The Petrified Ego: A New Theory of Conscience

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The Petrified Ego: A New Theory of Conscience

The Petrified Ego: A New Theory of Conscience by Elizabeth Reddish
English | 2013 | ISBN: 1780491786 | 123 pages | PDF | 0,5 MB

In this book the author makes the case for two generically distinct types of Superego, with the contention that there is a gap in the Freudian theory of the Oedipal Superego which has been recognized since its inception, but never formulated in a full revision of the theory. There are thus, Reddish argues, two distinct kinds of morality implicit in Freudian theory. Further, she maintains that there are two distinct kinds of relationship to reality which correlate with these two kinds of morality.

Freud believed that morality originates in the imperative for physical survival: "the initial helplessness of human beings is the primary source of all moral motives". However, he did not incorporate this idea into his formulation of the Superego as heir to the Oedipus Complex.

Reddish argues that the most primitive kind of morality is that dominated by an archaic Superego, with which the embryonic Ego is fully identified. The relationship to reality at this stage of psychological development is one in which morality and reality are psychically equivalent. By articulating the link between conscience arising out of the imperative for survival and conscience arising out of Oedipal anxiety, the author suggests that the evolution of individual conscience triggers an entirely new type of reality-testing, and thus an entirely new relationship to reality.

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