Page:Collected Papers on Analytical Psychology (1916).djvu/161

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141
THE ASSOCIATION METHOD

building in course of erection was a house destroyed by the earthquake, etc. Finally, she began to cry out frequently at night that the earthquake was coming and that she heard the thunder. Each evening she had to be solemnly assured that there was no earthquake coming.

Many means of calming her were tried, thus she was told, for example, that earthquakes only occur where there are volcanoes. But then she had to be satisfied that the mountains surrounding the city were not volcanoes. This reasoning led the child by degrees to a desire for learning, as strong as it was unnatural at her age, which showed itself in a demand that all the geological atlases and text-books should be brought to her from her father's library. For hours she rummaged through these works looking for pictures of volcanoes and earthquakes, and asking questions continually. Here we are confronted by an energetic effort to sublimate the fear into an eager desire for knowledge, which at this age made a decidedly premature exaction. But how many a gifted child suffering in exactly the same way with such problems, is “cosseted” through this untimely sublimation, by no means to its advantage. For, by favouring sublimation at this age one is merely strengthening manifestation of neurosis. The root of the eager desire for knowledge is fear, and fear is the expression of converted libido; that is, it is the expression of an introversion which has become neurotic, which at this age is neither necessary nor favourable for the development of the child.

Whither this eager desire for knowledge was ultimately directed is explained by a series of questions which arose almost daily. “Why is Sophie (a younger sister) younger than I?” “Where was Freddie (the little brother) before? Was he in heaven? What was he doing there? Why did he come down just now, why not before?”

This state of affairs led the father to decide that the mother should tell the child when occasion offered the truth concerning the origin of the little brother. This having been done, Anna soon thereafter asked about the stork. Her mother told her that the story of the stork was not true, but