163 Slices
Medium 9781855750869

75. Concerning the Psychogenesis of Mechanism. [1919]

Sandor Ferenczi Karnac Books ePub

THE psycho-analyst, who has learnt to meet the almost unanimous rejection of his science by mankind whose soul it has disquieted, with a certain fatalism, is, at long intervals of time, temporarily shaken out of this mood by certain experiences. While the savants who set the fashion are unremittingly occupied in destroying and burying our science for the nth time, there appears now in furthest India, now in Mexico, in Peru or Australia, a lonely thinker, a doctor or observer of humanity, and declares himself to be a follower of Freud. It is still more surprising when it turns out that a psycho-analyst has been at work silently in our very midst and suddenly publishes the psychoanalytical knowledge he has been accumulating for years. Most rarely of all, however, is one in the position to discover in the works of recognized leaders of present-day science traces of psycho-analytic influence, or a parallelism between their thought tendencies and those of the psychoanalysts.

In this state of affairs every one will find it pardonable and understandable that on reading the preface to Ernst Mach’s work, Kultur und Mechanik,2I for a moment dropped the fatalistic attitude—which is, of course, only forced upon one and is hard to bear—and gave myself up to the optimistic idea that I could salute and esteem as of one mind with me one of the foremost thinkers and scientists at present living.3

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855750869

18. Thinking and Muscle Innervation. [1919]

Sandor Ferenczi Karnac Books ePub

THERE are people who whenever they want to think something out tend to interrupt the particular movement in which they happen to be engaged (for instance walking) and to continue it only after completion of the intellectual act. Others again are incapable of carrying out an in any way complicated thought process while at rest, but must manifest active muscular movements throughout its dura-’tion (getting up from their chair, walking about, etc.). Those of the first category often prove to be strongly inhibited people in whom every independent effort of thought calls for the conquest of inner (intellectual and affective) resistances. The individuals belonging to the second group (who are usually described as of the’ motor type’ ) are on the contrary people with a too rapid flow of ideas and a very active phantasy. The fact that the inhibited individual seems to employ the energy saved by the suspension of muscular innervation for overcoming resistances during the act of thinking, while the’ motor type’ , according to all appearances, must squander muscular energy if he wishes to moderate the otherwise all too’ easy overflowing of intensities’ (Freud), that is, to restrain his phantasy and think logically, speaks for the inner connection between the act of thinking and motility. The degree of’ effort’ necessary for thought does not always-—as indicated—depend on the difficulty of comprehending the task to be mastered, but is— as analysis shows—very often affectively conditioned. Un-pleasurably toned thought processes require, ceteris paribus, greater effort; inhibited thought often proves on analysis to be conditioned by the censorship, that is, to be neurotic. In mild cyclothymics one sees conditions of inhibited and exaggerated phantasy run parallel with variations in liveliness of movement. These motor symptoms of thought inhibition or of excitement occur in’ normals’ also at times.2

See All Chapters
Medium 9781780491769

Challenges of Honesty

Sandor Ferenczi Karnac Books ePub

Challenges of honesty

Gábor Szőnyi

There was one thing to which Sándor Ferenczi was committed more than to Freud: psychoanalysis. Above all others, he took the method extremely seriously, not in a descriptive sense, but by following its spirit and exploring it in its totality.

Freud proposed taking mental phenomena as facts that can be studied, and practised self-analysis. He experienced the pain of honesty towards oneself, and said that self-analysis has limits.

Nowadays, self-analysis is seen as one of the most important tools of an analyst; however, Freud did not place self-analysis among the central prerequisites in undertaking psychoanalysis, and, in the period before the IPA organised training, we do not find it as a requirement for future analysts. Training analysis was introduced, and then supervision. From that point on, honesty was taken for granted. The requirements demanded more and more analysis, because any failure or incompetence of an analyst—both in conducting therapy and participating in analytic organisations—were seen as failings of their personal analysis.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855750869

45. Obsessional Etymologizing. [1913].

Sandor Ferenczi Karnac Books ePub
Medium 9781855750876

18. On Epileptic Fits. Observations and Reflections (c. 1921)

Sandor Ferenczi Karnac Books ePub

As registrar in a hospital for incurables, the Budapest Salpe-tricre, I had in my time to observe hundreds of epileptic fits. This turned out to have been a useful experience during the war years, when I became medical superintendent of a department of a military hospital, where one of my duties was the ‘verification’ of such fits. I do not propose here to go into the difficult and sometimes insoluble problems presented by individual cases in which we were called on to decide whether we were confronted with malingering, hysteria, or true, ‘genuine’ epilepsy, but shall confine myself to a few observations and reflections on those cases in which the typical picture of true epilepsy was presented without any doubt—that is to say, dilated, reactionless pupils, tonic-clonic spasms, complete extinction of sensibility, including corneal sensibility, biting of the tongue, noisy, laborious breathing, foaming at the mouth, ejection of the contents of the bowels, and post-epileptic coma. The impression made on the psycho-analyst by these fits is of a regression to an extremely primitive level of organization in which all inner excitations are discharged by the shortest motor path and all susceptibility to external stimuli is lost. In observing such cases I was continually reminded of the first attempt2 made by me long ago to classify epilepsy among the psycho-neuroses. I then suggested that an epileptic fit signified a regression to an extremely primitive level of infantile ego-organization in which wishes were still expressed by uncoordinatcd movements. It will be remembered that this suggestion was subsequently taken up by the American psychoanalyst McGuidy, who modified it by showing that the epileptic’s regression went back even further, to the intra-utcrinc situation, that of the unborn child in the womb. A similar opinion was expressed by my colleague Hollos, who in a paper read to the Hungarian branch of the International Psycho-Analytical Association compared the mental state of an epileptic during a fit to the unconsciousness of an unborn child.

See All Chapters

See All Slices