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In any case if valid this objection only takes the argument a step further back, for one has then to explain why the parents differentiate so strikingly between the two sets of interests.
While Dr Hadfield's treatment of sadism and masochism differs in several important respects from that of Freud the difference most relevant to the present discussion is as follows.
Both writers agree that the aggressive impulse which is the basis of sadism is originally, as Dr Hadfield says, 'egotistic' (or more strictly speaking egoistic) and only later becomes as it were sexualized, but while Freud considers that the aggressive impulse acquires libidinal significance in early childhood, Dr Hadfield maintains that it cannot be called sexual until it meets the requirements of his formula and is "normally directed to sexually loved objects and arouses impulses whose natural end is reproduction," i.e. in the aggression of the sexually mature male. Here the weakness of the one-way conception is perhaps specially apparent, for a sexual situation begun with a minimum of aggressive impulse may, when libidinal excitement radiates, awaken strong sadistic impulses either consciously inhibited or expressed in playful acts of biting, etc., and that in individuals whose sexual life could not legitimately be termed abnormal.
But more evident and serious objections to this arbitrary limitation are based on (1) observation of children, (2) subjective evidence of (a) identity, (b) continuity of erotic accompaniment of early and late situations in which aggression is directed towards another or submitted to by the self.
The classical 'beating phantasies' found in persons whose libidinal interest in aggression hardly constitutes a perversion, since they do not necessarily replace normal sexual gratification, constitute a case in point. Erection and other signs of sexual excitation have been observed in children as accompaniments of their aggressive behaviour to others or submission to the aggressive behaviour in others. Fantasies reconstructing such situations continue to evoke erotic sensations and, when sexual maturity is reached, an identity is experienced between the sensations evoked by beating fantasies and by coitus. In mild instances pleasurable dwelling on the beating fantasies is relinquished in favour of coitus: in more marked cases coitus can only be achieved by continuing to dwell on the beating fantasies. I confess that in the face of such clear evidence I am puzzled to see any scientific objection to recognizing an early sexual component in aggression.
Dr Hadfield disposes of the inconvenience threatened to his formula
by the sexual perversions, by falling back on an alternative hypothesis according to which (if I understand him rightly) the infantile impulses, which we regard as in part libidinal and in part egoistic, are entirely Ego-impulses, perversions resulting when these Ego-impulses are 'morbidly manifested' and "tend to persist, fusing with sex feelings of a later age." Freud's version of this state of affairs is that Ego-impulses and Ego-functions are morbidly manifested' when they become excessively invested with libidinal significance, and he adduces a wealth of clinical and other evidence for this view. It seems to me that the words 'morbidly manifested,' like 'surplus excitation,' really beg the question. At any rate I await with interest the production of clinical or other material supporting this view. Meantime we may put it to the test of explaining known facts.
Since Freud admits that from the first the component-impulses of infantile sexuality are closely interwoven with Ego-impulses, a clearer issue can perhaps be established in the case of perverted sexual gratification, depending on stimulation of a non-genital erotogenic zone. Take the case of a child who derives obvious guilty and defiant gratification from stimulating his anus, withholding stools, etc., who continues to practise anal masturbation at intervals throughout the latency period and who, at sexual maturity, becomes an anal pervert. In such a case, what is the Ego-impulse 'morbidly manifested' which tends to fuse with sex feelings of a later age? There is here on the contrary the clearest continuity with no fusing at all. In such a case the anus is consistently treated as if it were a genital,” i.e. the gratification of its excitability is a sexual gratification. Again, take a case of shoe fetishism in which the child experiences erection on beholding or handling the shoes of its mother or its nurse and continues throughout life to experience erotic excitement at the sight of women's shoes. Such cases are incontrovertible evidence of continuity and in all cases of perversion analysed such continuity made manifest.
Dr Hadfield would substitute for this simple explanation a much more complicated and mysterious one and according to a well-known canon of scientific acceptability the onus of proof is on his side.
I can see no possible advantage in his alternative theory of the perversions save the (here) irrelevant one that it absolves the child of experiencing excitations genetically continuous with and psychological of the same qualitative nature as adult sexual excitations.
His plea for the substitution of the word 'sensuous' for the Freudian term 'libidinal,' as descriptive of such excitations in childhood, points
in the same direction. One is here reminded of the fact that the word 'sensuous' is frequently used to denote euphemistically erotic experience, less strongly toned or less directly genital in character than those disapproved of in the term 'sensual,' but Dr Hadfield goes as far as to say that even genital excitation in the child is merely 'sensuous' and not 'sexual.'
He has clearly recognized and fully admitted the fact that certain interests and activities, some of them alien or repugnant to adult minds, constitute pleasurably toned experiences for the child which are frequently associated with genital excitation (although he does not do justice to other than merely physical concomitants of these gratifications), and he has also recognized that these infantile tendencies are in some way linked on with later psycho-sexual development; but he refuses to extend to them even in the genetic sense the descriptive term 'sexual' and pleads for the term 'sensuous' until the tendencies in question subserve the biological goal of fertilization in adult life. This is tantamount to maintaining that the sexual instinct manifests itself de novo and without developmental background when sexual maturity is reached.
Now leaving out of account Freud's deeper researches into what he considers to be libidinal manifestations in earliest childhood and restricting ourselves to those more obvious phenomena which come within the scope of ordinary observation, can this position be maintained without doing violence to ordinary inference?
For instance, when a young mammal (e.g. the kid)1 makes abortive attempts at coitus on the day of its birth, are we to describe this as an Ego-tendency which must not be called sexual till sexual maturity is reached?
Again, is direct stimulation of the child's genital organs, either by itself or by another person, followed by a state of physical and psychical excitation closely resembling adult sexual excitation, both from the point of view of observation and of subjective identification, to be regarded as non-sexual merely because they cannot at that time subserve the 'natural end' of reproduction? Further, are actual instances of coitus between children during the latency period, such as Malinowski has reported as fairly frequent in a primitive community observed by him and which are by no means so rare in civilized communities as is generally supposed, to be regarded as non-sexual because they cannot, owing to sexual immaturity, subserve the 'natural end' of reproduction?
1 Verbal communication from Mr Tansley.
2 Psyche, Oct. 1923, Vol. IV, pp. 318-19.
I do not suppose that Dr Hadfield would seriously maintain such a position, but to abandon it is to admit that manifestations of sexuality occur in childhood and to re-open the whole question of infantile sexuality.
Of course it is obvious that the adoption of such a vague and comprehensive term as 'sensuous' enables us to ignore the genetic significance of those tendencies which Freud has boldly designated as developmental precursors of adult sexual experience, just as its undiscriminating application to adult experience would enable us to ignore the erotic nature of many tendencies which are in fact manifestations of sexuality, and it is precisely this obscurantist significance of the term against which I wish to protest.
Dr Hadfield next examines psycho-analytical evidence for describing as sexual infantile tendencies and experiences which he proposes to designate without differentiation as 'sensuous.'
He admits that there is strong clinical evidence for the Freudian standpoint. In his own words, "if one investigates the origin of sexual activities in adult life, especially the abnormal, one is ultimately led to activities in childhood of a pleasurable nature." Again, "moreover the patient himself recognizes subjectively the essential identity of these experiences."
But while recognizing the convenience from a clinical standpoint of grouping these experiences as sexual, he considers that this convenience. is outweighed by other considerations.
Before considering these, it is necessary to point out that the clinical evidence above mentioned does not include the most important and striking argument of all, namely the phenomenon of regression, which shows that not only have libidinal tendencies traversed a certain continuous path of development, but that they can, under certain circumstances (external or internal deprivation), retrace it in the opposite direction to early points of libidinal fixation.
Proceeding to further arguments he disposes of the contention that, e.g., sucking has a libidinal component even when it is accompanied by erection because this is an example of 'surplus excitation.' As I have already said, this begs the question of the nature of this surplus excitation, which, as previously pointed out, can work in two directions: (1) from an erotogenic zone to the genital, (2) from the genital to an erotogenic zone. It was precisely to account for this displaceable excitation that Freud formulated his libido theory.
Dr Hadfield adduces several arguments against accepting the im
pressive one of continuity of development from pre-genital to genital excitations.
He points out quite correctly that all instinctual gratification in the child is accompanied by pleasure. The ingestion of milk is a gratification no less than the relief of the excitability of the oral mucous membrane and he is also correct in assuming that in the act of sucking these two gratifications are closely commingled. Indeed, there is a hypothetical stage at this point when his term 'sensuous' as connoting a relatively undifferentiated stage of instinctual gratification would not conflict with the psycho-analytical view, but Freud insists that, almost from the first, the two commingled instinctual gratifications tend to diverge, to be attended by a different feeling-quality and to bring about different psychological results-the hunger impulse resulting in satisfactory adaptation to an important source of nourishment (if viewed teleologically) and the libidinal gratification (if viewed teleologically) laying the basis of an all-important emotional relationship to an esteemed object -the mother. The argument for psychological continuity is here surely impressive. The gratification derived from the satisfaction of hunger is admittedly qualitatively different from that derived from kissing a sexually loved person, although the archaic commingling is preserved in such phrases as "I could eat you." Still more significant are those cases, of which several are known to the writer, of adults who, at the height of sexual excitement, insert either their own or their partner's finger into their mouths and suck it vigorously. Moreover the clinical material collected by Abraham, shows both genetically and descriptively the most impressive association throughout life of the two tendencies.
Dr Hadfield's main reason for disregarding this constantly demonstrated continuity is that the earlier developed tendencies should not be called by the name of the later, because their functions and aims are quite different. Such an argument clearly rules a genetic psychology out of court, taking no account of the possibility obvious in the case of many Ego-activities that earlier manifestations appear long before they are fully adapted in the biological sense in adult life.
He admits the facts of "infantile sensuous gratifications," adding (I think quite erroneously) that "these are admitted in every nursery' and he further admits that "these activities appear in the sex perversions in later life," but he does not admit any genetic continuity between these 'sensuous' tendencies and experiences in childhood and normal adult erotic life. He will have nothing to do with Freud's conception (based not only on study of development but also on the facts of re