The importance of Studies On Hysteria is that it considers symptoms of illness as a reflection of problems in identity. This is obscured, however, by the fact that the work as a whole is undecided between the theory of catharsis and the theory of defense. The theory of defense is a theory of identity because it considers conflicts between intentions. This becomes the basis of psychoanalysis. The cathartic perspective, in contrast, does not go beyond thinking of the unconscious as a storehouse of memories and free associations. Much of the recent literature on psychoanalysis has blurred the distinction between these two perspectives. It has thus attributed to psychoanalysis the shortcomings of the cathartic perspective and has failed to see that the kernel of psychoanalytic theory is the problem of human identity. Generally speaking, the stronger are the traditional expectations that are preserved in a culture, the fewer are the emotional dilemmas that the individuals within it are left to resolve on their own without external guidance. In other words, the stronger is the moral system as a whole, the better are individuals shielded from the full ambivalence of their own intentions. This, of course, is the source of the perennial appeal of cultural systems that impose strong moral codes.

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On the other hand, the fewer and the weaker are the traditional imperatives in a culture as a whole, the more each individual is thrown back upon his own emotional resources in dealing with lifes dilemmas. With the general weakening of the power of traditional expectations, as we now have as a result of science, the individual finds he has less guidance in how to achieve a fruitful balance between his conflicting needs as he develops. The problem of individuation has come to the forefront in modern culture because, in trying to resolve it, the individual no longer has the support of strong traditions from the past. The fewer the imperatives, the more urgent and difficult becomes the problem of individuation, the problem of answering the question, Who am I?1 Many of the personal choices that earlier generations were able to decide by falling back on tradition are now left open and uncertain. The fading of tradition provides us with many more opportunities to experiment with life but it is also a source of increased inner anxiety and sense of alienation. This leads to an unfocused sense of self-dislike and, in turn, towards rather insidious self-punitive patterns of personal behavior. Perhaps these modern habits of self-punitive behavior we see all around us are also rooted in an unconscious attempt in some way to restore the sense of security that goes with a stronger authority. The fading of tradition also has the effect of leaving the individual more emotionally fixated upon the first authority encountered, which is that of the family. Because the cultural structures that planted the family in a wider system of imperatives and expectations have become attenuated, the family has become more important, rather than less, as a source of personal identity. Many people would now regard their families as the only remaining social structure having a serious claim on their allegiance. At the same time, however, the spirit of science has made the family itself an object of skeptical scrutiny to a degree it never was in times of greater certainty. As a result, most contemporary human beings are probably more ambivalent in their feelings about familial authority than were those in an age of faith. This modern crisis of individuation is the one Descartes and Kant attempted unconsciously to forestall. They both tried to establish certainties that could compensate for the decline of the authority of tradition. Descartes tried to establish certainties about the connection between the self and God that could override the fading of tradition. Kant looked for moral certainties that would be immune from scientific skepticism. In the longer term, these attempts to save

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the self from the encroachment of science were without effect. Eventually, the spirit of skepticism, which had grown so strong in the realm of the physical sciences, invaded the realm of the psyche also. Now that this has happened, the problem of individual autonomy cannot any more be divorced from the question of science. The spirit of scientific skepticism, through its corrosion of tradition, has created the problem of the individual in its modern form. This is why the attempts to divorce psychoanalysis from science miss the point. If we are not to take flight into irrationality we have no choice now but to try to confront our own motives as unsentimentally as we have learned to confront the motive forces in the rest of nature. In 1895, in Studies On Hysteria, psychoanalysis emerges as a new development in medical science and in psychology.2 It reflects the extension of scientific inquiry from the physical world to the sphere of the emotional and ethical life, that is, the life of the soul. It takes seriously those diseases that are not primarily conditioned by physiological factors but rather by the inherently conflictual nature of human intentions. With Studies On Hysteria, Freud embarks on a new kind of science, one which Nietzsche had adumbrated throughout the 1880s.3 Here, for the first time, illness is examined implicitly as a problem in the end of unconditional morality. In every family, all the rules are a little more ambiguous than they were for earlier generations. The perennial underlying human struggle between hunger and overabundance, between the rule and the exception, is less perfectly contained than it was. Over the following years, Freud develops what is in effect a new metaphor for this inherent conflict identified by Nietzsche. It is that of the struggle between the family and the I. These competing forces, instead of being organized for the individual, as they are to a greater extent in times of faith and moral certainty, now increasingly have to be organized by the individual. Properly understood, neurotic diseases are really episodes in the struggle of the patient to individuate in a world of moral uncertainty. For the neurotic, his illness is an essential part of his attempt to develop his identity. This is why he cannot give it up. He wishes to be cured, but he wishes also not to be curedand he is right in both. In neurotic illness what the patient wants, fundamentally, is to know the meaning of all that he suffers. What hunger within has led him to the dependence that imprisons him? What overabundance has provoked the rebellious illness that makes the imprisonment intolerable? And what keys to escape are secreted within the illness itself that make it at once so intolerable and yet so valuable? The neurotic can be cured only by the achievement of an identity that is

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more fruitful than the illness, but which at the same time allows the recognition of the forces that created the illness. In Studies On Hysteria, however, all this is still only emerging in a fragmented and partial form. Much is confusing about the significance of the book for the later development of psychoanalysis. The most important source of confusion is that there are two different theories of hysteria competing within it. This is stated quite clearly by Freud himself. Nevertheless, throughout the work, but especially in the parts written by Freud, the distinction between these two theories is frequently blurred. First, there is the theory of catharsis and hypnoid states, illustrated principally by Breuers case of Anna O. The cathartic theory is that hysterical symptoms are caused by the inability to remember traumatic events that involve emotions that are too painful to confront directly. Restore the memory, so this theory suggests, and confront the emotions involved, and the severity of the symptoms will diminish. Second, there is the theory of defensive conflict.4 The theory of defensive conflict is that hysterical symptoms are symbols, that is, displaced and distorted expressions, of emotional dilemmas and conflicts of intention that the patient cannot resolve. According to this theory, the symptoms are really roundabout ways for the patient to express her failing struggle to achieve an autonomous identity. Precisely because she is failing in this struggle, she is unable to articulate it directly. Among the Studies On Hysteria, this theory of defensive conflict and distortion begins to appear in its first clear outline in the last case in the book, Freuds case of Elisabeth von R., but even here it is obscured by the theory of catharsis. Nevertheless, the theory of catharsis and the theory of defense are two quite different ways of thinking about the unconscious.5 In Studies On Hysteria we see the old dualist view of the world, in which natural science and medicine still keep back from the ethical and moral conflicts of life, competing side by side with a new monist perspective on the soul as a natural entity, amenable to a new kind of science. The theory of catharsis is dualist, in that it treats the symptoms of hysteria, by implication, as being rooted in physiological factors, rather than in the conflicting intentions of the patient. It is dualist, that is, because it does not concern itself with the ethical life of the patient, the question of the conflict of values she must resolve in order to create herself. The theory of defense, in contrast, treats the symptoms of hysteria as being rooted in the conflicts of intention, the conflicts of identity, experienced by the patient. The theory of defense

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is monist because it treats the problems of the soul as a part of nature, requiring their own field of science. This theory of defense becomes the basis of psychoanalytic theory, but only after a number of years struggle in Freuds own mind. That struggle includes most importantly his diversion in 1896 through the seduction theory. This is actually a regression to the cathartic theory of the unconscious because it looks for the cause of neurosis in traumatic memories rather than in conflict between intentions. In recent years in the critical literature on psychoanalysis the important distinction between the theory of catharsis and the theory of defense has become somewhat obscured. In much of this literature Breuer and Freud are treated as if they are presenting a single theory, that theory being the cathartic one. The shortcomings of the cathartic perspective are then attributed to psychoanalytic theory as such. This view is shared by Sulloway (1979), Grnbaum (1985 and 1993), and Webster (1996). The mistaken idea that Breuer and Freud are presenting a joint theory of hysteria, as Sulloway calls it,6 was perhaps first given respectability in recent times by Henri Ellenbergers massive study The Discovery of the Unconscious, published in 1970. The principal aim of Ellenbergers work was to argue that Pierre Janets importance had been unfairly neglected in the history of dynamic psychiatry. Ellenbergers study leaves the strong impression that Freud was more indebted to Janet, certainly during the 1890s, than he admitted. To this end, he presents Freuds thinking at this period as essentially coincident with Breuers, underlining his argument that both men were in Janets debt. On Freuds psychotherapy at the time of Studies On Hysteria Ellenberger writes, At this stage it was an adaptation of Breuers cathartic treatment, and almost identical to Janets procedure.7 This claim obscures more than it clarifies. Freud, Breuer, and Janet were all experimenting with various techniques of psychotherapy around this time. But Breuer never used suggestion therapy, which was to become such a part of Janets technique, with Bertha Pappenheim. And Freuds notion of defense against morally or aesthetically upsetting feelings was a crucial departure from both of them. Ellenberger never gives anything like sufficient emphasis to how far Freuds theory of defense is essentially independent of the role played by traumatic memories, the thing that all of Freuds important contemporaries in psychotherapy, like Janet and Breuer, were focused on.8 Ellenberger was a far more informed critic of psychoanalysis than Sulloway, Grnbaum, or Webster but his blurring of the essential differences between Breuer and Freud did establish a precedent for their later distortions.

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All of Grnbaums criticisms of psychoanalysis, for example, are based on the assumption that Breuer and Freud held the same view of hysteria. He writes: The central causal and explanatory significance enjoyed by unconscious ideation in the entire clinical theory [of psychoanalysis] rests . . . on inductive inferences drawn by Breuer and Freud. This inference, according to Grnbaum, is that for each distinct symptom S afflicting . . . a neurotic, the victim had repressed the memory of a trauma.9 All Freudians, he continues, champion this causal inference: Let a causal chain of the analysands free associations be initiated by his neurotic symptoms and issue in the emergence of previously repressed memories; then, we are told, this emergence qualifies as good evidence that the prior ongoing repression of these memories was actually the pathogen of the given neurosis.10 This is a good description of the theory of catharsis but it tells us nothing of the theory of defense. The analysis of defense focuses on the fissures within the self created by conflicting intentions and loyalties. With time, Freud discovered that one of the most effective ways to understand defensive processes is to consider the feelings of the patient towards the therapist himself, because the therapy becomes yet another arena in which the conflicting intentions in the patient play themselves out. Referring to this development, Grnbaum quotes Freuds remark that the personal emotional relation between doctor and patient was after all stronger than the whole cathartic process.11 Grnbaum interprets this to mean that the repression etiology was thus bereft of therapeutic support, and that the very cornerstone of psychoanalysis was completely undermined.12 What this overlooks is that the theory of repression, that is, the theory of defense, only begins where the theory of catharsis ends. To put it in a different way, it begins where the ancient separation between science and morals breaks down. It begins, that is, with the recognition that conflicts in our moral feelings can make us ill, and that this is worthy of systematic scientific reflection. The theory of catharsis is on the borderline of this historical transition, but it has not yet crossed over because it is still not thinking in terms of the inherent conflicts in human intentionality. Richard Websters account of Why Freud Was Wrong suffers from the same failure to distinguish defense from catharsis. He writes, Whereas the claim that repressed emotions could engender psychological distress would have been traditional and in some cases perhaps true, the claim made by Freud and Breuer was of a quite different order. For what they believed they had discovered was an etiological

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theory which could explain the origins of a particular disease and cure this disease by uncovering repressed memories.13 This crude misreading of history is, of course, intended to discredit Freud and it reflects a superficial reading of the development of psychoanalysis. Nevertheless, it has been possible for writers like Webster to get away with distortions like this because throughout Studies On Hysteria Freud does try to diminish the distance that actually lies between his own thinking and that of Breuer. This is not particularly surprising. In the 1890s he was keen to secure Breuers collaboration on Studies On Hysteria because Breuer had indeed made a major breakthrough with his cathartic treatment.14 Naturally, Freud wanted the support of an established physician who was thinking in terms not dissimilar from himself.15 The result, however, is that Studies On Hysteria consistently tones down the distance that actually lies between its two authors, and it obscures Freuds originality. The confusion begins in the opening chapter, the original Preliminary Communication dating from 1893, which Breuer and Freud wrote together. In it they attribute hysteria to the existence of hypnoid states: states of consciousness which have become somehow dissociated from each other as a result of traumatic experiences.16 Because of this hypnoid condition, what is experienced in one state is barred from conscious association with a later state. According to this theory, helping the hysterical patient means getting her to overcome this disjunction in her experiences. She should then be able to abreact the emotions which have been hitherto locked up, as it were, in the repressed memory.17 It is from this opening chapter also that we have the best known remark in the book, that the hysteric suffers mainly from reminiscences.18 Whoever coined it, this remark has been responsible for more misconception than illumination. As an aphoristic summary, it fits reasonably well with the idea of therapy that emerges from Breuers report on Anna O. It fits well, that is, with the idea of a cathartic cure, in which contained emotions of sympathy and anxiety, relating to the remembered suffering of a loved parent, are acknowledged and released. It therefore fits well with the notion that repression is a dissociating or a forgetting of traumatic memories. However, the theory of defense, which is what makes Studies On Hysteria such an important work, is not in fact a theory about memory at all. The theory of defense is a theory of conflicting intentions; it is about the way intentions distort and interfere with each other. Of course, this often incidentally involves a tendentious distortion of memory also.

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But distortion is not the same as dissociation or forgetting. The idea that defensive conflict results, as a regular occurrence, in the forgetting of major traumatic experiences is simply incorrect. To the extent that Freud himself also took this view, he was mistaken. Freuds advance over Breuer was to shift the focus onto the interplay of wishes that causes the discomfort the patient has with memories, thus going beyond a mere recounting of free associations. The theory of defense looks at the patients symptoms not as a reflection of repressed memories and unabreacted emotions, but, on the contrary, as indicative in an indirect way of ethical conflicts within the patientconflicts, that is, of loyalty and identity.

BREUERS CASE OF ANNA O.


The case of Anna O. is not an illustration of psychoanalytic therapy because it does not explore the issue of defensive conflict. What we learn from Anna O. is that symptoms can be associated in a close and illuminating way with significant traumatic events in the life story of the patient. This is a great deal. For all that, however, we learn nothing from Anna O. about the conflict of intentions within the patient and the way in which her symptoms are a reflection of this conflict. The first case study that has any real claim to be called psychoanalytic in the true sense is Freuds case of Elisabeth von R. Before we consider it, however, we need to review Breuers case of Anna O.19 It used to be common knowledge among students of psychoanalysis that Anna O. is not a case of psychoanalysis. But in the critical literature over the last quarter century, especially that questioning the scientific credentials of psychoanalysis, there has been a concerted attempt to identify Anna O. as the first case of psychoanalysis. Anna O., whose real name was Bertha Pappenheim, was treated by Breuer from the closing months of 1880 to the summer of 1882.20 This was over ten years before Studies On Hysteria came to be written. Breuer was fourteen years older than Freud. In 1880, when he has treating Bertha, Breuer was thirty-eight, while Freud was only twenty-four, not much older than Bertha herself, who was twentyone.21 Freud had known Breuer in some capacity at least from 1877.22 But Breuer evidently first discussed Bertha Pappenheim with Freud only after he had ceased to treat her in 1882.23 Freud did collaborate

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with Breuer on the treatment of some cases in the later 1880s, after his period with Charcot in Paris between 1885 and 1886.24 But of the Studies On Hysteria only the opening chapter of the book, originally published in 1893, is jointly written.25 What needs to be underlined is that the book is not the work of two men of a single mind. There are two very different intelligences at work in it, distinguished by age, temperament, experience, and theoretical outlook. Bertha Pappenheim became unwell in the summer of 1880 at the time her father became seriously ill, probably with tuberculosis.26 Bertha was his only surviving daughter.27 However, because of her own illness, she in fact spent little time caring for her father up to the time of his death a year later in April 1881.28 Bertha Pappenheim suffered from a complex variety of symptoms. At different times these included a paralysis of her right arm and leg, disturbances of vision, a nervous cough, anorexia, inability to drink, periodic inability to understand her own language, German, and various vaguely defined absences and deliriums.29 At least at the outset, Bertha Pappenheim took much of the initiative in the treatment she underwent with Breuer. The states of hypnosis she went into were initially self-induced, and were used as an occasion for her to recount her fantasies.30 In the final months of the treatment Breuer induced hypnosis in his patient and the focus moved from a recounting of fantasies to a deliberate exploration of her memories.31 It was Bertha herself who dubbed this process, in English, the talking cure. Berthas emotional symptoms began one night shortly after her father had fallen ill. Breuer, in his original report written in 1882, describes this as follows: In the summer of 1880 her father, whom she adored, fell ill with peripleuritis and very high fever. Some time later a surgeon was called from Vienna; he was expected during the night of 1718 July. On this night the patient had waited up for a few hours alone, for her mother was exhausted and had retired. She was alone with her somnolent father and her own anxiety, which seems already to have been pathological. She sat on the bed, her right arm over the back of the chair, and gradually fell into a state of absence. In the course of the absence she hallucinated black snakes crawling out of the walls, and one which crawled up to her father to kill him. Her right arm had become anaesthetized owing to its position, and her fingers were transformed into small snakes with deaths heads (nails). She probably tried to

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drive the snakes off with her immobilized right arm. When the hallucinations passed she had an anxious desire to pray, but speech failed her; she was not able to utter a word until, finally stumbling upon an English expression, she was able to think again and to pray only in this language.32 Thereafter, Bertha became ever more subject to absent states in which she experienced frightening hallucinations, and dissociative states in which she seemed unable to communicate in her native language.33 Breuer believed there was a connection between this loss of the use of language and Berthas relation with her father. He comments, for instance, As the condition developed she lost the use of words almost completely, gathering them laboriously from 5 or 6 different languages, so that she was scarcely any longer intelligible. . . . Her inhibition was at its most severe on one occasion when, after having been offended by her father, she decided not to ask after him any more. She then suffered complete aphasia for about 2 weeks.34 As long as her father was still living, Breuers treatment of Bertha Pappenheim revolved around listening to the fantasies she would recount in an apparently trancelike state in the evenings. This alleviated her condition. Things became much worse, however, after her father died, in April 1881. In due course, this resulted in a change of procedure. Now, Bertha would use her evening meetings with Breuer to discuss the history of her own illness. According to Breuer, he and Bertha began to use her trances as a way of exploring the memories associated with each of her symptoms. They tried to get to the memory of the first occurrence of each symptom. This was the idea of the cathartic cure: repair the disjoined hypnoid states of consciousness and abreact the emotions associated with the trapped memories.35 In Studies On Hysteria Breuer reports the events that initiated this procedure. Talking one hot afternoon with him, she found she was unable to drink a glass of water to refresh herself. As it touched her lips, he writes, she pushed it away like a hydrophobic.36 This aversion to water lasted for a number of weeks, during which she consumed only fruit to quench her thirst. Then, one day, in one of the hypnotic states that she would fall into, she began to speak of an English companion to whom she had taken a dislike. With an expression of disgust, she related how once she had come into this womans room to find her allowing her little dog to drink water from a glass. At the time, Bertha made no remark. But after she had recounted this story to Breuer she took

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some water herself and emerged from her trance. Her aversion to water seemed to have been overcome. This story of Berthas hydrophobia has become one of the most famous accounts in the literature of psychoanalysis. Nevertheless, many important things about it remain obscure. We do not learn what its relation was with the anxiety over her fathers illness, who the English companion was, or whether there is any connection between this Englishwoman and the fact that during her trances Bertha mainly spoke only English. In his original report of 1882 Breuer relates another symptomatic habit of Berthas that, along with the episode of the hydrophobia, shifted the emphasis of the treatment from a recounting of fantasies to an exploration of memories. When she went to bed in the evenings she often could not bear to have her stockings taken off. Sometimes she would waken in the early hours of the morning and then remove them. This pattern was related by her to a time in the past when she would get out of bed to eavesdrop on her father at night, leaving her stockings on for this purpose. She recalled that on one occasion she had been caught by her brother listening outside her fathers door. Once Bertha had related this memory, she began to cry out softly, demanding why she was in bed with her stockings on.37 And from this point the symptomatic pattern disappeared. Presumably Breuer chose to publish the story of the hydrophobia rather than the symptom with the stockings at least in part because the former involved a fairly clearly unabreacted emotionthat of disgustwhile the latter did not. The memories associated with the onset of the symptoms were often not easy to recollect precisely. However, they seemed usually to involve some moment of emotional stress associated with her fathers illness. Regularly, Breuer writes, the first occasion [of the symptom] was an alarm of some kind which she had experienced while caring for her father, an oversight on her part, or something similar.38 The important thing was that the initiating occasion seemed generally to be one where the expression of an emotion was inhibited. Her disturbances of vision, for instance, were traced back as a whole to single, more or less clearly determined occasions, for example, in the manner that the patient, with tears in her eyes, sitting at the sickbed was suddenly asked by her father what the time was and, not seeing clearly but having to strain, brought the watch near to her face so that the numbers appeared enlarged, thus accounting for her macropsia and convergent squint; or, making efforts to suppress her tears, so that her father would not see them.39

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As for Berthas chronic cough, this, Breuer writes, emerged for the first time when, while she was keeping watch over her patient, she heard dance music coming from a neighboring house. Feeling a sudden wish to be there, she was overcome with self-reproaches. Since then, she had reacted throughout the period of her illness to that strong rhythmical music with a tussis nervosa.40 Finally, they traced back the paralysis and the aphasia to the night Bertha had sat by her father waiting for the surgeon at the beginning of her fathers illness. In a final development of this phase of the treatment, about six months after her fathers death Bertha began to recollect each day what she had been doing on that day on the year previously. Breuer maintains these recollections were shown to be accurate, based on the fact that her mother had kept a secret journal detailing the course of her daughters illness.41 One might wonder, nevertheless, just how much of Berthas behavior at this phase of her illness was a reflection of the fact that her mother had apparently made her such a close subject of scrutiny. There is a clear sense here of unconscious connivance between mother and daughter in the daughters illness. Evidently, Bertha Pappenheims illness was a serious and complex one. Its precise causes are obscure.42 What is clear, however, both from Breuers report in Studies On Hysteria and even more from his original case notes of 1882, is that Bertha Pappenheims symptoms were a cryptic commentary on her fathers illness and on the troubled relations within the family as a whole. Breuer writes, Her illness was caused by the death of her father, and reverence for his memory is the prime influence on her normal and pathological mental states.43 This is what is important about the Anna O. case: it gives early insight into how to make sense of emotional suffering. Patients are worth listening to carefully, because what they suffer is the reflection of a larger story. In the longer term, Breuer did some damage to this discovery by claiming too much for it. Talking about her memories added a new understanding to Bertha Pappenheims symptoms and it clearly had an effect on the way they behaved, but it did not leave her free of symptoms. Breuer comments, In this way her paralytic contractures and anesthesias, her various disorders of vision and hearing, neuralgias, coughs, tremors, and so on, and finally also her disturbances of speech, were talked away.44 As every student of psychoanalysis knows, many of Bertha Pappenheims symptoms were not talked away. The poor patient, as Jones puts it, did not fare so well as one might gather from Breuers published account.45 Al-

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though Bertha Pappenheim did go on eventually to lead a very active life, she remained ill for a number of years after her treatment with Breuer.46 The cathartic cure was an important development in the understanding of emotional illness but it was not a shortcut to the curing of emotional illness. Manifestly, the attempt implicit within the cathartic cure to understand the extended context of what the patient suffers was a major step forward in the treatment of emotional illness. There is, of course, no effective psychotherapy without an examination of the emotional implications of past experiences. Nevertheless, the Anna O. case is not yet depth psychology. Bertha Pappenheim was starting the process of piecing together her memories. But she and Breuer could not go any further than this. They came to a halt because they lacked any insight into how far her various symptoms were distorted reflections of conflicts within herconflicts, for instance, among her feelings towards her father. They lacked the insight that her symptoms were not just linked to her memories, but were, in addition, integral to her struggle to achieve an autonomous identity in which her conflicts would be governed in a balanced and fruitful way. Because, however, the principles involved in the Anna O. case are relatively easy to understand and, not least, because the patient did not fare as well as Breuer stated, most of the major critics of the last quarter century, from Sulloway through to Grnbaum and Webster, make much of the case. Among these critics, Anna O. is held up now as the paradigm of psychoanalysis.47 This, however, it is not. Anna O. is not psychoanalysis for the simple reason that there is in the case no analysis of a conflict of intention; there is no analysis of the inherent ambivalence of human intention that is at the root of the problem of human identity.

THE CASE OF ELISABETH VON R.


The case of Elisabeth von R. shows Freud for the first time exploring illness as symbolic of a conflict of identity. However, this is obscured by his attempts to make the case look as close to the cathartic cure of Anna O. as possible. In the case of Elisabeth von R. there is a very uneasy compromise between portraying the aim of therapy as that of getting the patient simply to recall memories and abreact the emotions associated with them, and, on the other hand, the much more sophisticated task of

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helping the patient to make more mature acts of judgement about the conflicting values within herself. In the years around 1890 Freud tried to use hypnotism in his treatment of neurotic patients, partly as an attempt at direct suggestion, to get them to give up their symptoms, and partly in a cathartic way, to explore the history of their symptoms and the emotions associated with them.48 However, by the early 1890s he was gradually abandoning hypnosis, which in later years he described as senseless and worthless.49 By 1893, the year of the Preliminary Communication, he seems largely to have given up suggestion therapy.50 More and more during the early 1890s, he got his patients to trace, in a conscious state, whatever associations led from their symptoms. The importance of free association to psychoanalysis has often been exaggerated. Jones, for instance, writes, The devising of this method was one of the two great deeds of Freuds scientific life, the other being his self-analysis.51 In fact, Freuds development of the method of free association was nowhere near as important a scientific achievement as the development of the theory of defensive conflict. This theoretical insight did not depend upon free association for its development and, without it, free association is itself of no value. Nevertheless, many writers have taken the mistaken view either that free association has the power to reveal the unconscious, a position that Lacan, for instance, is perilously close to, or that Freud claims that free association reveals the unconscious, a position taken by notable critics like Timpanaro and Grnbaum. The method of free association clearly originates not with Freud but with Breuer and Bertha Pappenheim. And the Anna O. case shows plainly how little is revealed by free association if it is not in addition informed by the theory of defensive conflict. The exploration of memory through free association does not uncover the causes of neurotic illness. All that free association does is to increase the number of clues we have to work with by providing memories, fantasies, and current thoughts and reflections. It works like a magnifying glass by enlarging our view of the problem and giving us greater scope for reflecting on significant connections. One learns nothing from free association until the data produced by it are placed in their proper context of the underlying conflict of intentions. Freuds abandonment of hypnotism in favor of free association in a waking state was of importance principally because it indicated that his perspective was shifting from thinking of

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the unconscious mind as a chamber of memories, to the deeper insight that it actually comprises the whole complex of attachments that define the patients identity and how these attachments conflict one with another. Furthermore, while the study of defensive conflict remains the centerpiece of contemporary psychodynamic therapy, free association, in its classical, slightly theatrical form of disconnected chains of words, plays a vanishing role. If the patient is free to talk in a relaxed way about whatever he or she wishes then free association becomes redundant. Freuds first reported cases in which he dispenses with hypnotism altogether date from 1892, including Elisabeth von R.52 It is not a coincidence that as hypnosis becomes less interesting to Freud, he speaks increasingly of memories and symptoms as symbols.53 This means that memories and symptoms are indirect, displaced ways of talking about conflicting intentions. In other words, they are metaphors. This is a fundamental advance over the way of thinking about memories and symptoms that we find in the cathartic treatment in Anna O., which implies a much less sophisticated, almost mechanical relation between symptoms, on the one hand, and locked up memories and emotions on the other. Elisabeth von R. is the last and much the most complete of the Studies On Hysteria.54 It is the first of Freuds case studies in which he explores an emotional conflict between erotic wishes and family attachments. It is, in other words, the first of Freuds cases in which there is an extended study of the ambivalence of human intention. It is also the first to outline in some detail the links between the defensive displacement of an ethical conflict and the symbolism this generates. This study of defense is obscured, however, because the case is overlayered with the trappings of the cathartic cure. Freud dresses up the case of Elisabeth von R. to make it look more like hypnoid hysteria than he really believes it to be. The woman Freud calls Elisabeth was the youngest of a family of three daughters. Her problems began when her father fell ill with a heart condition. Of all his daughters, she had always been the one most attached to him. In important respects, she had been for him the son he never had.55 After he fell ill, for one and a half years, until his death, she bore the main burden of his care. The death of their father posed many difficulties for the four surviving women of the family. Elisabeths mother, who had a history of nervous complaints, became more ill, and needed operations to preserve her impaired sight. Elisabeth took on the role of caregiver

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for her, as she had for her father. Her two sisters meanwhile were looking beyond the family and about a year after their fathers death both had found husbands. Elisabeth first became seriously ill herself two years after the death of her father. The family and the new brothers-in-law were spending a summer holiday together at a resort. Towards the end of the holiday, after her sisters had left with their husbands, Elisabeth was overcome with an affliction of her legs that made walking painful and difficult.56 Not long after this holiday, the younger of Elisabeths sisters fell ill due to a second pregnancy. Together with her mother, Elisabeth had to make a rushed journey to be with her, only to find she had died shortly before they could reach her bedside. Following this tragedy, her dead sisters husband, who was the only remaining male support Elisabeth and her mother had, withdrew from the circle of her family, taking his surviving child with him.57 These were the precipitating events that brought Elisabeth at the age of twenty-four into treatment with Freud. He describes her as bearing her illness with the cheerful countenance, with the belle indiffrence of the hysteric.58 She had difficulty describing her affliction clearly. Even its precise location was vaguenow on the right leg, now on the left.59 When one touches a painful area on the body of someone suffering from a purely organic ailment, Freud remarks, the patient usually shows in her expression an unmixed feeling of discomfort and tries to draw back. In contrast, when one touched the afflicted area on Elisabeths leg, Her face took on a peculiar expression, rather one of pleasure than of pain. She cried outbut I had to think, rather as if she were experiencing a sensual ticklingher face flushed, she threw her head back, closed her eyes, her torso bent backwards. None of this was very exaggerated but it was clearly pronounced. . . . Her expression did not fit the pain supposedly aroused by the squeezing of the muscles and skin. Probably it was better attuned to the content of the thoughts which were hidden behind this pain and which one awoke in the patient by stimulating the parts of the body associated with them.60 Perhaps Freud is overstating how manifest was the sexual connotation of the illness. Or perhaps not. The important thing is that hysterical illness, in contrast to purely organic illness, is never unequivocal in its meaning. For all the suffering it entails, it speaks always also of unfulfilled creative drives. During her treatment with Freud, Elisabeths pains underwent degrees of variation from day to day, as various free associations linked to them were explored. On one occasion, she had heard of an

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illness in her circle of acquaintances which reminded her of a detail of her fathers illness; on another, the child of her dead sister had been on a visit and its resemblance to its mother reawoke the pain over her lost sister; on another occasion again it was a letter from the eldest sister who had moved away, which seemed to show the influence of her inconsiderate husband.61 And so on. It became apparent that Elisabeth had first experienced pain in her legs during the period she was caring for her father, though it had not become serious at that time. In this connection she mentioned a friendship she had had with a young man. The memory of it was still painful for her. She felt she had much in common with the young man. Indeed, she came to feel that he loved her, and that a marriage with him would not require the sacrifices that generally she dreaded from marriage.62 But the demands of caring for her father meant that the opportunities to meet with him were infrequent, and the friendship came to nothing. The pattern of Elisabeths illness appears to have been established by this first conflict between her attachment to this young man and her loyalties to her father. Elisabeths various associations brought her to recall that during her fathers illness it had been her task to bind his swollen leg, each morning. Thus her own affliction was an identification with him. Furthermore, it seemed that during this daily procedure her fathers leg had normally rested on the part of her own leg that was now causing her pain. She had dressed her fathers leg in this way hundreds of times. This was the single most important reason why in Elisabeths case it was her legs, generally an atypical hysterogenic zone, that had become the focus for her illness.63 The pain itself was probably initially just a rheumatic one. But it was as a symbol of emotional conflict between her loyalty to her father and her interest in the young man that it became significant. Freud writes, The contrast between the blissful happiness that she had allowed herself to feel on that occasion [with the young man], and the worsening condition of her father that she found at home, created a conflict, an instance of incompatibility. The result of the conflict was that the erotic idea was repressed from association and the affect attaching to that idea was used to intensify or to revive a physical pain that was present simultaneously or shortly before. It was thus the mechanism of a conversion with the aim of defense.64 At a superficial level, Freud seems here to be adhering to Breuers theory that hysteria is caused by dissociated experiences. The erotic idea was repressed from association, he says, and the affect attaching to it was used to intensify the pain. But the cause

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of Elisabeths illness was not a dissociation of memories; it was a conflict of values in her heart. Elisabeth repressed from association her feelings for the young man because she needed to preserve her sense of herself as being faithful to her father. Furthermore, the essence of her problem was not any repressive nineteenth-century morality that compelled her to act as the dutiful daughter and deny her sexuality. It was simply that her relation with her father was a key part of her identity. Her fathers interests were her interests; his outlook was her outlook. To abandon him was to abandon herself. Elisabeth was in a trap. Life had presented her with a dilemma to which there was no right answer. After her fathers death her sense of loss only increased as her sisters married and moved away from the family, and it was being together with them once again on holiday that made her grief intolerable and brought her illness to a head. This is the real story Freud is telling with the case of Elisabeth von R. But this presents him with a significant problem. Nominally, Elisabeth von R. is supposed further to illustrate the theory that he and Breuer have announced in the opening chapter of the book, the theory that the hysteric suffers mainly from reminiscences. The Anna O. case history has interpreted this somewhat vague formulation to mean the hysteric suffers from dissociated, inaccessible memories. Yet here, in much the most detailed case history in the book, it is clear that inaccessible memories play no part at all. Freud tries to get round this problem by turning the scene at the deathbed of Elisabeths sister into a key traumatic event of her illness. He presents this as a pathologically dissociated experience in Elisabeths mind. To do this, however, he has to exaggerate Elisabeths attachment to her sisters husband so that her death becomes charged with an erotic significance for Elisabeth which she has to banish from her conscious thoughts. After the journey with her mother to be at her sisters bedside, he maintains, They stood before the bed, looking at her sister as she lay there dead. At that moment of dreadful certainty that her beloved sister had died without saying goodbye to them, without having had her care during her last daysin the same moment another thought had shot through Elisabeths brain which now once again forced itself irresistibly on her, the thought that illuminated the dark like a harsh lightning flash: Now he is free again and I can be his wife.65 The memory of this event, Freud argues, was dissociated in Elisabeths mind because the emotions associated with it were in conflict with her whole moral being.66 Freud returns to this dramatic deathbed episode on a number of occasions in his report. However, he offers no corroborating testimony on Elisabeths part that this thought ever did run through her

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mind. Evidently, Elisabeth did feel a fondness for her brother-in-law and this fondness was reciprocated.67 But it is doubtful whether the relationship between them was anything like the powerful subterranean passion that Freud suggests. Many years later, in 1953, the youngest of Elisabeths own three daughters reported her mother as having said that Freud tried to persuade me that I was in love with my brother-in-law, but that was not really so.68 Elisabeth wanted marriage, but she also had an aversion to marriage.69 Perhaps her parents marriage had not been a happy one. Perhaps this was why she became her fathers companion in place of her mother. Or perhaps her intelligence made her wary of the constraints that would be imposed by marriage to a less able husband. Whatever the reason, her distaste for marriage must qualify our understanding of her attachment to her sisters husband. If she was drawn to him this may also have been because, with him, marriage was out of the question. If so, his nominal eligibility as a husband on the death of her sister would have diminished, not increased, his appeal for her. Elisabeths interest in her brother-in-law, such as it was, was really a reflection of something more fundamental. To the extent that she formed an attachment to him, she did so with a man who provoked anew the conflict within her between her father and the young man she had been attached to while caring for her father. In other words, her attachment to her brother-in-law was a further symbolic statement of this conflict. She was saying, in effect, I can only form attachments with men I cannot have; and I cannot have them because my father (or my family) needs my loyalty. The deathbed scene to which Freud gives so much emphasis is suitable as an illustration of the cathartic theory of hysteria. But it only obscures the advance which the Elisabeth von R. case represents over this theory. Hysterical symptoms reflect conflicts of loyalty and intention, not dissociated, repressed memories. Freuds real insight was to see that the illness of Elisabeths father blocked the development of her erotic life outside the family.70 She experienced her fathers need of her as a prohibition on her own creative potential. She obeyed this prohibition, but her rebellion against it eventually emerged, first in her physical symptoms, and then, possibly, in a barren attachment to her sisters husband. Elisabeths problem was an erotic and ethical conflict. What she needed to come to terms with was the possibility that she was driven by emotions of which her father might not have approved. In the case of Elisabeth von R. there is a very uneasy compromise between regarding therapy as the need to get the patient to recall memories and to abreact the emotions associated with them,

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and, on the other hand, the need to get the patient to make an act of judgement about the complex pattern of displaced feelings of which her physical symptoms are but one set of expressions. In describing the objective of therapy in his concluding chapter of Studies On Hysteria, Freud wavers uncomfortably between the cathartic notion and a more complete psychoanalytic notion. At one point, for example, he remarks, The patient is only freed from the hysterical symptom by reproducing the pathogenic impressions that cause it and by expressing them with affect. Thus the therapeutic task consists solely in inducing him to do so, and once this task is accomplished there is nothing that remains for the doctor to correct or to annul.71 This remarkably categorical assertion underlines Freuds solidarity with Breuer. But again, it obscures the most important thing he has discovered about hysteria: that it is rooted in ethical conflict, and that, therefore, the crucial thing in treating it is not abreaction of affect but getting the patient to recognize what others in her life signify to her. Half a dozen pages after the above remark he gives this rather different description of treatment: Therapy does not consist in extirpating somethingfor the present psychotherapy cannot do thatbut rather in causing the resistance to melt and thus in returning circulation to an area that has been hitherto cut off.72 This is not a description of catharsis or abreaction. But it does at least prefigure what Freud was later to clarify as the goal of psychoanalysis: making disguised conflicts accessible to more autonomous judgement. One thing we should learn from the case of Elisabeth von R. is that a chain of free associations does not reveal the causes of the neurosis. The causes of the neurosis are the conflicts within the self. In each of the memories and fantasies produced by free association the conflict underlying the illness reappears, but it is illustrated from a slightly different angle. Each is but a nodal point, expressive of the displaced inclinations engaged in the underlying conflict. At this early stage in the 1890s Freud has in mind a simple analogy for this conflict within the self. He sees it as the conflict between potentially perverse or incestuous sexual impulsesfor instance, Elisabeths attraction to her sisters husbandand orthodox moralityfor instance, Elisabeths sense of herself as the dutiful daughter of the family.73 As a step forward in clarifying what actually underlies hysterical illness, this is a major advance, just as Breuers discovery of the importance of looking at memory is a major advance. But it is still an oversimplification of the intricate conflicts involved. It leads Freud to the mistaken view that Elisabeth can be cured of her illness

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by overriding her moral side and proceeding to a relationship with her brother-in-law. It was doubtless because he tried to press this solution on her that his relation with Elisabeth came to an unsatisfactory conclusion and she abandoned the treatment.74 Conflict between sex and morality, or sex and the family, is only another approximation to the elusive conflict Nietzsche delineates within all human intention between overabundance and hunger, or between exception and rule. Freuds analogy adds something new and vital to our understanding of this conflict, but it remains, like the others, imperfect. The lines of emotional conflict underlying hysteria are more messy and confused than Freud allows at this early stage in the 1890s. Elisabeths sexuality is not only a force for innovation and individuation, as Freud implies. It is also a force holding her within the family, keeping her attached to it, and causing her to perpetuate its illness. Equally, her moral sense of duty to her family is not simply a brake upon her subversive desires and a source of self-punishment that she needs to overcome. It is also a vital source of her identity that she must not give up. Her sexuality and her morality are thus both ambivalent. Freud sees this but he does not yet have a theoretical structure that will allow him to do it justice. Elisabeths symptoms, ultimately, were an unconscious attempt to bring the history of her family as a whole under examination. As a healthy child grows, she articulates her own personality by drawing on the pool of habits and customs provided by the family and by transforming these so that they become expressions of her own individuality. But if the family has a history of emotional and physical illness, as was the case here, then instead of containing the childs development and providing it with the security to individuate, its history becomes an object to the child of perpetual unconscious questioning. Instead of utilizing the family customs for her own development, the child repeats them. She repeats the expressions of its illness in her own symptoms, partly drawing profit from them (as if they were indeed expressions of reliable health), partly condemning them (because they do not provide her with health), and partly trying to heal them (in the hope that they may become reliable expressions of health). This pattern is ubiquitous in the histories of children who become neurotic. With the case of Elisabeth von R., psychoanalysis is just beginning to emerge as what it properly is: a method for analyzing unconscious ethical conflicts, in particular, conflicts between the wish for individuation and independence, and the wish for attachment to the family. With this development, the catharsis of painful memories

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becomes radically reduced in importance, but at the time of Studies On Hysteria Freud does not yet see this clearly. Indeed, to the end of his career he was always to overestimate the extent to which the unconscious can be equated with things that have been forgotten. There is in fact no point at which Freud ever entirely abandons the general cathartic stress on traumatic memories and unabreacted emotions in favor of the defense viewpoint. The cathartic way of looking at the mind gradually becomes less important to Freud over the years but it never disappears entirely. Right to the end of his life there is a part of Freuds mind that remains attached to the idea that repression involves forgetting something (for instance, in 1918, the case of the Wolf Mans supposedly repressed memory of parental intercourse75) and that undoing repression is a question of abreacting denied impulses (which is implicit, for instance, in the view expressed in 1930 in Civilization and its Discontents that civilization involves ever greater quantities of repressed drives and impulses76). For all this, however, the cathartic viewpoint is not Freuds important contribution to our understanding of the mind. His important contribution is his development of the study of ambivalence and defensive conflict. It is because of his exploration of ambivalence that Freud, like Nietzsche, is still of interest to us in a contemporary way, whereas figures like Charcot, Janet, and Breuer, who did not grasp the significance of ambivalence, are of interest to us now only in a historical way. The focus on ambivalence in human intention is the crucial thing that brings modern depth psychology into being, rather than the emphasis on the unconscious mind as such.

CATHARSIS AND PSYCHOANALYSIS


In his later work Freud makes a clear distinction between Breuers theory of catharsis and his own theory of defense with which psychoanalysis properly begins. Nevertheless, there were always some unresolved issues over this in his own mind. Right to the end Freud was too prone to think of the unconscious as containing things that had at one time been conscious and had then somehow been forgotten. He never entirely succeeded in separating out the issue of defensive conflict from the hypnotherapeutic and cathartic approaches to psychopathology he inherited from nineteenth-century psychiatry. Also, Freud often thought that what really set him apart from his medical contem-

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poraries was his willingness to be uncompromising about sex and that therefore this was central to defense. It was partly this that led him to adopt the seduction theory in 1896 and it also contributed to the overemphasis on sex in the Dora case a few years later. It is not until twenty years after Studies On Hysteria, when Freud is much more assured about his own views, that he states clearly the differences that lay between him and Breuer. In 1914, in The History of the Psychoanalytic Movement, he writes, The first difference between me and Breuer emerged on a question concerning the finer psychic mechanism of hysteria. He preferred a theory that one might still call physiological, and wanted to explain the mental splitting in hysterical patients by the absence of communication between different mental states (states of consciousness as we said at the time). He thereby constructed the theory of hypnoid states, the products of which were supposed to penetrate into waking consciousness like unassimilated foreign bodies. I had looked at the thing in a less scientific way; I sensed everywhere tendencies and inclinations analogous to those of daily life. I conceived the psychic splitting itself as the result of a process of repelling, which at the time I called defense, and later, repression. . . . Soon it was his hypnoid theory versus my doctrine of defense.77 In his Autobiographical Study of 1925 Freud comments again on the relation between his own work and that of Breuer: Breuer named our procedure cathartic. The therapeutic aim of this was to lead the quota of affect which was being used to maintain the symptom, which was on the wrong path and as it were strangulated there, back to normal paths, along which it could find release (abreaction).78 But, where Breuer preferred what one might call a physiological theory, he himself, in contrast, suspected rather a play of forces, the effect of purposes and tendencies, as these can be observed in normal life.79 Because it had no theory of emotional conflict, the cathartic cure could go no further than associating symptoms with memories and generally reviewing the contents of memories. In this process of associating and reviewing there was no theoretical attention given to the ethical life of the patient, the life of her soul. This is what Freud means when he says, with intentional irony, that he was less

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scientific than Breuer. He means that he was not prepared to recognize the old limits of science, which were, of course, precisely those established by the ethical life of the patient, the patients attachments, loyalties, values, identity. With the theory of defense, in contrast, Freud was in a position to extend natural science into the field of the ethical life. The theory of catharsis stands on this ancient borderline but the theory of defense, or repression, crosses over it. Only with this crossing over does depth psychology properly begin.80 On the transition from catharsis to repression, Freud writes in 1925, The theory of repression became the foundation stone of the understanding of the neuroses. The therapeutic task had now to be understood in different terms. Its goal was no longer that of abreacting affects which had become diverted along incorrect paths, but rather the uncovering of repressions, and their dissolution by acts of judgement, which could result either in the acceptance, or the rejection, of what had been repudiated. In recognition of the new situation I named the procedure of investigation and treatment no longer catharsis, but psychoanalysis.81 Rather than talking about forces in the mind being repressed it is perhaps better to talk of them as being subject to defensive displacement because this emphasizes that the forces involved in conflict are never really pushed out of sight but do in fact always find roundabout ways of expressing themselves.82 The term repression also suffers from the fact that when Freud used it he was prone significantly to overestimate the degree to which emotionally important experiences can be, in any conventional sense of the word, forgotten, and then made subject to recall again through psychoanalysis. Freud never entirely freed himself from the idea that what was repressed had at some earlier time been in consciousness and then pushed out of it. This suggested that the aim of therapy was to undo what had been done at that earlier time. It is, generally, one of the more important weaknesses in Freuds work that he tends to think of the process of curing as that of reversing a process that has previously occurred. Nature never goes in reverse, and particularly not in the case of the human psyche. Injuries and errors can be overcome only by renewed development, leading to the reintegration of damaged structures and patterns so that they function in a more fruitful way. What we defend ourselves against is not what we have been, but what we have yet to become. Psychopathological symptoms are a displaced, distorted expression of an unresolved conflict between forces, some of which are leading towards new development, and some of which are anxiously

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attached to the habits of the past. The problem with a lot of Freuds writing on the idea of repression, especially up to the end of the First World War, is that it suggests that symptoms are some kind of alternative formation in consciousness to the underlying conflict, and that they are somehow going to disappear once the conflict itself is brought into consciousness. The persistence of this attitude in Freuds work shows the extent to which he never wholly succeeded in throwing off the legacy of hypnotherapy and the cathartic view of the mind. Furthermore, when this attitude joined forces in Freuds mind with his own image of himself as being more honest about sex than other doctors, it resulted in his habit of pressing the patient for some kind of supposedly reluctant confession about her sexual life, with the assumption that this would lead to a cure. It is quite true that patients are often not clearly conscious of the dimensions of the conflicts they suffer, especially at the outset of treatment, but they can achieve a lot of conscious insight into their conflicts and still suffer badly from their symptoms. Symptoms are resolved not when the underlying conflict becomes conscious, but only as the forces that have generated the conflict undergo new developmentthat is to say, once the defensively displaced expressions of the forces at work are replaced, or supplemented, by newer, more creative displacements. The notion of overcoming defense is a very useful one, but it should be understood in terms of overcoming obstacles to emotional development and the evolution of more fruitful habits of life, not in terms of restoring forgotten conflicts to consciousness. Equally, we should think of the curing of symptoms not in terms of their removal, but rather in terms of their integration into more satisfactory and fruitful habits of life.83 In the years following Studies On Hysteria the distinction between the cathartic treatment of Bertha Pappenheim and psychoanalysis becomes increasingly significant in Freuds work. Freud himself, however, is not always the best guide to the distinction between them because many of his views on the development of psychoanalysis express his personal feelings about contemporaries, like Breuer, rather than stating objectively the key issues at stake. In particular, Freud sometimes writes as if the capacity to see beyond the theory of catharsis to the theory of defense hinges on a readiness to be honest about sex. Although there is a drop of truth in this, Freud too often conflates the problem of recognizing defense with that of recognizing sex. In 1914, for instance, in The History of the Psychoanalytic Movement he remarks, Whoever rereads anew Breuers case study in the light of the experience we have gained in the last twenty

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years will not mistake the symbolism of the snakes, of the stiffening, the paralysis of the arms. . . . His judgement on the role of sexuality in the mental life of that girl will go much further than that of her doctor.84 True, but the snakes, the stiffening, the paralysis, and so on, were symbols not of sex as such, but rather of conflicts in which sex played some unknown part. Breuers problem was not that he was intimidated by sex. His problem was that he did not have a theory of emotional conflict. Freuds advantage over him, and over Charcot, Bernheim, Janet, and all his other predecessors in psychotherapy, was that he did have such a theory. A willingness to be honest about sex was certainly a part of this advantage, because it helped him to see just how prevalent conflict actually is, but it was not its kernel. There was a part of Freud that always felt that what really set him apart from his contemporaries was his tough-minded approach to sexual matters.85 Living up to this image of himself more than once led him astray. His advocacy of the seduction theory is an example of this.86 There is no doubt that an important part of the appeal of this hypothesis for Freud was that it was such a direct threat to anyone inclined to deny the role of sexuality in emotional illness. Without that appeal, the simple improbability of the hypothesis that all neurotic people had been sexually abused would have weighed as heavily with him as it did with his colleagues. For all that, however, the essential issue at stake in the seduction theory is now often overlooked. The question it raises is not how prevalent is the sexual abuse of children, but rather, What is the correct way to conceive the nature of the unconscious mind? In fact, Freuds advocacy of the seduction theory in 1896 represents a momentary theoretical regression on his part back to the cathartic view that the causal factor in neurosis is the memory of traumatic events, rather than presently existing conflicts in intention. The key to understanding the regression of the seduction theory is that Freud is in search of the deepest source of trauma in psychic life; he is, as he puts it, looking for the source of the Nile in psychopathology.87 Momentarily, he believes this must be the earliest trauma in a historical sense, which at the time he thinks must be the introduction of sex into childhood experience. In fact, the ultimate source of trauma in psychic life is deeper than history because it is inherent in the very fissuring of human intention itself. Freuds eventual rejection of the seduction hypothesis was not a rejection of the importance of the abuse of children but, rather, stemmed from a growing recognition that the key to the unconscious is the study of this fissuring in intention and not the attempt to recreate the past through memory.88

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In his Autobiographical Study he describes his theoretical position after giving up this theory. When I recovered myself, he says, I drew from my experience the right conclusions, namely that neurotic symptoms are not directly attached to real experiences, but rather to wishful fantasies, and that for neurosis, psychic reality has more significance than material reality. 89 The distinction Freud draws here between real experiences and wishful fantasies is not helpful. It leads to the misguided argument as to whether neurosis is caused by the memory of traumatic events or by fantasies of traumatic events. This is the wrong way of looking at it. The point of the transition from catharsis to psychoanalysis is the realization that symptoms are maintained by conflicting wishes and intentions, irrespective of whether those wishes and intentions pertain to actual memories or to fantasies. The causal factors at work in emotional suffering, and the only curative forces at our disposal, are the wishes and intentions of the patient. It is this transition from the implicit physiological assumptions of the hypnoid theory, with its search for causal factors in historical events, to an exploration of the ethical self, the identity and conscience of the self, that constitutes the transition to psychoanalysis. The aim of psychoanalysis is not the reconstruction of memories; nor is it the gathering of free associations; it is the development of emotional judgement and intelligence through a deeper understanding of the forces shaping ones identity. Apart from the seduction theory, the other important example where Freuds need to seem uncompromising on sex led him astray on the nature of defense is the case of Dora, around 1900.90 Thematically speaking, Dora is the last of the Studies On Hysteria and it is also well-known as Freuds most tantalizing failure. It fails in that there is a great disparity between what he sees is happening to his patient and what he allows himself to acknowledge is happening to her. Throughout, he treats her defenses as if they were operating exclusively against one particular sexual inclination towards one particular individualthe husband of her fathers mistress.91 Throughout the Dora case, Freud is striving unsuccessfully to do justice to the intangible nature of the conflict at the root of all human identity, the perennial struggle between hunger and overabundance, between our need of others and our need to be independent of them. In Dora, Freud conceives this conflict in oversimplified terms as one between sexual desire and conventional morality, and suggests that only what he calls Doras pride prevents her from acknowledging her sexuality.92 He also carries to extremes the cathartic notion that something

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unpalatable about her sexuality must be shifted into consciousness for the cure to be effective. What he does not see is that her sexuality is in many ways working in a self-punitive and destructive way and that she has good reasons to be at war with it. He also fails to see that as a young woman striving for individuation and independence her angry rejection of the husband of her fathers mistress as a sexual object is entirely justified. Through the confusions into which Freud falls in the Dora case it is evident that he is trying to settle the account he feels is still outstanding with Breuer over Studies On Hysteria. The real nature of this account is that he had partly hidden his own theory of defense behind the theory of catharsis in exchange for Breuers support. But Freud does not think clearly about this; it seems to him that the whole medical world is hypocritical about sex and he persuades himself that it was really this issue that he compromised over in Studies On Hysteria. In the Dora case, consequently, there is no escape from sex. The symptoms of illness, he insists, are, stated precisely, the sexual activity of the patient.93 It is this misguided proposition that he tries to justify throughout Dora. To that end, he is committed to demonstrating that Dora, so long as she is hysteric, is not capable of a healthy sexual response.94 This in turn means that he has to deny she could have any healthy justification for rejecting Herr K., the only sexual object in her life outside her family. The woman to whom Freud gave the name of Dora was in treatment with him in the final months of 1900, when she was eighteen.95 Illness had been part of Doras family all her life.96 When she was still a young child her father developed tuberculosis, as a result of which the whole family moved from Vienna to Merano, which was a popular resort at the time for the treatment of tuberculosis.97 Some years after this he developed problems with his sight, which caused major anxieties for the whole family.98 Some years later again, her father was brought by his close friend Herr K. for a consultation with Freud because he had developed symptoms of syphilis.99 The course of treatment instituted by Freud led to an improvement in his condition, but by this stage he had already infected his wife with gonorrhea.100 In short, throughout her entire growing up, Doras family life had been one of continuous illness. The general misery of the family was compounded by her fathers long-standing affair with Frau K., an arrangement in which her husband acquiesced. Whenever exactly Doras father and Frau K. began their affair, there had evidently developed a tacit agreement between the two men to treat Dora as an exchange in this arrange-

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ment.101 Doras main relation, however, was with Frau K., not with her husband. Frau K. had become a trusted confidante of Doras and Dora often looked after the K.s children. When Doras father brought her to see Freud she was afflicted with a variety of minor symptoms. She had occasional breathlessness, and she suffered from a nervous cough.102 She also suffered (or believed she did) from leucorrhoea, a mucous discharge from the vagina. This condition was reminiscent of the symptoms associated with her mothers gonorrhea. Doras main problem, however, was simply that she was moody and depressed over the state of her family. For quite a number of years, she had been pressing her father in vain to give up his association with the K.s, and in particular to cease his affair with K.s wife. With his wife involved with Doras father, K. had been making ineffectual attempts to seduce Dora for many years. In one memorable incident when she was about fourteen, for instance, he had contrived to be alone with her in his office, had seized her and tried to kiss her. Dora resisted this advance, which she told Freud left her only with a sense of nausea. Despite K.s deceit in this matter, Freuds response to this story is that a healthy girl would not have failed to be physically aroused by such an episode.103 In spite of Doras denials, Freud insists that she is really full of longing for K. and for the little signs of his affection.104 Her failure to acknowledge this can only be an expression of her illness. Of course, it is quite possible that Dora may have been attracted to K. in some measure, but it is Freuds attempts to argue that she has no healthy reasons for rejecting his advances that makes his reading of her situation as a whole so incongruous. Clearly, Freud was in some way beguiled by the manifest immorality of the whole family setup. He evidently welcomed the opportunity to endorse an arrangement so much at odds with orthodox morality, just as he had done in advocating Elisabeth von R.s relationship with her sisters husband. Caught up in this preoccupation, Freud oversimplifies the problem of defense as a straightforward conflict between sexual impulse and conventional propriety. In fact, Doras conflict was much more intricate than Freud allows. She was torn between her identification with her father, and therefore with his attachment to the K.s, and her anger with him for his indifference to the family, the injury done to her mother, and his disregard for her own interests through his involvement with the K.s. This was a conflict over identity, over who she was and whose example in life she should follow; it was not the straightforward

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conflict between sex and conventional morality that Freud insists on. Like Elisabeth von R., Dora was a young woman trying to achieve individuation and independence and in this process her sexuality and her morality were both ambiguous, both partly aiding this process and both partly inhibiting it. In terms of Nietzsches metaphor, Doras hunger was for the restoration of the health and security of her family as a whole. Her overabundance was striving for independence from the family. But because the family had become so disintegrated, both aspects of her volition had come to grief. She had become trapped in an attitude of negation towards herself and the world in general. In moments when Freud forgets his irritation with Dora, he states this clearly himself: The cough . . . was an imitation of her father . . . and could serve as an expression of her sympathy and concern for him. But besides this, it proclaimed aloud, as it were, something of which she may then have been still unconscious: I am my fathers daughter. I have a catarrh, just as he has. He has made me ill just as he has made mother ill. From him I have received the evil passions that are punished by sickness.105 This self-hatred became also the basis of Doras relation with Freud. She said to Freud, in effect, I am evil; treat me as evil. And he, by his own admission, failing to master the transference in good time,106 did just that. Freud did not recognize that within her emotional life he had become yet another gratifying source of punishment. Caught up in her difficult behavior, and too concerned to prove untenable theoretical points, he lost sight of what he meant to her. In Studies On Hysteria the sexual theme is all the more persuasive for being understated. In Dora it gets out of control. Freuds emphasis on his patients fantasies of fellatio between her father and his mistress, on her nervous dyspnea as an imitation of her father during intercourse, and so on, quickly becomes absurd.107 It does so because even as Freud ever more overtly speaks the language of sexual fantasy in an ostensibly uninhibited manner, his tone becomes ever more censorious and prurient. Nowhere in his writing does he more insistently proclaim the values of the liberated Id, and nowhere is he actually more captive of the prim superego. It was not Doras sexuality that Freud was made captive by; it was her punitive morality. He condemned her just as she condemned herself. To be fully human, we have to do justice to both our hungry dependence on others and our overabundant need for independence from them. The purpose of psychotherapy is not to assist one side of our nature at the expense of the other, but rather to assist the establishment of a more fruitful relation between them. The error to

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which the theory of defense can easily give rise in psychotherapy, and to which it does in Dora, is the notion that something unequivocally good in the patient is being resisted by something unequivocally bad. What can be forgotten by the psychotherapist in the heat of the therapeutic battle is that the dilemma the patient is caught in is a completely real onein the sense that the parties to the conflict all have some legitimate claim. Furthermore, in every neurotic conflict the moral tendencies within the patient are subject to disguise and distortion in generally far more subtle ways than the immoral elements, which usually make themselves heard quite clearly. To deny this moral side of our nature, our need to see others restored to health and to find reconciliation with them, is, of course, as mistaken as to deny our often rather superficial immorality, our vaunted need for self-assertion and self-gratification. If he does not keep his own thinking sufficiently flexible, the therapist can find that instead of encompassing the patients conflicts, he becomes inducted into them, as happens to Freud in the Dora case. The patient will start unconsciously to manipulate the therapist in the service of his own defenses. Faced with this state of affairs, the therapist will usually attempt to deal with his own sense of defeat by trying to persuade himself that some particular, clearly visible inclination is what the patient is really defending himself against. Focusing on one particular, readily identifiable tendency in the patient can be seductive for the therapist by giving the feel of defenses being confronted in an uncompromising way, and of difficult work being done. It may be seductive also for the patient, if he or she has a strong need for the therapy to be punitive. A failing therapy can continue for perhaps an extended period of time on the basis of such an unconscious contract between therapist and patient. At the time of Dora in 1900 a great deal was, of course, still to be learned about the capacity of the patient to manipulate the therapist into becoming a punitive extension of her own illness. But what we should also learn from the Dora case is that the therapist too always has self-punitive tendencies. In Dora, Freud becomes ensnared by these, as he had also been with the seduction theory a few years earlier. In Dora he becomes a parody of himself. Conventional morality, he implies, is distorting of sexual life; therefore what is contrary to conventional morality must be healthy. It is here, not in The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, that we find Freuds greatest slip. For a moment, his customary subtlety deserts him and he becomes what he feels his enemies perceive him to be: someone who reduces everything to sex.

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Chapter Five DEFENSE AND THE PROBLEM OF IDENTITY


DEFENSE AND THE CONFLICT BETWEEN HUNGER AND OVERABUNDANCE
The problem of psychological defense should be seen always in the context of human identity, of the problem of Who am I?, and at the root of this there is always the perennial human struggle between hunger and abundance. This problem can be clearly shown even behind Freuds more ornate descriptions of unconscious processes like those invoked to explain the Signorelli slip, or dreams like that of Irmas Injection, or the intricate patterns of obsessional displacement in the Man of Rats case. The beginning and end of all mature psychoanalytic interpretation is the study of the individual striving to achieve an autonomous, fruitful identity. The more emotionally autonomous an individual is, the more his attitude towards his history is one of affirmation and gratitude because such an individual has acquired the strength to use his history in a creative way. The less emotional autonomy an individual has achieved, the more his life is characterized by a negating and angry attitude towards his history. This negating attitude emerges in the symptoms of psychopathologyin moods of depression and resentment, in chronic physical ailments, in self-punitive styles of life, in destructive, unhappy relations with others, and so on. Traditionally, we use the term defense to describe this unhealthy state of negation. Like every term in depth psychology, defense is an imperfect metaphor. Nevertheless, it is valuable for denoting the states of defeat all human beings experience from time to time in the course of their development. Also, it does convey well the force of emotions we come up against when we try to reform the mind and help it to live in a less unhappy way.

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What we defend ourselves against essentially is the underlying necessity of nature that fissures our intentions, destroys our security and pushes us on to new creativity. Our more minor, day-to-day conflicts are only a local reflection of this larger process compelling us to be who we are. At the root of defensive conflict there is always the tension between the creative and self-assertive inclinations of life, and those other very human inclinations that are hungry for the sanction of others and are fearful of their disapproval. In his case studies of other people Freud can sometimes be too quick to simplify matters and to treat defense as working against some particular, somewhat narrowly defined inclination, rather than being a reflection of a large, imprecise conflict over identity. In contrast, it is in his descriptions of his own psychopathology that he does most justice to just how complex and ambiguous the process of defense actually is. Freuds readings of his own symptoms and dreams are remarkable for the richness of detail and the irony with which he observes himself. His own defensive patterns are very persuasively described by him, precisely because they are not oversimplified; they describe episodes in one mans struggle to become who he is. Consider the famous example of Signorelli, which dates from 1898. Freud classifies Signorelli as an instance of the forgetting of words.1 This again reflects the hypnoid or cathartic idea that the unconscious is to be found in dissociated memories. Ostensibly what happens in the Signorelli example is that Freud cannot recall a particular name; the name has unhappy associations and is therefore repressed. What actually happens is that the name is momentarily, but very visibly, displaced, and in the search for it a miniature commentary on all his attempts to create himself at this point in his life is developed. In addition, Signorelli is a slip created unconsciously with a view to being interpreted in a psychoanalytic manner, and thus with a view to showing us how Freud thinks the unconscious works. This is an essential part of the self-assertion at its core. Freuds forgetting occurs in the course of a conversation with a stranger met on a train journey through Bosnia-Herzegovina. Freud is reminded of the stories he once heard from a medical colleague who practiced among the inhabitants who live in the region. The stories are about death and the fatalism shown by the Turks in the face of death. Once, when a patient had died, his relatives had not reproached the doctor for his failure but rather had tried to comfort him. One of them had remarked, Sir, what is there to be said? We know if he could have been saved you would have saved him. Freud shares this remark with his travelling companion. What he does not

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mention, however, is that it reminds him of another one reflecting the attitude of these local people towards sexual pleasure. Sex is the only thing, they believe, that compensates for lifes suffering. You know, Sir, one of them had said, if that is no longer possible, life no longer has any value. In fact, these gloomy reflections have really been provoked in Freuds mind by recent events much closer to himself. At an earlier stop on the journey, a town called Trafoi, news has reached him that a patient of his own has killed himself, a patient he was treating for a sexual disorder. Freud experiences the death as a painful reproach aimed at himself. He should have been able to save the man. By killing himself, furthermore, the man was also making a statement about life as such: without the possibility of sexual fulfillment, life is not worth living. In an effort to dispel these somber thoughts, Freud engages his travelling companion in a conversation about art. But somehow, the conversation is still infected with the theme of death. His thoughts wander to the frescoes at Orvieto of the end of the world and the Last Judgement. He is convinced they are the greatest he has ever seen on this theme.2 He urges his companion to go and see them. Who are they painted by? asks his companion. For the life of him, Freud cannot recall the name. Is it Botticelli? No. Isnt there a painter called Boltraffio? There is, but it is not him either. The selfportrait the artist has put in the corner of the frescoes is vivid in Freuds mind, with his detached, serious air and his folded hands. But the name will not come. It is only once the journey is over that Freud is able to do the necessary research and discover that the artist is, of course, the name he knew all along: Luca Signorelli. The explanation that Freud offers of this famous episode of forgetting is highly detailed but its logic is rather contrived. Essentially, his argument is that the themes of death and sexuality associated with his own patient were repressed by him because of their painful nature. It was then the influence of these repressed thoughts that drew Signorelli itself into forgetfulness. Freud sketches an intricate set of associations to show how Signorelli is linked with these underlying thoughts. These associations hinge on the fact that Signor is the Italian for the German Herr, of Herr, was ist zu sagen? (Sir, what is there to be said?). Freud argues that these remarks, which were partly revealed by him in the conversation and partly concealed, acted as a bridge over which Signorelli was pulled into repression.3 The two names that were substituted for Signorelli in his memory, Botticelli and Boltraffio, can also be associated with the repressed thoughts. He

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comments, The Bo in both substitute names is explained by the memory responsible for the repression; it concerned something that happened in Bosnia . . .that is, the news of the patient who had killed himself. He adds, The word Traffio [in Boltraffio] is no doubt an echo of Trafoi.4 This is just the bare framework of the elaborate wordplay Freud invokes to account for forgetting the name of Signorelli. However, his associations in this example are in many ways more confusing as to what is actually happening than they are illuminating. The problem is that running through all of Freuds account in the Signorelli case is still his undecided view about the nature of repression. Is repression the forgetting of thoughts that were at one time conscious, as the case of Anna O. seems to suggest, and as the seduction theory suggests? If it is, then undoing repression is simply a question of working through the chains of association until the lost thoughts are restored. The Signorelli example shows powerfully still the influence of this hypnoid model of the unconscious. The reality, nevertheless, is that Signorelli is an illustration not of hypnoid dissociation of thoughts, but of defensive distortion of conflicting inclinations. Freud is divided between revealing certain personal thoughts, and concealing them. It is only in a superficial sense that Signorelli is a case of the forgetting of a word. In a more important sense it is a case of the highlighting of a word. By disappearing for a short period, Signorelli draws an attention to itself, and therefore to all the thoughts associated with it, which it would never otherwise have received. This highlighting of the name, and the elaborate wordplay it provokes, is a way of opening up to examination all the themes of death and sexuality as they relate to Freuds uncertainty about his own place in life. The Signorelli slip, in short, is a veiled commentary on Freuds attempts to create himself. It occurred at a turbulent time in his life. He was still coming to terms with the loss of his father, who had died a couple of years before in 1896, and with the compulsive self-analysis this provoked in him. He was still wrestling with the mess of the seduction theory and with the questions it raised about his fathers role in his own emotional life, and about his own professional direction.5 He was also greatly preoccupied at this time with his own physical health and with the sense that he was near to death.6 Hence all the ambiguous allusions to death and sexuality in the associations. But perhaps most important in the context of Signorelli, and not mentioned by Freud, are his doubts at this period in his life

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about his own vocation as a doctor. The theme of the Signorelli slip is the failure of doctors to be able to cure, and Freuds own failings in particular. The underlying question here, as in so much of Freuds own psychopathology, is, Am I a doctor or am I not? Do I really care about curing people, as a doctor should, or is what really animates me the pursuit of knowledge? Freuds momentary confusion over Signorelli reflects this much broader conflict of identity. It is just the tip of an iceberg of conflicting feelings and emotions. Like every symptomatic event, it should be viewed not as a forgetting of thoughts but as a distorted expression of conflicting inclinations. Like Elisabeths paralyzed legs and Doras chronic cough it is symptomatic of an underlying unresolved conflict of identity: Who am I? and What should be my relationship with the world? This underlying problem of identity is at the heart also of Freuds interpretation of dreams. Throughout life, our task always is to find ways of satisfying our own unique purposes in ways that others are prepared to acknowledge as legitimate. To be autonomous we have to develop our own life so that the habits of feeling and thought we inherit from the various traditions that define us, such as those of family and of profession, are preserved in some measure through our own life and yet at the same time are given new meaning. Unconsciously, therefore, we are continuously reliving the experience of the infant which must express itself in the forms of life sanctioned by its parents. We never completely outgrow the experience of the child of having to find a balance between accepting the authority of parental habits, and trying to make out of those habits something that more closely corresponds to the most fruitful conditions for its own unprecedented nature.7 In our sleeping dreams we get a heightened portrayal of this underlying conflict in our lives between the rule of the established adult world and the exceptional nature of the child that finds itself thrown into it. In sleep, we are disengaged from the world. The need therefore to maintain a careful balance between the demands of the adult and the demands of the child all but disappears. This allows the elements at the root of our conflictual nature to appear in a more uncompromising way than they can in waking life.8 Most dreams can be connected with little difficulty to the biography of the dreamer. They can, that is, be related to the developing interaction of his overabundant tendency to self-assertion and his hungry need for acceptance from others. This, in effect, is what Freud does when he argues that dreams speak of unresolved infantile conflicts, but conflicts that are dressed in the terms of contemporary

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dilemmas and concerns.9 Many powerful dreams make overt or hardly veiled references to childhood and the dilemmas of childhood. A larger number, certainly the great majority of dreams, reflect in general terms the tension between the wish for the security of stability, order, and precedent, and, working against this, the equally strong wish to take creative risk, to make something new and unprecedented out of what has been inherited in life. It is true also that a primeval sense of horror and disgust at the world comes out more often in our dreams than in any other everyday experience. Dreams, in other words, express the negating quality of feeling which we all have towards existence but which we cover up more assiduously in waking life. In dreams we experience acutely the absurd nature of the world we have inherited and with which, in waking life, we have somehow to make do. It is as if, devoid of creative power by the condition of sleep, we can only distort and negate, in a futile gesture of self-assertion. In dreaming, we often approach the condition of Hamletthe world revolts and dismays us, but there is no effective action we can take to remedy it: The time is out of joint. Cursed spite, that ever I was born to set it right.10 Freuds first and best known dream interpretation, the dream of Irmas Injection, shows these feelings clearly at work.11 The centerpiece of the dream is a scene where Freud reproaches his patient Irma for not accepting his solution. If you suffer pains, he says to her, it is your own fault. Then, alarmed at her appearance and fearing he has overlooked an organic ailment, he takes her to the window and looks into her mouth, in which he sees pathological patches. Dr. M. is called over to look and confirms that it is an infection. It is clear where the source of this infection lies: Dr. Otto has recently given her an injection of Trimethylamin. Freud interprets this dream as an attempt at self-justification. The day before the dream he had felt himself to be indirectly attacked by Dr. Otto, who reported that a patient of Freuds was not yet entirely well. Freud responded that evening by writing a report on the case, in self-justification, to be sent to Dr. M.12 The dream itself, Freud suggests, represents a number of mutually incompatible selfjustifications. The most significant of these may be mentioned briefly. First, Irma has not recovered because, although Freud has correctly communicated to her the hidden meaning of her symptoms, she refuses to accept his solution. Second, Irma displays the symptoms of a physical infection, therefore Freud, treating her only for psychic disturbance, is absolved of responsibility for her suffering. Third, Irmas position by the window, her diseased mouth and other

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features of her behavior, are attributes of one of Dr. M.s patients: thus Irma is not Freuds patient at all. Fourth, Irmas illness is really the result of an injection administered by Dr. Otto, not by Freud. Freud insists that the theory of defense is the kernel of his principle of dream interpretation.13 But what exactly is he defending himself against in a dream like this? Freud is rather oblique about this. Around this time, in the late 1890s, he was very preoccupied with the question of defense against sexual experiences and wishes. But there is actually very little reference to sex in The Interpretation of Dreams. What then does Freud defend himself against in a dream like that of Irmas Injection? What he never states explicitly is that all his attempts at selfjustification in the Irma dream are answers in the face of self-reproaches for failing to live up to the expectations of a healing doctor. What he is defending himself against is the unhappy conflict between the wish for the security of professional recognition, for the ability to cure, for the ability to support his growing family, and so on, and the equally powerful wish that he were not bound by all these tiresome conventional demands, because they are all a brake on his own very peculiar talents. The conflicting feelings behind this dream, and so many others he reports in The Interpretation of Dreams, are his own difficulties with the authority and conventions of medicine, conventions which constrain him and which he is to spend the rest of his life at odds with. In writing books on hysteria and dreams, and in stressing the connections between the two, Freud is pushing the conventions accepted by his medical colleagues to the limit. He is doing so because he is being driven to create that unusual animal we have since come to call Sigmund Freud. Freud wishes to be a doctor, but at the same time he does not wish to be a doctor, in the conventional sense. Selfjustification in the teeth of conventional expectations is the theme of psychoanalysis. It is announced in this, the first dream of psychoanalysis, and it is elaborated from one perspective after another in all the other dreams Freud recounts. The theme is the conflict within every human being between the rule and the exception, between the hunger for the security of conventional acceptance and the overabundant need to create something that transcends the conventional. Finally, returning again to Freuds case studies, let us consider the relation between defense and identity in obsessional neurosis. The case of the Man of Rats, which dates from 1909, is Freuds richest and most theoretically innovative case study after Studies On Hysteria and Dora.14 It shows how defensive conflict can turn

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into a chronic negating of even the most minor self-assertive impulses within the self. The young man Freud called the Man of Rats was the son of a man who had been habitually violent with his children. Nevertheless, he himself had only been beaten once by his father, as a punishment, apparently, for having bitten someone.15 He reacted to this assault with an outburst of rage so violent it had inhibited his father from ever attacking him again. But he developed a fear of any kind of physical violence and crept away in horror and indignation whenever one of his siblings was attacked.16 From his childhood onward he had been plagued by fears of harm coming to those he loved most. To try to deal with these anxieties, his life had become bound round with all kinds of prohibitions on his own impulses.17 Although his father had died about eight years before the painful crisis that brought him to Freud, at first this was not clear to Freud because so many of his patients anxieties revolved around possible harm coming to his father.18 The tyrannical side of his fathers nature had continued to be a major force in his sons life even after his death. In the years leading up to his treatment with Freud, his mother had been renewing the pressure originally put on him by his father to give up the woman he was involved with.19 This woman was not from a wealthy background and shortly before his death his father had advised his son against her, saying he would only regret it if he married her. After the death of his father, his mother made it clear that one of her relatives would give him his daughter in marriage after he had completed his studies and that he could be sure of getting a position in the family firm if he did so. This provoked profound conflict in the sons mind because it was just such a calculated arrangement that lay behind his parents own marriage. His father had married his mother for her wealthy business connections and he had abandoned a girl of more modest means to do so. In short, the son was now under pressure to repeat the fathers decision to base his life on calculation, rather than genuine affection. His fathers decision had created a family culture in which violence was an intrinsic part. Why should the outcome in his own case be any happier? This is the dilemma at the heart of the case of the Man of Rats. As with all psychopathology rooted in emotional conflict, it is a dilemma over identity. Always, the question the patient is wrestling with is, How can I be sufficiently loyal to the customs that have nurtured and defined me so that I retain that sense of belonging that is vital to me, while at the same time modifying what I have inherited so that it is fruitful for my own nature?

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It was, however, a specific crisis that brought the Man of Rats to Freud. Serving in the army reserve, one day he had fallen into conversation with some fellow officers. One of them was known for his taste for tales of cruelty. This man started to relate details of a torture practiced in the Orient. A pot containing rats was fastened to the buttocks of the victim and the rats were then forced to bore their way into his anus.20 This vivid image of torture seized hold of his listeners imagination. Try as he would, he could not dispel it from his mind. In particular, he could not banish the fantasy either of his father or of the woman he was involved with being made the victims of the torture. A little later on that same day, tormented still by these unhappy images, the young man was approached again by the same sadistic officer. He had no more disturbing stories to tell, but he handed him a packet that had arrived at the post office. As he did so, the sadistic officer remarked casually that the postage cost had been paid at the post office by another officer and that this other officer was, therefore, owed this sum. However, as he took the packet the young man knew that the instruction to pay this little debt was an error. Earlier in the day, he had already heard that the packet had arrived at the post office. The girl in the office, who knew him, had been looking for someone to convey it to him without asking for the postage fee. She knew she could rely on him to pay her the outstanding fee in due course.21 It was, therefore, only to her that the money was owed and not to anyone else. In spite of knowing how things actually stood over the debt to be paid, he said nothing. But there arose in his mind already tormented by the images of torture two conflicting imperatives. The first one was the sense that he must obey the instruction to repay the postage, in accordance with the sadistic officers command. The second one was the sense that he must not pay the money back because, if he did, the rat punishment would be perpetrated upon his father. Over the next few days, this conflict flowered into a delirium of imperatives and counterimperatives over the payment of the debt that entirely paralyzed his ability to think and act coherently. Once with Freud, the young man was, of course, readily able to generate intricate strings of free associations and memories to the rat story, and to the theme of the unpaid debt.22 But, as with the associations in slips like the cases of Signorelli or aliquis, or in hysterical symptoms, or in dream interpretations, it is important not to allow the richness of these associations to distract us from the underlying conflict of motives that is the real engine of events.23

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The invocation to pay the debt and the story of the rat punishment were significant for the young man because they both lent themselves readily as displaced expressions of the conflict at the heart of his own identity. The theme of debt paying was a significant one in the family history. Once, while himself serving as an army officer, his father had lost a sum of money playing a game of cards. The money was not his own, but a sum with which he had been officially entrusted. A comrade had helped him out by lending him the required amount. Years later, he had sought out this man to repay him, but it seemed he never succeeded in doing so. This story had become part of the family lore. Evidently, this story of the unpaid debt encapsulated in his sons mind the character of his father. To his son, he was a mean-spirited man, lacking in selfcontrol, who did not pay his debts. He was as unjust to the comrade who had generously helped him out after he stupidly gambled money that was not his own as he was to the woman he had abandoned to acquire a wealthier wife, and as he was to his own children. The story of the unpaid debt thus symbolized the fault line in his fathers calculated marriage and the violent family he had erected on that marriage. Thereby, it also symbolized his own impossible dilemma over the question of whether to marry the woman he genuinely cared for or to follow his fathers precedent of sacrificing this for financial advantage. The fantasy of the rats was of course fixating because of its sheer savagery. But, in addition to this, it had significance for the young man because it brought together the themes of violence towards the buttocks and anus with that of biting, the themes that had coincided on the day his attitude towards his father had been crystallized when he was physically attacked by him.24 It took hold of his imagination already exhausted by the unresolved decision over marriage which was rooted in his fathers authoritarian attitude. In many ways the most revealing of the patients associations to the rat fantasy is that it recalls to him Ibsens play Little Eyolf. This is a drama full of symbolism that revolves around a child who has been crippled in an accident which happens while his parents are having intercourse. Early in the play, there appears the village ratcatcher, a fearful old woman or rat wife. Her task is to destroy all the little creatures men hate and persecute by drawing the rats to swim out onto the deep waters of the lake where they drown.25 In the end, this is the fate that also befalls Eyolf himself. The playwright uses rats here as a symbol of everything that has been displaced and twisted within the family, above all the child himself. The rats repre-

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sent the rage and the guilt that have become all the more virulent within the family for never having been honestly addressed. Similarly, for Freuds patient the rats are an overdetermined symbol for himself. They are a symbol of self-assertive and potentially creative energies of life that have become trapped by anxiety. The rat fantasy tells of conflict between the weak and persecuted, and the strong and sadistic. But the rat stands for both the persecuted and the persecutor. He torments and destroys the helpless victim, but he is himself at the same time the victim of the torturer. The rat here is the expression of what Nietzsche describes, with other connotations, as the slave. It is that within the self which is so deprived of autonomous volition that it can only act destructively. The rat is the symbol of life that is devoid of all creative activity. Torn as he was between his sense of obligation to his father and his family and, on the other hand, his sense that this obligation was only destructive of his best inclinations, the patient found in the imprisoned rat the perfect symbol of his own emotional state. As with his case studies of hysteria, in this case of obsessional neurosis Freud emphasizes how the illness inhibits the development of an erotic relation outside the family. Of course, the inability of the Man of Rats to establish a stable sexual relation is important in itself. Ultimately, however, it is just one further expression of his failing attempts to establish an autonomous identity. Here, as always in emotional illness, the underlying theme is the smothering of the abundance of human nature by its anxious hunger. The conflict is one between the need to follow precedent and the need to experiment and cut free from the past. The conflict between sexual impulse and sexual inhibition is only a local skirmish behind which this larger war is being played out.26 Hysterical illness reflects an unconscious fear of challenging the family through an act of autonomy, in case this damages even further an already injured family. For the hysterical patient, her family remains the indispensable source of her identity and self-definition, and therefore she feels she must not do anything that may undermine it further. The hysterical neurotic, instead of overtly expressing her anger at the dependence of her family on her, expresses it indirectly through her own ailments, which often mimic those of other people in the family. Obsessional neurosis, in contrast, reflects an unconscious fear of challenging the family for fear of a reciprocal attack in retaliation. The obsessional, instead of confronting the threatening father directly, turns his sadism upon himself. Like the

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hysterical patient, he preserves his identification with his family, but, at the same time, covertly condemns this identification. But in all these cases of defensive conflict, the underlying problem is that the emotional price of individuation is experienced as being too high. For the hysterical neurotic, the price of attempting individuation is perceived to be the destruction of the family by the individual. For the obsessional neurotic, it is perceived to be destruction of the individual by the family. But, of course, in both types of case there is a loss of meaning, an alienation, and an underlying pattern of self-punishment.27

EXCEPTION AND RULE IN FREUDIAN METAPSYCHOLOGY


Freuds metapsychology is an attempt to describe in the most fundamental and abstract way the nature of psychic defense. In his early metapsychology he suggests defense arises essentially because of a conflict between the pursuit of pleasure and the recognition of reality. This perspective proves largely redundant in clinical work and, for this reason, many have argued that Freuds attempts to develop a theory of the mind compatible with natural science was unnecessary and a mistake. In his later work, however, Freud abandons this perspective and thinks instead of defense as being mobilized against what he calls internal dangers. An internal danger is an inclination within ourselves that is in conflict with some rule or convention we feel is essential to our sense of identity. The threat from internal dangers is that they will lead to castration, alienation, or loss of love and recognition from others. Unlike the pleasure principle framework, this is a sophisticated metapsychological theory that does justice to the underlying division within all human action and experience. Unless we are to persist in the view that we are somehow not a piece of nature, there are no good grounds for denying this theory a place in natural science. The childs conflict with the family is one metaphor for the fundamental division within human intentionality between abundance and dependence, between exception and rule. We have considered how this metaphor is reflected in some of Freuds case histories. But

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how does it appear in his more abstract theories of the mind, his socalled metapsychology? In the early years of his work, Freud thought that the fundamental root of mental conflict might be that between the pursuit of pleasure and the need for a recognition of reality. His hypothesis was that human purposes originated in some internal region of the mind where they were sheltered from reality and where they were governed solely by the pursuit of pleasure. He conceived them then as in some way moving out towards the external world, where they had to adjust to the demands of reality and necessity. In broad terms, this theory is consonant with the cathartic way of looking at things, where the aim of psychotherapy is taken to be allowing trapped emotional energy to get in touch with reality. Most important, it is, like the cathartic theory, an attempt to think of mental dynamics other than in terms of conflict between identifications and loyalties to others, in terms, that is, of ethical conflict. The high-water mark of this framework is probably the theoretical chapter 7 of the 1900 Interpretation of Dreams. This chapter is intriguing for the light it sheds on Freuds own intellectual development and for its relation to the unpublished 1895 Project for a Scientific Psychology. However, it adds essentially nothing to our understanding of the practical problems of interpreting dreams. It is also not integrated with the theory in the rest of the book, which turns on the distortion of wishes that threaten the dreamers identification with important others. In fact, the theory that mental conflict is fundamentally a conflict between pleasure and reality has never played any significant part in the practical work of understanding the neuroses and psychopathological life generally. This is widely recognized, of course. There is, however, some confusion as to why it is that we do not make recourse to this theory in clinical work. For many therapists and critics of psychoanalysis alike the problem with this theory, and with Freuds metapsychology in general, is that it tries to be a piece of natural science. That this theory is redundant, so the argument runs, only goes to show that natural science is simply an inappropriate aspiration for psychoanalysis. This judgement is premature. The problem with the pleasure principle framework is not that it aspires to be scientific. The problem is that it does not get to grips with the peculiar nature of human intentionality. It tells us nothing of the tension between hunger and abundance; it tells us nothing of the perennial psychological war between the rule and the exception. It tells us nothing of the negating

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attitude to the world of those who have not been able to achieve satisfaction with themselves because they have not been able to resolve this tension in a creative way. This is the reason it proves redundant in clinical work, not because it aspires to be scientific. Throughout the 1920s, beginning with Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Freud works to replace the pleasure principle theory with something more satisfactory. It is true that some of the ideas that first emerged with the pleasure principle perspective never disappear from his theoretical work. For instance, in the The Ego and the Id of 1923, the ego is conceived partly as an ideal consciousness mediating between the unconscious, on the one hand, and the external world, on the other, and this is a relic of the pleasure principle framework. Nevertheless, by this stage in the 1920s the pleasure principle perspective has become heavily overlayered with more sophisticated ideas. Defense, Freud now believes, is not illuminated by the need to control pain, but rather by the need to control the danger of alienation from others, or castration. We repress and distort our wishes not because they threaten us with pain as such, but rather because they threaten to undermine our relations with those with whom we identify and upon whom we rely for recognition. This perspective on defense does indeed reflect the conflict we are interested in, the conflict between abundance and hunger or between exception and rule. This perspective on psychological conflict does justice to the case histories and to everyday psychopathology, and to the interpretation of dreams, in a way that the pleasure principle does not. It is this perspective on the mind as a system working always to balance what is unique within itself against its identifications with others, rather than working to balance pleasure against reality, that informs the most important parts of The Ego and the Id. Here, the ego, the I, is, in essence, a term for the capacity to find a balance between impulse and custom, between the It (that which as yet has no name because it is not recognized by custom) and the superego, or over-I (the habits of life powerful others require from us in return for recognition). The essential psychological task is to find a balance between the subversive, but also creative and innovative impulses within ourselves, and the need to meet the expectations of others from whom we have to achieve recognition if we are to retain our sense of identity. In this perspective, neurosis is understood as the result of a failure to achieve a fruitful balance between these two vital tendencies. The task of therapy is seen as that of teasing out the conflicts arising between these two tenden-

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cies, helping the patient to see these more clearly, to be less afraid of them, and to resolve them in more creative ways. The It (das Es) is a shorthand for our childlike overabundance of desires. As it develops, the child has to sacrifice certain of its overabundant wishes to the customs established by the relation between its parents so as to retain the potential for fruitful interaction with them, and thus with other human beings.28 The child, in other words, renounces many of its primitive wishes in return for being recognized as an identity in its own right. Things go wrong, however, if the child loses faith in its ability to maintain an appropriate degree of self-sacrifice in exchange for recognition of its own right to identity and autonomy. This can happen for any number of reasons; for instance, illness on the part of a parent making the parent dependent upon the child, as with Elisabeth von R.; a fundamental breakdown in the parental relationship itself, as with Dora; or the threat of violence or abuse from a parent, as with the Man of Rats. When the child loses faith in its ability to maintain this balance, for whatever reason, its more primitive overabundant impulses reassert themselves in a distorted, destructive manner. The child turns on its surroundings, and it turns on itself. The unconscious sense of alienation, the sense of not being able to organize something vital within itself in such a way as to ensure recognition from others, becomes acute, as does the anxious sense that all further attempts at self-assertion will merely be punished by further alienation. In 1926, in Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety, Freud argues that all defensive symptoms can be understood as attempts to minimize anxiety associated with this sense of alienation and castration.29 They are all responses to this danger from ones own impulses: The process of defense is analogous to the flight by means of which the I escapes a danger that threatens from outside. . . . And yet the case is not the same. The wolf would probably attack us irrespective of how we behave towards him. But the beloved person would not withdraw his love, would not threaten us with castration, if we did not harbor particular feelings and aims within ourselves.30 What Freud calls in this important late work internal dangers are those that are feared because they threaten to undermine a rule, that is, a custom or habit of life upon which the individual depends for some vital part of his identity. An internal danger, in other words, is the danger of failing to conform to a custom or convention with which one is expected to be familiar. The danger is that one will be cut off from acknowledgement by the other individuals who share the rule as a punishment for being an exception to the rule.31

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We can each only realize ourselves by modifying the customs and rules of life we inherit so that they accommodate our unique nature, but still retain the sanction of others. Therefore, we have continuously to resolve conflict between adhering to custom and challenging it. In every resolution of conflicting desires we find the interweaving of hunger and abundance, the interweaving of the need to adhere to the rule and the need to assert ourselves as an exception to the rule. In every resolution of conflicting desires, therefore, some internal danger must be negotiated. The more hunger predominates over abundance, however, the more we are bound around by fear of internal dangers, and the greater is the fear and the sense of alienation from others. When this happens, life develops an infantile aspect, in the worst sense: it becomes defensive, fearful, unproductive, and self-punitive.

GENERAL SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION


The problem of emotional health is the oldest human problem. Every civilization has had to solve it in its own way and, increasingly, each new generation is having to find its own solution to it. This problem of emotional health is not solved in the way we solve those of physical health. Unlike physical illness, emotional illness does not yield to progressive technological insight that develops from one year to the next. We are not conquering emotional illness in the sense we are doing this with physical illness. In that sense of the word, it is misleading to think in terms of the possibility of scientific solutions to the question of emotional health and it is wrong to try to assess the merits and failings of psychotherapy as if such solutions are somewhere going to be available to us. For all that, however, modern science has changed fundamentally the context within which we think about the problem of emotional illness. Only in a scientific culture have we begun to look at emotional illness clearly. Ultimately, it is only the advent of a scientific culture that has allowed us to be honest for the first time about just how intractable, and indeed endemic to the human condition, emotional illness actually is. It is, therefore, equally misleading to try now to divorce the understanding of emotional illness and its treatment from a scientific view of the world. Emotional illness is rooted in the inherently ambivalent, divided nature of human intention. This conflicting condition means that human beings often simply do not know how to organize their

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own intentions so that life is lived in a coherent, fruitful manner. Human life is full of dilemmas and conflicts of value, some of them terrible. Before the development of science, the fundamental purpose of traditional religion and morality was to provide answers to deal with these dilemmas and with the intolerable lack of knowledge underlying them. They helped human beings to minimize the self-injury that results from the incomplete, conflicting nature of their own intentions. At the height of the Christian era, this meant providing what purported to be an essentially complete account of the place of human beings in the world. According to this religious account, human beings were related in a unique way to a power outside the world. The health of the emotional life, it seemed therefore, depended upon principles that were independent of the principles governing the world. The legacy of this vision was that, until relatively recently, the problem of the health of the soul was seen as separate from the problem of understanding how nature works. Particularly after the Copernican revolution, the latter was regarded as the sphere of natural science, while the former was regarded as the sphere of religious teaching and moral doctrine. As long as the questions of the soul were conceived as being distinct from the questions of natural science, the emotional suffering of human beings was interpreted as reflecting a falling away from this power external to nature. When human beings suffered emotionally, this was taken to indicate that they were breaking transcendent rules of some kind; in other words, they were sinful. The sinful animal was thought to suffer because it had become divorced from a power beyond itself, and it was restored to a sense of health by making contact again with that power beyond itself. Such a way of thinking about emotional health was perfectly rational as long as there was a general belief in the existence of such a power, and it meant that spiritual healing was, inevitably, a part of religious faith and the institutions of faith. The decline of faith in such a power, brought about by the rise of a scientific attitude of mind, has gradually closed this avenue for thinking about the problem. When we assess now the emotional health of an individual we do not ask questions about transcendent rules and unconditional principles. We do not ask, how closely does this individual conform to timeless moral standards? On the contrary, we ask, what are the conditions that have created, and are sustaining, the habits of life that govern this individual? And we ask also, what are the conditions under which the form of life manifested in this individual will best thrive? It is the emergence of science that has caused us to look at the

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health of human beings in this conditional way. The essential thing is that the suffering of the human animal is seen now to reflect the fact that it misunderstands powers working within itself, powers that are elusive, diverse and often contradictory. It can address that suffering only by understanding these internal powers better and by confronting the anxieties that have been generated by the conflicts between these powers. It is this shift in context from thinking in terms of an external power that must be obeyed, to internal powers that need to be understood, that has given rise to depth psychology, to psychoanalysis, and to psychotherapy generally. However, in a culture that is now so dependent upon the intellectual imperatives of science, we are more anxious about these imperatives, and more torn by uneasy guilt over them, than we like to admit to ourselves. As we have seen, thinkers like Descartes and Kant are important to reflect upon in this context because before most of their contemporaries they sensed within themselves the coming emotional crisis of science. They sought to save the task of individuation, the task of being an autonomous individual with a self-governing conscience, from the deep upset coming to it from science. In their different ways, they tried to preserve the conscience from the pressures of science by arguing that our knowledge of the self is certain, that it is safe from uncertainties and skepticisms, and that the human task of individuation is therefore not affected by science. Nietzsche and Freud saw that this is simply not the case. Science, with its conditional forms of inquiry and its systematic skepticism towards custom, has fundamentally altered the emotional work of individuation we each confront. Nietzsche and Freud saw that the problem of the health of the human soul now has to be approached in a scientific context, with a new kind of scientific discipline. And yet, this remains a widely questioned position. Freuds most important offence, in the judgement of contemporary culture, was not that he explored the unconscious. It was, rather, that he emphasized that it is science itself that now impels us to this exploration of the unconscious. This has turned out to be the most unacceptable part of his thought, much more so than anything he had to say about sex. Psychoanalysis addresses the consequences of the emotional crisis created by science. In a religious culture there are socially sanctioned rituals and conventions for dealing with our inherently ambivalent attitude towards tradition and towards all the parental icons tradition contains. The destruction of these religious rituals

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and conventions through the critical action of science has deprived us of an important means for containing the psychological cost of our inevitable conflicts with tradition: the cost of guilt, of self-dislike, of the need for self-punishment. These psychological costs of a scientific culture are what we treat in psychoanalysis. The new culture of conditional values has been born, but it is still far from mature. The old culture of moral absolutes no longer rules, but its elements live on still in a fragmented form within each one of us. Just as the intellectual abandonment of the idea of sin has by no means abolished feelings of guilt, shame, self-dislike and the need for self-punishment, so the intellectual transition to a conditional view of the emotional life has by no means abolished the unconscious wish for unconditional imperatives. There are a number of perspectives from which we can view this continuing unconscious seeking of unconditional imperatives. Partly, no doubt, it arises because as children we all looked for received rules as a way of making sense of the world and dealing with its anxiety, so this habit is second nature to us and is likely to remain with us in some measure no matter how far science advances. Partly, of course, it arises simply from a wish to escape the demanding work of understanding our own nature. And partly, it is because, historically, unconditional moral rules gave us some protection against our own divisions by specifying a clearer distinction between good actions and bad actions than we now have at our disposal. Science has robbed us of this kind of emotional protection and without it we frequently become destructive and punitive towards others and towards ourselves. The experience of the twentieth century leaves us in no doubt of this. Fundamentally, the argument about the scientific status of psychoanalysis is an argument not about psychoanalysis but about science itself. At an important level, we would like to believe that science is not compelling us to this difficult confrontation with our own divisions and ambiguities. We are afraid of the scientific imperative to think about our emotional life in conditional terms because we are afraid that we may lack the strength to organize our lives in a self-governing way, without the support of categorical imperatives. We are afraid we may lack the strength to take responsibility for mastering our own divisions. The effect of science, nevertheless, is to compel us to find that strength in ourselves, where previously we had found it in God. This is a psychological transition unlike anything human beings have had to go through before. We need to try to confront in an honest way just how difficult it is.

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The development of science in general and its application to our own motives in particular have generated both conceptual and emotional complexities that are more difficult to deal with than we have yet been able fully to acknowledge. At the conceptual level, one important complication is that we have to employ old terms in new and altered ways. In depth psychology, we use terms like soul and science in unfamiliar ways; unfamiliar, because the conceptual relations between notions like these have undergone changes. In the past, soul was an expression for our relation with a transcendent God, and therefore an indication of the point at which scientific inquiry stopped. Now, it has changed its meaning to become an expression of our divided nature, and of our need to find coherence in spite of that divided nature. This new concept of the soul can be considered in a scientific way, provided that our concept of science itself evolves in order to encompass it. Those who by temperament feel nostalgic for a purer scientific frame of reference frequently exploit the old religious connotations of the word soul, ignoring the way it has developed. They say that it is high time we abandoned this old religiosity and got down to serious scientific work where the emphasis is on prediction, experiment, validation, and so on. This attitude is exemplified by the positivist critics of psychoanalysis like Popper, Sulloway, Grnbaum, and Webster. On the other hand, those who feel nostalgic for a simpler religious frame for their experiences exploit the old positivist connotations of the word science, ignoring the way this concept too has developed. They maintain that it is unrealistic to try to capture the complex ambiguities of human beings in a scientific way and that we should therefore withdraw from the dialogue with science. A figure like Lacan exemplifies this attitude, as does a writer like Ricoeur who would assimilate psychoanalysis to hermeneutics. The appeal of all these writers is that, in various ways, they seem to hold out an escape from the essentially modern task of having to organize our ambiguities in a creative and fruitful way. They appeal to those who do not experience the ambivalent nature of their own intentions as a potential for deepening their creativity, but who, rather, fear this ambivalence as something beyond their power to master. The old morality of unconditional imperatives speaks through all these writers in a displaced way, through their emphasis on the old sciences and their limits, that is, the sciences that formerly existed side by side with the old morality. In the context of the debate about psychoanalysis, the appeal of sciences like physics and Darwinian theory is that it is possible to

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employ them in this displaced manner. They are both fields of science that happened to mature before the final decay of the old moral certainties (in the case of Darwinism just before). In the context of the debate about psychoanalysis, the appeal to these sciences reflects a nostalgia for a time when the conflicts within the self could more readily be resolved by recourse to unconditional rules and codes. They reflect a nostalgia for a time when we were less unequivocally exposed to the full ambivalence of our nature. Sciences like physics and Darwinism do not tell us anything about the ethical dilemmas that any serious science of human motivation must address. Setting them up, therefore, as self-evidently adequate models of science permits the pretence that the field of human impulse, the field of human dilemma, the field of narrative, the field of tragedy and comedy, in short, the field of the human soul, can legitimately be kept immune from rational, conditional exploration. Those who advocate these older sciences as models for psychology are attempting to repeat old expressions of the scientific spirit, rather than creatively developing those expressions, which is how science always proceeds. To that extent, their work reflects, in an intellectual form, the habits of the neurotic, who tries to repeat the past because he lacks the self-governing strength to develop it in new, more fruitful ways. Nevertheless, we cannot go back to physics as our model for psychology and we cannot go back to Darwin either. We have to move forward, because this is what science always does. It does not repeat its own history. What we need most urgently to develop is a proper, serious psychology of the unconscious emotions that are involved in our most important abstract concepts, especially that of science. We are not comfortable thinking about the more deeply concealed emotions involved in science and we are still very unpracticed at exploring them. Ultimately, whether we classify psychoanalysis as a science or not is not the crucial thing. Any therapeutic method for body or mind, when practiced effectively, is always more, and less, than a science. The important thing to understand is that psychoanalysis is a consequence of science; it is a profoundly important attempt to address the ethical crisis created by science. The aim of psychoanalysis is to help the individual to meliorate the worst excesses of the conflicts created by living in a scientific culture. It aims at the questioning and weakening of unconscious fears that keep the creative, synthesizing part of the self from developing its strengths. This is in many ways a modest aim, but in human terms it can

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mean the difference between a life that is imprisoned by anxieties and one that is free and fulfilling. The more seriously we confront the divided, elusive nature of our intentions, the more we have constantly to reexamine afresh what it is we actually do intend. We have continually to restore the balance between the need within us to adhere to the purposes we each inherit through tradition and history, and the need to give expression to the new, the unprecedented, the untried. To be healthy, we have to summon the strength to recognize what in the past is healthy for us and learn to reject what is not. This constant rediscovery of ones own intentions and of what is right is what it means to govern oneself. This is an intricate, demanding, always unfinished task. Each of us has to resolve it in a unique manner. The challenge for the psychotherapist is to do justice to the uniqueness of the solution we each must find to our own lives. We no longer live now in a world where there is a clear and simple opposition handed down from one generation to the next between true and false, or between good and evil. These oppositions that supported the generations before us in their intellectual and emotional lives are now gone. Nevertheless, beyond these old outlived oppositions there is still a great deal to be discovered that is true, and much to be done that is good.

NOTES

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION


1. Descartes, Discourse on Method, part 1, 27. On what was at stake in the Copernican revolution Lovejoy notes, It was not the position of our planet in space, but the fact that it alone was supposed to have an indigenous population of rational beings whose final destiny was not yet settled, that gave it its unique status in the world and a unique share in the attention of Heaven (The Great Chain of Being, 102103). 2. Hobbes writes, And for the knowledge of consequence, which I have said before is called science, it is not absolute, but conditional. No man can know by discourse, that this, or that, is, has been, or will be; which is to know absolutely: but only, that if this be, that is; if this has been, that has been; if this shall be, that shall be: which is to know conditionally (Leviathan, part 1, 131). 3. Of course, the preeminent symptom of this decline of faith in tradition is the decline of faith in a transcendent God. In traditional religious faith, just as God was felt to exempt human beings in a vital measure from the contingencies of nature, so was he also the guarantor, as it were, of the authority of tradition. Before we began writing our modern narratives of science our relation with God seemed to hold us back from complete immersion in the vortex of nature. There appeared to be all kinds of decisions to be made for which tradition, and not nature, was the authority. Now, by virtue of our own scientific curiosity, we find ourselves swept into that vortex of nature. For better, or for worse, we have given up faith in any power outside nature. This is what Nietzsche means, of course, when he speaks of us having killed God (The Gay Science, section 125). The religious sense now looks within nature, not outside it. This is exemplified, for instance, in Goethes later poetry, where he places great emphasis on the coincidence of God and nature. When later in the nineteenth century Emerson speaks of Cause and Effect, the chancellors of God (in the 1841 essay Self-Reliance, concluding paragraph) he too means a God who works within nature, and whom we discover through our understanding of nature.

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4. Ultimately, since the idea of truth itself derives from traditions much older than science, we face the question of what science may yet do to our commitment to truth. This is one of the central questions posed by Nietzsche. 5. Those therapists who would turn psychoanalysis into a set of dogmas are, of course, trying to evade its critical scientific spirit every bit as much as are its unreasoning critics. On the anxieties of psychoanalysts and how these lead to various kinds of self-deception, especially in the institutions of analysis, see Jeffrey B. Rubin, A Psychoanalysis for Our Time: Exploring the Blindness of the Seeing I. Rubin comments, The dramatic replication of censorship in the institutional structure of psychoanalysis is a troubling phenomenon. Whether secret politics and censorship of difference and alternative theoriesrather than an open, impartial search for truthpersist in contemporary psychoanalysis is a question that is, or at least ought to be, open to further examination. The fact that so few people are pursuing this sort of inquiry embodies the collective blindness of the seeing I and offers a testament to the way the field is still held captive by ambivalence about knowing (48). 6. Descartes, Discourse on Method. 7. Kant, Critique of Pure Reason. 8. It becomes explicit in Kant because, unlike Descartes, he had to contend with writers like Hume who had come close to suggesting that a science of human volition was indeed quite possible. 9. Descartes, Discourse on Method, part 1, 27. 10. Hume, Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, 41. 11. Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Idea. 12. For example, Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling. 13. To an extent, this problem is common to all fields of human science. The physical sciences of nature work in a way that makes things that are less familiar more familiar. They integrate remote regions of experience with things we know already, through unifying theories. This is a reassuring intellectual process. It goes some way to counteract the anxiety of giving up older views of the world. By contrast, the sciences of man are always in the anomalous position of making the more familiar less familiar. They start from experiences everyone shares, and they then integrate these with springs and forces which are hidden and difficult to describe properly. The benefit to be gained from adopting such disorienting theories over more traditional and familiar accounts of human nature is often not immediately clear. Small wonder that the scientific status of all the human sciences, and not just psychoanalysis, has always been problematic.

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14. Respectively, das Ich and die Seele in German. 15. In depth psychology there is no perfect word for anything. We have to strive for clarity continuously. We have to reformulate our ideas as best we can all the time. 16. Nietzsche, Human, All-too-Human, volume 1, section 124. 17. It must also be said that there are too many therapists who misconstrue their work as being that of recovering childhood memories. 18. See also Jonathan Lears comments on psychoanalysis and science in his Love and Its Place in Nature, especially 216222. As he remarks, One cannot just start with the category of science and ask whether psychoanalysis fits into it; the very category of science must be reevaluated (217218). 19. On this nostalgia for a simpler and more certain world see Paul Robinsons excellent study, Freud and His Critics. 20. J. S. Mill, The Logic of The Moral Sciences, 833834. 21. Nietzsche, Daybreak, section 48. 22. Perhaps the most overt example of natural science borrowing from human science is Darwins theory to explain divergent evolution. This undoubtedly owed a great deal to the enthusiasm of nineteenth-century economists for the idea of competition, and Darwin himself acknowledged the influence of Malthus. 23. Goethe, Maxims and Reflections, number 203. This point was recognized also by both Hume and Kant, among others. 24. Goethe, Die Wahlverwandschaften, 260. My translation. 25. Freud in Studies On Hysteria: I am making use here of a series of similes, all of which have only a very limited resemblance to my theme and which are also mutually incompatible. I know this, and I am not in danger of overestimating their value, but I am led by the objective of illustrating from different sides an extremely complicated topic which has never yet been represented (SE2, 291. All quotations from Freud refer to the Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works, edited and translated by James Strachey, which is cited by volume number: SE1, SE2, and so forth, followed by the page number. However, all translations of Freud in the present work are based on the original German text and occasionally deviate from the Strachey version.) Goethe puts it as follows: An analogous case does not wish to impose itself, or to prove anything, it stands against another, without uniting with it. Several analogous cases do not combine into closed series, they are like good company, which always incites more than it gives (Maxims and Reflections, number 1247). For a richly thoughtprovoking study of the role of analogy and metaphor in human creativity, see Santoro-Brienza, The Tortoise and the Lyre.

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26. Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, SE5, 536f. 27. The psychoanalyst Ella Freeman Sharpe suggested that the language we use for the emotions and the intellect always consists of what are, ultimately, metaphors of physical experience. See Psycho-Physical Problems Revealed in Language: An Examination of Metaphor, in Collected Papers on Psychoanalysis, 155169. This idea of mind as a metaphor of nature, and nature as a metaphor of mind, has a long and distinguished pedigree. Apart from Goethes exploration of the theme see also, for instance, Ralph Waldo Emersons 1836 Nature. On the need for clear and vivid metaphors in philosophy and psychology Nietzsche remarks that the more abstract the truth that you wish to teach, the more you must seduce the senses to it (Beyond Good and Evil, section 128). 28. Freud, The Question of Lay Analysis, SE20, 195. 29. I have argued elsewhere that the notion of science has come to play in modern cultural life a similarly ambivalent role to the one Freud ascribes to the totem in less developed cultures. See On the Idea of Natural Science as a Resistance to Psychoanalysis, in Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 3 (1996): 371402. 30. Popper, Conjectures and Refutations, 39. Originally, Poppers ideas developed out of those of the Logical Positivists, who had argued that science consists of inherently verifiable statements. 31. Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery. 32. Popper, Unended Quest, 167ff. 33. Popper, The Poverty of Historicism. 34. The flaw in the falsifiability argument was Poppers assumption that it could be used to identify inherently scientific statements. No statement is inherently scientific. A statement becomes scientific only if it is integrated into a set of intellectual habits that treats it as part of a hypothetical, scientific system. A statement is not scientific, for instance, if it is treated as part of a set of self-evident truths, or as part of an aesthetically satisfying whole. This is the case no matter what other properties the statement may possess. For this reason, statements taken from any science can be used as part of a dogmatic system, or a system whose justification is purely aesthetic, if they are treated in the appropriate manner. One of the conditions of scientific method is, of course, treating ones propositions as hypothetical and open to falsification. But the different sciences work with different criteria of falsification because they study different areas of experience. To judge, therefore, whether any intellectual discipline is scientific we have to look at the whole complex of procedures and ideas that characterize it. What makes a science is the quality of mind of the people who

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practice it, not as such the quality of the statements they employ. Psychoanalysts who employ their ideas dogmatically are, of course, not scientists. 35. This is why, for instance, Paul Feyerabend, who was very critical of Popper, called his major work Against Method. Feyerabend offers a salutary reminder of just how chaotic and irrational successful scientific methods actually are. But, in fact, Popper was never laying down rules for scientific method. He just seemed to be doing this. 36. Popper, Grnbaum writes, is quite right that contamination by suggestion does undermine the probative value of clinical data (The Foundations of Psychoanalysis, 285). Proposed clinical vindications of this etiology without reliance on the presumed dynamics of the therapy are epistemically quite hopeless (185). In view of my account of the epistemic defects inherent in the psychoanalytic method, it would seem that the validation of Freuds cardinal hypotheses has to come, if at all, mainly from well-designed extraclinical studies (278; emphases in original). However, as Donald Levy rightly remarks in his Freud Among the Philosophers, When, as Grnbaum proposes, the testing of psychoanalytic hypotheses is detached from its clinical setting in which resistance and transference phenomena in free association provide the coordinating definitions on the basis of which unconscious ideas and wishes are ascribed, the results are flawed. For then, not only do the hypotheses cease to be genuinely psychoanalytic ones, but, in addition, the hypotheses, in effect, cease to be testable, since the key terms used in formulating those hypotheses are then without meaning (164165). 37. Gellner, The Psychoanalytic Movement, xi. 38. Ibid., 187. 39. Lear comments, Psychoanalysis encourages a person to work through the particular meanings by which he lives his life; nothing is to be taken for granted or accepted merely on authority. In this sense, psychoanalysis commits a crime, and one should expect it to meet with the hostility that a mass displays toward any force for individuation (Love and Its Place in Nature, 206). 40. We do not need here to go into all the confusion caused in recent years over recovered memory syndrome. On this issue and on the fashion in recent times for reducing the concept of the soul to a problem about memory, see Ian Hacking, Rewriting the Soul: Multiple Personality and The Sciences of Memory. Hackings survey of these issues is interesting but his views on Freud are unresolved. For instance, he describes Massons criticisms of Freud as a well-aimed assault, and believes Freud denied the truth that child sexual abuse was rampant in bourgeois Vienna (and everywhere else) (194). This categorical assertion is remarkably at odds with Hackings very sensible efforts to argue just how problematic the whole concept of sexual abuse really

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is and how such a wide variety of activities can be subsumed under this one emotive heading. It is also rather difficult to reconcile with Hackings implied claim that Freud himself is one of those responsible for reducing the soul to a problem about memory. Hacking also compares Freud unfavorably with Janet, who was, he insists, a far more honorable man than Freud. Hacking justifies this judgement on the strange grounds that Janet tried to persuade his patients that traumatic events in the past had never happened, whereas Freud tried to get them to confront the truth about the past (197). In my view, arguments like this are not helpful. The fact is that we remain much more in Freuds debt than we do in Janets. It is this uncomfortable sense of indebtedness that has brought about the rather irritable attempts in contemporary culture to find something dishonorable in Freud. However, if we are unable to outgrow Freuds influence the fault lies not with him but with ourselves. 41. Sulloway, Freud: Biologist of the Mind, 113. 42. Note also the dualist tendency in Sulloways distinction. 43. According to Grnbaum, The logical situation in psychoanalysis is commonplace in any and all sophisticated theories that purport to have observable import (The Foundations of Psychoanalysis, 36). The truth is that the logical and procedural situations in the various sciences are related one to another by family resemblance, not strict identity. It is a fundamental weakness in Grnbaums writing on psychoanalysis that he fails to acknowledge this. Popper was wrong to try to discredit psychoanalysis on the grounds that it relies on reasons and methods that differ from physics; he was nevertheless quite correct that it does rely on reasons and methods that differ from physics. Grnbaum simply ignores this problem. 44. Grnbaum, Validation in The Clinical Theory of Psychoanalysis, 2021. 45. Webster, Why Freud Was Wrong, 509. 46. Ibid., 109; emphases in original.

CHAPTER TWO: PLACING PSYCHOANALYSIS AS A SCIENCE


1. Ryle, The Concept of Mind, 305; cf. 74. Along with Ryle, other philosophers who have stressed how radically Freud departs from the Cartesian division between matter and mind, or nature and morality, include Iris Murdoch in The Sovereignty of Good, Walter Kaufmann in Discovering the Mind, and Richard Rorty in Freud and Moral Reflection. As Hannah Decker succinctly remarks, The essence of psychoanalysis was its departure from the Cartesian dualisms (Freud in Germany, 328).

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2. Indeed, Grnbaums views on the nature of science are so extreme that they often read like a deliberate caricature of old-style positivism. 3. Descartes, First Meditation, 95. 4. Descartes, Discourse on Method, part 2. 5. Descartess emphasis on the need for certainty sprang from personal conviction, but also, no doubt, from a more pragmatic need not to offend the spiritual and scholastic authorities of the day. 6. On our knowledge of the physical world Descartes writes, I do not see how [God] could be excused of deception if in truth these ideas came from or were produced by causes other than corporeal things. And accordingly one must confess that corporeal things exist. From the fact alone that God is not a deceiver, and that consequently he has permitted no falsity in my opinions which he has not also given me some faculty capable of correcting, I believe I may conclude with assurance that I have within me the means of knowing these things with certainty (Sixth Meditation, 158). 7. Humes skepticism in particular is a major step on the road towards a modern psychology in which reason and the passions are seen as interacting. Hume goes a long way toward overcoming dualism and in this sense is much more scientific than Kant, who represents a regression back to earlier habits of thought. 8. Kant, The Critique of Pure Reason, preface to the 2nd ed., trans. Norman Kemp Smith, 29. 9. This particular conception of natural scienceand, by implication, of nature itselfwas given a formidable authority by being woven by Kant into the forbidding texture of his first critique, The Critique of Pure Reason. This critique purports to be an account of the bases of scientific knowledge as such, yet in fact confines itself to physics. 10. Kant, The Critique of Judgement, section 61, that is, the first section of Critique of Teleological Judgement; my translation. In The Problem of Knowledge, Ernst Cassirer suggests that The Critique of Judgement marked a decisive break when it asserted the autonomy and the methodological independence of biology without giving up its connection with mathematical physics (118). My view is rather the opposite of this, namely that Kant undermined the autonomy of biology by suggesting that it depends on ideas borrowed from mathematical physics on the one hand, and the science of man on the other. Kant might have argued that the need for the idea of purpose in biology makes nature a more complicated concept than Newtonian physics alone would suggest. Instead, he argued by implication that biology is not really a part of natural science in the full sense at all.

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11. J. S. Mill, On The Logic of the Moral Sciences; Karl Popper, The Poverty of Historicism. 12. For instance, O. E. Wilsons Sociobiology. 13. Wilhelm Dilthey, Einleitung in die Geisteswissenschaften; Die Enstehung der Hermeneutik; Der Aufbau der geschichtlichen Welt in den Geisteswissenschaften; Heinrich Rickert, Die Grenzen der naturwissenschaftlichen Begriffsbildung. 14. In the area of physics, he writes, Kant has taught us to combine an empirical realism with a transcendental idealism . . . Kant achieved this combination for the sciences of nature; our task is to accomplish it for psychoanalysis (Freud and Philosophy, 432433). 15. Ibid., 89. 16. Ibid., 66. 17. Ibid., 434. 18. Ibid., 344345. 19. Ibid., 360. 20. Ibid., 363. 21. Freud, A Short Account of Psychoanalysis, SE19, 197. 22. Freud, Introductory Lectures, SE15, 40. Elsewhere in the same work he remarks, By meaning we understand significance, purpose, inclination and position in a sequence of psychical contexts, (SE15, 61). He also comments, As the meaning of a symptom we combined two things, its whence and its whither or whereto, that is, the impressions and experiences from which it arises, and the purposes it serves (SE16, 284). 23. Ernest Jones suggests that Freuds teacher in physiology, Ernst Brcke, would have been shocked that his pupil was to make so much of the idea of purpose in psychology. See Jones, The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud, vol. 1, 50. 24. The theory of drives outlined, for example, in Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality or in Instincts and Their Vicissitudes is of course a theory of unconscious purpose. A drive as such cannot be an object of consciousness, but only the idea that represents it (The Unconscious, SE14, 177). This idea, or representation, is that constituted by the object and the aim of the drive, either in their displaced or undisguised forms. 25. On some of the problems with the English translations of Freud, see Bruno Bettelheim, Freud and Mans Soul. Bettelheim, however, does not refer to Freuds use of Zusammenhang. Although used in a looser sense than by Freud, the term is also employed, for example, by Schopenhauer and Dilthey (unlike Nietzsche, who does not use it). Max Weber spoke of a

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Sinnzusammenhang, by which he meant a context of conscious intentions to which social action can be referred to make it meaningful. This is central to his interpretative approach to explanation in social science. This is close to Freudcloser for example than Dilthey, who is never very precise in his use of the term. But Weber never made the divorce between meaning and conscious intention that is so central to Freuds achievement. See Max Weber, Gesammelte Aufstze zur Wissenschaftslehre. 26. Freud, On the Universal Tendency to Debasement in the Sphere of Love, SE11, 187. In 1915, in the first section of The Unconscious, The Justification of the Unconscious, he writes, All these conscious acts remain without context and incomprehensible if we persist with the claim that all mental acts that take place in us must be experienced through consciousness; but they arrange themselves in a demonstrable context once we interpolate the inferred unconscious acts. Gain in meaning and context is furthermore a completely justified motive for going beyond immediate experience (SE14, 167). And again, in one of the Introductory Lectures, commenting on the analysis of a particular symptomatic action, he stresses the assertion that [the symptomatic action] is not something chance, but on the contrary has a motive, a meaning and a purpose, that it belongs in an explicable mental context and that, as a small indication, it informs us of a more significant mental process (SE16, 248). 27. Freud, Studies On Hysteria, SE2, 263. Elucidating this idea of overdetermination, he writes, The logical connection [Zusammenhang that is, between symptoms and causes] corresponds not only to a zigzag, twisted line, but rather to a branching system of lines, and most particularly to one that converges. It has nodal points at which two or more threads meet and from there on proceed as one; and as a rule several threads which run independently, or which are connected at various points by side-paths, debouch into the nucleus. To put this in other words, it is very remarkable how often a symptom is determined in several ways, is overdetermined (SE2, 290). In a paper of the following year he developed this idea of a context formed from branching etiological factors: The chain of association always consists of more than two branches. The traumatic scenes do not form a simple series, like beads on a string, but rather branching, genealogical contexts, in which two or more memories come to act as causes for each new experience. The chains of association for isolated symptoms then begin to relate one to another; the genealogical trees become interwoven. From a particular experience on the chain of association running from the symptom of vomiting, for example, quite apart from the other strands of this chain, a memory is awoken from another chain which forms the basis of another symptom, that of headaches, perhaps. That experience belongs therefore to both series, it represents thus a nodal point. . . . Nodal points of a different type are to be found still further back. There the separate chains of association converge; there are experiences from which two or more symptoms have arisen. To the one detail of the scene is linked one chain, to some other detail is linked the

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second (The Aetiology of Hysteria, SE3, 196199; emphasis in original). A few other instances of this term Zusammenhang are worth noting. This one points to the distinction between somatic and psychic causes: Even the psychiatrists, to whose attention the most unusual and strange mental phenomena were being forced, showed no inclination to attend to their details and trace their contexts. They were content to classify the variety of symptoms and, wherever possible, to trace them to somatic, anatomical or chemical causes (The Resistances to Psychoanalysis, SE19, 215216; cf. The Interpretation of Dreams, SE5, 534). The following passage stresses that one of the characteristics of an interpretation or explanation in psychology is the drawing together of what had previously appeared as unconnected experiences: I have told you that psychoanalysis began as a therapy, it is not however as a therapy that I want to commend it to your interest, but rather because of the truth it contains, because of the information it gives us about that which concerns men most closely, their own nature, and because of the connections that it uncovers between the most varied of their activities (New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, SE22, 156157). 28. Ricoeur, Freud and Philosophy, 2829. 29. Ibid., 343. 30. For example, he writes, The unconscious is fundamentally structured, woven, chained, meshed, by language (The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book 3, 119). See also, for instance, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, 149 and 203. 31. Lacan is often, as Bowie remarks, dangerously close to the language of fundamentalism and to an acquiescence before supra-human authority that sounds out of place both in Freudian scholarship and in the practice of psychoanalysis (Lacan, 85). 32. On the mirror stage see The mirror stage as formative of the function of the I as revealed in psychoanalytic experience in crits: A Selection, 17. On the imaginary see, for example, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book 1, 7388. 33. He regards this as the shakiest aspect of Freuds work (The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book 2, 211). 34. It is not mediated, that is, by verbal language. It is a fundamental weakness in Lacans thought that he consistently equates language with words. This overlooks how much of our knowledge is acquired through nonverbal signs, and how highly polysemous these can be. Lacan is incorrect in his implied claim that the verbal is always ambiguous while the nonverbal is always unequivocal. 35. He writes, There is no doubt that meaning is by nature imaginary. . . . You would know that hunger and love are the same thing, you would be like any animal, truly motivated (The Seminar of Jacques

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Lacan, Book 3, 54; cf. 177). See also, for example, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book 1, 137. 36. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book 1, 54. Cf. crits: A Selection, 68; and The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, 246. 37. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book 1, 193; cf. crits: A Selection, 7071. See also for instance The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book 2, 52. 38. crits: A Selection, 153154. Elsewhere he writes, The trap, the hole one must not fall into, is the belief that the signified are objects, things. The signified is something quite different. . . . It always refers to meaning, that is, to another meaning. The system of language, at whatever point you take hold of it, never results in an index finger directly indicating a point of reality; it is the whole of reality that is covered by the entire network of language. . . . A meaning always refers to another meaning. . . . The meaning of these words cannot be exhausted by reference to another meaning (The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book 3, 3233). 39. He reports Lvi-Strauss, in private conversations, as expressing reservations to him about this exaltation of the symbolic order: He is afraid that the autonomy of the symbolic register will give rise to a masked transcendentalism once again, for which . . . he feels only fear and aversion. . . . He is afraid that after we have shown God out of one door, we will bring him back in by the other (The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book 2, 35). 40. It must be posited that, produced as it is by an animal at the mercy of language, mans desire is the desire of the Other (crits: A Selection, 264). This phrase desire of the Other is deliberately ambiguous. It means both the desire to possess, and to be possessed by, the other (initially, being recognized by the other) and, by reflection, desire, by identification, for that which the other desires (ibid., 58). Lacans notion of desire is drawn in substantial measure from Hegels Phenomenology of Spirit. He speaks for instance of the fundamental Hegelian thememans desire is the desire of the other (The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book 1, 146). There is of course much of value and interest in these Hegelian themes. The problem is that Lacan consistently subordinates them to his own theological program. In Lacans view, only by exploring the complexities of our relation with the absolute Other, the other beyond the realm of the imaginary, can we begin to understand what our needs really are: The other with a small o is the imaginary other, the otherness in a mirror image, which makes us dependent upon the form of our counterpart. The . . . absolute Other is the one we address ourselves to beyond this counterpart, the one we are forced to admit beyond the relation of mirage (The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book 3, 252). For a critical examination of Lacans indebtedness to Hegel, see Santoro-Brienza, The Dialectics of Desire. 41. Desire is a relation of being to lack. This lack is the lack of being properly speaking. It is not lack of this or that, but lack of being whereby the being exists (The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book 2, 223).

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42. In Beyond the Pleasure Principle Freud speculates on the possibility of a death drive at the root of human action. Lacan is keen to identify in the hypothesis of the death drive an attempt by Freud to express what he, Lacan, has more successfully achieved with the idea of the symbolic order. Lacan sees in the death drive an attempt on Freuds part to escape from what Lacan calls a confused, unitary, naturalistic conception of man. The death drive, Lacan maintains, is only the mask of the symbolic order (The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book 2, 326). Freud, he says, wanted to save some kind of dualism at all costs, just when this dualism was crumbling in his hands, and when the ego, the libido, etc., all of that was tending to produce a kind of vast whole, returning us to a philosophy of nature. This dualism is none other than what I am getting at when I emphasize the autonomy of the symbolic. . . . At a given point in time Freud wanted to defend some sort of dualism at all costs (ibid., 3739). This of course is more illuminating as a commentary on Lacan than it is on Freud. 43. Virgil, Aeneid 4, 625. See Freud, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, SE6, 9. 44. The mans choice of aliquis as the particular word to be forgotten is also analogous to a pun. Unconsciously, he quotes a line calling for someone to be his descendant, yet quotes it in such a way that someone is suppressed, misplaced, lost, forgotten. 45. Timpanaro, The Freudian Slip: Psychoanalysis and Textual Criticism, 4161. 46. See Lacans early paper of 1936, Beyond the Reality Principle, where he comments, Truth in its specific value remains a stranger to the scientific order: science can honor itself by an alliance with truth; . . . but it cannot by any means identify it as its own end (translation by Benvenuto and Kennedy, The Works of Jacques Lacan, 68). 47. For example, Lacan, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, 153. Ostensibly, he rejects the distinction on which hermeneutically oriented approaches to the human sciences have traditionally been based: You know the would-be opposition between Erklren and Verstehen. Here we must maintain that the only scientific structure is where there is Erklren. Verstehen opens onto all kinds of confusion. Erklren does not at all imply mechanical meaning or anything else of that order. The nature of Erklren lies in the recourse to the signifier as the sole foundation of all conceivable scientific structuration (The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book 3, 191; cf. 143). Of course, the notion of Erklren has never been defined in terms resembling what Lacan means by the signifier. He is misleading also when he asserts, The chain of signifiers has a fundamental explanatory value, and the very notion of causality is nothing else (ibid., 179). Only five pages later (seminars separated by three weeks) he remarks, We situate ourselves in a field that is distinct from the natural sciences. . . . Where are we

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to draw the dividing line? . . . It is in these definitions of the signifier and of structure that the appropriate boundary can be drawn. . . . It has become a fundamental law for us, one required of every utterance within the order of the natural sciences, that there is nobody who uses the signifier (ibid., 184). 48. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book 3, 187. See also The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book 2, 73, where he specifically endorses a Cartesian dualism. 49. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book 3, 296. 50. Ibid., 295297. 51. Ibid., 295. 52. Lacan, crits: A Selection, 1. 53. Lacan, crits: A Selection, 166. 54. Freud, Outline of Psychoanalysis, SE23, 158. 55. Freud, The Resistances to Psychoanalysis, SE19, 217. 56. Freud, The Question of Lay Analysis, SE20, 189190. 57. Ibid., 255. 58. Freud to Pfister, November 25, 1928, quoted by Gay, 525. 59. Freud, Analysis Terminable and Interminable, SE23, 248. 60. Freud, The Resistances to Psychoanalysis, SE19, 216. 61. Freud, Introductory Lectures, SE15, 87; emphasis in original. 62. Hermeneutics is a term, incidentally, that Freud never uses. 63. Freud, Introductory Lectures, SE15, 167. 64. Freud, A Short Account of Psychoanalysis, SE19, 200. 65. Freud, New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, SE22, 159. 66. Grnbaum, Validation in the Clinical Theory of Psychoanalysis, 4.

CHAPTER THREE: NIETZSCHE AND THE CRITIQUE OF INTENTION


1. Goethe, Vermchtnis, 1829. See also Maxims and Reflections, no. 689, from the same year, It is not enough to know, one must also apply; it is not enough to wish, one must also act. 2. Emerson, Circles, paragraph 15. 3. 18391914.

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4. What Pragmatism Is, reprinted in Charles S. Peirce: Selected Writings, 188. 5. Ibid., 183. 6. Ibid., 194. 7. Peirce comments, All thought is in signs (Questions Concerning Certain Faculties Claimed for Man, ibid., 34). A large part of Peirces philosophy is devoted to the development of a theory of signs. 8. Umberto Eco, one of the modern heirs of pragmatism, puts it as follows: Everybody who wants to know something wants to know it in order to do something. If he claims that he wants to know it in order to know and not in order to do it means that he wants to know it in order to do nothing, which is in fact a surreptitious way of doing something, i.e. leaving the world just as it is (or as his approach assumes that it ought to be) (A Theory of Semiotics, 29). As Freud wrote, in the spirit of pragmatism, Our aim is not to prove something but to change something (Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-Year-Old Boy: Little Hans, SE10, 104). 9. James, Pragmatism, 33. 10. Dewey, Experience and Nature, 148. 11. On the theory of convention as the basis of experience, see Eco, A Theory of Semiotics. 12. James, Pragmatism, 28. 13. Ibid., 38. 14. Ibid., 13. We have noted already Freuds view on the failings of the medical psychology of the nineteenth century: In this materialist or, better, mechanistic period medicine made tremendous advances, but it also misunderstood in a shortsighted way the chief and most difficult among the problems of life (The Resistances to Psychoanalysis, SE19, 216). 15. There is a small but growing literature on Nietzsches psychology. The first work devoted to this topic was Ludwig Klages Die Psychologische Errungenschaften Nietzsches, published in 1926. Klages draws attention to many important passages in Nietzsche, but his book as a whole lacks organization and does not refer to psychoanalysis and probably for these reasons was not influential. Walter Kaufmanns Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist, originally published in 1950, was the first comprehensive study of Nietzsche to stress the central place of psychology in his thought. Not all Nietzsche scholars have understood that his core concern is the psychology behind philosophical ideas. In many of his later books Kaufmann makes this problem his own. Particularly important in this respect is his posthumous three-volume work of 1980, Discovering the Mind, dealing with, notably, the psychology of Kant, Hegel, Heidegger, Freud, and Jung.

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More recent works of importance on Nietzsches psychology are Jacob Golombs Nietzsches Enticing Psychology of Power; Graham Parkes Composing the Soul: Reaches of Nietzsches Psychology; and Nietzsche and Depth Psychology, edited by Jacob Golomb, Weaver Santaniello, and Ronald Lehrer, which is a collection of readings on different aspects of Nietzsches psychology. 16. Truth, he remarks at one point, gives a name to a process, or rather to a will to overcome that has in itself no end. . . . It is a word for the will to power (The Will to Power, section 552; a note dating from 1887). 17. Nietzsche, The Gay Science, section 333. 18. Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, section 12. 19. Nietzsche, The Gay Science, section 360. 20. Nietzsche: Man is sicker, more uncertain, more changeable, more unstable than any other animal, of that there is no doubthe is the sick animal (On the Genealogy of Morals, Third Essay, section 13; cf. ibid., section 28). 21. Nietzsche, The Gay Science, section 360. 22. Ibid. 23. Jose Ortega y Gasset, Historical Reason, 223. 24. History makes it plain that human beings are very willing to sacrifice physical life if this is necessary to avoid spiritual, emotional, and intellectual isolation from others. 25. Nietzsche, The Gay Science, section 370. 26. Ibid. 27. Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, section 218. An earlier mention of the opposition between rule and exception is in Human, All-tooHuman, volume 1, section 225, dating from 1878. Here, Nietzsche equates the idea of the exception with that of the free spirit. See also the following sections through to 230. 28. Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, section 218. 29. A truly physio-psychology must fight with unconscious resistances in the heart of the investigator (Beyond Good and Evil, section 23). 30. Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals, First Essay. The metaphor of noble morality versus slave morality is first suggested in Beyond Good and Evil, section 260. 31. Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals, First Essay, section 11. 32. Ibid.

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33. Interestingly, another exemplary symbol of the noble in life is Jesus, at one point described by Nietzsche as the noblest man (Human, All-too-Human, volume 1, section 475). In Nietzsches view, Jesus nobility is reflected in his lack of awareness of his own strangeness. According to Nietzsches reading of him, he has little sense of the difference between his own constitution and that of others. He is animated by a profound sense of God within himself. But he perceives no reason why others cannot also be governed by this sense of the kingdom of God within. See The Antichrist, for example section 32: To negate is the very thing that is impossible for him. 34. While all noble morality arises out of a triumphant Yes-saying to oneself, from the outset slave morality says No to an outside, to an other, to a not-self: and this No is its creative act. . . . Slave morality requires, in order to arise, always first of all an opposition and external world, it requires, speaking physiologically, external stimuli in order to act at allits action is from the ground up reaction (On the Genealogy of Morals, First Essay, section 10). 35. Goethes Mephistopheles describes himself as the spirit who always negates (Ich bin der Geist, der stets verneint! Faust, line 1340). 36. See Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, section 260, and On the Genealogy of Morals, First Essay, section 16. 37. Nietzsche, Ecce Homo,Human, All-too-Human, sections 3 and 4. 38. Nietzsche, Daybreak, section 104. 39. See Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, part one, Of the Three Metamorphoses. 40. This attitude of affirmation is exemplified by a remark of Emersons, much loved by Nietzsche and originally chosen by him as the epigraph for The Gay Science, To the poet, to the philosopher, to the saint, all things are friendly and sacred, all events profitable, all days holy, all men divine (History, paragraph 13). 41. This is what Freud means when he speaks of the compulsion to repeat (Beyond the Pleasure Principle, SE18, 18ff.). 42. Goethe, Maxims and Reflections, numbers 673675. 43. Das Wort bermensch zur Bezeichnung eines Typus hchster Wohlgeratenheit (Ecce Homo, Why I Write Such Good Books, section 1). 44. Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, Why I Am So Wise, section 2.

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CHAPTER FOUR: ISSUES FROM STUDIES ON HYSTERIA


1. We live now, as Nietzsche puts it, in a period of moral interregnum (Daybreak, section 453). The old imperatives of traditional religious faith no longer have the power to govern us but as yet we have not developed anything to take the place of these old imperatives. 2. Websters confused claim in Why Freud Was Wrong (108) that Studies On Hysteria was intended as a contribution to medicine but never to psychotherapy reflects again an inability to grasp Freuds monist perspective, that is, his drawing of medicine and psychotherapy together. 3. The indispensable source for what Freud probably knew of Nietzsche is Ronald Lehrers Nietzsches Presence in Freuds Life and Thought: On The Origins of a Psychology of Dynamic Unconscious Mental Functioning. Nietzsches ideas were familiar in the intellectual circles in which Freud moved at the turn of the century. As early as the mid 1870s Freud had friendships with men who were deeply interested in Nietzsche, including Joseph Paneth, who was later acquainted with him personally. Nevertheless, there is good evidence from Freuds own texts that he was never himself a close student of Nietzsches later writing. The single most important part of Nietzsches psychology is his stress on the inherent ambivalence of all human intention. In fact, Freud is rather slow to come round to a clear understanding of the importance of this in emotional illness, and indeed he struggles with this issue all through the 1890s, often losing his way in an overemphasis on memories, on sex, and so on. He only really achieves a focused emphasis on the importance of ambivalence with The Interpretation of Dreams in 1900, which is thirteen years after, for instance, Nietzsches On the Genealogy of Morals. Furthermore, when Freud does cite Nietzsche directly he can be rather inaccurate. For instance, his identification of the important idea of the bermensch (in Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, SE18, 123) with the leader of a prehistorical primal horde does not suggest a close study of the original or an appreciation of its psychological significance in Nietzsches thought. Freud is also incorrect in attributing to Nietzsche the term the Id, das Es. Nietzsche, he says, habitually used this grammatical term for whatever in our nature is impersonal and, so to speak, subject to natural law (The Ego and the Id, SE19, 23). As a matter of fact, Nietzsche does not use the term das Es habitually in any special psychological sense. The conclusion is inescapable that Freud absorbed certain ideas of Nietzsche at second hand from his intellectual circle, and probably divined important things about those ideas that some of his contemporaries missed, but for all that was not himself a close reader of Nietzsche. 4. Freud comments, Remarkably, in my own experience I have encountered no genuine case of hypnoid hysteria, whatever I tackled turned out to be defense hysteria (SE2, 286).

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5. The most tangible expression of this difference was the vogue for recovered memory therapy following Massons The Assault on Truth, in 1984, which was overtly hostile to psychoanalysis. The point of Massons book is that the substance of the unconscious is in memories, not in conflict of intentions. Recovered memory therapy thus represents a return to the cathartic theory and a revolt against the defense theory of the unconscious. 6. Sulloway, 61. 7. Ellenberger, The Discovery of the Unconscious, 518. 8. By the time of writing Studies On Hysteria Breuer and Freud were both closely familiar with the whole tradition of hypnotherapy in France, including the work of Janet. Janets method of psychotherapy differed from catharsis in that he employed hypnosis to recover traumatic memories, with the aim then of using suggestion to alter the underlying traumatic idea. See Hirschmller, The Life and Work of Josef Breuer, 178. Breuer and Freud were at one with Janet in stressing the dissociation of ideas in hysteria. They diverged from him however in rejecting congenital debility as a cause of hysteria. For Freuds comments on Janets view of hysteria see Studies On Hysteria, SE2, 105, and for Breuers, SE2, 230233. See also Hirschmller, 167. On the French schools of psychotherapy and their influence on Freud and Breuer, see Hirschmller, 148f. and 177f.; see also Hacking, 159197, et passim. 9. Grnbaum, Validation in the Clinical Theory of Psychoanalysis, 2021. 10. Ibid., 26. 11. Freud, An Autobiographical Study, SE20, 27. 12. Grnbaum, Validation in the Clinical Theory of Psychoanalysis, 27. 13. Webster, Why Freud Was Wrong, 108109; emphases in original. 14. After apparently several years during which Freud tried to persuade him, Breuer finally agreed to collaborate on Studies On Hysteria only in 1892. See Freuds letter to Fliess, June 28, 1892, in Masson, The Complete Letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess, 31. See also Jones, 276, and Hirschmller, 151. 15. See Hirschmller, 152. 16. Freud and Breuer, SE2, 12. The theory of hypnoid states derives from Breuer. See Hirschmller, 166168. Freud finally rejects the idea of hypnoid states in 1896, in The Aetiology of Hysteria, SE3, 195. However, this is the paper in which he suggests that infantile sexual seduction is the root of all hysteria. This, he argues, is always the underlying trauma, and he expressly links this with Breuers emphasis on the memory of traumatic events (ibid.). With the seduction theory, therefore, although Freud is nom-

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inally distancing himself from the hypnoid perspective, he is also moving away from his own emphasis on the displaced expression of moral and ethical conflict, such as we see in the case of Elisabeth von R., back towards a preoccupation with dissociated and forgotten memories. (On hypnoid states see also his remarks in 1905 in the Dora case in SE7, 27.) 17. The first use of repressed with this sense occurs in the Preliminary Communication: It was a question of things which the patient wished to forget, and therefore intentionally repressed from his conscious thought and inhibited and suppressed [verdrngte, hemmte und unterdrckte] (SE2, 10). 18. SE2, 7. 19. Apart from Studies On Hysteria itself, the essential source for the Anna O. case is Albrecht Hirschmller, The Life and Work of Josef Breuer, especially 95ff. The book is a model of careful scholarship. Hirschmller reproduces Breuers original report on Bertha Pappenheim, written when she was admitted to Kreuzlingen Sanatorium in June, 1882 (276292). This original report was first uncovered by Ellenberger, who provided the first major review of the case in his paper of 1972, The Story of Anna O.: A Critical Review with New Data, which is reprinted in Beyond the Unconscious: Essays of Henri F. Ellenberger in the History of Psychiatry, edited by Mark S. Micale, 254272. 20. Hirschmller, 102 and 106. 21. Freud was born in 1856, Bertha Pappenheim in 1859. See Hirschmller, 98. 22. Hirschmller, 133. 23. That is, after Freud had joined the General Hospital in Vienna as a young physician. Freud graduated in medicine in March 1881 but spent a further year in Brckes Physiological Institute. See Jones, 65ff. and 248; see also Ellenberger, The Discovery of the Unconscious, 430434; and Hirschmller, 133 and 135. 24. Studies On Hysteria contains only two of these cases: Freuds case of Emmy v. N. (SE2, 48105) and the periodically mentioned case of Ccilie M. (SE2, 6970 and 176181). See Hirschmller, 143. 25. This first chapter was originally published in 1893 as On the Psychical Mechanism of Hysterical Phenomena: Preliminary Communication. 26. Hirschmller, 101; cf. 368, note 102. 27. Bertha had two elder sisters who died in childhood, and a younger brother who survived. Hirschmller, 99107.

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28. Breuer writes, During her illness she had seen him only very rarely for short periods (SE2, 2526). 29. Studies On Hysteria, SE2, 2324. See also Freud, Five Lectures On Psychoanalysis, SE11, 10. Apart from the symptoms that were clearly initiated and aggravated by her fathers illness, Bertha also suffered, from the spring of 1880, that is, before her fathers illness, from trigeminal neuralgia and facial spasms. This eventually became so serious she had to be treated with morphine, to which she became addicted. Hirschmller points out that Breuer always regarded this symptom as something separate from her emotional illness; he never treated it as a hysterical symptom. See Hirschmller, 101 and 106. 30. Breuer comments in his original report on the case in 1882, The sexual element is astonishingly undeveloped; I have never once found it represented even amongst her numerous hallucinations (Hirschmller, 277). This is reiterated at the outset of the published account in SE2, 21. 31. See Hirschmller, 106. On the possible influences on Breuers use of hypnotism with Bertha Pappenheim, see Hirschmller, 9195. Interest in hypnosis had waxed and waned throughout the nineteenth century. Traditionally, it always enjoyed its widest interest in France and it was Charcot, in the early 1880s, who made it medically respectable again after a period of about twenty years in which it had been widely regarded with suspicion. Breuers treatment of Bertha Pappenheim therefore coincided with a general revival in the fortunes of hypnosis. 32. Hirschmller, 278; see also Breuer, Studies On Hysteria, SE2, 3839. 33. Hirschmller, 279. 34. Ibid., 282. 35. The idea of catharsis and its possible medical implications were widely discussed in the 1880s in Vienna as a result of the interest provoked by Jacob Bernays discussion in his Zwei Abhandlungen ber die Aristotelische Theorie des Dramas. This had been first published in 1857, but reappeared in a new edition in 1880. See Hirschmller, 155159. The relevant section in Aristotle is the Poetics 6,1449.b28. It is incidentally interesting that Nietzsche believed Aristotle to be entirely mistaken in the view he appears to hold that tragedy calms the emotions it arouses: Are sympathy and fear really diminished through tragedy, as Aristotle says, so that the spectator goes home more calm and more cold? Do ghost stories make us less fearful and superstitious? (Human, All-too-Human, volume 1, section 212). For a contemporary discussion of what Aristotle may actually have meant by catharsis see Jonathan Lear, Open Minded, 191218. 36. Breuer, Studies On Hysteria, SE2, 34.

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37. Hirschmller, 288. In the published account this is not mentioned but there is a fleeting reference to Bertha getting into conflict with her brother when he catches her at night listening at the door of her fathers sickroom. Breuer, Studies On Hysteria, SE2, 36. 38. Studies on Hysteria, 37. 39. Ibid., 3940. 40. Ibid., 40. 41. Ibid., 33. 42. For a survey of suggested physical diagnoses of Bertha Pappenheim see Webster, 114ff. But it must be remembered, of course, that Webster is keen to deny any explanation of Berthas illness that is psychogenic rather than Darwinian. 43. Letter to Robert Binswanger, November 4, 1881, reproduced by Hirschmller, 293. Berthas ambivalence towards her father is manifest but it comes through much more clearly in Breuers original report of 1882 than it does in the published account in 1895. In 1882 he comments, She has never been in love to the extent that this has replaced her relationship to her father; it has itself, rather, been replaced by that relationship (Hirschmller, 278). We have already seen that her first hallucination was of snakes attacking her father, snakes which emerged from her own arm. This led to the paralysis in the arm. We have seen also that Breuer himself connected her mutism with her anger towards her father. The most important effect of Berthas illness was, of course, that it prevented her from taking care of her father. Breuer notes, in 1882, The illness prevented the patient from satisfying her most passionate and genuine desire to see her gravely sick father; and I am convinced that she would have made any sacrifice, renounced any merely capricious behavior, to achieve that end (Hirschmller, 283). It is evident from Breuers 1882 account that after her father died, Bertha blamed her mother, rather than her own illness, for the fact that she had, as Breuer puts it, been cheated out of a glance and a final word from him. . . . She would have nothing more to do with her family. This was the origin of her disturbed relationship with her mother (Hirschmller, 284). It is likely, of course, that Berthas disturbed relation with her mother went back much earlier than this. 44. Breuer, Studies On Hysteria, SE2, 35. Overall, Freud and Breuer are rather inconsistent in the claims they make for the efficacy of their therapy in Studies On Hysteria. In the Preliminary Communication (that is, the first chapter) they say that when the cathartic cure is applied properly and successfully, it can cause symptoms to disappear immediately and without recurrence (SE2, 6). This is quoted again by Breuer in his theoretical chapter (SE2, 221). At the conclusion of the Preliminary Communication, however, they say that insofar as it is a disposition, we achieve nothing against the recurrence of hypnoid states (SE2, 17). Freud himself

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is quite open about the limitations of his therapeutic success. Of the four complete case histories he contributes to Studies On Hysteria, all end in studied ambiguity. He leaves little doubt that he has not in any complete sense cured Emmy v N. (SE2, 8485), or Lucy R. (SE2, 119), or Katharina (SE2, 133), and he makes it plain that Elisabeths eventual recovery was due to factors beyond his own interventions (SE2, 159160; see also his comments at SE2, 262). The very ambiguity of Freuds cases, however, makes them more convincing portrayals of the mechanisms of hysteria and of the interrelations between therapist and patient than Anna O. 45. Jones, 247. 46. Bertha Pappenheim remained seriously ill until at least the late 1880s. For a detailed account of what we know of her life after 1882 see Hirschmller, 112126. 47. Another typical example is that of Malcom Macmillans Freud Evaluated: The Completed Arc. The first chapter of this work is entitled Anna O. and the Origins of Freuds Personality Theory. 48. The prime example of a case combining hypnosis and suggestion is Emmy v. N. (SE2, 48106) which dates from 1888 to 1890. See Hirschmller, 178. Freud returned to Vienna in 1886 from studying Charcots experiments in hypnosis in Paris. Charcot, however, had never regarded hypnosis as a possible instrument of therapy. The more important influence on Freud in this respect was Bernheim, two of whose books on hypnosis as a basis for suggestion therapy Freud translated, and whom he visited in Nancy in 1889 with a patient (actually Ccilie M., see Gay, 6970) in the hope of improving his technique. Bernheim pointed out to Freud that with many patients he himself could not achieve deep hypnosis, that in his view there was never complete amnesia between the hypnotic and the normal state, and that he had succeeded in recovering memories simply by the expedient of placing his hand on the patients forehead with the assurance that the memory would come. Freud himself adopted this method in due course (SE2, 108; see also Hirschmller, 180, and Jones, 261262). 49. A remark from 1918, quoted by Gay, 71. Freud may have gone on using hypnotism occasionally until about 1897. See Hirschmller, 180. 50. Hirschmller, 149. 51. Jones, 265. 52. Freud, SE2, 135181. The other cases here from Studies On Hysteria are Lucy R. and Katharina. See Hirschmller, 179. 53. In the Preliminary Communication, written jointly by Breuer and Freud, symptoms are described as standing sometimes in a so to speak symbolic relation with the underlying traumatic cause (SE2, 5). In his own contributions to Studies On Hysteria, Freud repeatedly describes symptoms

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expressly as symbols or as memory symbols (SE2, 175181, et passim). Breuer briefly mentions symbolism in his theoretical chapter (SE2, 209, 216) but regards it as confined to dream-like states and does not give it anything like the emphasis it receives from Freud. 54. Freud treated the young woman he called Elisabeth in the fall of 1892. See Gay, 7172. 55. Freud, Studies On Hysteria, SE2, 140. 56. Ibid., 142. 57. Ibid., 142143. 58. Ibid., 135. 59. Ibid., 149. 60. Ibid., 137. 61. Ibid., 149. 62. Ibid., 146. 63. Ibid., 148. 64. Ibid., 146147. 65. Ibid., 156. 66. Ibid., 157. 67. Ibid., 158. 68. See Gay, 72, 665. 69. As we have seen, Freud remarks on the sacrifices that she dreaded from marriage (SE2, 146). He also reports (and presumably he can only have heard this from Elisabeth herself) that her father often expressed the doubt that she, his favorite daughter, would ever find a husband. She was too ambitious, too proud and outspoken and in fact greatly discontented with being a girl (SE2, 140). This was Elisabeths vision of herself, no doubt shaped by her fathers vision of her. 70. The circle of ideas relating to her duties towards her sick father came into conflict with the content at that time of her erotic longing. Under the pressure of lively self-reproaches she decided in favor of the former and thereby created her hysterical pain (SE2, 164). 71. SE2, 283; emphasis in original. 72. SE2, 291. 73. Freud writes, for instance, of the contradiction between this inclination [that is, towards her brother-in-law] and her moral ideas (SE2, 165).

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74. The approach of summer, he writes, made it urgent for us to bring the analysis to an end (SE2, 159). At this point he was still concerned to see what chance there was that the girls wish [that is, her supposed wish to marry her sisters husband], of which she was now conscious, would come true (ibid.). Freud raised the issue with Elisabeths mother: Her mother told me that she had long ago guessed her fondness for the young man, though she had not known that the feeling had already been there during her sisters lifetime (ibid.). The outcome of this breach of confidence was predictable: Some weeks after we had separated I received a despairing letter from her mother. At her first attempt, she told me, to discuss her daughters affairs of the heart with her, the girl had rebelled violently and had since then suffered from severe pains once more. She was indignant with me for having betrayed her secret (SE2, 160). He then reports that Elisabeth in due course seems to have recovered from her pains and he concludes with the remark that Elisabeth by her own inclination, has married someone unknown to me (ibid.). 75. Freud, From the History of an Infantile Neurosis, SE17, 29ff. 76. Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents, SE21, 97, et passim. 77. Freud, On the History of the Psychoanalytic Movement, SE14, 11. 78. Freud, An Autobiographical Study, SE20, 22; emphasis in original. 79. Ibid., 23. 80. In his Autobiographical Study Freud writes of these developments: I was free of hypnosis, but with the change in technique the cathartic work also changed its aspect. . . . How had it come about that the patients had forgotten so much of the facts of external and internal experience? . . . Everything that had been forgotten was somehow unpleasant, either frightening or painful or shameful for the claims of the personality. . . . Precisely because of this it had been forgotten. . . . I called this process repression. . . . It was clearly a primary mechanism of defense. . . . The repressed impulse, which was now unconscious, found means of discharge and substitute gratification by circuitous routes, which brought the aim of the repression to nothing. In the case of conversion hysteria, this circuitous route led to somatic innervation, the repressed impulse broke through at some point or other and created the symptoms, which were therefore compromise results; substitute gratifications indeed, but distorted, and turned from their objective by the resistance of the I (SE20, 2930; emphases in original). 81. Ibid., 30; emphasis in original. The term psychoanalysis itself dates from 1896. See Freud, Further Remarks on the Neuro-Psychoses of Defense, SE3, 162, and Jones, 269.

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82. It should be noted that in Freuds original German the respective terms for repression and displacement are closer than they are in English: Verdrngung and Verschiebung. They both convey the sense of a pushing or a forcing of something aside, or from its proper path, so that it emerges in the wrong place, in an unexpected guise. These terms are also reminiscent of the terms Freud uses for everyday slips and mistakes that reveal unconscious conflicts, terms such as versprechen, to misspeak, verschreiben, to miswrite, and vergreifen, to bungle a physical action. Repression in the sense of holding something locked down, unterdrcken, is used extremely rarely by Freud. Unfortunately, this is the sense conveyed by the English term. In 1926, in Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety, Freud suggests that defense rather than repression should be regarded as the more general term, covering all cases where the ego defends itself against unacceptable emotions, and that repression should be thought of as occurring only in those particular forms of defense that also involve distortion of memory (SE20, 163164). Defense is the generic term for every kind of unsatisfactory conflict of emotions and intentions. It always involves some distorting play with memory. But this is to say very little; all memory, after all, is creative reconstruction of past experiences since it can never be reproduction of past events. Much more important than any manipulation of memory are the other specific features of emotional defense, for instance, a general mood of depression, the entrapment in habits of life that have a self-punitive character, psychosomatic symptoms, immunization rituals of obsessional neurosis, projection of ones own motives onto others, and so on. 83. As Jonathan Lear comments, the aim of psychotherapy is to help complete a process of development, to supply the concepts toward which a process of mental and emotional growth is striving and thereby to give the meaning of that very process. As he says, this is a better way of understanding therapy than the classical conception of psychoanalytic theory [in which] an analytic interpretation uncovers an unconscious wish (Love and Its Place in Nature, 113, 114). 84. Freud, On the History of the Psychoanalytic Movement, SE14, 1112. In 1925 he remarks, One would not easily guess from Studies On Hysteria what an importance sexuality has for the etiology of the neuroses (An Autobiographical Study, SE20, 22). Jones (247) maintains that Breuer was frightened off when he discovered the sexual aspects of Bertha Pappenheims attachment to him and that this was why he stopped treating her. On the improbability of this account, and Breuers own stress on the importance of sexuality in hysteria, see Hirschmller, 126131, 172173. 85. See for instance his remarks in his Autobiographical Study of 1925 on the resistance to sex among his medical colleagues, including Breuer (SE20, 26).

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86. Freud, The Aetiology of Hysteria. 87. Ibid., SE3, 203. 88. Freud first acknowledges the mistake of the seduction theory, to Fliess, in a letter of September 21, 1897; cf. Masson, 1985, 264. As Paul Robinson points out in Freud and His Critics (158ff.), Freuds views on the role of seduction in childhood were never simple, either in the 1890s or later. Recent debate about the sexual abuse of children, especially since Massons The Assault on Truth in 1984, has often attributed to Freud much more simplistic views on this than he actually held. 89. Freud, An Autobiographical Study, SE20, 34. 90. Freud, Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria. For a very perceptive survey of the Dora case, and of the social and historical circumstances in which it was set, see Hannah S. Decker, Freud, Dora, and Vienna 1900. For other valuable commentaries on the case see Janet Malcolm, Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession, 93ff.; Steven Marcus, Freud and Dora: Story, History, Case History, in Freud: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. Perry Meisel, 183210; and Patrick J. Mahony, Freuds Dora. 91. Because of his excessive emphasis on the sexual impulses of his patient, Freud ignores his own dictum that hysteria is always overdetermined, though he repeats this proposition often enough in the case: In reality, which I am trying to portray here, the rule is complication of motive, the accumulation and convergence of mental impulses, in short, overdetermination, (SE7, 60). 92. SE7, 58. 93. SE7, 115. 94. The incapacity for meeting a real erotic demand, he writes, is one of the most essential characteristics of neurosis (SE7, 110). In the same year in which he published the Dora case, however, in 1905, he also published the Three Essays on The Theory of Sexuality. There he states, in contrast to everything he says in Dora, that the sexual life of the neurotic is expressed either exclusively, or predominantly, or only in part, in these symptoms (SE7, 163). 95. SE7, 3. The case of Dora appears to have been largely completed by early 1901 but was only published almost five years later (ibid.). It thus belongs to the period of Freuds thought shortly after the completion of The Interpretation of Dreams. Apart from Studies On Hysteria, it is the earliest of his case studies. It is also the most detailed. 96. See Decker, Freud, Dora, and Vienna 1900, 50. 97. Ibid., 44. Merano is identified by Freud only as town B.

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98. Ibid., 45. 99. SE7, 19. 100. Decker, Freud, Dora, and Vienna 1900, 5152. Doras mother suffered from acute obsessional neurosis, though Freud refers to this as housewifes psychosis (SE7, 20). Her obsession with cleanliness disrupted the whole life of the household. Decker comments, Kthes compulsive acts clearly satisfied some deep impulse within her. . . . Incessant housekeeping was one outlet for Kthes wrath, aroused by her forced move to Merano, her gonorrhea, her chronic pain, her husbands infidelity, and her daughters contempt. Kthes cleaning was a hostile action, making the house virtually unlivable for her family, and Dora and Philipp [Doras father] clearly perceived it as such (55). 101. SE7, 34. Frau K. had apparently met Doras father at Merano. Frau K. had been obliged to spend months in a sanatorium for nervous disorders because she had been unable to walk (SE7, 33). 102. Doras difficulty with breathing had arisen by the age of eight, apparently first provoked by a mountain climb (SE7, 21). This was before she had encountered the K.s and therefore before her symptoms could have acquired a psychic meaning connected with them. Freud notes, Every hysterical symptom requires a contribution from both sides [that is, psychic and somatic]. It cannot come about without a certain somatic compliance (SE7, 40; emphasis in original). Later he remarks, I suspect that it is a case here of unconscious trains of thought which are drawn over pre-formed organic connections rather like festoons of flowers over threads of wire (SE7, 8485). 103. SE7, 2829. 104. Ibid., 58. 105. Ibid., 82. 106. Ibid., 118. 107. Ibid., 4748, 7980.

CHAPTER FIVE: DEFENSE AND THE PROBLEM OF IDENTITY


1. The Signorelli slip appears in The Psychopathology of Everyday Life of 1901 in a section entitled The Forgetting of Proper Names (SE6, 17). It was first reported by Freud in more detail in 1898, the same year in which it occurred, as an instance of The Psychical Mechanism of Forgetfulness (SE3, 289297).

166

Notes

2. See Freuds letter to Fliess of September 22, 1898, in Masson, The Complete Letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess, 326327. 3. SE3, 292293. See also Anthony Wildens comments in Freud, Signorelli and Lacan: The Repression of the Signifier. 4. Freud to Fliess, September 22, 1898. At the end of his account to Fliess, Freud remarks, How can I make this credible to anyone? (Masson, The Complete Letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess, 327). 5. For his speculations that the emotional problems of his brother and sisters, and by implication his own, could be traced to abuse by his father see his letter to Fliess of February 8, 1897, in Masson, The Complete Letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess, 230231. 6. He was concerned especially with the condition of his heart (das Herz). The heart itself, as an ailing organ, played a role in the thoughts I have described as repressed (SE3, 296). Thoughts connected with Herzegovina open another train of thought leading to preoccupations about his own life and death. 7. Hence, within nature, man is the child as such. 8. This is not of course to deny that nighttime dreams are produced under very particular physiological conditions and that much of their peculiar characteristics must be attributed to these conditions. No doubt, Freud attributes too much of the peculiar nature of dreams to the need to defend against subversive wishes and too little to physiological conditions. 9. Freud, Introductory Lectures, SE15, 210. 10. Hamlet, act 1, conclusion. 11. Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, SE4, 106f. 12. Dr. M. was actually Breuer. For a detailed analysis of the biographical references in the Irma dream see Max Schur, Some Additional Day Residues of The Specimen Dream of Psychoanalysis. Dr. M., of course, also symbolizes medical authority as such, just as Dr. Otto symbolizes all Freuds mediocre colleagues. The Irma of the dream is also a condensation but one reference seems to be to Emma Eckstein, whom Freud referred to Fliess for surgery and who almost died as a result. 13. Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, SE4, 308. See also On The History of the Psychoanalytic Movement, where he describes the attribution of distortion in dreams to an inner dishonesty as the most characteristic and important part of my theory of dreams (SE14, 20). By the time of The Interpretation of Dreams, in 1900, Freud has finally overcome the hypnoid theory of the unconscious as a storehouse of dissociated memories. This is why throughout the book he places such a great emphasis on the role of wishes in the unconscious. Because he kept losing sight of this through-

Notes to Chapter Five

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out the 1890s, more than anything else this is a memorandum to himself. The unconscious is the region of distorted wishes, not distorted memories. 14. Freud, Notes Upon a Case of Obsessional Neurosis. Hysteria had long been a widely recognized medical condition. Indeed its recognition dates back to Hippocrates (ca. 500 B.C.). Obsessional neurosis (Zwangsneurose), however, was first identified as a separate condition from hysteria by Freud in 1894 to 1895. See the entries on Hysteria (194f.) and Obsessional Neurosis (281f.) in J. Laplanche and J.-B. Pontalis, The Language of Psychoanalysis. 15. Freud, Notes Upon a Case of Obsessional Neurosis, SE10, 206. 16. Ibid. 17. Ibid., 158. 18. Ibid., 162. 19. Ibid., 198, 201. 20. Ibid., 166. 21. Ibid., 172. 22. Freud reports that the Man of Rats was struck by similarities between his own obsessional thoughts and the word associations described in The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (SE10, 159). His conflict of course developed into something more serious than the confusion over Signorelli. However, like it, it was provoked by someone who was essentially incidental to his emotional life, but who momentarily came to symbolize conventional obligations and expectations. For Freud, it was the stranger in the railway carriage; for the Man of Rats, it was the sadistic officer. By becoming momentarily the focus for a transference of more significant conflicts, this third person became the catalyst for an emotional confusion that grew out of all proportion to the significance of the precipitating event. 23. In his commentary on this case, Grnbaum looks for causal connections between the associations themselves, ignoring the conflicts in intention that alone make the associations meaningful. In doing so, again, he is adhering to the hypnoid, or cathartic, model of the unconscious. See Grnbaum, Validation in the Clinical Theory of Psychoanalysis, 121ff. 24. The rat story also suggested anal eroticism, not only at the manifest level of the penetrating rats, but also via an ambiguity in the German word Ratte, which suggests money and thereby feces: In his obsessional deliria he had coined himself a regular rat currency (SE10, 213). On Freuds views on the symbolic links made by the infant between feces, gifts and money (and other things besides), see On Transformations of Instinct as Exemplified in Anal Erotism, SE17, 125133.

168

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25. Ibsen, Little Eyolf, act 1. The play was first produced throughout the major European capitals, including Vienna, in 1895 (ibid., 217). 26. In reading the case of the Man of Rats we are reminded inevitably of Nietzsches rhetorical question, What destroys more quickly than working, thinking, feeling, other than from an inner necessity? (The Antichrist, section 11). 27. Of course, both hysteria and obsessional neurosis are ideal types, in Max Webers sense. In practice, one will not find any neurosis that does not show traces of both types. 28. The child wishes for possession of his mother, and for the displacement of his father as her object of desire; he wishes also to become the object of desire for his father, displacing his mother (The Dissolution of the Oedipus Complex, SE19, 173179). Freud calls the defense against these wishes primary repression; the child yields the wish to establish a sexual bond with either parent, in order to avoid castration, loss of the penis. The danger of castration arises, Freud suggests, either as punishment for intercourse with the mother, or as a condition of intercourse with the father (SE19, 176). 29. Freud describes this sense of alienation as an unconscious fear of castration. The argument presented in The Dissolution of the Oedipus Complex, in 1924, relies on quite a literal reading of the threat of castration. It assumes first that the child at some stage receives an overt threat of castration (for masturbation); second, that the child subsequently observes that little girls do not have penises; and third, that the child reaches the conclusion this is because they have been castrated. He describes the conflict as one between a narcissistic interest on the part of the child and a libidinal investment of the parental objects (SE19, 176). Two years later in Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety he treats castration in a broader, more metaphorical sense to mean alienation, loss of love and loss of capacity for fruitful and meaningful intercourse with others. Here, he argues that the primary anxiety for the child is that of being separated from the mother (the trauma of birth being the paradigm for all later anxiety), and that this is what castration really signifies (SE20, 137f.). The penis represents to the child his ultimate means of making contact again with the mother, or more strictly, with the womb and the quintessential sense of security and satisfaction that the womb represents: The possession of this organ is the guarantee of a reunification with the motherthat is, with a substitute for herin the act of intercourse (ibid.). Of course, Freud always had difficulty in extending this framework to the case of the female child, his understanding of which he describes as much more obscure and incomplete (SE19, 177). Indeed, to extend this perspective to the psychology of women of necessity requires taking the idea of castration in a broad metaphorical sense. Castration anxiety, he says, develops into anxiety of conscience, into social anxiety. It is no longer so easy to say what the anxiety is about. The formula separation,

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expulsion from the horde applies only to that later part of the superego which has developed around social models, not to the nucleus of the superego which corresponds to the introjected parental agency (SE20, 139). 30. Freud, Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety, SE20, 145. 31. What Freud calls external dangers, in contrast, are feared because there is no reliable rule or convention for dealing with them. An external danger is one that is not as such a threat to a rule, simply because no known rule is adequate to deal with it. For instance, if the wolf attacks us, it is because our rules for dealing with wolf behavior are not adequate to forestall it. If we succumb to physical disease, it is because the conventions of medical scienceor our knowledge of themare not developed enough to master it. In sum, an external danger is a failing in a rule, while an internal danger is a threat to a rule. There is, however, no danger that is either purely internal or purely external. As Freud points out, every internal danger has an external aspect (SE20, 168). But, of course, every external danger has some internal aspects too. His example of an external danger, attack by a wolf, for instance, will also have internal aspects, however attenuated; it will always evoke some sort of internal, that is, conventional, response on the part of the person attacked, even if this is no more than a futile gesture of self-defense. What is significant here, however, is that someone who is experienced in the behavior of wolves will know from habit what steps are necessary to minimize the chances of an attack. In other words, he will be familiar with a convention of human behavior that regulates the behavior of wolves. In fact, it appears that at some point in prehistory human beings domesticated wolves and made them their companions; if so, then all contemporary breeds of dog are descendants of these wolves. In this way an external danger has been internalized by human beings, it has been integrated into their cultural conventions. Indeed, in broad terms, this is precisely what the progress of science amounts to: we progressively integrate experience of our environment into human conventions. Of course, as we modify our conventions in this way, our sense of what it means to be human undergoes change with it. All new science is really new discovery about ourselves.

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INDEX

Aristotle, 2, 38, 40, 158 Bernays, Jacob, 158 Bernheim, Hippolyte, 110, 160 Bettelheim, Bruno, 58, 146 biological science. See Kant Bowie, Malcolm, 148 Breuer, Josef, 56; and case of Anna O., 88, 9197, 102, 104, 106, 157159, 163; and cathartic theory of unconscious, 107112; discovery of free association, 98; Freuds divergence from, 101102, 156157; his views misrepresented by Freuds critics, 3233, 8991 Brcke, Ernst, 146 Cassirer, Ernst, 145 cathartic cure, 3233, 9497; compared with psychoanalysis, 106115 cathartic theory of unconscious, 50, 8890, 106115 Charcot, Jean Martin, 56, 93, 106, 110, 158, 160 child within the self, 1011, 30 childhood and neurosis, 7980 Copernicus, Nicolas, 2, 5, 6, 9, 38

Darwin, Charles, 3, 9, 1516, 18, 68, 82, 137, 141; Darwinian positivists, 72; Darwinian theory as model for psychoanalysis, 136137; evolutionary theory, 12, 42; Social Darwinists, 1415; and Sulloways views on psychoanalysis, 3132 Decker, Hannah, 144, 165 defense: and memory, 9192; and Nietzsches duality of intention, 8182, 117128; and symbolism, 88. See also Freud defense theory of the unconscious, 8890, 103104, 107111, 128132 Descartes, Ren, 2, 67, 12; contrasted with Freud, 46; contrasted with Peirce, 6465; and modern critics of individuation, 86, 134; and need for certainty, 3940, 145; physics as ideal science, 37; source for positivism and hermeneutics, 43, 67; viewed by Lacan, 54. See also dualism Dewey, John, 62, 66 Dilthey, Wilhelm, 42, 57

179

180

Index free association, 9899; The Future of an Illusion, 56; Geisteswissenschaft, 5759; Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, 155; The History of the Psychoanalytic Movement, 107, 109; hypnosis, 9899; Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety, 131, 163, 168169; Instincts and their Vicissitudes, 146; The Interpretation of Dreams, 57, 121123, 129, 148, 155, 166; interpreted by Lacan, 4754; Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, 57, 146, 147; knowledge of Nietzsche, 155; the Man of Rats, 123128, 131, 167168; metapsychology, 128132; New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, 58, 148; obsessional neurosis, 123128; positivist criticisms of psychoanalysis, 1415; as pragmatist, 62; Project for a Scientific Psychology, 31, 129; and psychological autonomy, 34; psychologys one man of genius, 38; The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, 5053, 115, 150; The Question of Lay Analysis, 5556; The Resistances to Psychoanalysis, 55, 148, 152; Ricoeurs comments on, 4447; and science of the self, 810; seduction theory, 110111, 164; sexual abuse of children, 30, 143144; significance of sex in the unconscious, 104105, 109115; Signorelli, 118121, 125; and the soul, 10, 33, 58, 87; Studies On Hysteria, 29, 32, 46, 87115, 123, 141, 147, 155163;

dualism: and boundaries for science, 4, 1112; Cartesian dualism, 6, 3740, 67; contrasted with pragmatism, 6365; as defense against psychoanalysis, 8283 Eco, Umberto, 152 Einstein, Albert, 15, 23, 68, 82 Ellenberger, Henri, 89, 157 Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 6263, 139, 142, 154 existentialism, 7, 10; compared with positivism and pragmatism, 63 Feyerabend, Paul, 143 Freud, Sigmund, 46; The Aetiology of Hysteria, 29, 147148, 156; aliquis example, 5153, 125; use of analogies 1719; Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-Year-Old Boy: Little Hans, 152; Analysis Terminable and Interminable, 56; An Autobiographical Study, 107, 111, 162163; Beyond the Pleasure Principle, 130, 150, 154; Civilization and Its Discontents, 106; claims of cure for hysteria, 159160; conception of drive and meaning, 4546; use of context, 46; contrasted with Breuer, 8892; criticized by Grnbaum, 3, 32; criticized by Webster, 3233; The Dissolution of the Oedipus complex, 168; Dora, 111115, 123, 131; dream of Irmas injection, 122123; The Ego and the Id, 130; Elisabeth von R., 88, 92, 97106, 131, 161162; forgotten memories, 105106;

Index

181

symptoms as symbols, 99, 110, 160161; theory of cure, 108109; theory of defense, 162163; Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, 146, 164; The Unconscious, 146, 147; On the Universal Tendency to Debasement in the Sphere of Love, 147; views on the scientific classification of psychoanalysis, 5459; the Wolf Man, 106 Galileo, 38 Geisteswissenschaft. See Freud Gellner, Ernest, 2325, 28 Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 139, 141142, 151; Faust, 154; Mephistopheles, 76; and metaphor, 1718; origin for pragmatism, 62; We have to reform ourselves every day, 83 Golomb, Jacob, 153 Grnbaum, Adolf, 1215, 18, 167; ambivalence towards science 20, 28; ascription of positivist views to Freud, 58; compared with Lacan, 47, 50; compared with Popper, 2324; extraclinical tests for psychoanalysis, 2225, 143; influenced by Ellenberger, 8990; mistaking of defense, 3133, 44; misunderstanding of Anna O. case, 97; physics as ideal science, 38, 144145; and the soul, 136; and Timpanaro, 53 Hacking, Ian, 143144 Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, 62, 149 hermeneutics, 4243, 57. See also Ricoeur

Hirschmller, Albrecht, 156160 Hobbes, Thomas, 139 Hume, David, 7, 140, 145 Ibsen, Henrik: Little Eyolf, 126127 James, William, 62, 6567, 69, 79 Janet, Pierre, 89, 106, 110, 144, 156 Jones, Ernest, 96, 98, 146 Kant, Immanuel: on biological science, 41, 145; the categorical imperative, 41; concept of science, 4042; contrasted with Nietzsche, 70; and the decline of tradition, 86, 134; as origin of criticisms of psychoanalysis, 63; as origin of hermeneutic readings of psychoanalysis, 4346, 146; physics viewed as ideal science, 38; source of dualist philosophies, 2, 6, 12, 67, 140 Kaufmann, Walter, 144, 152 Kepler, Johann, 89, 38 Kierkegaard, Sren, 7, 48 Klages, Ludwig, 152 Lacan, Jacques, 44, 4754, 136, 148151; the absolute Other, 50; compared with Grnbaum and Webster, 47, 50; the imaginary and the mirror stage, 4850; Ricoeurs comments on, 45; the signifier, 4950; symbolic versus meaning, 4850; theory of science, 5354; The unconscious is structured like a language, 4849; his views compared with cathartic theory of the unconscious, 50

182

Index 70; bermensch, 8384; The Will to Power, 153 Ortega y Gasset, Jos, 71 Parkes, Graham, 153 Peirce, Charles S., 62; theory of knowledge, 6465, 152 Pfister, Oskar, 56 Plato, 2 Popper, Karl, 1215, 18, 136; ambivalence towards science, 20; compared with Grnbaum, 2324, 28, 38, 44; falsifiability, 2122, 142144; and Kantian positivism, 42 positivism, 16, 4243; contrasted with hermeneutics, 5859; positivist criticisms of pragmatism, 6168; compared with positivism and existentialism, 63, 67; and intellectual temperament, 62 psychoanalysis, 10, 18, 1928 psychoanalysis: and ambivalence, 13; compared with cathartic cure, 106115; concept of cure, 2428; criticisms of its scientific status as form of regression, 6162; and emotional crisis created by science, 134135; and ethical conflict, 105; forgotten memories, 2933; free association, 5153; fundamental question it poses, 3435, 47; and hermeneutics, 4354; and human sciences, 5758; overdetermination, 46; practice of psychotherapy, 114115; psychological autonomy, 20; its relation with science, 135, 137138; and scientific method, 910

language: and analogy, 7073; and human intentionality, 70. See also Lacan Lear, Jonathan, 141, 143, 158, 163 Lehrer, Ronald, 155 Lvi-Strauss, Claude, 149 Levy, Donald, 143 Lovejoy, Arthur O., 139 Macmillan, Malcolm, 160 Masson, Jeffrey, 3031, 33, 143, 156, 164 Mendel, Gregor, 38 Mill, John Stuart, 14, 42 Milton, John, 76 Murdoch, Iris, 144 neurosis: and double aspect of human intentionality, 7784; and individualism, 8587 Newton, Isaac, 9, 15, 16, 18, 38 Nietzsche, Friedrich, 6, 6884, 87, 105106, 127, 134, 152155; The Antichrist, 154, 168; on Aristotles notion of catharsis, 158; Beyond Good and Evil, 74, 153; Daybreak, 155; The Gay Science, 139; On the Genealogy of Morals, 75, 153155; Human, All-too-Human, 153154, 158; human intentionality, 7076; hunger and overabundance, 7274, 117128; on Jesus, 154; Know yourself is the whole of science, 16; Man is the child as such, 10; metaphor and analogy, 7071, 142; noble and slave, 7576; problem of truth, 6970, 140; relation to dualism and psychoanalysis, 6869; relation to Kant, 70; relation to pragmatism, 62, 69; the rule and the exception, 7475, 128131; and the soul,

Index

183

purpose: as basis for life science, 41; concealed in scientific knowledge, 6567; Freuds understanding of drive and meaning, 4546; and human science, 42; and Nietzsche, 69 Rickert, Heinrich, 42, 57 Ricoeur, Paul, 4448, 136, 146 Robinson, Paul, 141, 164 Rorty, Richard, 144 Rubin, Jeffrey, 140 Ryle, Gilbert, 38, 144 Santoro-Brienza, Liberato, 141, 149 Schopenhauer, Arthur, 7 Schur, Max, 166 science: ambivalence towards it, 48, 20, 135; and anxiety, 11, 28; and autonomy, 3, 16, 20, 87; and consensual testing, 1928; as displacement for God, 40; its effect on tradition, 18, 13; limits of science and theory of defense, 107108; and metaphor, 1319; physics viewed as ideal science, 3741;

and the self, 813. See also Kant Shakespeare, William, 76; Hamlet, 122 Sharpe, Ella Freeman, 142 soul, 2, 78, 136. See also Freud Sulloway, Frank, 1213, 15, 18, 33, 97, 136; Ellenbergers influence on, 89; Freuds Project for a Scientific Psychology, 3132 symbolism: and conventional expressions, 7172; in Man of Rats case, 127; and memories, 30; and symptoms, 3334 Timpanaro, Sebastiano, 5253 Virgil, 52; The Aeneid, 5153 Wagner, Richard, 77 Weber, Max, 146147 Webster, Richard, 1213, 15, 18, 31, 97, 136, 155; compared with Lacan, 47, 50; Ellenbergers influence on, 89; mistaking of defense, 3233, 9091