Second thoughts on Freud’s “Two principles”
In this chapter, the author examines how Sigmund Freud’s structural theory and its further development by ego psychologists expanded on the “Two principles” paper in important ways. He begins by clarifying what he believes is the unfounded equation of primary process thinking with the unconscious and, analogously, secondary process thinking with consciousness. The author presents the introduction of the structural model Freud no longer considered consciousness associated with the ego just as the repressed and the unconscious had formerly been connected. In Bionian terms, one could say that by working through resistances, people are trying to transform beta elements into alpha elements at two levels. First, the frightening feelings leading to the resistance, and second the primitive fantasy that is part of the frightening feelings. The author concludes that, “what Hartmann developed was an alternative to Freud’s frustration hypothesis in the development of reality testing, and later the ego, that dominated his views in ‘Two principles’”.