[Footnote 69: DuBois: Psychic Treatment of Nervous Disorders, p. 155.]
One ship drives east, another
While the self-same breezes blow;
’Tis the set of the sail, and not the gale
That bids them where to go.
Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate,
As we journey along through life;
’Tis the set of the soul that decides the goal,
And not the calm or the strife.
REBECCA R. WILLIAMS.
In which we find new use for our steam
FINDING VENT IN SUBLIMATION
THE RE-DIRECTION OF ENERGY
A child pent up on a rainy day is a troublesome child. His energy keeps piling up, but there is no opportunity for him to expend it. The nervous person is just such a pent-up child. A portion of his personality is developing steam which goes astray in its search for vent; this portion is found to be the psychic side of his sex-life. Something has blocked the satisfactory achievement of instinctive ends and turned his interest in on himself.
Perhaps he does not come into complete psychic satisfaction of his love-life because his wife is out of sympathy or is held back by her own childish repressions. Perhaps his love-instinct is baffled by finding itself thwarted in its purpose of creating children, restrained by the social ban and the desire for a luxurious standard of living. Perhaps he is jealous of his chief, or of an older relative whose business stride he cannot equal.
Jung has pointed out how frequently introversion or turning in of the life-force is brought about by the painfulness of present reality and by the lack of the power of adaptation to things as they are. But this lack always has its roots in childhood. The woman who is shocked at the thought of sex is the little girl who reacted too strongly to early impressions. The man of forty who is disgruntled because he is not made manager of a business created by others is the little boy who was jealous of his father and wanted to usurp his place of power. The man who suffers from a sense of inferiority because his friend has a handsomer or more intellectual wife is the same little boy who strove with his father for possession of the mother, the most desired object in his childish environment. The measure of escape from these childish attitudes means the measure of success in life.
Fortunately for society, the average person achieves this success. The normal person in his childhood learned how to switch the energy of his primitive desires into channels approved by society. Stored away in his subconscious, this acquired faculty carries him without conscious effort through all the necessary adjustments in maturity. The nervous person, less well equipped in childhood, may fortunately acquire the faculty in all its completeness, although at the cost of genuine effort and patient self-study.