Page:Freud - The history of the psychoanalytic movement.djvu/16

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

other results than my own. But whoever takes up other sides of the problem and deviates from these two assumptions will hardly escape the charge of interfering with the rights of ownership through attempted imitation, if he insist upon calling himself a psychoanalyst.

I would very energetically oppose any attempt to count the principles of repression and resistance as mere assumptions instead of results of psychoanalysis. Such assumptions of a general psychological and biological nature exist, and it would be quite to the point to deal with them in another place. The principle of repression, however, is an acquisition of the psychoanalytic work, won by legitimate means, as a theoretical extract from very numerous experiences. Just such an acquisition, but of much later days, is the theory of the infantile sexuality, of which no count was taken during the first years of tentative analytic investigation. At first it was only noticed that the effect of actual impressions had to be traced back to the past. However, "the seeker often found more than he bargained for." He was tempted always further back into this past and finally hoped to be permitted to tarry in the period of puberty, the epoch of the traditional awakening of the sexual impulses. His hopes were in vain. The tracks led still further back into childhood and into its earliest years. In the process of this work it became almost fatal for this young science. Under the influence of the traumatic theory of hysteria, following Charcot, one was easily inclined to regard as real and as of etiological importance the accounts of patients who traced back their symptoms to passive sexual occurrences in the first years of childhood, that is to say, speaking plainly, to seductions. When this etiology broke down through its own unlikelihood, and through the contradiction of well-established circumstances, there followed a period of absolute helplessness. The analysis had led by the correct path to such infantile sexual traumas, and yet these were not true. Thus the basis of reality had been lost. At that time I would gladly have let the whole thing slide, as did my respected forerunner Breuer, when he made his unwished-for discovery. Perhaps I persevered only because I had no longer any choice of beginning something else. Finally I reflected that, after