Transforming the Internal World and Attachment, Volume II: Clinical Applications


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Introduction

On the other hand, death manifestation connected with incestuous desire would not be expressed I am dying because I must not sin. In this case, dying would achieve the desired regression to the paternal. These hypotheses aid the author in maintaining the existence of a regressive sexual instinct, which basically means a tendency to return to a state of fusion with the parents.

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Unresolved sexual impulses would intensify this trend, thus strengthening the destructive component of sexual impulses, and giving rise to the phenomenon described above. This desire to return to a state of fusion with the parents would in turn mean a desire for self-destruction.

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Sexual instinct would thus have two antagonistic impulses: a destructive and a reproductive impulse. The imbalance between them would result in one standing out and the other fading into the background, which would explain the neglect of the death instinct in sexual instinct. In the phenomena described above, the destructive component would be intensified.

However, there is no coming into being without destruction. The opposition between the tendency towards dissolution and the tendency towards differentiation.


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She cites Ernst Mach, who believes that the Self is merely a momentary grouping of elemental sensations eternally alive; it is something continuously changing and not wholly essential. The author groups Mach with Carl Jung, who defends the psyche as a combination of many individual parts; groupings fighting each other for precedence. The perfect consolidation of this view, for Spielrein, turned out to be one of her patients, who had early onset dementia. His Ego experienced this struggle so strongly, activated powers fighting for supremacy, that the patient considered his own unconscious desires as being hostile living beings.

According to Spielrein, an event would acquire emotional tonality only insofar as it could stimulate emotional tonalities of previously experienced events, hidden within the unconscious. For this reason, what we experience is not exactly the present. Our conscious experiences are allegories of unknown primitive experiences that seek connections in the present. Unconscious thoughts and representations walk side by side with each conscious representation or thought and that would transform the products of conscious thought into a specific language.

This way, consciousness differentiates from the unconscious and is assimilated, determining the emotional tonality of an experience. The unconscious dissolves representations, making them undifferentiated.

Earth represented the great mother or the unconscious representation of all people. In this great mother the unconscious , the patient would transform herself into her undifferentiated mother. This means that the unconscious assimilation of events, which occurred many generations before, would fit into a chain of present thoughts, that is, an experience of the Self would eventually turn into an experience of the species. The more we approach our conscious thoughts, the more differentiated our representations would be.

On the other hand, the more we dive into the unconscious, the more universal and typical they would be. Spielrein, , p. The present Self would be an object, subordinated to other similar objects. The species-psyche considers the Self or the ego-psyche a subordinate object, observing it as an individual part of the personality, which could be seen as an object. Early onset dementia means that the Self is no longer functional, and that the representations of the Self are transformed into representations of the species Artvorstellungen or objective representations.

This disease could be explained as a battle between these two opposing tendencies of the psyche.

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Thus, the opposition-also defended by Freud at the time-between these two drives continues. The sexual instinct and the death instinct of the psyche work together to preserve the species, and give rise to the tendency towards dissolution and assimilation, as opposed to the tendency towards differentiation, which would be the expression of the self-preservation drive. While the former seeks to transform the experiences of the self into experiences of the species, the latter aims for inertia, keeping the Self unchanged.

The self-preservation drive in us corresponds to the tendency towards differentiation and to our ability to preserve an externally crystallized particle of the Self or the whole personality of the Self.

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The preservation drive of the species is a drive to procreate, and it also expressed psychically in the dissolution or the tendency towards assimilation transforming self into us , with a new differentiation of the original matter. Since there is no coming into being without destruction, the preservation of the species would lead to dissolution and assimilation, without which we would have no creation of new beings.

The self-preservation drive would not create anything new, seeking always to maintain the inertia of the Self. Thus, Spielrein argues that:. The self-preservation drive is a simple drive, which only consists of a positive side; the drive for the preservation of the species, which must dissolve the old to create the new, has both a positive and a negative component. The drive for the preservation of the species is, in its essence, ambivalent; thus, inciting the positive component means also stimulating the negative component, and so on and so forth.

No transformation can proceed without the destruction of the old state. The dissolution and assimilation process can be experiences pleasantly or unpleasantly.

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In early onset dementia, the transformation of the ego-psyche into the species-psyche initially causes severe anguish and depression. These feelings would arise while the patient continued to hold on to a relationship with the Self. As the disease progresses, indifference would follow. On the other hand, in the artistic experience, the transformation of the Self into the collective is a pleasant experience. Spielrein argues that, by creating the typical, the artist enjoys his sublimated product.


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The dissolution of the Self in the beloved, which occurs in the involvement with the opposite sex, is also experienced with joy. However, the author also believes in feeling real pleasure in the unpleasant or the painful, which leads to the hypothesis that not all psychic functioning is ruled by the pleasure principle, which is something Freud defended at the time. Spielrein argues that Freud was right to suppose that the causa movens of our conscious and unconscious Self is the pursuit of pleasure and the suppression of the unpleasant, though it is necessary to question whether all psychic life resides in the Self.

We do not possess powerful impulses move our psychic contents without consideration for the misery of the Self, Spielrein wonders, and her answer is as follows:. I have to strongly defend that the ego-psyche, including the unconscious, is guided by motions that are deeper and not part of our emotional reactions to the demands shaped by them.

Pleasure is simply the affirmative reaction of the Self to these original demands of the core and we can achieve pleasure directly from the unpleasant and pleasure from pain, which, taken in itself, is heavily loaded with displeasure, for pain harms the individual, against which our self-preservation instinct opposes. Therefore, at our core, there is something that, however paradoxical it may seem a priori , seeks this self-harm, since the Self reacts to it with pleasure.

Spielrein argues that the species-psyche does not obey the pleasure principle, as Freud proposed. This principle would only relate to the functioning of the conscious and the unconscious Self. The species-psyche could derive joy from pain, which might in turn hinder the struggle for self-preservation, as well as a desire for self-harm.

Perfectly compatible with the hypothesis of dissolution and assimilation. According to the author:. The ego-psyche can only desire feelings of pleasure, but the species-psyche reveals to us our desires From this deep psyche-not based on the pleasure principle-would arise the impulse to destroy, or the death instinct, which would be an impulse to annihilate the Self and not an impulse to destroy the organism.

Spielrein proposes the differentiation between the species-psyche and the ego-psyche, two antagonistic tendencies. The latter manifests a tendency towards differentiation-the psychological expression of the self-preservation drive -, which wants to keep the inertia of the Self.

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While the tendency towards dissolution and assimilation are based on positive and negative components, the tendency towards differentiation is based only on positive components. Since there is no creation without destruction, the first of these tendencies is the one that depends on the creation of something; it is essential to the preservation of the species and has as a pre-requisite the destruction of the Self.

The species-psyche, unlike the ego-psyche, would not flee from displeasure or pursue pleasure. Thus, the author maintains the opposition between the ego drives and sexual drives and places the death instinct within these two. This latter instinct would not seek the annihilation of life, would not aim to completely eliminate stimulation, as Freud proposed in , but would in fact attempt to destroy the Self; the transformation of Self into Us.

The hypothesis of the inseparability between destruction and creation means that, for Spielrein, there is no purely negative drive, which is part of the Freudian theory. In future works, we will analyze more thoroughly the approximations and divergences between concepts defended by Freud and by Spielrein. Balsam, R. Women of the Wednesday Society. American Imago, 60 3 , Britton, R. Sex, death and the superego: experiences in psychoanalysis. London, England: Karnac Books.

Transforming the Internal World and Attachment, Volume II: Clinical Applications Transforming the Internal World and Attachment, Volume II: Clinical Applications
Transforming the Internal World and Attachment, Volume II: Clinical Applications Transforming the Internal World and Attachment, Volume II: Clinical Applications
Transforming the Internal World and Attachment, Volume II: Clinical Applications Transforming the Internal World and Attachment, Volume II: Clinical Applications
Transforming the Internal World and Attachment, Volume II: Clinical Applications Transforming the Internal World and Attachment, Volume II: Clinical Applications
Transforming the Internal World and Attachment, Volume II: Clinical Applications Transforming the Internal World and Attachment, Volume II: Clinical Applications
Transforming the Internal World and Attachment, Volume II: Clinical Applications Transforming the Internal World and Attachment, Volume II: Clinical Applications

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