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Trauma, Guilt, and Conspiracy: The Zero Process and the Superego
Psychoanal 2023;34:54-60
Published online July 31, 2023;  https://doi.org/10.18529/psychoanal.2023.34.3.54
© 2023 Korean Association of Psychoanalysis.

Joseph Fernando

Toronto Institute of Psychoanalysis, Toronto, ON, Canada
Joseph Fernando, MD
Toronto Institute of Psychoanalysis, 401 Durie Street, M6S 3G5, Toronto, ON, Canada
Tel: +1-416-975-9147, E-mail: jfernsympatico@gmail.com
Received April 10, 2023; Accepted June 3, 2023.
cc This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract
This paper explores the links between trauma, guilt, and the superego, and through this exploration attempts to make some additions to our understanding of individual dynamics, group regression, and group delusions. The author first describes his concept of the zero process as the form of mental functioning that is a product of the breakdown of the construction of the present moment during trauma. These unconstructed, bits and pieces memories exist as present experiences or future expectations. From time to time, in relation to traumas that are either individual or developmental, inner objects which have the quality of immediate presences form—we usually call them introjects. The author suggests that these are best conceptualized as zero process structures in having many characteristics of the zero process, and that the obligatory connection between trauma and guilt, and the manner of transmission of culture and the superego, and of conspiracy theories and other group delusions, can be better and more deeply understood once the part that zero process structures play in all these phenomena is brought into focus.
Keywords : Trauma; Superego; Psychological theory.
Trauma and Guilt

The psychoanalyst William Niederland, a pioneer in the study of trauma, coined the terms “survivor syndrome” and “survivor guilt” to describe what he saw in the many survivors of the Holocaust whom he treated (Niederland 1981). He dealt also with traumatized Vietnam war veterans, and noted the many similarities between the symptoms of these groups, and of others who had survived natural disasters and other traumas. One of these similarities was the presence of guilt. One way or another, almost every trauma becomes a moral problem. There are many reasons for this: an abuser may project their guilt onto the abused, or guilt may be used as a defence to ward off a sense of helplessness. But I believe that there are more fundamental links between trauma and the structures that subserve morality, upon which these individual instances rest. These links are central to our relations to reality, our connections to social reality (including shared group delusions), and to the intergenerational transmission of culture. But to dig deep enough to get to the foundational links between trauma and guilt, we will need certain tools. These tools will be the concepts related to the true nature of trauma, guilt, and the inner structures related to them. One of these concepts is the zero process (Fernando 2009; Fernando 2012a; Fernando 2012b; Fernando 2023), which describes post-traumatic mental functioning.

The Zero Process

Here is Niederland’s description of a patient: “[o]ne of my survivor patients told me that at the time of liberation from the concentration camp his weight was down to 94 lbs. and he looked like a ‘plucked chicken.’ Though he is now of normal weight and appearance, he cannot be sure—he told me—that he has not the looks of a plucked chicken still today, and with great regularity he refuses to leave his home, in order not to be seen by other people” (1981, p.417). We can observe that this man displayed two different types of memory. One of them was like other regular memories: he told Niederland about his time in the camp, and of how he looked when he was liberated, and of how he often could not go out of his home in the present because of his misperception about his body. These memories could be called up by the patient, scanned back and forth, and then put away again. While this brief description does not show this, we can be sure that these memories were somewhat changed each time that they were remembered. We know from clinical work, experimental psychology, and neuroscientific research, that memories are stored in a distributed fashion, in pieces, and the pieces reassembled each time the memory is called up. And each time the memory is called up it is changed somewhat in different ways—sometimes new knowledge added, sometimes the memory is connected or conflated with other memories, sometimes small or large changes are made to the pieces of it.

Along with these memories, Niederland’s patient had a different form of memory. We could call it a memory because it was retained over time, but in most other ways it behaved like a present experience. He perceived himself as still emaciated, as he had been at the time of his liberation. This memory could not be brought up when needed and then put away; it could not be scanned back and forth; and it did not undergo distortions and other processing such as abstraction. Its “remembering” was triggered by certain concrete circumstances, and consisted of a living out in the present. This is well known as the way in which post-traumatic memory presents. These memories are immediate, intense, and exist alongside regular experience without either one influencing the other—something we call dissociation. If we look deeper, we will discover some other surprising things about these memories, not so well known, which will be important for our further theorizing on guilt and the superego. One of these surprising things is that most posttraumatic memories/living out are not just passive repetitions of the height of a person’s trauma. In the present case, the patient repeated the experience of his emaciation at the time of his liberation—most likely not the worst of the traumas he had suffered at the death camp, and in fact a time when there was hope. We can see as we look at other examples, that post-traumatic memories and reliving have a structure and a set of dynamics. These are not only helpful in clinical work with trauma, but they also are mirrored in the structure and dynamics of the superego, and through this of human social structures generally.

Let’s look at another example, also a patient of Niederland’s (1965). This man came into Niederland’s office shivering and dressed in a winter coat, even in sweltering weather. This strange behaviour made him appear schizophrenic, but other aspects of his presentation convinced Niederland that he was not, and as he stuck with him in therapy the patient began to thaw out and not feel so cold. A dream depicted him near or at the North Pole, his bed a block of ice or a refrigerator, surrounded by the ice, cold, and darkness of a seemingly endless night. When dawn finally came, some people walked in and out of the room where he lay. Niederland was led to ask his patient, in analyzing this dream, if he had ever actually had an episode of freezing. The patient asked his parents, who were surprised, and said they had left the widow open on a very cold day in his bedroom, and he had almost frozen to death, and had to be thawed out. He was taken to hospital, where he acquired a pneumonia and took quite a while to recover. This had happened when he was less than a year old. Upon the patient hearing of this episode, the therapeutic effect was immediate, and sustained, without any of the seeming psychosis coming back.

Here again we meet memory as an intrusive present experience. Here also, what is lived out in the present is not the height of the trauma, which almost certainly would have been when the patient was almost dead from the cold, or in hospital isolated and struggling to breathe due to the pneumonia. Rather, as an adult this man lived out the point before the worst: being cold, trying to keep warm, but never being able to get warmed up. If we look closely at examples of post-traumatic reliving, we will find the worst of the trauma not in the present reaction, but in the person’s future. I have described this dynamic, of pushing the height of the trauma into the future, as temporal shifting. Temporal shifting is one example of what I have designated zero process defences: defences in which certain properties of post-traumatic mental functioning—the zero process— are used to manage and control traumatic memories, as well as emotional conflicts and other issues that become connected with them. These defences end up structuring the superego, and thus our relations to the social surround. Zero process memories are either happening or about to happen, and yet never happening fully enough to be laid down as a regular memory. I have designated this push of zero process memories towards full actualization in the present as the zero process drive (Fernando 2018b; Fernando 2023). Temporal shifting makes use of this characteristic of the zero process to push against the zero process drive, keeping the worst of the trauma in the future, and living at the time when there was still hope, when things could turn out differently. The superego confronts us as an immediate presence of a separate inner entity, like another person, who may berate us, comment on us, comfort us, etc. These comments and reactions are immediate, repetitive, and beyond our control, as were the reactions of Niederland’s patients. The superego also contains a future dimension—a threatened punishment, or a promised state of narcissistic bliss—that relates to the zero process and temporal shifting.

But why do post-traumatic memories have this characteristic, so important in the dynamics and structures based on them, of being situated in the present and future? Why do they have the other characteristics that we know so well, such as lack of integration, existing in bits and pieces, and the lack of symbolization of any sort? The characteristics of post-traumatic mental functioning—of the zero process—have since the early days of the study of trauma been traced to the specific characteristics of trauma. Trauma occurs when a situation is too overwhelming for the person to master—overwhelming because of young age, the suddenness of the intrusion, extreme threats to life or physical integrity, or often these and other factors in combination. I described in papers and my recent book (Fernando 2012a; Fernando 2012b; Fernando 2023) how the traumatic process involves the shut down especially of certain key functions involved in the construction of the present moment. What we take to be our immediate experience of the present is actually—as shown by psychological, neurological, and clinical work—the end point of a complex constructional process. Raw perceptions and feelings are integrated and processed in ways such as abstraction, symbolization and connection with similar past experiences, to give us what we usually consider immediate experience.

The shutting down during trauma of the capacities, such as integration and abstraction, that enable the construction of the present moment, leave unintegrated bits and pieces of raw, concrete, unsymbolized experience. These make up the zero process. The breakdown in the construction of reality during trauma also interferes with these pieces of memory becoming part of the past. They are not laid down as more regular memories, that can be scanned and then put away—a key characteristic of the psychological past. Rather, they have the intrusiveness and tendency to run only in one direction, outside of the person’s control, that present experience possesses. But, unlike present experience, they do not happen just once. One could say that they never happen fully, as they live in the present and future, always about to happen, sometimes happening with great intensity but then, unlike the actual present, never fading into the past, never making way for a new present or a new future. This crucial difference means that unlike regular experience, which quickly clears out of the perceptual systems of the mind, retreating to the memory systems (Freud 1925), zero process memories remain within these perceptual systems, leaving less space for new experiences. We get a vivid picture of this in Niederland’s two patients, whose present experience was partially colonized by things that belonged more properly in memory: perceptions of an emaciated body, and bodily feelings of freezing.

Zero Process Objects

There are structures that form from time to time in the human mind that have many of the characteristics of the zero process demonstrated by Niederland’s patients. These structures confront us almost as separate people. As an example, one of them may berate you endlessly saying that you are always failing and also never doing as much as you should. Such a structure has the sense of an intense immediate experience that is characteristic of the zero process, as well as its repetitiveness. One can distinguish these structures from more mature parts of the superego by their insistence on saying exactly the same thing, or having the same attitude, no matter what the circumstances. No matter how much or little you do, you can be sure that the introject will have the very same not so pleasant things to say to you, and will have the same not so very pleasant attitude towards you. Along with immediacy and repetitiveness, these introjects stand apart from the person, and live in a separate reality, untouched by changes and happenings in regular reality. I have suggested the term “zero process objects” to designate these introjects. Another characteristic of these objects is that they confront us not only as something separate from ourselves but as independent centers of initiative— which is why they seem so much like separate people. The zero process drive, pushing for actualization of an action or thought or feeling, when added to the immediate presence of the zero process object, give it this characteristic of being an independent centre of initiative. These objects should be distinguished from non zero process self and object representations, which have the characteristics of more regular memory, with less of the intense lived present intrusive immediacy of zero process structures (This differentiation points the way to a reformulation of object relations theory, as involving two inner object worlds, one more in the deep interior of the mind, the other living at the perceptual surface of the mind, as zero process objects half way between the mind and the external world.).

There are times in development, such as very early infancy, the height of the struggles over independence and aggression in toddlerhood, the genital and body anxieties during the height of the Oedipal conflicts around age five, and the massive regressive reliving of all of these in early adolescence, —there are times in development that are traumatic or close to traumatic for most people, and lead to the formation of zero process objects, which become the source for our shared human heritage, of the complex inner structure we call the superego. This provides a key link between individual trauma and introjects, and the shared universal introjects and shared structure of the superego. As we shall see, individual traumas have a way of making contact with, and being partly absorbed into, this universal, shared structure.

It should be stressed that the superego cannot be reduced to its zero process aspects. Strictly speaking, the superego is a complex amalgam, anchored by zero process objects (introjects) in the world of the zero process, but also having roots, as Freud taught us, in the id and the primary process, from which it draws its energies of love and aggression, and also related to narcissistic fantasies and feelings of perfection and bliss, as well as more realistic perceptions of the characteristics and teachings of parents and other adults in the child’s environment. It is the zero process core of the superego, however, that lends these parental interactions their power, as a real present reality that stands apart from the person and masters them, and which they have little or no power to change. In this they resemble the reliving of major traumas, which similarly confront the person as intense and insistent realities. And zero process dynamics acting on this zero process core move the worst of the punishments into the future through the process of temporal shifting, thus giving the superego its structure in having a future focus. The superego threatens future punishment and promises future bliss.

The quintessential zero process objects, giving the clearest and strongest expression of their characteristics of immediate presence and independence from the person, are the alters of dissociative identity disorder (DID). These appear at times to have full independence from the “host” and to behave very much like a separate person. Closer inspection shows that in fact alters have only one or a few attitudes and thoughts and feelings, unlike the much more complex situation with an actual person. They are found to be a product of one or a number of extremely traumatic experiences. Essentially they are built around a kernel of a set of zero process memories formed by extreme traumatization. These are then elaborated during development to varying degrees, and used for other purposes as well as their primary one of managing traumatic memories.

A Clinical Example of Trauma and Guilt

Introjects are not so elaborated or fully personified as the alters of DID, but they share the same sources in severe trauma, the same structural characteristics related to the zero process, and the same tendency to being used, once formed, for all sorts of purposes. One of my patients, Peggy, whom I described in detail in my book on the zero process (Fernando 2023), was traumatized in many ways and on many occasions by a paranoid schizophrenic mother. We recovered scary and lonely memories of a very young Peggy tugging at her mother’s nightgown to get her attention as she whispered to voices only she could hear, and much more scary memories of a look of crazed hatred in her mother’s eyes as she would shout at Peggy or physically attack her and her father. “I’ve never seen eyes like that, not even in other people who were really angry, not even when E (her psychopathic former husband) was in a rage.” Peggy could see those eyes, and feel the judgement and hatred of her mother, in a scary mother introject that lived inside her. Their immediacy was shown by her closing her eyes and putting her hands over them to shut out the image, and physically shaking.

Peggy’s mother had sexually abused her, taking her to bed some nights when she was seven and eight and making her masturbate her, and also manually masturbating Peggy. Her father had put a lock on his bedroom door after his wife had attacked him in his sleep, once with a knife. When we were analyzing the sexual abuse Peggy was led to wonder if her mother had attacked her sexually after being locked out of the marital bedroom and access to her father. Though Peggy’s father was warm and caring in his relationship with her and her sister, and took certain measures to protect them from their mother, such as hiring people to take care of them (who usually left quickly after exposure to the mother’s attacks), and sending them off to boarding school, he also was in denial about the severity of his wife’s condition. He brought her back home from the hospital against the advice of her psychiatrists, and at times did not judge correctly the true danger that she posed to himself and to his two daughters. Peggy dearly loved her father and felt—correctly I think—that his love and caring were important in saving her from a worse outcome in the situation with her mother. She also was angry at him and resentful of him for his failures in protecting her, related to his denial of the severity of his wife’s disturbance and the very real dangers she posed. Peggy’s solution to this conflict was to repress her resentment and strengthen her love and idealization of her father. This led to unconscious guilt and a deeply repressed but powerful need for punishment, leading to many self defeating actions, the roots of which we only uncovered after many years of therapy.

How did these classical dynamics related to unconscious guilt and a punishing superego connect with—or did they connect with—the scary and attacking mother introject that lived inside Peggy? As we explored and analyzed Peggy’s past traumatizations by her mother it became clear that she lived in two worlds: the regular present, where she took a lively interest in the state of the world, and had many friends, and a lonely and desolate world where she was under threat by a scary mother. This second world was not just a set of bad memories ready to be awakened by circumstances. It was a continually active present experience, which only sometimes became conscious. “I’ve always felt like that—living in two worlds—as long as I can remember. I never told anyone about the other world, and it made me feel separate from everyone even though none of my friends would have thought that I was.” Many other traumatic experiences became part of this world; most consequentially, her experiences of abuse and manipulation by her psychopathic husband. It is well known by those who work with trauma that newer traumas make connections with previous ones. Zero Process theory tells us that this is not only because, as traumas, they share certain characteristics such as fright and mental overwhelming, and so are associatively linked, but also, most consequentially, because each serious trauma leaves in its wake zero process memories that live in the perceptual end of the mind as present experiences. The mind attempts to connect and integrate in various ways all of present experience, including the largely hidden present experiences that are a product of traumas, which become connected with each other. In fact they connect with each other, in this strange zero process world, much more so than they connect with regular experience.

In Peggy’s therapy it became clear that the abusive episodes with her husband and the abuse and other traumas at the hands of her mother were all mixed up and connected in many ways, because they all lived in the land of the zero process present. But there was another reality also living in this part of Peggy’s mind—her superego, with its condemnation of Peggy’s rage at her father for his failures, among other things. And so her traumas connected in various ways with this reality as well. This is the deeper reason why traumas tend towards becoming moral problems: the core of the superego, a structure related to guilt and morality, consists of zero process objects, and for this reason the superego exists as a zero process present reality in the mind, making connections with all other traumas, small and large, those that came before its formation and those that come after.

Peggy felt profoundly guilty in relation to her mother. She rationalized her guilt as related to not having known about her mother’s condition, and rejecting and hating her, but we discovered its deep roots in the fusion of her inner mother with her superego. The inner mother staring at her with her murderous eyes, born of traumas at her hands, became fused with Peggy’s superego introjects. It is this mechanism that leads people who are abused to feel guilty and to be susceptible to internalizing the blame that their abuser directs towards them, as Peggy felt guilty in her interactions with her psychopathic husband. Those who have been traumatized—and groups that have been persecuted and traumatized—also often treat it as a secret, as Peggy did, and tell no one. This is easily enough rationalized when the trauma is something felt as shameful, such as sexual abuse, or this secretiveness could be seen as related to the shameful helplessness of the trauma. But the deepest reason for keeping the secret is that the trauma becomes connected with all the other things made taboo by the superego, such as aggressive fantasies and various incestuous sexual wishes.

There are other dynamicsthat reinforce this mechanism linking trauma and the superego: during trauma, there is an enormous amount of aggression liberated, partly for defensive purposes, but mainly because the ego regression of trauma undoes various structures in the mind, such as repression and self/other differentiation, that usually bind and use aggression. This raw unbound aggression is captured by the superego, as a way of managing and containing it. Trauma is also a huge blow to our narcissistic sense of invulnerability, which we all hold on to, and need, at the unconscious level, even as we may be aware of the real situation consciously. Here too the superego, as the repository of early childhood narcissistic feelings and fantasies of perfection and bliss, takes over the task of shoring up this narcissistic collapse. But as with the help with aggression, there is a price to be paid for this assistance, as the superego looms larger, and the sphere of its influence grows, after major traumas.

Knowledge of this deep connection between guilt and trauma is helpful at many levels. At the individual level it tells us that analyzing drive/defense and relational dynamics related to guilt and trauma will never be enough to undo post-traumatic guilt. In Peggy’s case, her guilt felt towards her mother and father was analyzed from many angles, including her aggression towards them, and her defensive use of guilt to ward off helplessness, but it was only the construction of the unconstructed core of her traumas at the hands of her psychopathic husband and of her mother (such as the feel and smells of the sexual abuse, and the terrors of witnessing her mother’s psychotic talking to people who weren’t there), that truly loosened the hold of this guilt on Peggy. From this fact it could be inferred that these core post-traumatic memories were the deeper source of this guilt, to which other dynamics attached.

It is beyond the scope of this paper to detail the nature of the analysis of the core of Peggy’s trauma (Fernando 2023), but I will mention one aspect that is clinically useful in relation to the superego and guilt: the analysis of the zero process defence of temporal shifting. One source of the power of the superego is that its threatened punishments have a feeling of absolute reality and certainty. This is also true of some other fears, such as phobias. If you are worried about a plane crash, you have a fear of flying. If you know with absolute certainty that the plane will crash, then you have a phobia of flying. One cannot know with certainty what the future will bring, but one can know with certainty what has happened in the past. This sense of absolute certainty about the future is like a date stamp. It tells us that this is really a memory, transposed to the future through the process of temporal shifting. It is almost always a post-traumatic zero process memory that is transposed like this. The specific nature of the fear will often remain vague. The person will say they are “afraid of flying,” for instance, but the actual fear, if you inquire into it, against attempts to keep things vague, will be quite individual. One person will be afraid of not being able to escape as the airplane closes in on them, another of the airplane rolling out of control, over and over, so they lose a sense of reality. The patient will often try to argue against these fears, saying that they know that they are not realistic. I have found it helpful not to go along with these arguments, but to say something like, “maybe it feels real because it is real. You can’t be sure of the future, but you can of the past. Maybe you know it will happen because it is a reality you know very well, just placed into the future.” Each specific fear always turns out to be a memory of the core of one or a number of traumas, transposed into the future.

The Structure and Transmission of the Superego

Psychoanalysts have known since the time of Freud that phobic fears, just like feared superego punishments, relate to childhood traumatic anxieties such as abandonment and bodily mutilation. But our understanding of the nature of post-traumatic zero process memories, as present realities, and of zero process dynamics such as the defence of temporal shifting that puts these realities and the zero process drive that animates them into the future, allows us more accurate and detailed insight into the nature of these fears, and the hold they have over us. Essentially we can use what we learn about the zero process to inform our knowledge of, and work with, the superego. At the most straightforward level we can analyze aspects of the superego the way we would analyze other traumatic phenomena— as an example we explored Peggy’s fears of her inner mother, that led to her depression. She felt guilt for not taking care of all sorts of people, including her children, and for not standing up to her psychopathic husband—all of which represented an identification with her father’s failings, and turning her anger at her father against herself. But the threatened punishments that made this guilt so overwhelming were found to relate to Peggy’s traumas, for instance her complete abandonment psychically by her psychotic mother. This meant that the analysis of Peggy’s traumas and of her superego were linked. We could link her feared punishment from her superego to this other world she had lived in since her childhood, and could gain the deep insight into the part of her superego that lived in the zero process world.

Connecting the superego with trauma and the zero process also allows us insight into how it is transmitted intergenerationally. I have pointed out elsewhere (Fernando 2018a; Fernando 2018b; Fernando 2023) that what is passed down in trauma are not memories but realities. And they are passed down in a very special way. The traumatized person lives with their core post-traumatic memories as present realities, but as unconstructed ones. The bits and pieces that would serve to construct the traumatic reality are lying around, unintegrated, in their mind, and their children intuit this other, strange reality that their parent is living with. We all have a capacity to construct reality from these bits and pieces—after all we are doing it all the time. And so this is what the child does—they construct their parent’s traumatic reality. The deepest reason that the child feels their parent’s trauma as their own is because in one sense it is: they have constructed it and so they have lived it, as they have lived other realities that they have constructed. Just so with the superego. Each of us lives with this other reality as well, that judges us, threatens us, comforts us, and tells us about a future that is really our long forgotten traumatic past. Children pick up on, and construct, this other reality of their parents, and make it their own. As Freud (1923) noted, what parents especially pass down to their children are not their ego identities and beliefs, but these aspects as they relate to the superego. This contains the beliefs and traditions and peculiarities of the parents’ groups—ethnic, religious, the extended family, and others. From and through this second zero process reality shared group beliefs, shared group delusions, and culture more generally, are passed, as through an unseen conduit, through the generations.

I noted that the connections of trauma to the superego because of aggression, narcissism, and zero process structures mean that intense traumas lead to an expansion of the area of the superego, not just for defensive reasons, but for structural ones as well—because the traumatic memories live in the same neighbourhood as the core of the superego and thus make connections with it. To put it another way, more and more things which should be practical matters become moral ones—leading either to guilty self accusation and/or accusation of others. This is easy enough to see in individual cases, but it also applies at the group level, and we are led from this angle as well to the topic of group delusions, group ideologies, and conspiracy theories. From the perspective of the zero process, we all live in two separate realities—the more regular one and a zero process reality made up of the core of our traumas. Living in this zero process world is also our superego, which connects us with others through shared ideals and fears and hatreds. When someone says that an all powerful cabal is controlling the world and the information we receive and that the members of this group—whether an ethnic or religious group or the “elites,” or some combination thereof—are engaging in pedophilia and child murder, it may be hard to imagine how they can believe such things with such certainty. But they believe it for similar reasons, although on a much wider scale, as the phobic believes—or rather knows—that if they go on a plane, it will start spinning out of control and they will lose their sense of reality. They both believe it so completely because it is a perception of an actual reality, but a displaced one. The phobic has displaced the unprocessed, still active reality from the core of their trauma, where they lost their sense of reality, to the plane in the air. The conspiracy believer has displaced the reality of an all powerful superego, that controls them and feeds them misinformation, and that has its roots in fantasies of murder and incest, wholesale onto the outside world, mixing up regular reality and zero process reality so thoroughly that they don’t know where one ends and the other begins.

It is beyond the scope of this short paper to delve more deeply into the connections outlined above. For one thing, conspiracy theories cannot be reduced merely to trauma—there are narcissistic and other issues, and reality impingements and social pressures and group belonging also play their part in fostering superego regression, as analysts who have worked on these issues (e.g., Volkan 2014) have pointed out. But I do believe that an understanding of the zero process as a separate reality with characteristics quite distinct from regular reality and from the primary process reality discovered by Freud, and of zero process defences such as temporal shifting, and the application of all this knowledge to understanding the superego in its development, intergenerational transmission, and transformations, will open up new vistas in our investigation of both individual and group dynamics. I hope in this necessarily condensed description of ongoing work using these concepts, I have whetted your curiosity about, and interest in, these ideas and their applications.

Acknowledgments

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Dr. Jae-Hon Lee for his generous support in preparing this article.

Conflicts of Interest

The author has no potential conflicts of interest to disclose.

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