Let us now, using a few typical processes in human psychological life, try to show the dialectical nature of these processes: a nature which, we maintain, could not have been discovered without the psychoanalytical method.First, as an example of dialectical development, the formation of symptoms in neurosis as first discovered and described by Freud: Freud maintains that a neurotic symptom is created because the socially restrained ego at first resists and eventually represses an instinctual urge. However, the repression of an instinctual urge does not, in itself, create a symptom: the repressed urge must break through the repression and reappear in disguised form. According to Freud, the symptom contains both the rejected urge and the rejection itself: the symptom allows for both diametrically opposed tendencies. What, then, does the dialectical nature of symptom formation consist of? On the one hand, there are the demands of instinct, and on the other hand, there is reality which prohibits or punishes its gratification; this contradictory situation calls for a solution. The ego is too weak to resist reality, but also too weak to control the urge. This weakness of the ego, which is itself the result of a previous development in which the symptom formation is only a phase, is the framework within which the conflict takes place. It is now dealt with in such a way that the ego, ostensibly serving the dictates of society, but really acting in order not to be punished or destroyed -- i.e., following the instinct of self-preservation -- represses the urge. 36
Phase I: psychological conflict and repression. Before she was married, this woman met a man who pursued her with propositions which she would have liked to accept had she not been morally inhibited. She was able to put off the solution of this conflict by comforting herself with thoughts of eventual marriage. The man gave her up and she married another, without, however, being able to forget the first. The memory of this first man disturbed her incessantly. Meeting him again on some occasion, she again fell into an acute conflict between her desire for him and the demands of conjugal fidelity. Under these conditions the conflict became intolerable and insoluble, the desire for the other man being as strong as her moral sense. She now began to avoid him (resistance) and, finally, seemed to forget him. It was, however, not a real forgetting but a repression. She thought she was cured and consciously never gave him another thought.
Phase 2: breakthrough of the repression. Some time afterward she had a violent quarrel with her husband because he had been flirting with another woman. In the course of this quarrel, as was discovered much later, she thought: If you can do this, then I'm a fool if I stop myself from doing the same. In thinking this she momentarily saw the image of her first lover before her. The thought, however, was too dangerous, since it could conjure up the whole ancient conflict, and so it did not occupy her further: she had once again repressed it. But that night a fear overcame her; she suddenly had the idea that a strange man was creeping toward her bed wanting to rape her. The instinct had reentered the conscious in disguised form, or even as its own direct opposite: fear of the stranger had replaced desire. This disguise (phase 3) provided the basis for symptom formation.
If we now analyze the symptom itself, we shall see that the fantasy image of a strange man creeping into her bed at night satisfies a repressed wish to commit adultery (analysis showed in detail that the man imagined in the fantasy resembled her first lover in build, hair coloring, etc., without her realizing it). The same symptom, however, also contains an element of defense, of fear of the urge, which appears as fear of the strange man. Later, the element of "being raped" disappeared from the fear and was replaced by "being murdered", thus corresponding to a further displacement of the hitherto excessively obvious content of the symptom.In this example we see not only the joining of initially separate contradictions in a single phenomenon, but also the transformation of a phenomenon into its opposite -- the transformation of desire into fear. In such a case the transformation of sexual energy into fear -- and this was one of Freud's first and most fundamental discoveries -- the same energy produces under one set of conditions the exact opposite of what it has already produced under another set of conditions.There is yet another dialectical principle to be found in our example. The new element -- the symptom -- contains the old one (the libido), and yet the old element is no longer itself, but at the same time something entirely new, namely fear. The dialectical contradiction of libido and fear can be resolved in another way, that is to say, out of the contradiction between the ego and the outside world. 37
But before we consider this, we should think of some further, less detailed example of the dialectic of psychology. For example, the transformation of quantity into quality: the repression of an instinctual urge from the conscious, or even its mere repression, is, to a certain extent, pleasurable for the ego because it removes a conflict; but beyond a certain point this pleasure is transformed into unpleasure. Slight irritation of an erogenous zone incapable of final satisfaction is pleasurable; if it continues too long, the pleasure is again transformed into unpleasure.Tension and relaxation are dialectical concepts or processes. This fact is best seen in the sexual instinct. Tension of a sexual urge increases desire; at the same time it reduces tension (i.e., reduces itself) by satisfaction through irritation, so that it is simultaneously tension and relaxation. But tension also prepares for the coming of relaxation, just as, for instance, the winding of a clock prepares for its running down. Conversely, relaxation is connected with maximum tension -- e.g., in the sexual act or in the denouement of an exciting play -- but is also the basis for the renewal of tension.The principle of the identity of opposites is to be found in the concepts of the narcissistic libido and the object libido. Freud maintains that love of self and love of another ("object love") are not only opposites: object love comes out of the narcissistic libido and can be transformed back into it at any point; insofar as both are love tendencies, they are identical, not least because both derive from a common source -- the somatic sexual apparatus and "original narcissism". As for the concepts of the "conscious" and "unconscious", these are opposites, but the example of compulsive neurosis shows that they can be contradictory and identical at the same time. Patients suffering from compulsive neuroses banish ideas from their conscious by merely withdrawing attention or affective engagement from them; the "repressed" idea is at all times conscious and yet unconscious, i.e., the patient can produce it but does not know its significance. Likewise, the concepts "id" and "ego" express identical opposites: the ego, on the one hand, is only a specially differentiated part of the id, but under special conditions it becomes its opponent or functional counterpart.The concept of identification not only corresponds to a dialectical process but also to the identity of opposites. According to Freud, identification comes about in such a way that, say, the person who brings up a child and who is simultaneously loved and hated by the child is "absorbed" by it: the child "identifies" with the teacher, i.e., makes the teacher's attitudes or precepts its own. This usually means the end of the object relationship. Identification takes the place of the object relationship and is therefore its opposite or negation; at the same time it maintains the object relationship in another form, so that it is also an affirmation.
This is based on the following contradiction or conflict:
"I love X; because he is my teacher, he forbids me to do many things, and for that reason I hate him; I would like to destroy or eliminate him, but I also love him and for that reason I want him to stay."
From this contradictory situation, which cannot continue as such if the conflicting urges reach a certain intensity, there is the following way out:
"I absorb him, I identify myself with him, I destroy him (i.e., my relationship with him) in the outside world, but I keep him within myself in an altered form: I have destroyed him and yet he stays."
In such situations, which in psychoanalysis are covered by the concept of ambivalence, of Yes and No simultaneously, there exist many other dialectical phenomena, of which we emphasize only the most striking, the transformation of love into hate and vice versa. Hate may, in reality, mean love, and love may mean hate. They are identical insofar as both make possible an intensive relationship with another person. Transformation into the opposite is a property which, Freud says, all the instincts in general possess. In such reversal the original instinct is not destroyed but is fully maintained in its opposite.The opposites "perversion" and "neurosis", too, should be seen dialectically, in that every neurosis is a negated perversion and vice versa.A very good example of dialectical development is found in the history of sexual repression over the centuries. Among primitive races there is a sharp contrast between the incest taboo in respect of the sister (and mother) and sexual freedom in respect of all other women. But the sexual restriction gradually spreads further and further, at first affecting cousins and later all women of the same gens, until, finally, as a result of further extension it is transformed into a qualitatively different attitude to sexuality in general, as for instance under the patriarchal system and especially in the age of Christianity. Yet the increased repression of sexuality as a whole produces its opposite, with the result that, today, the taboo on relationships between brother and sister has in fact been broken so far as children are concerned. Adults, because of their excessively powerful sexual repression, have absolutely lost all knowledge of infantile sexuality, so that sexual play between brother and sister is today not regarded as sexual at all and forms part of the accepted pattern of life in the most "refined" nurseries. Primitive man may not so much as look at his sister, but in all other respects he is sexually free; civilized man lives out his infantile sexuality with his sister, but is otherwise bound by the most stringent moral precepts. 38
Let us now examine the extent to which psychoanalysis has uncovered the dialectic of those psychological processes which concern the individual's general development in society. Two basic questions have to be considered: first, the question as to whether the dialectic of psychological processes can be traced back to the (fundamental but resolvable) contradictions between the ego (instinct) and the outside world; second, the manner in which rational and irrational interpretations of the same facts contradict one another and yet merge into one another.In the first section of this article we have explained that according to Freud's psychoanalytic theory, the individual comes into the world, psychologically speaking, as a bundle of needs and corresponding instincts. Being a social creature, the individual with all his needs is immediately placed in the midst of society -- not only the close society of the family but also, indirectly, through the economic conditions of family life, of society at large. Reduced to the most simple formula, the economic structure of society -- through many intermediary links such as the class association of the parents, the economic conditions of the family, its ideology, the parents' relationship to one another, etc. -- enters into a reciprocal relation with the instincts, or ego, of the newborn. Just as his ego changes his environment, so the changed environment reacts back upon his ego. The needs are partially satisfied, and to that extent there is harmony. To a major extent, however, there arises a contradiction between the instinctual needs and the social order, of which the family (and later the school) act as the representative. This contradiction produces a conflict which leads to a change, and as the individual is the weaker opponent, the change occurs within his psychological structure. Such conflicts, resulting from contradictions which, if the child's psychological structure remained constant, would be insoluble, arise daily and hourly and create the energy for development. True, psychoanalysis does speak of predisposition, of development tendencies and so forth, but the facts which have so far been discovered by experience concerning psychological development in early childhood suggest only the dialectical development as described above -- progressive movement by means of contradictions from step to step. A distinction is made between different stages of development in the libido. It is said that the libido passes through these stages, but observation shows that no stage is really reached unless there has been a refusal of instinctual satisfaction in the preceding stage. Thus the refusal of instinctual satisfaction becomes, through the conflict which it causes within the child, the motive force of its development. We neglect that share of this development which is due to heredity because it is difficult to represent it purely as such, as for instance, with the disposition of erogenous zones and of the perception apparatus. This is still a more or less uncharted area of biological research, and the question as to the nature of its dialectic does not belong within this essay. We have taken it into account, but we must be satisfied with Freud's formula, according to which instinctual disposition and experience account for more or less equal parts in development. 39 Thus, side by side with the satisfaction of instinctual wishes, the refusal of these wishes plays a dominant role as a motive force of psychological development. The contrast between the ego and the outside world eventually becomes an inner contradiction in that an inhibiting force -- the superego -- begins to form within the psychological apparatus under the influence of the outside world. What was originally a fear of punishment becomes a moral inhibition. The conflict between instinct and outside world becomes a conflict between the instinct-ego and the superego. We must not forget, however, that both are materially based, the former fed directly from an organic source, the latter created within the ego in the interests of the self-preservation instinct (narcissism), which limits the sexual instinct and aggressivity. In that way two fundamental needs, which at first -- in the infant stage and in many situations later in childhood -- formed a unity, enter into contradiction to one another and drive the development forward from conflict to conflict, not only occasioned but actually caused by social limitations. 40 And although inner and outer conflicts usually determine development, here social existence gives both to the aims of the instinctual wish and to the moral inhibitions which restrain it their time-conditioned ideas and contents. Thus psychoanalysis fully confirms Marx's dictum that social being determines "consciousness", that is to say ideas, aspirations and wishes, moral ideologies, etc., rather than vice versa. Furthermore, it adds a concrete content to this dictum as regards the development of children. This is not to deny, however, that both the intensity of needs -- which is somatically determined -- and qualitative differences in development can be caused by the instinct apparatus. Many Marxists have said to me in discussion that this is an "idealist deviation"; on the contrary, it entirely agrees with the Marxian principle that man himself makes his history, though only under given specific conditions and prerequisites of a social nature. 41 Engels in one of his letters expressly rejects the idea that the production and reproduction of reality is the only determining element in the development of ideologies; it is, he says, the determining element only in the final instance. 42 Translated into the language of sociology, Freud's central thesis concerning the importance of the Oedipus complex in the development of the individual means precisely that social being determines that development. The child's instincts and disposition -- empty molds ready to receive their social contents -- go through the (social) processes of relationships with father, mother and teacher, and only then acquire their final form and content.The dialectic of psychological development shows itself not only in the fact that contrasting results can arise out of any situation of conflict depending on the ratio of forces of the opposing sides; clinical experience has proved that character traits can, given appropriate conflict situations, change into their exact opposites which were already present in germinal form when the first solution of the conflict occurred. A cruel child can become the most sympathetic of adults, in whose compassion it would be impossible, without detailed analysis, to find a trace of the old cruelty. A dirty child can later become a fiend for cleanliness; a curious child can become scrupulously discreet. Sensuality easily changes into asceticism. In fact, the more intensively a character trait has developed, the more readily it will change into its opposite, given the appropriate circumstances (reaction formation).However, as development progresses the old element is not entirely lost through transformation. While a part of the trait develops into its opposite, another continues to exist unchanged, not without undergoing formal modifications as a result of changes in the personality as a whole. The Freudian concept of recurrence plays a great part in developmental psychology, and close examination shows it to be wholly dialectical. 43 That which is repeated is always both the old thing and an entirely new one, the old thing clad in new clothing or performing a new function. When a child which once liked to play with excrement later enjoys building sand castles and eventually, as an adult, develops a great interest in building, this means that the old element is contained in all three phases, but in a different form and serving a different function. Another example is the story of the surgeon or gynecologist, the former is satisfying his sadism (cutting open), the latter his infantile pleasure in looking and touching. To judge whether or not these findings are correct is not a matter for methodological but only for empirical criticism. No one who has not analyzed a surgeon can challenge this theory. Methodologically, however, he can raise a serious objection, that of the dependence of any human activity on economic living conditions. But psychoanalysis claims no more than that certain particular forces can have an effect on activity. 44 Side by side with the subjective urge, the form which sublimation takes is, of course, economically conditioned; it is above all a man's social position which decides whether he will sublimate his sadism as butcher, surgeon or policeman. Sublimation may also, for social reasons, prove to be impossible; this then leads to dissatisfaction with the occupation forced upon the individual by social conditions. Methodology can further raise the question of how the undeniably rational character of an activity is compatible with its equally undeniably irrational meaning. After all, the painter paints, the engineer constructs, the surgeon cuts open and the gynecologist examines in order to make a living, i.e., for economic, rational reasons. Moreover, work is a social, that is to say a wholly rational activity. How can this be reconciled with the explanation offered by psychoanalysis that man sublimates an instinct in his chosen activity and so satisfies it? Many analysts fail to appreciate sufficiently the rational character of work. They see in the products of human activity nothing but projections and satisfactions of instincts. 45 However, a certain analyst did once jokingly admit that while it was true that an airplane was a penis symbol, all the same it got you from Berlin to Vienna.The problematic nature of the relationship between the rational and the irrational 46 can be seen again in the following example. The cultivation of the earth with tools and the sowing of seeds serves, socially and individually, the purpose of producing food. But it also has the symbolic meaning of incest with the mother (Mother Earth). The rational attracts the symbolic and becomes filled with symbolic meaning. The link between the rational activity and its irrational, symbolic meaning is to be found in the sequence of actions: the plunging of the tool into a material, the implanting of a seed and the production of fruit through such treatment of the material. Hence the symbolism is justified. We can see that the apparently meaningless has a meaningful core and that the symbolism has a background of reaIity -- the mother, like the earth, after treatment with a tool (penis symbol), bears fruit. The setting up of artificial phalluses on cultivated fields as fertility charms, an objectively useless action of a magic kind practiced by many primitive races, illuminates a particular aspect of the relationship between the rational and the irrational; it represents a magical attempt to achieve a certain end more easily and effectively by irrational means. But it does not mean that rational activity -- in this case, ploughing and cultivating the field -- is neglected. And what in agriculture appears as an irrational, symbolic element -- namely sexual intercourse is in itself also a thing of meaning and purpose; it serves the satisfaction of the sexual need, just as sowing serves the satisfaction of the self-preservation instinct. And so we see again that there are no absolute opposites and that the contradiction between rational and irrational can also be solved dialectically.
The dialectical fact that the rational contains the irrational, and vice versa, requires closer examination. Psychoanalytical experience of clinical cases supplies certain answers. It seems that socially purposeful activities may acquire symbolic meaning, but, equally, that they need not acquire such meaning. When, say, a person dreams of a knife or a tree, this may be a penis symbol or it may stand for a real knife or a real tree. And if it does appear in the dream as a symbol, this by no means excludes the rational meaning, for if we analytically pursue the question why the penis is represented by a tree or a knife and not, say, by a stick, we will in many cases find a rational explanation. For example, a nymphomaniac patient used to masturbate with a knife, which unquestionably represented a penis. But the choice of a knife was based on the fact that her mother had once thrown a knife at her and in so doing had injured her; and now, in her onanism, the idea predominated that she must destroy herself with a knife. This behavior, which seemed irrational in its later stage, had once been wholly rational in that it served sexual gratification. Such examples show, and many others could be quoted to show, that everything which appears irrational at the moment of examination once possessed a rational meaning. Every symptom, irrational in itself, has meaning and purpose if it is analytically traced back to its origin. The conclusion to be drawn is that all infantile-instinctual actions serving the rational urge for pleasure turn into irrational actions when they have undergone repression or some similar fate. Thus the rational always comes first.If, for example, we consider the activity of engineering, we find in it certain irrational elements, e.g., the symbolic satisfaction of an unconscious wish.
In sublimation, a driving force which once -- in childhood -- was rationally directed toward satisfaction is diverted from its original purpose by education and is directed toward a different aim. But at the very moment when the original aim has been given up in reality but retained in fantasy, the striving for it becomes irrational. If the urge finds a new aim in sublimation, then the old striving, which has become irrational, mingles with the new rational activity, appearing now as the irrational causation of that activity. This can be demonstrated schematically by taking the example of a child's desire for sexual knowledge later working itself out by the adult becoming a doctor.
Phase I: the wish for sexual knowledge is rationally aimed at the contemplation of the naked body and the sexual organs. Rational aim: satisfaction of the wish.
Phase 2: refusal of direct satisfaction; the wish loses the possibility of satisfaction, the urge becomes irrational in relation to the person's actual sexual life.
Phase 3: the wish finds a new activity having a substantive connection with the first. The person concerned becomes a doctor and is once more free to look at naked bodies and sexual organs as he did as a child. He is doing the same thing and yet something else; insofar as it is the same -- insofar as his activity relates to the situation of his childhood -- it is now without meaning or purpose; but insofar as it relates to his present social function, it is entirely rational and useful.
It is, then, the social function of an activity which decides whether it is rational or irrational. The transformation of the character of an activity from rational to irrational and vice versa also depends on the social position of the individual at a given moment. An action of the doctor's which is without meaning in his consulting room becomes meaningful in his private life when, for instance, he is making love: another action, meaningful in his professional work, will lose its rational character if repeated in his personal life.
These considerations can lead us to realize that psychoanalysis, by virtue of its method, can reveal the instinctual roots of the individual's social activity, and by virtue of its dialectical theory of instincts can clarify, in detail, the psychological effects of production conditions upon the individual; can clarify, that is to say, the way that ideologies are formed "inside the head". Between the two terminal points -- the economic structure of society at the one end, the ideological superstructure at the other: terminal points whose causal connections have been more or less explored by the materialist view of history -- the psychoanalyst sees a number of intermediate stages. Psychoanalysis proves that the economic structure of society does not directly transform itself into ideologies "inside the head". Instead it shows that the instinct for nourishment (self-preservation instinct), the manifestations of which are dependent upon given economic conditions, affects and changes the workings of the sexual instinct, which is far more plastic (i.e., malleable). In limiting the aims of sexual needs, this constantly creates new productive forces within the social work process by means of the sublimated libido. Directly, the sublimated libido yields working capacity; in directly, it leads to more highly developed forms of sexual sublimation, e.g., religion, morality in general and sexual morality in particular, etc. This means that psychoanalysis has its proper place within the materialist view of history at a very specific point: at that point where psychological questions arise as a result of the Marxian thesis that material existence transforms itself into "ideas inside the head". The libido process is secondary to social development and dependent upon it, but it intervenes decisively in it insofar as the sublimated libido is turned into working capacity and hence into a productive force. 47 If, however, we recognize the libido process 48 as secondary, we are still left with the question of the historical significance of the Oedipus complex. We have seen that psychoanalysis deals dialectically (even if unconsciously so) with all psychological processes; only the Oedipus complex seems to be a static exception. There may be two reasons for this. It could be that the Oedipus complex is interpreted unhistorically as an unchanged and unchangeable fact, a fact given as part of the nature of man. Or, secondly, it could be that the family form which is the basis of the Oedipus complex of today has in fact existed more or less unchanged for thousands of years. Jones 49 seems to represent the first view when, in a discussion with Malinowski 50 on the Oedipus complex in a matriarchal society, he says that the Oedipus complex is "fons et origo" of all things. This viewpoint is unquestionably idealist, for to represent the recently discovered relationship between a child and its father and mother as eternal and unchangeable, whatever the society in which the child is living, is reconcilable only with the view that social existence itself is unchangeable. To eternalize the Oedipus complex is to regard the family form which has given rise to it as absolute and eternal, which would be tantamount to thinking that the nature of mankind has always been as it appears to us today. The Oedipus complex can be assumed to apply to all forms of patriarchal society, but the relationship of children to their parents in a matriarchal society is, according to Malinowski, so different that it can hardly be called by the same name. Malinowski says that the Oedipus complex is a sociologically conditioned fact which changes its form with the structure of society. The Oedipus complex must disappear in a socialist society because its social basis -- the patriarchal family -- will itself disappear, having lost its raison d'etre. Communal upbringing, which forms part of the socialist program, will be so unfavorable to the forming of psychological attitudes as they exist within the family today the relationship of children to one another and to the persons who bring them up will be so much more many-sided, complex and dynamic -- that the Oedipus complex with its specific content of desiring the mother and wishing to destroy the father as a rival will lose its meaning. All that is left is a question of definitions: Do we describe real incest as it existed in primeval times in terms of the Oedipus complex, or do we reserve the term for the forbidden incest wish and rivalry with the father? This not only means that the validity of a fundamental psychoanalytical thesis is limited to certain definite social forms. It also means that the Oedipus complex is regarded as a fact which in the last analysis is economically determined and, at least in the form which it assumes, socially determined. Given the lack of agreement among ethnologists, the question of the origins of sexual repression cannot as yet be solved. 51 Freud in Totem and Taboo relies upon Darwin's theory of the primeval horde and interprets the Oedipus complex as the cause of sexual repression. But obviously this does not give sufficient consideration to matriarchal society. Conversely, from the viewpoint of the Bachofen-Morgan-Engels school of research, we can see a possibility of interpreting the Oedipus complex, or, rather, the family form out of which it arose, as a consequence of sexual repression, which had already set in. Whatever the answer, psychoanalysis would surely be the poorer in possibilities of research in the social and pedagogical fields if it chose, so far as the Oedipus complex is concerned, to deny the dialectic which it has itself discovered in all other spheres of the life of the psyche. 52
33 Cf. Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism.
34 (1934) The same applies, as has been discovered in the meanwhile, to the development of sex forms and sex ideology. In primitive societies, with a primitive communist economy, sexual life is approved and provided for. With the development toward a commodity and private economy, the affirmation of sexuality turns into its denial, both in society as a whole and in the individual human structure. Given the dialectical law of development we must now assume that the denial of sexuality will, at a higher level of development, once again be transformed into social and structural approval. The present period is a period of two conflicts: one concerns the abandonment or preservation of the commodity economy; the second sees an increasingly acute conflict between a social tendency toward a more stringent suppression of sexuality, and an opposing tendency toward a restoration of natural sexual economy in place of moral regulation and suppression. In the first years of the existence of the Soviet Union the two progressive tendencies were very clearly marked; so far as sexuality is concerned, the progress was interrupted and a retrograde development set in, the causes and nature of which have not yet been properly investigated. (Cf. "Der Einbruch der Sexualmoral" ). The theory of a social economy of sexuality can be viewed as the subjective recognition, the theoretical realization, of this social contradiction. The leaders of the proletarian movement today are ignorant of this contradiction, and efforts to reveal it have met with violent resistance on the part of important sections of the leadership. Cf. "Die Geschichte der Sex.-Pol." (The History of the Sex-Political Movement) Z.f.p.P.u.S., starting with No. 3/4.
35 (1934) The fascist mass movement makes this process almost palpably evident. The anticapitalist rebellion of the mass of the German people, which is in acute contradiction with the objective function of fascism, has become interwoven with that function and so has transformed itself, for a time, into its opposite -- namely, a reinforcement of the rule of German capital.At this point I should like to refer in passing to a problem which will be discussed in detail elsewhere. The special nature of Marxist politics consists in foreseeing the trends of possible development in any situation and in encouraging those processes which are favorable to social revolution. The theoretical thinking of the Comintern leaders, in whose hands lies the fate of world revolution, has degenerated, becoming economist and mechanical; as a result, the Comintern has been regularly overtaken by events. It has proved incapable of foreseeing anything; for example, it overlooked the revolutionary tendencies in the fascist mass movement and was therefore unable to turn them to advantage. Both revolutionary and reactionary tendencies were temporarily combined in fascism. The mass slaughter of the storm troop leaders on June 30, 1934, has shown that the rift between the two has once again become acute; it remains to be seen whether the break will be final. All this could have been foreseen as a possibility. A way of learning from the past exists. If we can recognize at an early stage the inner contradictions in any important social phenomenon, then we can calculate in advance its possible trends of development. In this connection, Cf. " Massenpsychologie des Faschismus" (Mass Psychology of Fascism), VerI. f. Sex.-Pol., 2nd ed., 1934, where an attempt is made to analyze the ideological contradictions of fascism.
36 (1934) The English psychoanalytical school overlooked the fact that this weakness of the ego is an artificial expression resulting from the inhibition of urges. If there were no conflict between the ego and sexual demands, and if the ego could obtain the satisfaction corresponding to whatever stage of development it happens to have reached, then it would not fear the urge. Yet the resulting weakness is regarded by the English and many other analysts as biologically founded. From their position it would follow that sexual repression is a biological necessity.
37 (I934) At the present stage of knowledge, the difference between this view of the duality of urges (which today may be described as the "sexual economy" view) and Freud's can be summed up as follows: Freud posited, on the one hand, a conflict between the ego and the outside world, and then, independently from this, the inner dualism of two basic urges. He discovered the dual character of the psychical process, an idea which he never abandoned. Sexual economy takes another view of the inner dualism of urges, which is not absolute but dialectical; moreover, we believe that inner conflicts between urges follow from the fundamental conflict between the ego and the outside world. It would take us too far to discuss these complicated matters in detail in this paper, and, in particular, to describe how the sexual economy theory of urges grew out of the Freudian theory, which of the specific elements it took over in their entirety and which it replaced or developed, etc.. Some friends of sexual economy are inclined to ascribe views to Freud which he himself rejects. Since sexual economy is, among other things, the most consistent continuation of psychoanalytical science, it goes without saying that many of its fundamental views were prefigured or hinted at -- or were already present in latent form -- in psychoanalytical research; hence the difficulty of separating the two disciplines from one another. Yet today a glance at the literature is enough to show how the sexual economy doctrine of sexuality and instincts is irreconcilable with that of the psychoanalytical school. Unlike very well-intentioned friends of both disciplines, I should like to avoid trying to reconcile the irreconcilable. The fundamental principles of the sexual-economy doctrine of instincts are explained in the last chapter of Charakterallalyse and in the "Urgegensatz des vegetativen Lebens", Z.f.p.P.u.S., 1934.
38 (I934) This paragraph needs correcting. When I first wrote it I was influenced by the bourgeois theory that the patriarchal family was the sexual unit of primitive society -- a theory which coincided with Freud's as put forward in Totem and Taboo. I have since learned something about the crucial development processes which transformed matriarchy into patriarchy, and am now forced to recognize that not only sisters but all girls of the same clan are subject to taboo. For comments on the contradiction between family and clan, cf. "Der Einbruch der Sexualmoral".
39 (1934) This passage, too, needs to be carefully corrected. In place of the absolute view of instinctual predisposition, sexual economy holds that in the first place, a predisposition can exist only as regards differences of biological and physiological energy production, and secondly, that these differences appear as a "hereditary predisposition" only when the necessary conditions are present. In other words, the same make-up may be conducive to neurosis in one case and not in another. Our incomplete concrete knowledge of these processes means that theoretical formulations, too, have to be very tentative. A first attempt is to be found in the postscript to "Einbruch der Sexualmoral". It is unlikely that the dialectical materialist science of the future will take over much from today's science of genetics, which is one of the strongholds of bourgeois culture, based mainly on moral value judgments and containing very few scientific elements. Its culmination to date has been Hitler's megalomaniac "theory of race".
40 (1934) The question here is how the inner contradictions which produce the inner psychical conflict develop out of the basic conflict between ego and the outside world and how they later assume independent existence. This fundamental question as to the nature of the "dialectical law of development" arose for the first time quite recently in connection with a discussion on character formation. I cannot at present judge to what extent it is already dealt with in Hegel or Marx; anyway, I would prefer to approach the new field-that of the dialectics of the psyche -- entirely unprejudiced. When I was studying Marx, it seemed to me that Marx does not answer the question of the origin of man's inner contradictions, but it may be that at that time I was not specially concerned with this problem, and Marx's comments therefore escaped my attention.
41 (1934) Since the economist Marxists of today attack sexual economy in the name of Karl Marx, let me quote a famous statement which proves that Marx believed human needs to be the basis of production and society. In doing so I fully realize that scientific debates today tend to be decided by prestige politics rather than by objective argument, so that quotations are of little use. Marx said that "individuals have always built on themselves" (The German Ideology, R. Pascal, ed., New York, International Publishers, New World Paperback, 1963, page 76). By this he did not mean that individuals do not need relationships with one another; on the contrary -- because the needs of individuals, that is to say their nature, and their way of satisfying those needs, bring them into association with one another (sexual intercourse, trade, division of labor), they have to establish relations among themselves. Since, further, they enter into these relations not as pure egos but as individuals at a certain stage of development of their productive forces and needs, and since their relations, in turn, determine their production and their needs, it is the personal, individual behavior of individuals to one another which has created the existing relations and re-creates them anew every day. Individuals entered into relations with one another as what they were, they "built on themselves" as they were, regardless of their "ideology"; this "ideology", whatever it was, even the distorted ideology of the philosophers, could only be determined by their real life.
42 Engels, letter to J. Bloch: "Hence if somebody twists this into saying that the economic element is the only determining one, he transforms that proposition into a meaningless, abstract, senseless phrase", Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Selected Works (2 vols.), Vol. II, Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1951.
43 (1934) The theory of compulsive repetition which goes beyond the pleasure principle has since proved itself to be a hypothesis which might have been specially invented in order to de-sexualize the psychical process. A detailed clinical refutation of this theory is to be found in the chapter entitled "Der masochistische Charakter" in "Charakteranalyse", 1933. Within the meaning of my text, repetition is dialectical only if it occurs within the pleasure-unpleasure principle; this principle -- if only for heuristic reasons -- must not be limited unless one wishes to fling the doors wide open to the metaphysics we have driven out with so much effort.
44 (1934) My judgment of the attitude of psychoanalysis toward its own fundamental precepts was too favorable at the time. No analyst who is not a Marxist will admit that the contents of psychical activity are rational constructs of the outside world, and that only the energy ratios involved are the product of the individual's inner world. This is confirmed, for example, by the suggestion, offered in all seriousness, that capitalism is a matter of the instincts. We are not, however, overlooking the as yet unsolved problem of how the psychical energy apparatus sets about transforming the stimuli it receives from the outside world into notions concerning the outside world which can later reproduce themselves independently from any outward stimuli. This problem is of the same order as that of the origin of inner contradictions. It is, unquestionably, also the problem of the origin of consciousness as a whole. In this field not even the first steps have been made toward a workable solution.
45 (1934) In Freud himself we find only vague hints of such an approach, as, for example, in his remarks about the invention of fire; these faint suggestions of an idealist world view -- which, in Freud, are quite negligible compared with his materialist discoveries and theories -- have been exaggerated in a grotesque way by metaphysically and ethically minded analysts.46 The term "rational" is used throughout in the sense of "having meaning and purpose", and "irrational" as its opposite.
47 (1934) The above paragraph remains valid in its essentials, but recent knowledge shows the ideas it contains to be very primitive and imprecise. That "working capacity" forms, in its energetic core, part of the individual's sexual economy, i.e., of what happened to his libido in the course of development, is no longer open to doubt. That the economist Marxists seem to see this as an insult to labor, that they violently reject this possibility, and that in so doing they cease to be Marxists is equally certain. But we must add that little is known as yet about the structural and dynamic make-up of working capacity, although this question is the central problem of the socialist cultural revolution and of so-called "human planning", which must follow economic planning if the latter is to become structurally anchored in human life.
48 (I934) The emphasis here is on "process". The fact that sexual life energy is present as a vital driving force before any production is taken for granted.49 Ernest Jones, writing in Imago, 1928.50 Sex and Repression in Savage Society, London, Kegan Paul.51 (1934) A workable theory of the social origins of sexual repression has been established in the meantime. See my book, The Imposition of Sexual Morality.
52 (1934) This apprehension has since proved justified. The development of psychoanalytical pedagogy is inhibited by two ideological limitations of the bourgeois analysts: first, by their refusal to cope with the contradiction between the removal of sexual repression and bourgeois sexual inhibitions in children and adolescents; and secondly by their biological view of the child-parents conflict.