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Psychological Man –Philip Rieff – Freud, Sigmund
Scientist Freud Sigmund (1856 to 1939), Austrian physician neurologist, the creator of psychoanalysis, pioneer in the 20th Century Western theories of child rearing, child education, art, literature and culture was born in 1856 in Czekoslovakia. His parents moved to Vienna at Freud’s tender age.
As a boy Scientist Freud Sigmund was intellectually precocious; his feelings toward his father were ambivalent. However, he had a close attachment to his mother – true to a fortuitous Oedipal tendency which indicated a scientist in the budding, destined to invent the theory of Oedipus complex.
At the age of 8 he began reading Shakespeare. Inspired by the teachings of Goethe, he opted a career in medicine.
1873 Medical student in Vienna.
1882 Served as a doctor in a hospital in Vienna.
1885 Went to Paris to study with Jean-Martin Charcot, Neurologist.
He came to the conclusion that mental disorders might be caused by purely psychological factors rather than by organic brain disease.
Scientist Freud Sigmund wrote a book, Studies in Hysteria (1895). In female hysterics, in the background of a sexual feeling or urge, the psychic defenses against it culminate in the bizarre symptomatology of hysteria.
In the cure, in contrast to hypnosis, he banked upon patient’s cooperation, i.e., “free association”, “talking cure” which is the method of psychoanalysis. The patient reveals repressed thoughts and memories, especially sexually oriented ideas.
In 1899 Scientist Freud Sigmund wrote a book, “The Interpretation of Dreams” in which he opined that in a dream a wish can be satisfied, by imaginary fulfillment of the wish.
In 1904 Scientist Freud Sigmund published The Psychopathology of Every day Life.
Studies in Sexology
Sexuality is the prime mover in human behaviour. Sex implies sharing.
Evolution of sexuality: (sex as an instinct).
1st year of life — Oral phase — infant sucking the breast appreciates mother as the first external object of love.
2nd year — Anal phase — focus shifts to the anus; toilet training — child’s pleasure in defecation
3rd phase from 4th to 6th year — phallic phase.
Oedipus complex : the desire of male child to sleep with his mother and remove the obstacle to the realization of that wish, his father. In the case of a girl, disappointment over the non-existence of a penis, is transcended by the rejection of her mother in favour of a father “figure”.
Sexual maturity means heterosexual, procreativity-oriented, genitally-focused behaviour. It is a hallmark of health!
Perversions : Sexual perversions are unnatural behavioural acts, e.g. incest, i.e., sexual intercourse between brother and sister or father and daughter. As legend goes, Cleopatra used to indulge in this!
Neuroses: Anxiety neurosis, according to Freud is caused by physical suppression of sexual release.
Scientist Freud Sigmund Psychoses: due to redirection of libido back on to the patient’s ego.
1909 In his home, Freud organized a forum of psychiatrists; gradually it developed into Vienna Psychoanalytical Association.
In 1910 Scientist Freud Sigmund wrote a book, The Origin and Development of Psychoanalysis.
Freud’s so-called metapsychology (=beyond psychology) provides basis for cultural, social, artistic, religious and anthropological phenomena.
Scientist Freud Sigmund was invited to America to give lectures. He was busy studying the dynamics of the psyche (= mind). He studied the influence of unconscious drives in shaping “behaviour”.
Two books were written by him — Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920), The Ego and the Id (1923).
Scientist Freud Sigmund’s trichotomy
His earlier division of psyche was classified as the unconscious, preconscious and conscious state; subsequent categorization was ‘Id, ego and super ego’.
Gradually Freud’s thinking began to change. The original ‘libidinal drive’ that seeks sexual pleasure has been changed to a ‘self-preservation drive’ whose object is survival.
In 1914 the term ‘narcissism’ (= abnormal and excessive love or admiration for oneself) was a variant of the above thought. Eros is a Freudian term, life instinct for survival.
Scientist Freud Sigmund prepared monographs on aphasia and on infantile cerebral paralysis.
In his Essay “Obsessive actions and Religious Practices” (1907) and book The Future of an Illusion (1927) he observed, “belief in God is a mythic reproduction of the universal state of infantile helplessness.
Like an idealized father, God is the projection of childish wishes for an omnipotent protection.”
In 1930 Scientist Freud Sigmund wrote a book. Civilization and its Discontents; he was honoured with the Goethe Prize for Literature.
In 1936 elected to the Royal Society.
Freud’s final major work, Moses and Monotheism (1938).
In 1938 Hitler invaded Austria.
Freud’s books — fruits of a “Jewish science” were burned when the Nazis took over Germany. Freud was forced to go into exile. He fled to England.
Scientist Freud Sigmund suffered from cancer of jaw, secondary to his heavy smoking and underwent 33 surgical operations during 17 years of suffering; yet he remained productive in career during this disease.
Scientist Sigmund Freud died in 1939. A plethora of Freudian schools emerged; his ideas were not buried, of course.
Communication skills are necessary to build up a sound doctor-patient rapport. Communication implies “to share”. Half the sorrows are mitigated when shared with somebody.