In these lectures I have attempted to reconcile my practical experiences in psychoanalysis with the existing theory, or rather, with the approaches to such a theory. It is really an attempt to outline my attitude to the guiding principles which my honoured teacher Sigmund Freud has evolved from the experience of many decades. Since my name is associated with psychoanalysis, and for some time I too have been the victim of the wholesale condemnation of this movement, it will perhaps be asked with astonishment how it is that I am now for the first time defining my theoretical position. When, some ten years ago, it came home to me what a vast distance Freud had already travelled beyond the bounds of contemporary knowledge of psychopathological phenomena, especially the psychology of complex mental processes, I did not feel in a position to exercise any real criticism. I did not possess the courage of those pundits who, by reason of their ignorance and incompetence, consider themselves justified in making “critical” refutations. I thought one must first work modestly for years in this field before one might dare to criticize. The unfortunate results of premature and superficial criticism have certainly not been lacking. Yet the great majority of the critics missed the mark as much with their indignation as with their technical ignorance. Psychoanalysis continued to flourish undisturbed and did not trouble itself about the unscientific chatter that buzzed around it. As everyone knows, this tree has waxed mightily, and not in one hemisphere only, but alike in Europe and America. Official critics meet with no better success than the Proktophantasmist in Fausty who laments in the Walpurgisnacht:
The critics have omitted to take it to heart that everything that exists has sufficient right to its own existence, and that this
holds for psychoanalysis as well. We will not fall into the error of our opponents, neither ignoring their existence nor denying their right to exist. But this enjoins upon us the duty of applying a just criticism ourselves, based on a proper knowledge of the facts. T o me it seems that psychoanalysis stands in need of this weighing-up from inside.