1 The words of Kohelet, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 2 Futility of futilities, says Kohelet; futility of futilities, all is futile. 3 What profit does man have in all his labor wherein he labors under the sun? 4 One generation passes away, and another generation comes; and the earth endures forever. 5 And the sun rises and the sun sets – then to its place it rushes; there it rises again. 6 It goes toward the south and turns toward the north; it turns about continually, the wind goes and returns to its circuit. 7 All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is not full; to the place where the rivers flow, there they flow once more. 8 All matters are wearying; man cannot utter it, the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. 9 Whatever has been is what will be, and whatever has been done is what will be done. There is nothing new under the sun. 10 Sometimes there is something of which one says: “Look, this is new” – it has already existed in the ages before us. 11 As there is no recollection of the former ones, so too, of the latter ones that are yet to be, there will be no recollection among those that shall come after.
We now seem to see that, on the contrary, psychoanalytic psychology postulates instinctual, unconscious, impersonal forces as the motives of our psychic life. Where is the person? Where is the ego or self that would be the source and mainstay of personal motivation?
The problem is not resolved by hypotheses about a primary autonomy of the ego, primary ego apparatuses, and the like (Hartmann, 1939). They make the psychoanalytic ego into a biological entity with a psychological superstructure and make use of an energy concept which is biological or physical. The energy postulated in such hypotheses, while called psychic energy, is nonpsychic, i.e., nonmotivational, and instinctual motivation becomes secondary where it counts most: in the understanding of the structuring of the personality by the organization and transformation of the instincts. Inborn apparatuses are nothing but a euphemism for neurophysiological and neuroanatomical substrates, they have no psychological status. Instinct (Trieb) does have psychological meaning and the term has its legitimate use in psychoanalysis only as a psychological concept, and not as a biological or ethological one. Nobody of course denies neurophysiological processes and neurological structures, or the maturation of such structures. But to speak of inborn ego apparatuses is speaking of a Hamlet who is not the Prince of Denmark. In psychoanalytic psychology the ego is a psychic structure that cannot be found anywhere in biology or neurology, just as an organism cannot be found anywhere in physics, or a superego in sociology. It makes sense to speak of the development of the id and the ego out of an undifferentiated phase, in which there is as yet no differentiation of id, ego, and environment, as long as the concept of the undifferentiated phase is not biologized and it is recognized that as psychoanalysts we cannot go back beyond that limit.
Hans Loewald – The Essential Loewald: On Motivation and Instinct Theory p.110
Active support and channeling consist of creating a regressive, primitively structured environment with which the child is able to integrate; this, ideally, should continue in a sliding balance between the maturing bio-psychological structures, functions, and needs, and parental support. In actuality, however, the opportunities and conditions of practical necessity for an imbalance in this relationship, especially in our culture, are legion. Too little or too much, too early or too late support and channeling, and the varieties of conflict between the two parents in their capacity as supporting agents to the child represent a multitude of possibilities for such imbalance. With the increasing complexity of a culture other agents, in addition to parents, gain in importance, and the period of maturation lengthens.
Hans Loewald – The Essential Loewald: Defense and Reality p.22
As infant (mouth) and mother (breast) are not identical, or better, not one whole, any longer, a libidinal flow between infant and mother originates, in an urge towards re-establishing the original unity. It is this process in which consists the beginning constitution of a libidinal object. The emancipation from the mother, which entails the tension system between child and mother and the constitution of libidinal forces directed towards her, as well as of libidinal forces on the part of the mother toward the child – this emancipation and tension culminate in the phallic phase of the psychosexual development, lead to the Oedipus situation, and to the emergence of the super-ego.
The development away from primary narcissism, that is, the development of the ego, culminates in the resolution of the Oedipus conflict through the castration complex. The castration threat, directed against the gratification of libidinal urges toward the mother so that she is given up as a libidinal object, is seen as the representative of the demands of reality, and the submission to the castration threat as the decisive step in the establishment of the ego as based on the reality principle.
Hans Loewald – The Essential Loewald: Ego and Reality p.6
It is clear from the analyses of obsessional patients in whom loud speaking seems to cause physical pain, and who themselves can only speak softly or in a whisper, that loud, uninhibited speaking is unconsciously equivalent in them to unbridled sexual activity.
Theodor Reik – Ritual: Psycho-analytic Studies p.263
Death, mourning by the mother and other women, and resurrection of the killed god have been taken over into the ritual of the world religion of Christianity. Freud has shown us that the self-sacrifice of Christ was the expiation for an attempted murder – a parricide, since original sin was a sin against God the Father.
The sacrificial death of the Son of God is an attempt at expiation; it has the character of a compromise, for it ensures the attainment of the son’s most urgent wish, namely, his own enthronement at the side of his father.
Theodor Reik – Ritual: Psychoanalytic Studies, p.158
The impulse to alter one’s consciousness is as old as human culture, and it is found in countless human pastimes. For many people, drugs are so desirable and compelling because they lead to the rarely felt experience of being able to connect more fully with split-off feelings and needs. Drugs are used to explore the domain between the polarities of total self-constraint and self-expression, self-love and self-hate, chaos and order, selfishness and selflessness, and emotionality and stoicism. Drugs have served as the keys to or initiators of first experiences of authentic, hidden aspects of self. People fall in love with drugs because under their influence they are temporarily opened to the possibility of being more free to feel more fully, to feel more accepting of parts of themselves that they had despised. This experience of open freedom with others temporarily disarms and decommissions the inner critic’s dire warnings. People often enter into this using behavior driven by a need to learn and explore, to come closer to who they are. They are generally propelled by a deep urge to heal. They embark on this exploration seeking potential therapeutic value, to embolden themselves to make lasting changes, to encounter uncharted frontier. However, these positive experiences can also lead to serious problems.
Andrew Tatarsky – Harm Reduction Psychotherapy p.225
In any event, boys start to compare the fact that they have penises with other facts they come to recognize, that girls have vulvas rather than penises, that women grow breasts, get pregnant, give birth to babies, and nurse babies at their breasts. As the cognitive categories of present and absent are created, a boy wonders about his own body. Could he lose his penis and look like a girl? Could he have babies and nurse them? Longing, envy, and fear mix with interest and awe.
Neil Altman, Richard Briggs, Jay Frankel, Daniel Gensler, Pasqual Pantone – Relational Child Psychotherapy p.97