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Three visits to eternity: Freud, Wiesel, and Patient X

, : Three visits to eternity: Freud, Wiesel, and Patient X. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 34(1): 69-91

Freud's experience on the Acropolis is reviewed and reappraised. Also, the experience of Elie Wiesel at the Wall in Jerusalem and Patient X's reaction visiting an Egyptian temple are examined. Carl Jung's wish to go to Rome and his inability to do so are noted. The aim of the paper is to offer deeper understanding about intense reactions many sensitive and creative people experience over travel to special places. These places are treated as idealized and ambivalently loved transference objects. Normal anticipatory pleasure prior to the trip is impaired and reality pleasure at the site cannot be enjoyed. When these spots are reached, ego regression is initiated by the intolerably intense narcissistic pleasure mobilized by the gratification of fantasies that were felt to be unrealizable. The fantasies can be conscious or unconscious and from oedipal as well as preoedipal and postoedipal developmental levels; however, they always involve the fulfillment of overwhelmingly powerful wishes. The deep ego regression, archaic fantasies, and the complex defenses mobilized are frightening since there may also be concern about ego dissolution or irreversible transformation. One highly adaptive solution which helps master these conflictual and developmental experiences is creative ego activity. While maintaining integrity for the individual ego and enhancing the self, creative work and accomplishment also enrich and advance the cultural process.


PMID: 3519740

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