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Symbiosis and Separation: Towards A Psychology of Culture
Richard A. Koenigsberg
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Some of you may have been disappointed when you attempted to order Symbiosis and Separation. We've sold out the initial print run. However, due to the magic of print-on-demand-publishing, additional copies are now available. This is a foundational work on the psychological sources and meanings of culture.  A limited number of copies are available at the special rate of $9.95 for the paperback edition (list $25.00). SYMBIOSIS AND SEPARATION lays the groundwork for a theory of culture and politics by showing how objects in the external world act as symbols and containers for inner objects.

Orion Anderson
Editor-in-Chief, Library of Social Science
(718) 393-1104

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Excerpt: "Culture as a Human Creation"

I suggest that we re-connect cultural objects with the beings who have created and continue to use them. The world "out there" is not an external domain, foreign to us.  Rather, it is a world we have created—as a response to our own desires, fantasies and fears.

To say that culture or discourse "determines" is only part of the story. Culture is a human creation or invention. What occurs is that culture provides—institutions, ideologies, and processes representing time-tested "solutions" that societies  have discovered or invented to assist in resolving fundamental psychological dilemmas.

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I have read Symbiosis and Separation with great interest and have found it to offer a very thoughtful and perceptive analysis of the interplay of unconscious phantasy and cultural phenomena.
—Thomas Ogden, M.D., author of The Matrix of the Mind

Excerpt: "Nations and the
Fantasy of Narcissistic Omnipotence."

Separation from the maternal matrix is experienced as diminution or mutilation of the self, leading to a sense of "smallness" that generates the desire to reconnect with another omnipotent object. This often takes the form of attachment to the nation—an object that symbolizes the lost part of the self.

This symbolic object, one's nation, serves as a "container" for the fantasy of omnipotence. Separated from one's family, the individual becomes "American,"  or "German," or "French," or "Chinese." He binds his sense of self with this massive transitional object—hoping to "recapture" the dream of narcissistic omnipotence.

Even though it is difficult to point to referents that equate with one's nation, we experience it as having an existence "out there"—part of external reality. We rarely understand the nation as an object existing within ourselves; a psychic structure reflecting the "inner life of the subject."
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I read Symbiosis and Separation with a good deal of excitement. By different routes, Koenigsberg and I have lighted upon the same central springs of psychic activity. Much of my clinical work confirms his insights and theories. His findings have much in common with my own, but he carries them very creatively into the social science field. I was very impressed by this fascinating book.
  —Frances Tustin, author of Autism and Childhood Psychosis

During the course of the past few decades psychoanalysis has become increasingly aware of the psychodynamic dimension of nations, groups and leaders through such works as Freud's Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, Wilhelm Reich's Mass Psychology of Fascism, Ernest Becker's Escape From Evil, and most recently Richard Koenigsberg's Symbiosis and Separation.
  —M.D. Faber, author of The Withdrawal of Human Projection: Separating from the Symbolic Order

I am very much intrigued by Koenigsberg's psychoanalytic theory of culture. I find a strong element of truth in what he has expressed. I want to emphasize the great pleasure I experienced in reading this book and finding it so thought-provoking.
  —Bernard L. Pacella, M.D., former President of the American Psychoanalytic Association


Symbiosis and Separation: Towards A Psychology of Culture

Richard A. Koenigsberg

I. The Dual Nature of the Human Ego
II. The Conversation Process as a Response to Separation
III. The Denial of Separateness
IV. Internalization
V. The Struggle for Separateness
VI. The Fantasy of Merger as a Source of Anxiety
VII. Conflict and Ambivalence Surrounding Separation-Individuation
VIII. The Transitional Object and the Struggle to Separate
IX. Culture as a Transitional Object
X. The Bodily Roots of the Symbol
XI. The Bodily Roots of Culture
XII. Repression