Repeatedly in the past and more recently we have dealt with the distinction between the ego instincts and the sexual instincts. At first, suppression taught us that the two may be flatly opposed to each other, that in the struggle the sexual instincts suffer apparent defeat and are forced to obtain satisfaction by other regressive methods, and so find the compensation for defeat in their invulnerability. After that we learned that at the outset both have a different relation to the educator, Necessity, so that they do not develop in the same manner and do not enter into the same relationship with the principle of reality. We come to realize that the sexual instincts are much more closely allied to the emotional condition of fear than the ego instincts. This result appears incomplete only in one respect, which, however, is most important. For further evidence we shall mention the significant fact that non-satisfaction of hunger and thirst, the two most elementary instincts of self-preservation, never result in their reversal into anxiety, while the transformation of unsatisfied libido into fear is, as we have heard, one of the best known and most frequently observed phenomena.
No one can contest our perfect justification in separating the ego from sexual instincts. It is affirmed by the existence of sexual desire, which is a very special activity of the individual. The only question is, what significance shall we give to this distinction, how decisive is it? The answer will depend upon the results of our observations; on how far the sexual instincts, in their psychological and somatic manifestations, behave differently from the others that are opposed to them; on how important are the consequences which result from these differences. We have, of course, no motive whatever for insisting upon a certain intangible difference in the character of the two groups of instincts. Both are only designations of the sources of energy of the individual. The discussion as to whether they are fundamentally of the same or of a different character, and if the same, when it was that they separated from one another, cannot profit by the conceptions, but must deal rather with the underlying biological facts. At present we know very little about this, and even if we knew more it would not be relevant to our analytic task.
Obviously, we should gain slight profit if, following the example of Jung, we were to emphasize the original unity of all instincts, and were to call the energy expressed in all of them “libido.” Since the sexual function cannot be eliminated from psychic life by any device, we are forced to speak of sexual and asexual libido. As in the past, we rightly retain the name libido for the instincts of sexual life.
I believe, therefore, that the question, how far the justifiable distinction of the instincts of sex and of self-preservation may be carried, is of little importance for psychoanalysis; and psychoanalysis is moreover not competent to deal with it. From a biological standpoint there are, to be sure, various reasons for believing that this distinction is significant. Sexuality is the only function of the living organism which extends beyond the individual and sees to his kinship with the species. It is undeniable that its practice does not always benefit the individual as do his other performances. For the price of ecstatic pleasures it involves him in dangers which threaten his life and frequently cause death. Probably peculiar metabolic processes, different from all others, are required to maintain a part of the individual life for its progeny. The individual who places himself in the foreground and regards his sexuality as a means to his gratification is, from a biological point of view, only an episode in a series of generations, a transient appendage to a germ-plasm which is virtually endowed with immortality, just as though he were the temporary partner in a corporation which continues to persist after his death.
For psychoanalytic explanation of neuroses, however, there is no need to enter upon these far-reaching implications. By separate observation of the sexual and the ego instincts, we have gained the key to the understanding of transference-neuroses. We were able to trace them back to the fundamental situation where the sexual instinct and the instinct of self-preservation had come in conflict with one another, or biologically although not so accurately, expressed where the part played by the ego, that of independent individuality, was opposed to the other, that of a link in a series of generations. Only human beings are capable of such conflict, and therefore, taken all in all, neurosis is the prerogative of man, and not of animals. The excessive development of his libido and the elaboration of a varied and complicated psychic life thus made possible, appear to have created the conditions prerequisite for conflict. It is clear that these conditions are also responsible for the great progress that man has made beyond his kinship with animals. The capacity for neurosis is really only the reverse side of his talents and gifts. But these are only speculations, which divert us from our task.
Until now we worked with the impulse that we can distinguish the ego and the sexual instincts from one another by their manifestations. We could do this without difficulty in the transference neuroses. We called the accumulation of energy which the ego directed towards the object of its sexual striving libido and all others, which proceeded from the instincts of self-preservation, interest. We were able to achieve our first insight into the workings of psychic forces by observing the accumulation of the libido, its transformations and its final destiny. The transference neuroses furnished the best material for this. But the ego, composed from various organizations, their construction and functioning, remained hidden and we were led to believe that only the analysis of other neurotic disturbances would raise the veil.
Very soon we began to extend these psychoanalytic conceptions to other conditions. As early as 1908, K. Abraham asserted, after a discussion with me, that the principal characteristic of dementia praecox (which may be considered one of the psychoses) is that there is no libidinous occupation of objects (The Psycho-sexual Differences between Hysteria and Dementia Praecox). But then the question arose, what happens to the libido of the demented, which is diverted from its objects? Abraham did not hesitate to give the answer, “It is turned back upon the ego, and this reflected turning back is the source of the megalomania in dementia praecox.” This hallucination of greatness is exactly comparable to the well-known over-estimation of the objects habitual to lovers. So, for the first time, we gained an understanding of psychotic condition by comparing it with the normal course of love.
These first interpretations of Abraham’s have been maintained in psychoanalysis, and have become the basis of our attitude towards the psychoses. Slowly we familiarized ourselves with the idea that the libido, which we find attached to certain objects, which expresses a striving to attain gratification from these objects, may also forsake them and put in their place the person’s own ego. Gradually these ideas were developed more and more consistently. The name for this placing of the libido — narcism — was borrowed from one of the perversions described by P. Naecke. In it the grown individual lavishes upon his own body all the affection usually devoted to some foreign sex object.
We reflected that if such a fixation of libido on one’s own body and person instead of on some external object exists, this cannot be an exceptional or trivial occurrence. It is much more probable that this narcism is the general and original condition, out of which the love for an object later develops, without however necessarily causing narcism to disappear. From the evolutionary history of object-libido we remembered that in the beginning many sex instincts seek auto-erotic gratification, and that this capacity for auto-eroticism forms the basis for the retardation of sexuality in its education to conformity with fact. And so, auto-eroticism was the sexual activity of the narcistic stage in the placing of the libido.
To be brief: We represented the relation of the ego-libido to the object-libido in a way which I can explain by an analogy from zoology. Think of the simplest forms of life, which consist of a little lump of protoplasmic substance which is only slightly differentiated. They stretch out protrusions, known as pseudopia, into which the protoplasm flows. But they can withdraw these protrusions and assume their original shape. Now we compare the stretching out of these processes with the radiation of libido to the objects, while the central mass of libido can remain in the ego, and we assume that under normal conditions ego-libido can be changed into object-libido, and this can again be taken up into the ego, without any trouble.
With the help of this representation we can now explain a great number of psychic conditions, or to express it more modestly, describe them, in the language of the libido theory; conditions that we must accredit to normal life, such as the psychic attitude during love, during organic sickness, during sleep. We assumed that the conditions of sleep rest upon withdrawal from the outer world and concentration upon the wish to sleep. The nocturnal psychic activity expressed in the dream we found in the service of a wish to sleep and, moreover, governed by wholly egoistic motives. Continuing in the sense of libido theory: sleep is a condition in which all occupations of objects, the libidinous as well as the egoistic, are given up, and are withdrawn into the ego. Does this not throw a new light upon recovery during sleep, and upon the nature of exhaustion in general? The picture of blissful isolation in the intra-uterine life, which the sleeper conjures up night after night, thus also completes the picture from the psychic side. In the sleeper the original condition of libido division is again restored, a condition of complete narcism in which libido and ego-interest are still united and live indistinguishably in the self-sufficient ego.
We must observe two things: First, how can the conceptions of narcism and egoism be distinguished? I believe narcism is the libidinous complement of egoism. When we speak of egoism we mean only the benefits to the individual; if we speak of narcism we also take into account his libidinous satisfaction. As practical motives the two can be followed up separately to a considerable degree. One can be absolutely egoistic, and still have strong libidinous occupation of objects, in so far as the libidinous gratification by way of the object serves the needs of the ego. Egoism will then take care that the striving for the object results in no harm to the ego. One can be egoistic and at the same time excessively narcistic, i.e., have very slight need of an object. This need may be for direct sexual satisfaction or even for those higher desires, derived from need, which we are in the habit of calling love as opposed to sensuality. In all of these aspects, egoism is the self-evident, the constant, and narcism the variable element. The antithesis of egoism, altruism, is not the same as the conception of libidinous occupation of objects. Altruism differs from it by the absence of desire for sexual satisfaction. But in the state of being completely in love, altruism and libidinous occupation with an object clash. The sex object as a rule draws upon itself a part of the narcism of the ego. This is generally called “sexual over-estimation” of the object. If the altruistic transformation from egoism to the sex object is added, the sex object becomes all powerful; it has virtually sucked up the ego.
I think you will find it a pleasant change if after the dry phantasy of science I present to you a poetic representation of the economic contrast between narcism and being in love. I take it from the Westostliche Divans of Goethe:
The second observation is supplementary to the dream theory. We cannot explain the origin of the dream unless we assume that the suppressed unconscious has achieved a certain independence of the ego. It does not conform to the wish for sleep and retains its hold on the energies that have seized it, even when all the occupations with objects dependent upon the ego have been released for the benefit of sleep. Not until then can we understand how this unconscious can take advantage of the nocturnal discontinuance or deposition of the censor, and can seize control of fragments left over from the day to fashion a forbidden dream wish from them. On the other hand, it is to the already existing connections with these supposed elements that these fragments owe a part of the resistance directed against the withdrawal of the libido, and controlled by the wish for sleep. We also wish to supplement our conception of dream formation with this trait of dynamic importance.
Organic diseases, painful irritations, inflammation of the organs create a condition which clearly results in freeing the libido of its objects. The withdrawn libido again finds itself in the ego and occupies the diseased part of the part. We may even venture to assert that under these conditions the withdrawal of the libido from its objects is more conspicuous than the withdrawal of egoistic interest from the outside world. This seems to open the way to an understanding of hypochondria, where an organ occupies the ego in a similar way without being diseased, according to our conception. I shall resist the temptation of continuing along this line, or of discussing other situations which we can understand or represent through the assumption that the object libido travels to the ego. For I am eager to meet two objections, which I know are absorbing your attention. In the first place, you want to call me to account for my insistence upon distinguishing in sleep, in sickness and in similar situations between libido and interest, sexual instincts and ego instincts, since throughout the observations can be explained by assuming a single and uniform energy, which, freely mobile, occupies now the object, now the ego, and enters into the services of one or the other of these impulses. And, secondly, how can I venture to treat the freeing of libido from its object as the source of a pathological condition, since such transformation of object-libido into ego-libido — or more generally, ego-energy — belongs to the normal, daily and nightly repeated occurrences of psychic dynamics?
The answer is: Your first objection sounds good. The discussion of the conditions of sleep, of sickness and of being in love would in themselves probably never have led to a distinction between ego-libido and object-libido, or between libido and interest. But you do not take into account the investigations from which we have set out, in the light of which we now regard the psychic situations under discussion. The necessity of distinguishing between libido and interest, that is, between sexual instincts and those of self-preservation, is forced upon us by our insight into the conflict out of which the transference neuroses emerge. We can no longer reckon without it. The assumption that object-libido can change into the ego-libido, in other words, that we must reckon with an ego-libido, appeared to us the only possible one wherewith to solve the riddle of the so-called narcistic neuroses — for instance, dementia praecox — or to justify the similarities and differences in a comparison of hysteria and compulsion. We now apply to sickness, sleep and love that which we found undeniably affirmed elsewhere. We may proceed with such applications as far as they will go. The only assertion that is not a direct refutation of our analytic experience is that libido remains libido whether it is directed towards objects or toward the ego itself, and is never transferred into egoistic interest, and vice-versa. But this assertion is of equal weight with the distinction of sex and ego instincts which we have already critically appraised, and which we will maintain from methodological motives until it may possibly be disproved.
Your second objection, too, raises a justified question, but it points in a wrong direction. To be sure the retreat of object-libido into the ego is not purely pathogenic; we see that it occurs each time before going to sleep, only to be released again upon awaking. The little protoplasmic animal draws in its protrusions, only to send them out again on a later occasion. But it is quite another matter when a specific, very energetic process compels the withdrawal of libido from the object. The libido has become narcistic and cannot find its way back to the object, and this hindrance to the mobility of the libido certainly becomes pathogenic. It appears that an accumulation of narcistic libido cannot be borne beyond a certain point. We can imagine that the reason for occupation with the object is that the ego found it necessary to send out its libido in order not to become diseased because it was pent up. If it were our plan to go further into the subject of dementia praecox, I would show you that this process which frees the libido from the objects and bars the way back to them, is closely related to the process of suppression, and must be considered as its counterpart. But above all you would recognize familiar ground, for the conditions of these processes are practically identical, as far as we can now see, with those of suppression. The conflict appears to be the same, and to take place between the same forces. The reason for a result as different as, for instance, the result in hysteria, can be found only in a difference of dispositions. The vulnerable point in the libido development of these patients lies in another phase; the controlling fixation, which, as you will remember, permits the breach resulting in the formation of symptoms, is in another place probably in the stage of primitive narcism, to which dementia praecox returns in its final stage. It is noteworthy that for all the narcistic neuroses, we must assume fixation points of the libido which reach back into far earlier phases of development than in cases of hysteria or compulsion neuroses. But you have heard that the conceptions obtained in our study of transference neuroses are sufficient to orient us in the narcistic neuroses, which present far greater practical difficulties. The similarities are considerable; it is fundamentally the same field of observation. But you can easily imagine how hopeless the explanations of these conditions, which belong to psychiatry, appear to him who is not equipped for this task with an analytic knowledge of transference neuroses.
The picture given by the symptoms of dementia praecox, which, moreover, is highly variable, is not exclusively determined by the symptoms. These result from forcing the libido away from the objects and accumulating it in the ego in the form of narcistic libido. A large space is occupied by other phenomena, which result from the impulses of the libido to regain the objects, and so show an attempt toward restitution and healing. These symptoms are in fact the more conspicuous, the more clamorous; they show an unquestionable similarity to those of hysteria, or less often to those of compulsion neurosis, and yet they are different in every respect. It appears that in dementia praecox the libido in its endeavor to return to the objects, i.e., to the images of the objects, really captures something, but only their shadows — I mean, the verbal images belonging to them. This is not the place to discuss this matter, but I believe that these reversed impulses of the libido have permitted us an insight into what really determines the difference between a conscious and an unconscious representation.
I have now brought you into the field where we may expect the further progress of analytic work. Since we can now employ the conception of ego-libido, the narcistic neuroses have become accessible to us. We are confronted with the problem of finding a dynamic explanation of these conditions and at the same time of enlarging our knowledge of psychic life by an understanding of the ego. The ego psychology, which we strive to understand, must not be founded upon introspective data, but rather, as in the libido, upon analysis of the disturbances and decompositions of the ego. When this greater task is accomplished we shall probably disparage our previous knowledge of the fate of the libido which we gained from our study of the transference neuroses. But there is still much to be said in this matter. Narcistic neuroses can scarcely be approached by the same technique which served us in the transference neuroses. Soon you will hear why. After forging ahead a little in the study of narcistic neuroses we always seem to come to a wall which impedes progress. You know that in the transference neuroses we also encountered such barriers of resistance, but we were able to break them down piece by piece. In narcistic neuroses the resistance is insuperable; at best we are permitted to cast a curious glance over the wall to spy out what is taking place on the other side. Our technical methods must be replaced by others; we do not yet know whether or not we shall be able to find such a substitute. To be sure, even these patients furnish us with ample material. They do say many things, though not in answer to our questions, and for the time being we are forced to interpret these utterances through the understanding we have gained from the symptoms of transference neuroses. The coincidence is sufficiently great to assure us a good beginning. How far this technique will go, remains to be seen.
There are additional difficulties that impede our progress. The narcistic conditions and the psychoses related to them can only be solved by observers who have schooled themselves in analytic study of transference neuroses. But our psychiatrists do not study psychoanalysis and we psychoanalysts see too few psychiatric cases. A race of psychiatrists that has gone through the school of psychoanalysis as a preparatory science most first grow up. The beginnings of this are now being made in America, where many leading psychiatrists explain the teachings of psychoanalysis to their students, and where many owners of sanatoriums and directors of institutes for the insane take pains to observe their patients in the light of these teachings. But even here we have occasionally been successful in casting a glance over the narcistic wall and I shall tell you a few things that we think we have discovered.
The disease of paranoia, chronic systematic insanity, is given a very uncertain position by the attempts at classification of present-day psychiatry. There is no doubt of its close relationship to dementia praecox. I once was so bold as to propose that paranoia and dementia praecox could be classed together under the common name of paraphrenia. The types of paranoia are described according to their content as: megalomania, the mania of persecution, eroto mania, mania of jealousy, etc. From psychiatry we do not expect attempts at explanation. As an example of such an attempt, to be sure an antiquated and not entirely valid example, I might mention the attempt to develop one symptom directly out of another by means of an intellectual rationalization, as: the patient who primarily believes he is being persecuted draws the conclusion from this persecution that he must be an extraordinarily important personality and thus develops megalomania. In our analytical conception megalomania is the immediate outcome of exaggeration of the ego, which results from the drawing-in of libidinous occupation with objects, a secondary narcism as a recurrence of the originally early infantile form. In cases of the mania of persecution we have noticed a few things that lead us to follow a definite track. In the first place, we observed that in the great majority of cases the persecutor was of the same sex as the persecuted. This could still be explained in a harmless way, but in a few carefully studied cases it was clearly shown that the person of the same sex, who was most loved in normal times, became the persecutor after the malady set in. A further development is made possible by the fact that one loved person is replaced by another, according to familiar affinities, e.g., the father by the teacher or the superior. We concluded from such ever-increasing experiences, that paranoia persecutoria is the form in which the individual guards himself against a homosexual tendency that has become too powerful. The change from affection to hate, which notoriously may take the form of serious threats against the life of the loved and hated person, expresses the transformation of libidinous impulse into fear, which is a regularly recurring result of the process of suppression. As an illustration I shall cite the last case in which I made observations on this subject. A young physician had to be sent away from his home town because he had threatened the life of the son of a university professor, who up to that time had been his best friend. He ascribed truly devilish intentions to his erstwhile friend and credited him with power of a demon. He was to blame for all the misfortunes that had in recent years befallen the family of the patient, for all his personal and social ill-luck. But this was not enough. The wicked friend, and his father the professor, had been the cause of the war and had called the Russians into the land. He had forfeited his life a thousand times and our patient was convinced that with the death of the culprit all misfortune would come to an end. And yet his old affection for his friend was so great that it had paralyzed his hand when he had had the opportunity of shooting down the enemy at close quarters. In my short consultations with the patient, I discovered that the friendship between the two dated back to early school-life. Once at least the bonds of friendship had been over-stepped; a night spent together had been the occasion for complete sexual intercourse. Our patient never felt attracted to women, as would have been natural to his age or his charming personality. At one time he was engaged to a beautiful and distinguished young girl, but she broke off the engagement because she found so little affection in her fiancé. Years later his malady broke out just at that moment when for the first time he had succeeded in giving complete gratification to a woman. When this woman embraced him, full of gratitude and devotion, he suddenly felt a strange pain which cut around his skull like a sharp incision. His later interpretation of this sensation was that an incision such as is used to expose a part of the brain had been performed upon him, and since his friend had become a pathological anatomist, he gradually came to the conclusion that he alone could have sent him this last woman as a temptation. From that time on his eyes were also opened to the other persecutions in which he was to be the victim of the intrigues of his former friend.
But how about those cases where the persecutor is not of the same sex as the persecuted, where our explanation of a guard against homosexual libido is apparently contradicted? A short time ago I had occasion to investigate such a case and was able to glean corroboration from this apparent contradiction. A young girl thought she was followed by a man, with whom she had twice had intimate relations. She had, as a matter of fact, first laid these maniacal imputations at the door of a woman, whom we may consider as having played the part of a mother-substitute in her psychic life. Only after the second meeting did she progress to the point of diverting this maniacal idea from the woman and of transferring it to the man. The condition that the persecutor must be of the same sex was also originally maintained in this instance. In her claim before the lawyer and the physician, this patient did not mention this first stage of her mania, and this caused the appearance of a contradiction to our theory of paranoia.
Homosexual choice of object is originally more natural to narcism than the heterosexual. If it is a matter of thwarting a strong and undesirable homosexual impulse, the way back to narcism is made especially easy. Until now I have had very little opportunity of speaking to you about the fundamental conditions of love-life, so far as we know them, and now I cannot make up for lost time. I only want to point out that the choice of an object, that progress in the development of the libido which comes after the narcistic stage, can proceed according to two different types — either according to the narcistic type, which puts a very similar personality in the place of the personal ego, or according to the dependent type, which chooses those persons who have become valuable by satisfying needs of life other than as objects of the libido. We also accredit a strong fixation of the libido to the narcistic type of object-choice when there is a disposition toward manifest homosexuality.
You will recall that in our first meeting of this semester I told you about the case of a woman who suffered from the mania of jealousy. Since we are so near the end you certainly will be glad to hear the psychoanalytic explanation of a maniacal idea. But I have less to say about it than you expect. The maniacal idea as well as the compulsion idea cannot be assailed by logical arguments or actual experience. This is explained by their relation to the unconscious, which is represented by the maniacal idea or the compulsion idea, and held down by whichever is effective. The difference between the two is based upon respective localization and dynamic relations of the two conditions.
As in paranoia, so also in melancholia, of which, moreover, very different clinical forms are described. We have discovered a point of vantage which will yield us an insight into the inner structure of the condition. We realize that the self-accusations with which these melancholic patients torture themselves in the most pitiless way, really apply to another person, namely, the sex object which they have lost, or which through some fault has lost value for them. From this we may conclude that the melancholic has withdrawn his libido from the object. Through a process which we designate as “narcistic identification” the object is built up within the ego itself, is, so to say, projected upon the ego. Here I can give you only a descriptive representation, as yet without reference to the topical and dynamic relations. The personal ego is now treated in the same manner as the abandoned object, and suffers all the aggression and expressions of revenge which were planned for the object. Even the suicidal tendencies of melancholia are more comprehensible when we consider that this bitterness of the patient falls alike on the ego itself and on the object of its love and hate. In melancholia as well as in other narcistic conditions a feature of emotional life is strikingly shown which, since the time of Bleuler, we have been accustomed to designate as ambivalence. By this we mean that hostile and affectionate feelings are directed against one and the same person. I have, in the course of these discussions, unfortunately not been in a position to tell you more about this emotional ambivalence.
We have, in addition to narcistic identification, an hysterical identification as well, which moreover has been known to us for a much longer time. I wish it were possible to determine clearly the difference between the two. Of the periodic and cyclic forms of melancholia I can tell you something that you will certainly be glad to hear, for it is possible, under favorable circumstances — I have twice had the experience — to prevent these emotional conditions (or their antitheses) by means of analytic treatment in the free intervals between the attacks. We learn that in melancholia as well as in mania, it is a matter of finding a special way for solving the conflict, the prerequisites for which entirely coincide with those of other neuroses. You can imagine how much there still is for psychoanalysis to learn in this field.
I told you, too, that we hoped to gain a knowledge of the structure of the ego, and of the separate factors out of which it is built by means of the analysis of narcistic conditions. In one place we have already made a beginning. From the analysis of the maniacal delusion of being watched we concluded that in the ego there is really an agent which continually watches, criticizes and compares the other part of the ego and thus opposes it. We believe that the patient imparts to us a truth that is not yet sufficiently appreciated, when he complains that all his actions are spied upon and watched, all his thoughts recorded and criticized. He errs only in transferring this distressing force to something alien, outside of himself. He feels the dominance of a factor in his ego, which compares his actual ego and all of its activities to an ideal ego that he has created in the course of his development. We also believe that the creation of this ideal ego took place with the purpose of again establishing that self-satisfaction which is bound up with the original infantile narcism, but which since then has experienced so many disturbances and disparagements. In this self-observing agent we recognize the ego-censor, the conscience; it is the same factor which at night exercises dream-censorship, and which creates the suppressions against inadmissible wish-impulses. Under analysis in the maniacal delusion of being watched it reveals its origin in the influence of parents, tutors and social environment and in the identification of the ego with certain of these model individuals.
These are some of the conclusions which the application of psychoanalysis to narcistic conditions has yielded us. They are certainly all too few, and they often lack that accuracy which can only be acquired in a new field with the attainment of absolute familiarity. We owe them all to the exploitation of the conception of ego-libido or narcistic libido, by the aid of which we have extended to narcistic neuroses those observations which were confirmed in the transference neuroses. But now you will ask, is it possible for us to succeed in subordinating all the disturbances of narcistic conditions and the psychoses to the libido theory in such a way that in every case we recognize the libidinous factor of psychic life as the cause of the malady, and never make an abnormality in the functioning of the instincts of self-preservation answerable? Ladies and gentlemen, this conclusion does not seem urgent to me, and above all not ripe for decision. We can best leave it calmly to the progress of the science. I should not be surprised to find that the power to exert a pathogenic influence is really an exclusive prerogative of the libidinous impulses, and that the libido theory will celebrate its triumphs along the whole line from the simplest true neurosis to the most difficult psychotic derangement of the individual. For we know it to be a characteristic of the libido that it is continually struggling against subordinating itself to the realities of the world. But I consider it most probable that the ego instincts are indirectly swept along by the pathogenic excitations of the libido and forced into a functional disturbance. Moreover, I cannot see any defeat for our trend of investigation when we are confronted with the admission that in difficult psychoses the ego impulses themselves are fundamentally led astray; the future will teach us — or at least it will teach you. Let me return for one moment more to fear, in order to eliminate one last ambiguity that we have left. We have said that the relation between fear and the libido, which in other respects seems clearly defined, does not fit in with the assumption that in the face of danger real fear should become the expression of the instinct of self-preservation. This, however, can hardly be doubted. But suppose the emotion of fear is not contested by the egoistic ego impulse, but rather by the ego-libido? The condition of fear is in all cases purposeless and its lack of purpose is obvious when it reaches a higher level. It then disturbs the action, be it flight or defense, which alone is purposeful, and which serves the ends of self-preservation. If we accredit the emotional component of actual fear to the ego-libido, and the accompanying activity to the egoistic instinct to self-preservation, we have overcome every theoretical difficulty. Furthermore, you do not really believe that we flee because we experience fear? On the contrary, we first are afraid and then take to flight from the same motive that is awakened by the realization of danger. Men who have survived the endangering of their lives tell us that they were not at all afraid, they only acted. They turned the weapon against the wild animal, and that was in fact the most purposeful thing to do.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:50