The Denial of Death  

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"The main thesis of this book is that [...] the idea of death, the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else; it is a mainspring of human activity — activity designed largely to avoid the fatality of death, to overcome it by denying in some way that it is the final destiny for man."


"[The Denial of Death is] a magnificent psychophilosophical synthesis which ranks among the truly important books of the year. Professor Becker writes with power and brilliant insight ... moves unflinchingly toward a masterful articulation of the limitations of psychoanalysis and of reason itself in helping man transcend his conflicting fears of both death and life ... his book will be acknowledged as a major work." — Publishers Weekly

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The Denial of Death is a 1973 work of psychology and philosophy by Ernest Becker, in which the author builds on the works of Søren Kierkegaard, Sigmund Freud, Norman O. Brown (Life Against Death, 1959) and especially Otto Rank (Will Therapy, 1929-31; Psychology and the Soul, 1930; and Art and Artist, 1932).

The book was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1974, two months after the author's death.

Contents

Background

The premise of The Denial of Death is that human civilization is ultimately an elaborate, symbolic defense mechanism against the knowledge of our mortality, which in turn acts as the emotional and intellectual response to our basic survival mechanism. Becker argues that a basic duality in human life exists between the physical world of objects and a symbolic world of human meaning. Thus, since humanity has a dualistic nature consisting of a physical self and a symbolic self, we are able to transcend the dilemma of mortality through heroism, by focusing our attention mainly on our symbolic selves. This symbolic self-focus takes the form of an individual's "immortality project" (or "causa sui project"), which is essentially a symbolic belief-system that ensures oneself is believed superior to physical reality. By successfully living under the terms of the immortality project, people feel they can become heroic and, henceforth, part of something eternal: something that will never die as compared to their physical body. This, in turn, gives people the feeling that their lives have meaning, a purpose, and are significant in the grand scheme of things.

Becker argues that the arbitrariness of human-invented immortality projects makes them naturally prone to conflict. When one immortality project conflicts with another, it is essentially an accusation of 'wrongness of life', and so sets the context for both aggressive and defensive behavior. Each party will want to prove its belief system is superior, a better way of life. Thus these immortality projects are considered a fundamental driver of human conflict, such as in wars, bigotry, genocide, and racism.

Another theme running throughout the book is that humanity's traditional "hero-systems", such as religion, are no longer convincing in the age of reason. However, he argued the loss of religion leaves humanity with impoverished resources for necessary illusions. Science attempts to serve as an immortality project, something that Becker believes it can never do, because it is unable to provide agreeable, absolute meanings to human life. The book states that we need new convincing "illusions" that enable us to feel heroic in ways that are agreeable. Becker, however, does not provide any definitive answer, mainly because he believes that there is no perfect solution. Instead, he hopes that gradual realization of humanity's innate motivations, namely death, can help to bring about a better world.

Mental illness

From this premise, mental illness is described as opposite, dysfunctional extremes in one's relationship with their own immortality project.

Depression

At one extreme, people experiencing depression have the sense that their immortality project is failing. They either begin to think the immortality project is false, or feel unable to successfully be a hero in terms of that immortality project. As a result, they are consistently reminded of their mortality, biological body, and feelings of worthlessness.

Schizophrenia

At the other extreme, Becker describes schizophrenia as a state in which a person becomes so obsessed with his or her personal immortality project as to altogether deny the nature of all other realities. Schizophrenics create their own internal, mental reality in which they define and control all purposes, truths, and meanings. This makes them pure heroes, living in a mental reality that is taken as superior to both physical and cultural realities.

Creativity

Like the schizophrenic, creative and artistic individuals deny both physical reality and culturally-endorsed immortality projects, expressing a need to create their own reality. The primary difference is that creative individuals have talents that allow them to create and express a reality that others may appreciate, rather than simply constructing an internal, mental reality.

Reception

The Denial of Death helped to inspire a revival of interest in the work of Otto Rank.

Becker's work has also had a wide cultural impact beyond the fields of psychology and philosophy. The book made an appearance in Woody Allen's film Annie Hall, when the death-obsessed character Alvy Singer buys it for his girlfriend Annie. It was referred to by Spalding Gray in his work It's a Slippery Slope. Former United States President Bill Clinton quoted The Denial of Death in his 2004 autobiography My Life; he also included it as one of 21 titles in his list of favorite books. Ayad Akhtar mentions it in his Pulitzer Prize-winning play Disgraced.

Contents

Foreword

Preface

CHAPTER ONE: Introduction: Human Nature and the Heroic

PART I: THE DEPTH PSYCHOLOGY OF HEROISM

CHAPTER TWO: The Terror of Death

CHAPTER THREE: The Recasting of Some Basic Psychoanalytic Ideas

CHAPTER FOUR: Human Character as a Vital Lie

CHAPTER FIVE: The Psychoanalyst Kierkegaard

CHAPTER SIX: The Problem of Freud's Character. Noch Einmal

PART H: THE FAILURES OF HEROISM

CHAPTER SEVEN: The Spell Cast by Persons— The Nexus of Unfreedom

CHAPTER EIGHT: Otto Rank and the Closure of Psychoanalysis on Kierkegaard

CHAPTER NINE: The Present Outcome of Psychoanalysis

CHAPTER TEN: A General View of Mental Illness

PART II: RETROSPECT AND CONCLUSION: THE DILEMMAS OF HEROISM

CHAPTER ELEVEN: Psychology and Religion: What Is the Heroic Individual?

References

Note: As the following works of Otto Rank are mentioned frequently, for the sake of convenience they are abbreviated in the references as follows:

PS Psychology and the Soul, 1931 (New York: Perpetua Books Edition, 1961)

ME Modern Education: A Critique of Its Fundamental Ideas (Agathon Press, 1968).

AA Art and Artist: Creative Urge and Personality Development (Agathon Press, 1968).

WT Will Therapy and Truth and Reality (New York: Knopf, 1936; One Volume Edition, 1945).

BP Beyond Psychology, 1941 (New York: Dover Books, 1958).

Excerpts from new translations of other of Rank's works have appeared in the Journal of the Otto Rank Association, along with transcriptions of some of Rank's lectures and conversations; this publication is cited as JORA.

I have also cited frequently Norman O. Brown's Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History (New York: Viking Books, 1959) and abbreviated it LAD.

I have also abbreviated often-cited titles of papers and books by various authors after the first complete reference.


Preface


1. Rank, letter of 2/8/33, in Jessie Taft's outstanding biography, Otto Rank (New York: Julian Press, 1958), p. 175.

2. LAD, p. 322.

3. F. S. Perls, R. F. Hefferline, and P. Goodman, Gestalt Therapy (New York: Delta Books, 1951), p. 395, note.

4. I. Progoff, The Death and Rebirth of Psychology (New York: Delta Books, 1964).

5. P. Roazen, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Winter, 1971, p. 33.

Chapter One

1. William James, Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature, 1902 (New York: Mentor Edition, 1958), p. 281.

Chapter Two

1. S. Freud, "Thoughts for the Times on War and Death," 1915, Collected Papers, Vol. 4 (New York: Basic Books, 1959), pp. 316-317.

2. Cf., for example, A. L. Cochrane, "Elie Metschnikoff and His Theory of an 'Instinct de la Mort, "' International Journal of Psychoanalysis 1934. 15:265- 270; G. Stanley Hall, "Thanatophobia and Immortality," American Journal of Psychology, 1915, 26:550-613.

3. N. S. Shaler, The Individual: A Study of Life and Death (New York: Appleton, 1900).

4. Hall, "Thanatophobia," p. 562.

5. Cf., Alan Harrington, The Immortalist (New York: Random House, 1969), p. 82.

6. See Jacques Choron's excellent study: Death and Western Thought (New York: Collier Books, 1963).

7. See H. Feifel, ed., The Meaning of Death (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959), Chapter 6; G. Rochlin, Griefs and Discontents (Boston: Little, Brown, 1967), p. 67.

8. J. Bowlby, Maternal Care and Mental Health (Geneva: World Health Organization, 1952), p. 11.

9. Cf. Walter Tietz, "School Phobia and the Fear of Death," Mental Hygiene, 1970, 54:565-568.

10. J. C. Rheingold, The Mother, Anxiety and Death: The Catastrophic Death Complex (Boston: Little, Brown, 1967).

11. A. J. Levin, "The Fiction of the Death Instinct," Psychiatric Quarterly, 1951, 25:257-281.

12. J. C. Moloney, The Magic Cloak: A Contribution to the Psychology of Authoritarianism (Wakefield, Mass.: Montrose Press, 1949), p. 217; H. Marcuse, "The Ideology of Death," in Feifel, Meaning of Death, Chapter 5.

13. LAD, p. 270.

14. G. Murphy, "Discussion," in Feifel, The Meaning of Death, p. 320.

15. James, Varieties, p. 121.

16. Choron, Death, p. 17.

17. Ibid., p. 272.

18. G. Zilboorg "Fear of Death," Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 1943, 12: 465-475. See Eissler's nice technical distinction between the anxiety of death and the terror of it, in his book of essays loaded with subtle discussion: K. R. Eissler, The Psychiatrist and the Dying Patient (New York: International Universities Press, 1955), p. 277.

19. Zilboorg "Fear of Death," pp. 465-467.

20. James, Varieties, p. 121.

21. Zilboorg, "Fear of Death," p. 467. Or, we might more precisely say, with Eissler, fear of annihilation, which is extended by the ego into the consciousness of death. See The Psychiatrist and the Dying Patient, p. 267.

22. Ibid.

23. Ibid., pp. 468-471 passim.

24. Cf. Shaler, The Individual.

25. C. W. Wahl, "The Fear of Death" in Feifel, pp. 24-25.

26. Cf. Moloney, The Magic Cloak, p. 1 17.

27. Wahl, "Fear of Death," pp. 25-26.

28. In Choron, Death, p. 100.

29. Cf., for example, I. E. Alexander et al., "Is Death a Matter of Indifference?" Journal of Psychology, 1957, 43:277-283; I. M. Greenberg and I. E. Alexander, "Some Correlates of Thoughts and Feelings Concerning Death," Hillside Hospital Journal, 1962, No. 2:120-126; S. I. Golding et al., "Anxiety and Two Cognitive Forms of Resistance to the Idea of Death," Psychological Reports, 1966, 18: 359-364.

30. L. J. Saul, "Inner Sustainment," Psycholoanalytic Quarterly, 1970, 39:215-222.

31. Wahl, "Fear of Death," p. 26.

Chapter Three

1. Erich Fromm, The Heart of Man: Its Genius for Good and Evil (New York: Harper and Row, 1964), pp. 1 16-117.

2. Erich Fromm, The Sane Society (New York: Fawcett Books, 1955), p. 34.

3. LAD.

4. Cf. Lord Raglan, Jocasta's Crime: An Anthropological Study (London: Methuen, 1933), Chapter 17.

5. LAD, p. 186.

6. Ibid, p. 189.

7. Ibid, pp. 186-187.

8. E. Straus, On Obsession, A Clinical and Methodological Study (New York: Nervous and Mental Disease Monographs, 1948), No. 73.

9. Ibid., pp. 41, 44.

10. Freud, Civilization and its Discontents, 1930 (London: The Hogarth Press, 1969 edition), p. 43.

11. LAD, p. 118.


12. Ibid., p. 120.

13. Sandor Ferenczi, Final Contributions to the Problems and Methods of Psycho-analysis (London: The Hogarth Press, 1955), p. 66.

14. PS, p. 38.

15. LAD, p. 124.

16. Ibid, p. 123.

17. Ibid.

18. Ibid, p. 128.

19. Ibid, p. 127.

20. ME.

21. Freud, A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis (New York: Garden City Publishing Co., 1943), p. 324.

22. Geza Roheim, Psychoanalysis and Anthropology (New York: International Universities Press, 1950), pp. 138-139.

23. Ferenczi, Final Contributions, pp. 65-66.

24. Rollo May recently revived the Rankian perspective on this; see his excellent discussion of "Love and Death" in Love and Will (New York: Norton, 1 97 1 ).

25. ME, p. 52.

26. Ibid., p. 53.

27. LAD, pp. 127-128.

Chapter Four

1. Ortega, The Revolt of the Masses (New York: Norton, 1957), pp. 156-157.

2. E. Becker, The Structure of Evil: An Essay on the Unification of the Science of Man (New York: Braziller, 1968), p. 192.

3. See his two fine papers, "The Need to Know and the Fear of Knowing" Journal of General Psychology, 1963, 68:"-125; and "Neurosis as a Failure of Personal Growth," Humanitas, 1967, 3:153-169.

4. Maslow, "Neurosis as a Failure" p. 163.

5. Ibid, pp. 165-166.

6. Rudolf Otto, The Idea of the Holy, 1923 (New York: Galaxy Books, 1958).

7. Maslow, "The Need to Know" p. 1 19.

8. Ibid, pp. 118-119.

9. Cf. Freud, The Future of an Illusion, 1927 (New York: Anchor Books Edition, 1964), Chapters 3 and 4.

10. Freud, The Problem of Anxiety, 1926 (New York: Norton, 1936), pp. 67 ff.

11. Cf. also the continuation of Heidegger's views in modern existential psychiatry: Medard Boss, Meaning and Content of Sexual Perversions: A Daseinanaly tic Approach to the Psychopathology of the Phenomenon of Love (New York: Grune and Stratton, 1949), p. 46.

12. F. Perls, Gestalt Therapy Verbatim (Lafayette, Calif.: Real People Press, 1969), pp. 55-56.

13. A. Angyal, Neurosis and Treatment: A Holistic Theory (New York: Wiley, 1965), p. 260.

14. Maslow, Toward a Psychology of Being, second edition (Princeton: Insight Books, 1968), Chapter 8.

15. LAD.

16. ME, p. 13, my emphasis.

17. Harold F. Searles, "Schizophrenia and the Inevitability of Death" Psychiatric Quarterly, 1961, 35:633-634.

18. Traherne, Centuries, C.1672 (London, Faith Press edition, 1963), pp. 109-1 15, passim.

19. Marcia Lee Anderson, "Diagnosis," quoted in Searles, "Schizophrenia," p. 639.

20. LAD, p. 291.

Chapter Five

1. Kierkegaard, Journal, May 12th, 1839.

2. O. H. Mowrer, Learning Theory and Personality Dynamics (New York: Ronald Press, 1950), p. 541.

3. Cf. especially Rollo May, The Meaning of Anxiety (New York: Ronald Press, 1950); Libuse Lukas Miller, In Search of the Self: The Individual in the Thought of Kierkegaard (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1962).

4. Kierkegaard, The Concept of Dread, 1844 (Princeton: University Press edition, 1957, translated by Walter Lowrie), p. 41.

5. Ibid, p. 38.

6. Ibid, p. 39.

7. Ibid, p. 139.

8. Ibid., p. 40.

9. Ibid, p. 140.

10. Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death, 1849 (Anchor edition, 1954, combined with Fear and Trembling, translated by Walter Lowrie), p. 181.

11. Kierkegaard, Dread, pp. 110 ff.

12. Ibid, p. 124.

13. Ibid, pp. 112-113.

14. Ibid.

15. Ibid, pp. 114-115.

16. Ibid, pp. 115-116.

17. Cf. Miller, In Search of the Self, pp. 265-276.

18. Kierkegaard, Sickness, pp. 184-187, passim.

19. Ibid, pp. 174-175.

20. Ibid.

21. Ibid, pp. 162 ff.

22. Cf. E. Becker, The Revolution in Psychiatry (New York: Free Press, 1964); and Chapter 10 of this book.

23. Kierkeeaard. Sickness. r>. 163.


24. Ibid., pp. 164, 165, 169.

25. Ibid., pp. 169-170.

26. Ibid.

27. Ibid., p. 165.

28. Becker, The Revolution in Psychiatry.

29. Kierkegaard, Sickness, pp. 166-167.

30. Ibid., pp. 170-172.

31. Ibid, p. 172.

32. Ibid, p. 173.

33. Ibid., pp. 174-175, passim.

34. Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents, p. 81.

35. Kierkegaard, Sickness, p. 196.

36. Ibid, p. 198.

37. Ibid, p. 199.

38. Ibid, p. 156.

39. Cf. Miller, In Search of the Self, pp. 312-313.

40. Kierkegaard, Dread, p. 144.

41. Ibid, p. 140.

42. Cf. Miller, In Search of the Self, p. 270.

43. Kierkegaard, Sickness, p. 199.

44. James, Varieties, p. 99.

45. Ortega, The Revolt of the Masses, p. 157.

46. Kierkegaard, Dread, pp. 140 ff.

47. Ibid, pp. 141-142.

48. Ibid, p. 104.

49. Ibid, p. 145.

50. Cf. R. May, The Meaning of Anxiety, p. 45.

Chapter Six

1. Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents, p. 43.

2. LAD, p. 188.

3. C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams and Reflections (New York: Vintage, 1965), pp. 149-151.

4. Ibid.

5. Quoted in Vincent Brome, Freud and His Early Circle (London: Heinemann, 1967), p. 103.

6. LAD, p. 103.

7. Cf. Freud, The Future of an Illusion, 1927 (New York: Anchor Books edition, 1964), p. 32.

8. Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, 1920 (New York: Bantam Books edition, 1959), p. 61.

9. Ibid, p. 66.

10. C. Rank's penetrating remarks on Freud's theoretical problems, WT, p. 115; and see Brown's discussion, LAD, pp. 97 ff.

11. See Beyond the Pleasure Principle, pp. 93, 105, 106 note; and LAD, pp. 99-100.

12. LAD, pp. 101 ff.

13. WT, p. 130.

14. Cf. LAD, p. 109.

15. WT, p. 116.

16. Ibid., pp. 121-122, my emphasis.

17. Ibid, p. 115.

18. See ME, p. 38.

19. Levin, "The Fiction of the Death Instinct, pp. 277-278.

20. E. Jones, The Life and Work ofSigmund Freud, abridged edition (Doubleday Anchor, 1963) ,p. 198.

21. Ibid, p. 354.

22. Ibid, p. 194.

23. Ibid, p. 197.

24. Ibid., p. 194 note.

25. Ibid. , p. 197 note.

26. Jones, Freud, abridged edition, p. 354.

27. Quoted in Zilboorg, Psychoanalysis and Religion (London: Allen and Unwin, 1967), p. 233.

28. Ibid. , pp. 232-234, passim.

29. Ibid, p. 234.

30. Quoted in Roazen, Brother Animal, The Story of Freud and Tausk (London: Allen Lane the Penguin Press, 1969), p. 172 note.

31. C. G. Jung, Memories, p. 156.

32. Ibid, p. 157.

33. Paul Roazen, Freud: Political and Social Thought (New York: Vintage Books, 1970), pp. 176-181.

34. Ibid., p. 176. Fromm makes a similar point, Freud's Mission, p. 64.

35. Ibid., p. 178.

36. Cf. Jung, Memories, p. 157.

37. Roazen, Freud, p. 179.


^u. Jung, ific/ftur iClI, y.

39. Jones, The Life and Work ofSigmund Freud, 3 volume edition (New York: Basic Books, 1953), vol. 1, p. 3 17.

40. Quoted in Brome, Freud, p. 98.

41. Cf. Brome's intelligent and probing discussion, Ibid,, p. 125.

42. Roazen, Freud, p. 180.

43. E. Fromm, The Heart of Man, pp 43-44.

44. Jones, Freud, vol. 2, p. 55.

45. Ibid., pp. 145-146. 46.

47. Cf. E. Becker, The Structure of Evil, p. 400; and Angel in Armor (New York: Braziller, 1969), p. 130.

48. Jones, Freud, vol. 1, p. 8 and note "j."

49. Jones, Freud, abridged edition, p. 329.

50. Jones, Freud, vol. 1, p. 317.

51. Jung, Memories, p. 157.

52. Jones, Freud, vol. 2, p. 420.

53. Ibid. Cf. also Fromm, Freud's Mission, p. 56.

54. Quoted in Brome, Freud, p. 121 .

55. Quoted in Roazen, Brother Animal, p. 40.

56. Zilboorg, Psychoanalysis and Religion, p. 226.

57. Pp. 133-134, Psychoanalysis and Faith: The Letters ofSigmund Freud and Oskar Pfister, (New York: Basic Books, 1963).

58. Zilboorg, Psychoanalysis and Religion, p. 242.

59. Ibid., p. 255. See also Puner's excellent analysis of this rigidity: Freud, pp. 255-256, passim.

60. Jung, Memories, pp. 152-153.

61. Ibid., p. 154.

Chapter Seven

1. Camus, The Fall (New York: Knopf, 1957), p. 133.

2. Levi, Of Fear and Freedom (New York: Farrar-Strauss, 1950), p. 135.

3. See Olden, "About the Fascinating Effect of the Narcissistic Personality," American Imago, 1941, 2:347-355.

4. Jung, Two Essays on Analytical Psychology (Cleveland: Meridian Books, 1956).

5. Vancouver Sun, 8/3 1/70, "From Champion Majorette to Frank Sinatra Date," by Jurgen Hesse.

6. Freud, A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis, 1920 (New York: Garden City edition, 1943), p. 384.

7. See Benjamin Wolstein's excellent critical study: Transference: Its Meaning and Function in Psychoanalytic Therapy (New York: Grune and Stratton, 1954).

8. Freud, A General Introduction, pp. 387-388.

9. S. Ferenczi, "Introjection and Transference," Chapter 2 in Contributions to Psychoanalysis (London: Phillips, 1916); and compare Herbert Spiegel, "Hypnosis and Transference, a Theoretical Formulation," Archives of General Psychiatry, 1959, 1:634-639.

10. Ferenczi, "Introjection and Transference," p. 59.

11. Ibid., p. 61.

12. Ibid., pp. 72, 78, 79; in italics in the original.

13. Ibid., p. 68.

14. Freud, Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, 1921 (New York: Bantam Books edition, 1965), p. 68. Cf. also T. W. Adorno's important appreciation of this reorientation: "Freudian Theory and the Pattern of Fascist Propaganda," Psychoanalysis and the Social Sciences, 1951, p. 281, footnote.

15. Freud, ibid., p. 60.

16. Otto Fenichel, "Psychoanalytic Remarks on Fromm's Book, Escape From Freedom," Psychoanalytic Review, 1944, 31:133-134.

17. Freud, Group Psychology, p. 16.

18. Ibid., p. 9.

19. Fromm, Heart of Man, p. 107.

20. Fritz Redl, "Group Emotion and Leadership," Psychiatry, 1942, 573-596.

21. Ibid., p. 594.

22. W. R. Bion, "Group Dynamics—A Re-view," in Melanie Klein, ed., New Directions in Psychoanalysis (New York: Basic Books, 1957), pp. 440-447.

23. Ibid. , esp. pp. 467-468. Bion also develops his argument along the lines of Redl earlier — that there are different types of groups and thus different "uses" of leaders.

24. Paul Schilder, in M. Gill and M. Brenman, Hypnosis and Related States (New York: Science Editions, 1959), p. 159.

25. Canetti, Crowds and Power, p. 332.

26. Wolstein, Transference, p. 154.

27. Freud, "The Dynamics of the Transference," 1912, Collected Papers, vol. 2, p. 319; cf. also A General Introduction, p. 387.

28. Freud, "The Dynamics of the Transference," p. 315.

29. Freud, The Future of an Illusion, 1928 (New York: Doubleday Anchor edition, 1964), p. 35; see the whole of Chapter 111.

30. Heinz and Rowena Ansbacher, eds., The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler (New York: Basic Books, 1956), pp. 342-343.

31. W. V. Silverberg, "The Concept oj 'Transference ," Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 1948, 17:319, 321.

32. Fromm, Beyond the Chains of Illusion: My Encounter with Marx and Freud (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1962), p. 52.

33. C. G. Jung, The Psychology of the Transference (Princeton: Bollingen Books, 1969), p. 156.

34. Roy Waldman, Humanistic Psychiatry: From Oppression to Choice (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1971), p. 84.

35. Jung, Transference, p. xii.

36. T. S. Szasz, Pain and Pleasure: A Study of Bodily Feelings (London: Tavistock, 1957), pp. 98 ff.

37. Jung, Transference, p. 156.


jo. iviE,, p. 1 1 a; w i , p. oz.

39. BP, pp. 130, 136.

40. WT, p. 82.

41. A. Angyal, Neurosis and Treatment: A Holistic Theory (New York: Wiley, 1965), pp. 120-21.

42. Cf. WT, pp. 82 ff.

43. Freud, An Autobiographical Study (London: Hogarth, 1946); cf. also A General Introduction, p. 387.

44. Ferenczi, "Introjection and Transference," pp. 38, 44.

45. Cf. Searles, "Schizophrenia and the Inevitability of Death," p. 638; also Helm Stierlin, "The Adaptation to the 'Stronger' Person's Reality," Psychiatry, 1958, 21:141-147.

46. E. Becker, The Structure of Evil, p. 192.

47. Cf. AA,p.407.

48. Harrington, The Immortalist, p. 101.

49. AA,p. 411.

50. Harrington's marvelous phrase, The Immortalist, p. 46.

51. Freud, Group Psychology, pp. 37-38.

52. On all this cf. Harold Orlansky's excellent reportage, "Reactions to the Death of President Roosevelt," The Journal of Social Psychology, 1947, 26:235-266; also D. De Grazia, "A Note on the Psychological Position of the Chief Executive," Psychiatry, 1945, 8:267-272.

53. Cf. Becker, The Structure of Evil, p. 328.

54. Ibid.

55. WT, pp. 74, 155; BP, p. 195; AA, p. 86; ME, p. 142.

56. AA, pp. 370, 376.

57. Cf. PS, pp. 142, 148; BP, pp. 194-195.

58. AA,p. 42.

59. BP, p. 198.

60. ME, pp. 232-234.

61. BP, p. 168.

62. Jung, Transference, pp. 71-72.

63. Melville, Moby Dick, 1851 (New York: Pocket Library edition, 1955), pp. 361-362.

64. See my discussion of this in Structure of Evil, p. 261.

65. Ferenczi, "Introjection and Transference," p. 47.

66. See also J. A. M. Meerloo and Marie L. Coleman, "The Transference Function: A Study of Normal and Pathological Transference," The Psychoanalytic Review, 1951, 38:205-221-an essay loaded with important revisions of traditional views; and T. S. Szasz's important critique, "The Concept of Transference," International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 1963, 44:432-443.

Chapter Eight

1. BP, p. 196.

2. G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 1908 (New York: Image Books, 1959), p. 80.

3. See AA, Chapter 2; PS, Chapter 4; BP, Chapter 4, etc.

4. BP, p. 168; PS, p. 192; WT, p. 303.

5. ME, p. 232.

6. WT, p. 62.

7. Ibid, -p. 304.

8. ME, p. 232.

9. WT, p. 302.

10. BP, p. 234.

11. Roheim, "The Evolution of Culture," p. 403.

12. ME, p. 44.

13. Ibid, pp. 46 ff.

14. Ibid., p. 43.

15. BP, p. 234.

16. See also Rollo May's contemporary critique on this problem in his Love and Will.

17. PS, p. 92.

18. BP, pp. 196-197.

19. Cf. WT,p. 62.

20. Cf. E. Becker, The Birth and Death of Meaning, second edition, Chapter 12.

21. WT, p. 287.

22. WT, p. 131.

23. BP, p. 197.

24. WT, p. 304.

25. PS, p. 92.

26. To see how "Christian" is Rank's analysis of sexuality and the other, see Reinhold Niebuhr's outstanding study, The Nature and Destiny of Man (New York: Scribner and Sons, 1941), Vol. 1, pp. 233-240.

27. BP, pp. 186, 190.

28. Jung, The Psychology of the Transference, p. 101.

29. AA,p. 86.

30. AA, p. 42; WT, p. 278.

31. Cf. E. Becker, The Structure of Evil, pp. 190 ff.


32. WT, p. 147.

33. BP, p. 272. Jung saw that Freud's circle itself was a father-religion: Modern Man in Search of a Soul, 1933 (New York: Harvest Books edition), p. 122.

34. Ibid., pp. 273-274.

35. Ibid., p. 194.

36. Ibid., pp. 188-201.

37. Cf. Tillich, Systematic Theology, Vol. 3, pp. 15-11 .

Chapter Nine

1. WT, pp. 251-252.

2. Ibid., Chapter 12.

3. Ibid., p. 195.

4. Ibid., p. 241; JORA, June 1967, p. 17.

5. WT, pp. 73, 155, 303.

6. Ibid., p. 149; JORA, Dec. 1970, pp. 49-50.

7. WT, pp. 148-149.

8. Freud, Introductory Lectures III, p. 445; emphasized by Jung, Psychology of the Transference, p, 8, note 16.

9. Roy D. Waldman, Humanistic Psychiatry (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1971), pp. 123-124; see also the excellent paper by Ronald Leifer, "Avoidance and Mastery: An Interactional View of Phobias." Journal of Individual Psychology, May, 1966, pp. 80-93; and compare Becker, The Revolution in Psychiatry, pp. 115 ff.

10. WT, p. 149.

11. BP, p. 50.

12. WT, pp. 146-147.

13. JORA, June, 1967, p. 79.

14. WT, pp. 146-147.

15. Ibid., p. 151.

16. Ibid., p. 149.

17. AA, pp. 376-377.

18. Ibid., p. 312.

19. Ibid., p. 27.

20. WT, p. 93.

21. Ibid., pp. 95, 173.

22. Nin, JORA, June, 1967, p. 118.

23. WT, p. 195.

24. Ibid., pp. 251-252.

25. Ibid., p. 173.

26. Turney-High, Primitive War, p. 208.

27. WT, pp. 74, 287.

28. Ibid., p. 288.

29. See the crucial historical paper by James M. Baldwin, "The History of Psychology," International Congress of Arts and Science, vol. 5, St. Louis, 1904, pp. 606-623; and Stephan Strasser's most important work, The Soul in Metaphysical and Empirical Psychology (Pittsburgh, Pa.: Duquesne University Press, 1962); and PS, Chapter 1, pp. 84 ff., and Chapter 7.

30. PS, p. 192.

31. ME, p. 143.

32. PS, p. 10; cf. also Becker, The Revolution in Psychiatry, pp. 120-121.

33. PS, p. 10.

34. See BP, Chapters 1 and 8; PS, Chapters 1 and 7; and see Progoff s excellent summary, Death and Rebirth, pp. 221-228, 258-259.

35. ME, p. 143.

36. Ibid., pp. 143, 232.

37. JORA, Fall 1966, p. 42; ME, p. 45; and see O. H. Mowrer's important writings, which were very much resisted by the mainstream of psychologists, The Crisis in Psychiatry and Religion (New York: Insight Books, 1961), esp. Chapter 8.

38. WT, pp. 74, 152, 205, 241, 303-304.

39. Ibid., pp. 92-93.

40. Ibid. ; cf. also Waldman, Humanistic Psychiatry, p. 59 and his outstanding pp. 1 17-127, which must now represent the definitive reintroducfion of the equation of sin and neurosis in modern psychiatry; and cf. Mowrer, The Crisis in Psychiatry, Chapters 3 and 4.

41. WT, pp. 93, 304.

42. AA, p. 27; Waldman, Humanistic Psychiatry, p. 120. Waldman draws not on Rank but on Adler, to whom Rank is also clearly indebted. After Adler, Karen Horney wrote extensively and with great insight specifically on the dynamics of self-glorification and self-depreciation in neurosis. Particularly important are her discussions of the need for heroic triumph and perfection and what happens to them in the neurotic. See especially her Neurosis and Human Growth (New York: Norton, 1950).

43. BP, p. 193; WT, p. 304; ME, p. 141.

44. ME, pp. 142-144.

45. WT, pp. 150, 241; AA, p. 86; WT, p. 94.

46. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, pp. 18-29; and cf. ME, p. 47.

47. BP, p. 49.

48. Cf. BP, pp. 166, 197; WT, p. 303; and Becker, Birth and Death, second edition, Chapter 13.

49. Freud, "Observations on Transference-love," p. 388.

50. Van der Leeuw, Religion in Essence, vol. 2, p. 467.


51. ME, pp. 44-45.

52. Cf. also G. P. Conger's important and neglected book, The Ideologies of Religion (New York: Round Table Press, 1940).

53. Cf. Jung, Psychology of the Transference, p. 69.

54. ME, p. 232.

55. Becker, Structure of Evil, pp. 190-210.

56. AA,p. 429.

57. Jung, Psychology of the Transference, pp. 101-102.

58. Jung, Memories, p. 288.

Chapter Ten

1. Boss, Meaning and Content of Sexual Perversions, pp. 46-47.

2. Alfred Adler, The Practice and Theory of Individual Psychology (London: Kegan Paul, 1924), Chapter 21.

3. Straus's excellent thought — "The Miser," in Patterns of the Life-World, ed. by J. M. Edie (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1970), Chapter 9.

4. M. Boss, Psychoanalysis and Daseinanalysis (New York: Basic Books, 1963), pp. 209-210.

5. BP, p. 169.

6. W. Gaylin, ed., The Meaning of Despair (New York: Science House, 1968), p. 391.

7. Rank, WT, pp. 126, 127, 131.

8. Cf. Becker, The Revolution in Psychiatry.

9. Adler, Individual Psychology, p. 252.

10. Boss, Sexual Perversions, p. 46.

11. W. Bromberg and P. Schilder, "The Attitude of Psychoneurotics Towards Death," p. 20.

12. Harrington, The Immortalist, p. 93.

13. James, Varieties, p. 138.

14. Adler, Individual Psychology, pp. 256-260.

15. Within psychoanalysis no one understood this functional dualism better than Wilhelm Reich; see the brilliant theory in his early book Character Analysis, 1933 (New York: Noonday Press, third edition, 1949), pp. 431-462.

16. Cf. Becker, The Revolution in Psychiatry.

17. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, esp. Chapter 2.

18. Reich, Character Analysis, pp. 432, 450.

19. Adler, Individual Psychology, p. 257.

20. Ross, Sexual Perversions.

21. Chapter 9, in J. M. Edie, ed., Patterns of the Life- World.

22. Freud, "Fetishism" 1927, Collected Papers, vol. 5, p. 199.

23. Ibid., pp. 200, 201.

24. Bak, "The Phallic Woman: The Ubiquitous Fantasy in Perversions," Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 1968, 23:16.

25. M. E. Romm, "Some Dynamics in Fetishism," Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 1949, 19:146-147, my emphasis.

26. Ibid.

27. Jung, Transference, Ch. 10.

28. Boss, Sexual Perversions, pp. 24, 32, 33, 37, 119, 136.

29. LAD, pp. 132-134.

30. Nancy T. Spiegel, "An Infantile Fetish and its Persistence into Young Womanhood," Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 1967, 22:408.

31. Cf. Greenacre, "Perversions: General Considerations Regarding Their Genetic and Dynamic Background," Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 1968, 23:57.

32. Romm, "Some Dynamics," p. 148-149.

33. S. M. Payne, "Observations on the Ego Development of the Fetishist," International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 1938, 20: 169.

34. See his "On Obsession."

35. P. Greenacre, "Certain Relationships Between Fetishism and Faulty Development of the Body Image," Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 1953, 8:84.

36. Greenacre, "Certain Relationships," p. 93; see also her "Perversions," pp. 47-62.

37. Cf. Bak, "Phallic Woman," p. 20: Greenacre, "Certain Relationships," p. 80; "Perversions"; "Further Considerations Regarding Fetishism," Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 1955, 10:192.

38. Otto Fenichel, "The Psychology of Transvestism," International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 1930, 1 1 :220.

39. A. S. Lorand, "Fetishism in Statu Nascendi," International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 1 1 :422.

40. Freud, "Fetishism" p. 201.

41. S. Nagler, "Fetishism: A Review and a Case Study," Psychiatric Quarterly, 1957, 31:725.

42. Cf. Becker, Angel in Armor.

43. ME, p. 52.

44. Ibid., pp. 199-200.

45. AA, pp. 54-55.

46. PS, p. 43.

47. Ibid.

48. F. H. Allen, "Homosexuality in Relation to the Problem of Human Difference," American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 1940, 10:129-35.

49. M. Balint, "A Contribution on Fetishism," International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 1935, 16:481.

50. Freud, "Fetishism," p. 199.

51. Boss, Sexual Perversions, pp. 50 ff.

52. Ibid., p. 52.

53. Ibid., pp. 41-42.

54. Ibid., p. 1 A.

55. Ibid., p. 51.


56. Greenacre, "Further Notes on Fetishism," Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 1960, 15:391-207.

57. Greenacre, "The Fetish and the Transitional Object," Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 1969, 24:161-162.

58. Freud, "Fetishism," p. 201.

59. Cf. Greenacre, "The Fetish and Transitional Object," p. 150.

60. Greenacre, "Further Notes," p. 200.

61. Ibid., p. 202.

62. Cf. James Glover, "Notes on an Unusual Form of Perversion," International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 1927, 8:10-24.

63. Fenichel, "Transvestism," p. 219.

64. Cf. Bak, "Phallic Woman," p. 16; Fenichel, "Transvestism," p. 214.

65. Fenichel, "Transvestism," p. 219.

66. Bak, "Phallic Woman," p. 25.

67. Fenichel, "Transvestism," p. 219.

68. Greenacre, "Certain Relationships," p. 81.

69. H. T. Buckner, "The Transvestite Career Path," Psychiatry, 1970, 33:381-389.

70. Freud, "Fetishism" p. 204.

71. Greenacre, "Further Notes," p. 204.

72. Ibid, p. 206.

73. Romm, "Some Dynamics," p. 147.

74. Ibid, p. 140.

75. Cf. Becker, Angel in Armor, Chapter 1.

76. Greenacre, "Certain Relationships," p. 67.

77. Rank, JORA, Dec. 1970, p. 49.

78. Cf. Becker, Angel in Armor.

79. Bieber, "The Meaning of Masochism," American Journal of Psychotherapy, 1953, 7:438.

80. Zilboorg, "Fear of Death," pp. 473-474.

81. WT, pp. 129-131.

82. Hart, "The Meaning of Passivity," Psychiatric Quarterly; 1955, 29: 605.

83. Romm, "Some Dynamics," p. 145.

84. BP, pp. 185-190; cf. also his letter to Jessie Taft, Nov. 9, 1937, p. 240 of Taft, Otto Rank.

85. BP, p. 189.

86. Cf. Ansbacher, Alfred Adler, pp. 271-273.

87. Cf. D. A. Schwartz, "The Paranoid-Depressive Existential Continuum," Psychiatric Quarterly, 1964, 38:690-706.

88. Cf. Adler in Ansbacher, p. 427.

89. Fromm, Escape From Freedom (New York: Avon Books, 1941), pp. 173 ff.

90. Bieber, "The Meaning of Masochism," p. 441.

91. Cf. Fromm, The Heart of Man, Chapter 3.

92. A. A. Brill, "Necrophilia," Journal of Criminal Psychopathology, 1941, 2:440-441.

93. Boss, Sexual Perversions, pp. 55-61.

94. Straus, "The Miser," pp. 178-179.

95. Cf. Jung, Transference, p. 69; Fromm, Beyond the Chains of Illusion (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1962), pp. 56 ff.

96. Letter to Jessie Taft, Sept. 26, 1937, Otto Rank, p. 236.

Chapter Eleven

1. Freud, Psychoanalysis and Faith: Dialogues with the Reverend Oskar Pfister (New York: Basic Books, 1963), pp. 61-62.

2. Reich Speaks of Freud, M. Higgins and C. M. Raphael, eds. (New York: Noonday Press, 1967), pp. 20-21.

3. Cf. esp. pp. 192 and 199 of his Memories, Dreams, Reflections.

4. Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling, pp. 49 ff.

5. Cf. Lev Shestov's hard commentary in his classic Athens and Jerusalem (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1966), pp. 229 ff.

6. Cf. LAD, p. 308.

7. Ibid., pp. 291-292.

8. R. L. Stevenson, quoted in James, Varieties, p. 85 note.

9. Which failure he in fact admits on p. 268.

10. Cf. David Bakan's reaffirmation of this Rankian view: Sigmund Freud and the Jewish Mystical Tradition (New York: Schocken Books, 1965), pp- 275-276.

11. LAD, p. 270.

12. Ibid, p. 293.

13. Ibid, p. 292.

14. Cf. Becker, Revolution in Psychiatry.

15. Cf. LAD, pp. 31,39.

16. Marcuse, Eros and Civilization (New York: Vintage Books, 1962), p. 21 1.

17. Ibid., p. 216.

18. Rieff, "The Impossible Culture: Oscar Wilde and the Charisma of the Artist," Encounter, September 1970, pp. 33-44.

19. Ibid., p. 41.

20. Ibid, p. 40.

21. Ibid., p. 41.

22. Harrington, The Immorialist.

23. Quoted in Jacques Choron, Death and Western Thought, p. 135.

24. Ibid.,vv. 135-136.


25. Ibid., pp. 135-136.

26. Harrington, The Immortalist, p. 288.

27. See Rieff, The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith After Freud (New York: Harper and Row, 1966).

28. Quoted in Jessie Taft, Otto Rank, p. 139.

29. In private conversation.

30. Cf. J. Fagan and I. L. Shepherd, eds., Gestalt Therapy Now (Palo Alto: Science and Behavior Books, 1970), pp. 237-38.

31. Cf. F. M. Alexander, The Use of the Self; Its Conscious Direction in Relation to Diagnosis, Functioning, and the Control of Reaction, with an Introduction by John Dewey (New York: Dutton, 1932); and G. D. Bowden, F. M. Alexander and the Creative Advance of the Individual (London: Fowler, 1965).

32. Rieff, The Triumph of the Therapeutic.

33. Fromm, The Sane Society (New York: Fawcett Books, 1955), p. 34.

34. Passmore, The Perfectibility of Man (London: Duckworth, 1970).

35. Tillich, "The Importance of New Being for Christian Theology," in Man and the Transformation: Papers from the Eranos Yearbooks, vol. V, ed. by Joseph Campbell, translated by Ralph Manheim (New York: Pantheon Books, 1964), p. 172, also p. 164.

36. For other careful use of concepts and language about the meaning of immanentism see the important books by George P. Conger, The Ideologies of Religion (New York: Round Table Press, 1940); and Frank B. Dilley, Metaphysics and Religious Language (New York: Columbia University Press, 1964).

37. Langer, Philosophy in a New Key (New York: Mentor Books, 1942), P. 199.

38. Fromm, Man For Himself (New York: Fawcett Books, 1947), pp. 95 ff.

39. A. Koestler, The Lotus and the Robot (New York: Macmillan, 1960).

40. P. Tillich, The Courage to Be (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1952), pp. 177 ff.

41. See E. Jacques, "Death and the Mid-life Crisis," pp. 148-149.

42. Cf. J. V. Neel, "Lessons from a 'Primitive' People," Science, Vol. 170, No. 3960, Nov. 20, 1970, p. 821.

43. R. J. Lifton, in the Preface to Revolutionary Immortality (New York: Vintage Books, 1968). I take this to be the argument, too, of Peter Homans' recent difficult book, Theology After Freud (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1970).

See also





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