Page:Freud - The history of the psychoanalytic movement.djvu/15

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9
HISTORY OF THE PSYCHOANALYTIC MOVEMENT

sanity.[1] What is there said concerning the striving against the acceptance of a painful piece of reality agrees so completely with the content of my theory of repression that, once again, I must be indebted to my not being well-read for the possibility of making a discovery. To be sure, others have read this passage and overlooked it, without making this discovery and perhaps the same would have happened to me, if, in former years, I had taken more pleasure in reading philosophical authors. In later years I denied myself the great pleasure of Nietzsche's works, with the conscious motive of not wishing to be hindered in the working out of my psychoanalytic impressions by any preconceived ideas. Therefore, I had to be prepared—and am so gladly—to renounce all claim to priority in those many cases in which the laborious psychoanalytic investigation can only confirm the insights intuitively won by the philosophers.

The theory of repression is the main pillar upon which rests the edifice of psychoanalysis. It is really the most essential part of it, and is itself nothing other than the theoretical expression of an experience which can be repeated at pleasure whenever one analyzes a neurotic patient without the aid of hypnosis. One is then confronted with a resistance which opposes the analytic work by causing a failure of memory in order to block it. This resistance had to be covered by the use of hypnosis; hence the history of psychoanalysis proper only starts technically with the rejection of hypnosis. The theoretical value of the fact that this resistance is connected with an amnesia leads unavoidably to that conception of the unconscious psychic activities which is peculiar to psychoanalysis, and distinguishes it markedly from the philosophical speculations about the unconscious. It may, therefore, be said that the psychoanalytic theory endeavors to explain two experiences, which result in a striking and unexpected manner during the attempt to trace back the morbid symptoms of a neurotic to their source in his life-history; viz., the facts of transference and of resistance. Every investigation which recognizes these two facts and makes them the starting points of its work may call itself psychoanalysis, even if it lead to

  1. Zentralblatt für Psychoanalyse, 1911, Vol. I, p. 69.