Book Summaries Psychology

Chapter 3: The First Dynamic Psychiatry (The Discovery of the Unconscious)

A source of the first dynamic psychiatry was imagination. Montaigne thought that imagination was a frequent cause of physical, emotional, and mental disease, of death, and of manifestations attributed to magic.

Imagination could cause conspicuous physical phenomena such as the appearance of the stigmata or even the transformation of one sex into another. But imagination could also be used toward the cure of physical and mental ailments.

In the 18th century, Muratori wrote a treatise, On the Power of Human Imagination, which was very popular. He described the many manifestations of the imagination: dreams, visions, delusions, fixed ideas, antipathy (phobias), and somnambulism.

Another source of dynamic psychiatry was magnetism, used my Mesmer. And a third was the knowledge of hypnotism.

The study and practice of magnetism and hypnotism led us to view the constitution of the human mind differently. Two models evolved: Dipsychism and Polypsychism.

Dispychism emerged when the first magnetizers noticed that the person that emerged out of the magnetic sleep was energetic and had a personality that was different from the first. The 19th century was preoccupied with the problem of two minds co-existing.

In the Double Ego, Dessoir wrote about dual personality, He believed that the second personality acquired strength so that it competed with the main personality. Other authors contended that the hidden unconscious was “open,” virtually communicating with a mysterious realm.  

Polypsychism states that multiple egos exist within the individual. In hypnosis, the main ego was pushed aside, and a magnetizer, such as Durand de Gros would gain access to many subegos.

The interest in multiple personalities, somnambulism, and crimes under hypnosis could be seen in the literature that was being published during the 19th century, such as The Other, The Somnambulist, Minnie Brandon, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Jung interpreted Nietzsche’s Zarathustra as a result of a second personality, which silently developed until it suddenly broke into the open.

In Nietzsche’s words:

Da, plotzlich, Freundin! wurde Eins zu Zwei
Und Zarathustra gieng an mir vorbei …
(Then suddenly, friend, did one become twoand Zarathustra passed by me)

There is a term by Flournoy called “cryptomnesia” and it describes a phenomenon that is well known to hypnotizers and magnetizers. In hypnotic trance, particularly in hypnotic regression, the individual can give many facts that his waking self has forgotten. Jung, for example, showed that an entire paragraph of Zarathustra by Nietzsche originated in an article from Blatter con Prevorst, a publication that Nietzsche was known to read as a youth. The unconscious nature of plagiarism was made likely by the fact that the original text was distorted in a clumsy way, and inserted in an unnecessary manner in the story of Zarathustra.

Lou Andreas Salome assured that the complete substance of Genealogy of Morals originated with Paul Ree who discussed this idea with Nietzsche – the latter carefully listened to him, making Ree’s thoughts his own, and then became hostile to him. Nietzsche was known to be able to assimilate with amazing swiftness the thoughts of others and forget that he did so. His main concepts developed in the Origin of Tragedy were borrowed from Michelet’s book La Bible de L’Humanite. In addition, many literary historians think that Nietzsche’s main original concepts came from Emerson.

The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic PsychiatryChapter 3: The First Dynamic Psychiatry (The Discovery of the Unconscious) 1

"Silence is the best expression of scorn" - G.B. Shaw

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