Excerpt About Secondary Autonomy
The development of secondary autonomy may partially account for the questions and observations above, but it does not explain the emergence of Being. When a process or behavior changes from defensive to adaptive there is no apparent opposition to the emergence of Being; here, however, we are discussing something specific and not just any process or behavior. We are discussing identifications and identification systems. Identification has both defensive and adaptive functions, according to Hartmann. So the secondary autonomy of identifications (or identification systems of ego) involves such identifications decreasing their defensive functions and increasingly serving adaptation and growth. There is an assumption, however, that the identification systems of the ego will continue to exist. The individual will continue, at least unconsciously, to take such identifications (which are composed of internalized object relations) to define who he is. This means he is still identified with a self-image, although the self-image is now purged of its defensive properties. This is in line with the definition of self or object constancy, as the cathexis of a constant mental representation regardless of the state of need.