[Concept of external reality in Freud's works]

Three main functions of external reality (E.R.) relative to the subjecto may be mentioned. a) it is a source of stimulae that promote the structuring of te psychic apparatus. In this sense, E.F. is the place where this apparatus is charged and where it is discharged (specific action). b) it is a vehicle of gratification or frustration of necessity (AnakÈ). The satisfaction of necessity is gratifying, the lackof it is frustrating. c) it is the instance that heals or makes a person ill acording to its possibility of gratifying or frustrating the subject respectively. If we first take point a), we can examine the relationship between E.R. and internal (psychic) reality along the process of internalization of normal and pathologic experience. The author thinks Freud considers frustration as structuring of the psychic apparatus as long as it does not satisfy the person's needs or opposes the accomplishment of his desire. This complels the subject to recognize the existence of the external object. Also, whenfacing the external object the subject discovers his own self. Coinciding with this reognitions he tries to defend himself against it. In normal circustances the image of the external world is built by means of successive projections and introjections. The more sane the subject, the more faithfully and without distortions will he incorporate the external images. To be structuring, the frustrations must be encountered in adequate dose. If it is excessive there will be a distortion of the image due not only to projection but also to the defusion of instincts (defusion that takes place in the process of introjection of external figures). These distorted images of the external world coexist with various fantsies. But these fantasies are also marked by E.R. Even when the individual history of a subject does not give accont of this reality, there is a "filogenetic endowment" of fantasies that always recognize an external origin: they are the prehistoric fantasies. This hypothesis of the original fantasies is similar, in respect to their ontogenetic origin, to the innate ideas of Descartes and it is coherent with Freud's empirical point of view of those fantasies being perceptions in a filogenetic past. In this way Freud tries to give account both of the idealistic and the empiricist points of view about perception. If in genetic matters the interaction with the external world is primordial, in epigenetic matters Freud goes away from empericism of perception to propose the hypothesis of an internal reality, that differs from empericism of perception to propose the hypothesis of an internal reality, that differs from external material reality. But even in the psychotic process, in which the psychological reality is far apart from E.R., the former gets influenced by the latter...

Dorfman Lerner, B.
Item Type: 
Journal Article
Publication Title: 
Acta Psiquiatrica Y Psicologica De America Latina
Journal Abbreviation: 
Acta Psiquiatr Psicol Am Lat
Publication Date: 
Publication Year: 
Library Catalog: 
PMID: 7348082

Turabian/Chicago Citation

B. Dorfman Lerner. 1981-07. "[Concept of external reality in Freud's works]." Acta Psiquiatrica Y Psicologica De America Latina 27: 3: 227-235.

Wikipedia Citation

<ref> {{Cite journal | doi = | issn = 0001-6896 | volume = 27 | pages = 227-235 | last = Dorfman Lerner | first = B. | coauthors = | title = [Concept of external reality in Freud's works] | journal = Acta Psiquiatrica Y Psicologica De America Latina | date = 1981-07 | pmid = | pmc = }} </ref>