Yet The Sea Is Not Full

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.



The Essential Loewald: Primary Process, Secondary Process, and Language p.182

At an earlier point (pg. 175-176) in “The Unconscious” Freud explains that having heard something and having experienced it are, as to their psychological nature, entirely different psychic acts. If the analyst informs the patient in words of the existence of an unconscious presentation (a thing-presentation) in the patient’s mind, the patient now will “have” the word-presentation corresponding to the thing-presentation. But the patient will not be able to make adequate use of the information unless the two become linked in his mind or by his mind, through a hyper-cathecting act that creates a new form of mental presentation. In less abstract language we would say that in the joining of words and corresponding experience the psychic life of the patient is intensified or deepened, has gained a new dimension. No longer do unconscious presentation and presentation of the corresponding words exist side by side. There is now a novel present experience or psychical act that as such henceforth can become part of the patient’s memorial repertoire.


Hans Loewald – The Essential Loewald: Primary Process, Secondary Process, and Language p.182

The Essential Loewald: On Motivation and Instinct Theory p.125

Triebe were, however, for Freud not just abstract constructs or concepts in a theory of motivation or personality, to be sorted out from other forces of motivation, to be classified and distinguished from affects, perceptual and cognitive processes, and somatic needs. Triebe, instincts, were – much more than scientists, doctors, ministers, judges (“the educated circles”) wanted to admit or know – what made the human world go around, what drove people to act and think and feel the way they do, in excess as well as in self-constriction, inhibition, and fear, in their daily lives in the family and with others, and in their civilized and professional occupations and preoccupations as well. They dominated their love life and influenced their behavior with children and authorities. They made people sick and made them mad. They drove people to perversion and crimes, made them into hypocrites and liars as well as into fanatics for truth and other virtues, or into prissy, bigoted, prejudiced, or anxious creatures. And their sexual needs, preoccupations, and inhibitions turned out to be at the root of much of all this. Rational, civilized, measured, “good” behavior, the noble and kind deeds and thoughts and feelings so highly valued were much of the time postures and gestures, self-denials, rationalizations, distortions, and hideouts – a thin surface mask covering and embellishing the true life and the real power of the instincts.

The life of the body, of bodily needs and habits and functions, kisses and excrements and intercourse, tastes and smells and sights, body noises and sensations, caresses and punishments, tics and gait and movements, facial expression, the penis and the vagina and the tongue and arms and hands and feet and legs and hair, pain and pleasure, physical excitement and lassitude, violence and bliss – all this is the body in the context of human life. The body is not primarily the organism with its organs and physiological functions, anatomical structures, nerve pathways, and chemical processes.

If Freud had not had all this in view, and the vagaries and foibles of people, his own and those of his patients, he would never have been able to write his case histories and to create a scientific psychoanalysis as distinct from both neurology and academic psychiatry and psychology. He would not have been able to understand dreams and jokes and neurosis and the psychopathology of everyday life. He created, partly in spite of his inclinations and not without grave misgivings, an entirely new method and standard of scientific investigation which went counter to scientific principles and methods derived from or devised for a different realm of reality – principles and methods that stultified an appropriate approach to and grasp of psychic life. He could do this because he was unwilling to accept the narrow limitations imposed on science by the science of his day, whose child he remained nevertheless. He broke out of those limits and widened the field of scientific action, while loath to accept the consequences of such a venture in all its implications. But had he not in such a way brought science and life as it is lived together again, psychoanalysis would never have had the impact on modern life and scientific thought that we see today.

Instincts and the life of the body, seen in the perspective sketched above, are one and the same. They become separate only when we begin to distinguish between soma and psyche. But once this is done – and without this distinction there is neither physiology–anatomy nor psychology – instinct in psychoanalysis must be understood as a psychological concept. I believe it means reintroducing the psyche into biology and physics if one speaks of Eros and Thanatos as universal cosmic tendencies. Whether this is legitimate or not remains, in my opinion, an open question; this psyche, however, would in any event not be psyche or mind in terms of human psychology. Within the framework of psychoanalysis as a science of the human mind we must, if we accept the Eros-Thanatos conception (or its less “metaphysical” form, the duality of libido and aggression), speak of instincts as psychic representatives, and of life and death instincts as such representatives.


Hans Loewald – The Essential Loewald: On Motivation and Instinct Theory p.125

The Essential Loewald: On Motivation and Instinct Theory p.110

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

The Essential Loewald: Defense and Reality p.22

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

The Essential Loewald: Ego and Reality p.6

 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

Ritual p.158

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