A Philosopher and a Psychoanalyst: Eric Voegelin and Donald Winnicott on the In-Between of Human Life (Part II)

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Donald Winnicott

The Moment of Illusion and the Existential Virtues

Winnicott argues that the good-enough mother’s holding, handling, and object presenting together enable the infant to develop the capacity to interact with the mother and others as separate, whole persons.  Critical to Winnicott’s account are the related terms “fantasy” and “illusion.”  To make sense of what he says, I argue that he is using those terms in two different ways.  With one set of meanings he points to what Voegelin calls the primary experience of the cosmos, which Winnicott himself calls the experience of being.  With the other set of meanings he points to the infant’s capacity to symbolize his experience-at first with movements, gestures, and the use of physical objects, and later in words and fantasies.  In normal development the experience of being supports the emergence of symbolization and is its experiential source throughout life, whereas in pathological development the experience of being is intermittent, anxiety-filled, or altogether absent, and symbolizing is accompanied by anxiety and may never become well established.  The following passages from Winnicott’s writings will provide a starting point for developing this interpretation:

… [T]he baby has instinctual urges and predatory ideas.  The mother has a breast and the power to produce milk, and the idea that she would like to be attacked by a hungry baby.  These two phenomena do not come into relation with each other till the mother and child live an experience together….  I think of the process as if two lines came from opposite directions, liable to come near each other.  If they overlap there is a moment of illusion, a bit of experience which the infant can take as either his hallucination or a thing belonging to external reality.  (Winnicott 1945, p. 152)

The mother, at the beginning, by an almost 100 percent adaptation affords the infant the opportunity for the illusion that her breast is part of the infant.  It is, as it were, under the baby’s magical control.  The same can be said of infant care in general, in the quiet times between excitements.  Omnipotence is nearly a fact of experience.  The mother’s eventual task is gradually to disillusion the infant, but she has no hope of success unless she has first been able to give sufficient opportunity for illusion. (Winnicott 1953 in 1971b, p. 11)

The pattern is thus:  the baby develops a vague expectation that has origin in unformulated need.  The adaptive mother presents an object or a manipulation that meets the baby’s needs, and so the baby begins to need just what the mother presents.  In this way the baby comes to feel confident in being able to create objects and to create the actual world.  The mother gives the baby a brief period in which omnipotence is a matter of experience. (Winnicott 1962, p. 62)

We are concerned with an infant in a highly dependent state and totally unaware of this dependence …. Where the complications are not too great something very simple happens.  It is difficult to find the right words to describe this simple event; but it can be said that by reason of an aliveness in the infant and through the development of instinct tension the infant comes to expect something; and then there is a reaching out which can soon take the form of an impulsive movement of the hand or a movement of the mouth toward a presumed object.  I think it is not out of place to say that the infant is ready to be creative.  There would be a hallucination of the object if there were memory material for use in the process of creation but this cannot be postulated in consideration of the theoretical first feed.  Here the new human being is in the position of creating the world. (Winnicott 1971a, p. 102)

The first step toward interpreting these passages is to examine Winnicott’s assumption that at the beginning of life the infant is “totally unaware” of his separateness from and dependence on the mother.  This assumption creates a philosophical problem:  how does the infant move from that state to subsequent states in which he experiences himself as separate from but related to others (Ogden 1990)?  If we drop the assumption of initial unawareness of separateness, a second problem remains:  how do we know that the infant’s experience is like ours?

With respect to the first problem, recent research by developmental psychologists suggests that the infant has some awareness of self and other from the beginning of life.  Interpreting such research, Stern (1985) suggests that in the first two months of life the infant experiences primitive patterns of experience emerging and coalescing into larger “self-invariant and other-invariant constellations” (p. 67).  At about two months the emerging self and other constellations coalesce into an organizing experiential perspective that Stern calls a sense of a core self and other.  This is a sense of self “experienced as a coherent, willful, physical entity with a unique affective life and history that belong to it” that is related to mother and others who are experienced in the same way (p. 26).  At about seven to nine months there emerges a third organizing experiential perspective, which Stern calls a sense of a subjective self and other.

Sense of self and other are no longer only core entities of physical presence, action, affect, and continuity.  They now include subjective mental states-feelings, motives, intentions-that lie behind the physical happenings in the domain of core relatedness. (p. 27)

Thus, from the beginning the infant experiences self and other emerging, and this experience continues to be present when his core sense of self and other emerges.  Similarly, both the emergent and core senses of self and other remain when the subjective sense of self and other emerge.  These three senses of self and other (as well as a fourth, the verbal sense of self and other, which begins to emerge between 15 and 18 months) are present throughout life.  Stern’s theory has the advantage of eliminating the problem of the infant transitioning from a state of unawareness to a state of awareness of relatedness to others.  The problem of how we know that the infant’s experience is like ours remains.

Winnicott addresses that problem by assuming that from the beginning of life the infant has the capacity to experience fantasy and illusion.  I think that most of the time he uses fantasy to mean the capacity to symbolize, and he uses illusion to mean the sense that a symbol is identical to what it symbolizes.  Thus, he talks of the illusion created in the infant’s play that he and the mother are one.  The problem with applying these meanings of fantasy and illusion to the infant’s experience in the first two months is that they presuppose the existence of core and subjective senses of self and other, which do not both emerge until seven months or later.  Yet Winnicott claims that the infant experiences the “moment of illusion” from the beginning, when the mother first presents her breast and herself to him.

In my view, we can best make sense of Winnicott’s writings on these matters by assuming that, in addition to the meanings of fantasy and illusion indicated, Winnicott uses those terms to symbolize the infant’s experience of participation in reality, without being critically aware of the difference in meanings.  Thus, he uses the terms fantasy and illusion to refer to two quite different experiences, one of which emerges chronologically before the other.  (Ogden (1990, p. 210) also observes that Winnicott uses the term illusion in two ways, but interprets those usages somewhat differently.)  In my view, what the good-enough mother makes possible in what Winnicott calls “the moment of illusion” is simply the experience of participation.  This allows us to make sense of Winnicott’s statements that “[f]antasy [participation in reality] is more primary than reality [the world of existent things], and the enrichment of fantasy [symbolizing] with the world’s riches depends on the experience of illusion [participation in reality],” and that the moment of illusion is “a bit of experience which the infant can take [when his capacities have matured sufficiently] as either his hallucination or a thing belonging to external reality.” (Winnicott 1945, p. 153, 152)

This interpretation is consistent with Winnicott’s insistence on the experiential unity of the moment of illusion for the infant.  He remarks:

… no sense of self emerges except on the basis of this relating in the sense of BEING … [which is] perhaps the simplest of all experiences ….  This sense of being is something that antedates the idea of being-at-one-with, because there has not yet been anything else except identity.  Two separate persons can feel at one, but here at the place I am examining the baby and the object are one. (Winnicott 1971b, p. 80)

Here we see Winnicott’s solution to the problem of how we know that the infant’s experience is like ours:  he simply affirms that it is so.  In so doing, he appeals to our experience of the oneness, continuity, lastingness, and order of reality-that is, to what Voegelin calls the primary experience of the cosmos.  In Stern’s theory, all the infant experiences in the first two months are primitive bits of experience emerging into self- and other-invariant constellations.  Because Stern can infer nothing else from data collected through observation of infants, that is the only dimension of the infant’s experience in that period that he talks about.  Winnicott, in contrast, draws on his own trust in the Cosmos to infer that the infant has what he calls the experience of being.

A key thesis for Winnicott is that, when the infant has the experience of being to a sufficient degree, the maturational processes of integration and personalization can take place, he can begin to find the objects that the mother presents, and he can begin to elaborate imaginatively the bodily processes and the subjective life of himself and others.  Since healthy individuals continue to exercise those capacities throughout life, I interpret him as saying that openness to the cosmic primary experience is the foundation of psychological health.

That Winnicott’s position is equivalent to Voegelin’s is suggested by the symbols Winnicott uses to articulate the infant’s orientation toward reality that arises from the experience of being.  He says that the infant develops a “feeling of confidence” or “trust” in his environment (pp. 100, 103).  The infant has “hope” about his state of extreme dependence (p. 30).  In using these symbols, Winnicott is assuming that the infant’s experience is the same as his own.  As Voegelin argues, the source of that premise is Winnicott’s trust in the cosmic primary experience and faith that it is common to all persons.  It is also relevant here that Winnicott frequently insists that a good-enough mother’s care is more than a machine-like operation (Winnicott 1950).   One cannot teach a mother to hold, handle, and present herself to her baby sensitively and lovingly, but she can discover the capacity to be sensitive and loving if she trusts herself and her baby and has faith in their ability to get to know each other and to get along well.  These experiences emerge from the good-enough mother’s experience of being.  Here we touch on the existential virtues in Voegelin’s sense as the experiential source of human community, a theme first sounded by Heraclitus (Voegelin 1956a), and the roots of those virtues in the primary experience of the cosmos.

Creativity, Play, Transitional Phenomena, and the In-Between of Potential Space

For Winnicott the infant’s capacity to be creative also emerges from the experience of being.  “To be creative,” he writes, “a person must exist and have a feeling of existing, not in conscious awareness, but as a basic place to operate from.” (Winnicott 1970, p. 39)  By the term “place” Winnicott symbolizes, I believe, the cosmos in Voegelin’s sense.  Since the primary experience of the cosmos is present in everyone’s consciousness if they can apperceive it, any human being can be creative:

Creativity is … the doing that arises out of being.  It indicates that he who is, is alive ….  Somewhere in the scheme of things there can be room for everyone to live creatively….  In creative living you or I find that everything we do strengthens the feeling that we are alive, that we are ourselves ….  [F]or creative living we need no special talent. (pp. 39-44)

For Winnicott play is another word for the creativity that emerges from being.  Anyone who enjoys young children is familiar with the experience of helping a child transform his fear that an experience will be overwhelming into an experience that can be fun by turning it into a game.  Ogden (1990) provides the example of a mother helping a boy of two-and-one-half years take a bath, after his head has gotten under the water on a previous evening, by inviting him to “pour me some tea.”  Emerging from a tense, fearful state, the boy picks up an empty shampoo bottle and begins to use it to pour “milk” into his mother’s “teacup” to cool her “tea.”  The child has a sufficient capacity to experience being to be able to relax and become absorbed in the drama of the play.  As this example suggests, play emerges from being, and an invitation to play from a trusted other can reverse what Voegelin calls “the fall from being” and what Winnicott calls “annihilation.”  The mother’s invitation to play enables the boy to recover the cosmic primary experience, and then the play itself elaborates the meaning of that experience and strengthens it.  Repeated experiences of this type build the boy’s capacity to be, to play, and to generate symbolic meanings.

Winnicott’s most important book is Playing and Reality, which expanded the themes first stated in his important essay on “Transitional Objects and Transitional Phenomena” (Winnicott 1971b, 1953).  By the term transitional objects Winnicott refers to the infant’s and child’s not-me possessions, such as a blanket or stuffed animal. By transitional phenomena he refers to all the aspects of human experience that involve and emerge from the infant’s use of transitional objects.  The “transition” in these terms refers to the period in infancy from about two months, when the baby begins to engage in sensorimotor and preverbal play, to about seven months, when his subjective sense of self and other emerges and he begins to engage in symbolic play.  In this period the infant is transitioning from having the moment of illusion in the first sense noted above to beginning to be able to use symbols to generate illusions in the second sense.  The infant’s capacity to symbolize is emerging from his experience of being.

During this transitional period the infant does not have a subjective sense of self and other and is not yet able to be aware of and think about himself, his symbols, and the objects they symbolize as separate parts of reality (Ogden 1990).  For this reason Winnicott stresses that during this period we must not force the infant to have a premature awareness of his physical separateness from and dependence upon other people.  This would fill him with annhilation anxiety and force him to withdraw his awareness from shared reality.

The transitional object and the transitional phenomena start each human being off with what will always be important for them, i.e. a neutral area of experience that will not be challenged.  Of the transitional object it can be said that it is a matter of agreement between us and the baby that we will never ask the question:  ‘Did you conceive of this or was it presented to you from without?’  The important point is that no decision on this point is expected.  The question is not to be formulated. (Winnicott 1953, p. 12)

When impingements do not force the infant or young child to become prematurely and traumatically aware of his separateness and dependence, he can experience being and explore the interpersonal and physical world around him through play.  The primary experience of the cosmos continues to be the background of his foregound experiences of moving his body, making gestures and sounds, relating to others, and symbolizing the meanings of his experience.

For Winnicott transitional phenomena occur in an intermediate area or potential space.  “This potential space is at the interplay between there being nothing but me and there being objects and phenomena outside omnipotent control.” (Winnicott 1971b, p. 103)   This space “initially both joins and separates the baby and the mother” (p. 103).  In the safety of this playground, the infant and young child enters and begins to participate in a shared interpersonal world by playing with its meanings.  Out of such interactions and his bodily tensions and processes he creates an inner fantasy world that comes to be manifested and elaborated in his dreaming, imagining, and symbolic play.

Winnicott contrasts the potential space of play with both “inner or personal psychic reality” and “the actual world in which the individual lives” (p. 103).  The task of relating these two areas never ends and is manifested in all of human culture:

It is assumed here that the task of reality-acceptance is never completed, that no human being is free from the strain of relating inner and outer reality, and that relief from this strain is provided by an intermediate area of experience … which is not challenged (arts, religion, etc.)  This intermediate area is in direct continuity with the play area of the small child who is ‘lost’ in play. (Winnicott 1953, p. 13)

This aspect of Winnicott’s work is the most important psychoanalytic theory of culture since Freud and has elicited the interest of scholars in disciplines such as literary criticism and theology.

It would be wrong, I think, to interpret “inner or personal psychic reality” as the unconscious in the sense in which it is used by Freud or Melanie Klein, the two psychoanalysts whom Winnicott always implicitly addresses in his writings.  Rather, Winnicott was symbolizing both the set of unconscious meanings that a person develops by participating in a mother-infant dyad, a family, and a culture, and the infinite unconscious depths of the psyche that are continuous with the depth of the Cosmos.  On this view, potential space for Winnicott is in between our experience of participation in the Whole of reality and a human community in the world.  We fill this intermediate area with symbols that articulate the various dimensions of this one experience.  This interpretation of Winnicott’s use of the term inner psychic reality is supported by a poem entitled “Sleep” which he wrote near the end of his life (C. Winnicott 1978, p. 32):

Let down your tap root

to the centre of your soul

Suck up the sap

from the infinite source

of your unconscious


Be evergreen.

The poem’s metaphors indicate that Winnicott was aware of the depth as the source of the symbols that emerge in the psyche and of the necessity of diving into that depth in order to recover the luminosity of existence.  The metaphors are equivalent to the Heraclitan symbol of descending into the depth that is so important for Voegelin.

We now are in a position to ask, what can we discern as the experiential sources of Winnicott’s work?  It is important to note, I think, that he was an artistically gifted person who drew, painted, played the piano, and wrote poetry all his life.  He was raised a Methodist and converted to Anglicanism while at Cambridge, but apparently did not attend services regularly as an adult.  Although there are few discussions of spiritual experience in his writings, on more than one occasion he observed that contemplation is an important source of a rich inner life, and his negative remarks about religion are always directed at dogma of one kind or another.  By all accounts, he was delightfully playful.  He worked nearly all his professional life as a pediatrician, treated upwards of 20,000 children, and is regarded as among the most gifted child psychotherapists.  In my reading I have seen no evidence that he was a mystic in the sense of someone who experiences acts of transcendence.  However, one gets a clear sense from the poem above, from Winnicott’s writings, and from the immense creativity of his clinical work that he had a deep experience of the transcendent source of creative human living.  He participated openly in the divine play that creates experience anew each moment, but did not explicitly differentiate that play as a mutual participation of the divine and the human poles of reality.

The True Self and the False Self

Winnicott uses the symbols true self-false self in a way that is close to Voegelin’s.  Through Pediatrics to Psychoanalysis, a collection of Winnicott’s essays published in 1958, used those terms and influenced Laing’s The Divided Self, so Winnicott may actually be an indirect source of Voegelin’s use of those symbols.  In a subsequent paper, Winnicott says that if the infant suffers repeated impingements that disrupt the experience of being, resulting in a predominance of annihilation anxiety, then a compliant False Self reacts to environmental demands, and the infant seems to accept them.  Through this False Self the infant builds up a false set of relationships, and by means of introjections even attains a show of being real, so that the child may grow to be just like mother, nurse, aunt, brother, or whoever at the time dominates the scene.  The False Self has one positive and very important function:  to hide the True Self, which it does by compliance with environmental demands….  The False Self … can now be seen to be a defence … against that which is unthinkable, the exploitation of the True Self, which would result in its annihilation. (Winnicott 1960, pp. 146-7)

Winnicott appears to equate the true self and the infant’s sense of physical aliveness.  The symbol “does no more than collect together the details of the experience of aliveness” and at the beginning “means little more than the summation of sensori-motor aliveness.” (pp. 148-9) The equivalent to the false self in normal development is “that which can develop in the child into a social manner, something that is adaptable.” (p. 150)  In health there is both a compliant aspect of the personality and a capacity to be creative and to symbolize.  However, when there is a high degree of split between a person’s true and false selves, there is found a poor capacity for using symbols and a poverty of cultural living. Instead of cultural pursuits one observes in such persons extreme restlessness, an inability to concentrate, and a need to collect impingements from external reality so that the living-time of the individual can be filled by reactions to these impingements.

The false self is constructed by way of “fantasying,” a disordered counterpart to healthy fantasy that “the individual creates to deal with external reality’s frustrations.” (Winnicott 1945, p. 153)  Fantasying involves “omnipotent manipulations of external reality ….  The individual gets to external reality through the omnipotent fantasies elaborated to get away from inner reality,” the experience of which is made unbearable by excessive annihilation anxiety (Winnicott 1935, p. 130).  Winnicott’s symbol fantasying is equivalent to Voegelin’s symbol imaginary construction.

In a later paper (Winnicott 1963), Winnicott argues that psychoanalysts must allow a positive role in development and therapy for silence in the presence of others, which he says is a nondefensive form of not communicating with them.  To reach this statement, he assumes that “in health there is a core to the personality that corresponds to the true self of the split personality.”  This “incommunicado element” at the center of the person “is truly personal,” “feels real,” and is sacred and most worth preserving ….  [T]his core never communicates with the world of perceived objects, … and the individual knows that it must never be communicated with or influenced by external reality…. [E]ach individual is an isolate, permanently noncommunicating, permanently unknown, in fact unfound.” This part of the person communicates with what Winnicott calls “subjective” objects or phenomena.  I believe the term subjective has the same range of meaning for Winnicott as do the terms fantasy and illusion.   Such communication “alone gives the feeling of real” and is, “like the [silent] music of the spheres, absolutely personal.  It belongs to being alive.  And in health, it is out of this that communication [with others] naturally arises.” (p. 187-90)

Winnicott seems to me to be saying four things in this important paper.  First, he symbolizes the fact that our experience of participating in reality transcends all that we can communicate with language that refers to objects in the external world.  Second, he identifies this transcendent dimension of the person as his essence:  it is truly personal, gives the feeling of being real, and is the source of all healthy communication.  Third, he says that an essential feature of healthy interpersonal relationships, and especially of psychotherapy, is our tolerance and respect for the transcendence of the other.  Fourth, by writing the paper he is communicating his faith that this transcendent dimension that is each person’s essence is common to all and can be articulated in symbols.  The paper is very close to being a philosophical meditation on the reality of mutual divine and human participation in the In-Between.

Psychotherapy and the Search for the Self

For Winnicott psychotherapy is a form of mutual play that occurs in the potential space between the therapist and the client.  Through his reliability and concern, the therapist enables the client to relax “in conditions of trust based on experience.” (Winnicott 1971b, p. 56)  This process involves a therapeutic regression to the dependent state of early development that was disrupted by impingements and annihilation anxieties (Winnicott 1954).  If all goes well, the client is able to reach a state of “desultory formless functioning” (Winnicott 1971b, p. 64) that corresponds to the unintegrated but nonanxious states that occur when the mother’s holding enables the infant to have the experience of being.  From this formless experience the creative physical and mental activity of the client can eventually emerge in play.  By reflecting this activity back to the client, the trusted therapist enables him to “come together and exist as a unit, not as a defense against anxiety but as an expression of I AM, I am alive, I am myself.  From this position everything is creative.” (p. 56)  Psychological development can resume at the point where earlier trauma occurred if the client can surrender, in the presence of a trusting other, to the primary experience of the Cosmos and develop the trust to descend into and ascend from the depths of his own psyche.


The table below summarizes the two previous sections by listing side by side the parallel symbols encountered in the work of Eric Voegelin and Donald Winnicott.  The comparison indicates the remarkable overlap between the experiences articulated and the areas of reality explored by the philosopher and the psychoanalyst.  Winnicott’s horizon is more restricted than Voegelin’s because he did not have a philosophical education and, as I argue above, was not blessed with as broad and deep a range of experiences of transcendence.  These limitations prevent him from exploring the In-Between, the true self, and the existential virtues as completely as Voegelin does.  But the limits of his theorizing should leave us even more impressed by the scope of his achievement, which comes so close at points to the heights of authentic philosophizing.  In addition, by using Voegelin’s philosophy to interpret Winnicott’s terse and often paradoxical language, we gain important insights into how psychotherapists can broaden their experiential and symbolic horizons.

I suggest that it is possible to incorporate the insights of Voegelin’s and Winnicott’s analyses of the true and false selves into a broad taxonomy of the order and disorders of the soul.  Specifically, the previous sections suggest three general types, and several subtypes, to include in such a taxonomy:

1)   The mature person who lives in the tension toward the ground of being, in playful openness to the depths of his psyche and the symbols that arise from it, on the basis of the existential virtues.  Voegelin argues that this person need not be a philosopher but must possess common sense (Voegelin 1978).

2)   Persons whose existence is characterized by a division into a true and a false self.  This group includes a range of people who vary in terms of the degree to which their defensive operations are intended to protect the true self and preserve the possibility of relationship with first reality in Voegelin’s sense, or to dominate and kill the true self and replace first reality with a second reality.  Among those whose false self is relatively weak are persons who are actively engaged in the search for their true self.  Even those who are in rebellion against the order of being will engage in what Voegelin calls the honest dishonesty of pretending that their contracted false self is real.

3)   People who have lost their ability to play, believe that the second reality they have constructed through pneumapathological projecting is true, and suffer from a delusional psychosis.



Parallel Symbols in the Work of Eric Voegelin and Donald Winnicott

             Voegelin                                                         Winnicott

Primary experience of the cosmos                              Experience of being, moment of illusion


Existential virtues of faith, hope, love,                       Trust, hope, faith

and trust


Play, freedom with mythical symbolism                     Preverbal and symbolic play/fantasy, creative living

In-Between (metaxy) of mutual human                     Potential space, transitional

and divine participation                                            phenomena, culture


True self under God, open to first reality;                  True self/sacred, silent core of self

false, contracted self and second reality                    expressed in creative living, play,

that result from imaginative projection and                 and communication with subjective

eclipse first reality                                                       objects; false, compliant self that lives through fantasizing

feels unreal, and is not creative


Finally, in writing this paper I have become aware of two related topics that deserve further empirical research and philosophical analysis.  Such research will move us further along the way to having an adequate theory of the healing of the psyche that takes place in philosophy and psychotherapy.

1.a) the role of pneumatic experiences, in Voegelin’s sense, in the formation of the order of the soul of the philosopher, the psychotherapist, and the person who seeks healing in the company of either of them. Voegelin occasionally mentions the importance of regular meditative practice to the maintainence of an open psyche (Voegelin 1974).  Winnicott mentions contemplation favorably, but as far as I know there is no evidence that he engaged in regular meditative practice (although the practice of psychotherapy involves experiences of transcendence that nourish the psyche).  Inquiry in this area would include exploration of the differentiation of the height of the psyche as part of the healing process.

2.b) the role of the existential virtue of love in psychotherapy. Although Winnicott refers to the mother’s holding as an aspect of her love and refers repeatedly to her devotion to the infant, he says little of the therapist’s or the client’s experiences of love.  Psychoanalytic commentators frequently criticize this omission by observing that he generally neglects the dimension of mature adult sexuality.  I believe we have just as much to learn about psychotherapy by exploring love in the senses of philia and agape.  I have always been quite struck, for example, by the passage in Racker’s classic work on the psychoanalytic process (Racker 1968) in which he appeals to St. Paul’s symbol agape in 1 Corinthians 13 in support of his view that, for healing to occur, the therapist must have faith that the client’s actions have a positive intention.  A meditative exploration of the experiential sources of our knowledge that each person is worthy of love would contribute to our understanding of the healing process.



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Winnicott, D.W. (1950), “Knowing and Learning,” in Babies and Their Mothers, 15-21.

Winnicott, D.W. (1952a), “Anxiety Associated with Insecurity,” in Through Pediatrics to Psychoanalysis, 97-100.

Winnicott, D.W. (1952b), “Psychoses and Child Care,” in Through Pediatrics to Psychoanalysis, 219-228.

Winnicott, D.W. (1953), “Transitional Objects and Transitional Phenomena,” in Through Pediatrics to Psychoanalysis, 229-242; expanded version in Playing and Reality, 1-25.

Winnicott, D.W. (1954), “Metapsychological and Clinical Aspects of Regression Within the Psychoanalytical Setup,” in Through Pediatrics to Psychoanalysis, 278-294.

Winnicott, D.W. (1958), Through Pediatrics to Psychoanalysis (New York:  Basic Books).

Winnicott, D.W. (1960a), “Ego Distortion in Terms of True and False Self,” in The Maturational Processes and the Facilitating Environment, 140-152.

Winnicott, D.W. (1960b), “The Theory of the Parent-Infant Relationship,” in The Maturational Processes and the Facilitating Environment, 37-55.

Winnicott, D.W. (1962), “Ego Integration in Child Development,” in The Maturational Processes and the Facilitating Environment, 56-63.

Winnicott, D.W. (1963a), “Communicating and Not Communicating Leading to a Study of Certain Opposites,” in The Maturational Processes and the Facilitating Environment, 179-192.

Winnicott, D.W. (1965), The Maturational Processes and the Facilitating Environment (Madison, CT:  International Universities Press).

Winnicott, D.W. (1966), “The Ordinary Devoted Mother,” in Babies and Their Mothers, 3-14.

Winnicott, D.W. (1970), “Living Creatively,” in Home is Where We Start From, 39-54.

Winnicott, D.W. (1971a), Human Nature (New York:  Schocken Books, 1988).

Winnicott, D.W. (1971b), Playing and Reality (London:  Tavistock Publications Ltd).

Winnicott, D.W. (1986), Home is Where We Start From, ed., C. Winnicott, R. Shepherd, and M. Davis (New York:  Norton).

Winnicott, D.W (1987), Babies and Their Mothers, ed. C. Winnicott, R. Shepherd, and M. Davis (Reading, MA:  Addison-Wesley).


This is the second of two parts. Part one can be accessed here.

Robert S. Seiler

Written by

Robert S. (Robin) Seiler, Jr., is a psychotherapist in private practice in Greenbelt, MD. He studied political philosophy at the University of Virginia and clinical social work at the University of Maryland. In 2016 he retired from 36 years of public service as a legislative, budget, and policy analyst, researcher, and manager for U.S. the Congress, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and two federal financial regulatory agencies. He has presented papers at several meetings of the Eric Voegelin Society, where this paper was presented in 1999.