Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Shivaya

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May 6, 2012

UP, Close & Personal : Sigmund Freud


Remembering Sigmund Freud on his birthday today...

Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud (6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939), was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis. Freud went on to develop theories about the unconscious mind and the mechanism of repression, and established the field of verbal psychotherapy by creating psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient (or "analysand") and a psychoanalyst. Though psychoanalysis has declined as a therapeutic practice, it has helped inspire the development of many other forms of psychotherapy, some diverging from Freud's original ideas and approach. Freud postulated the existence of libido (an energy with which mental process and structures are invested), developed therapeutic techniques such as the use of free association (in which patients report their thoughts without reservation and make no attempt to concentrate while doing so), discovered the transference (the process by which patients displace on to their analysts feelings based on their experience of earlier figures in their lives) and established its central role in the analytic process, and proposed that dreams help to preserve sleep by representing as fulfilled wishes that would otherwise awake the dreamer.

Freud's theories have been criticized as pseudo-scientific and sexist, and they have been marginalized within psychology departments, although they remain influential within the humanities. Critics have debated whether it is possible to test Freudian theories. Some researchers claim evidence exists for some of Freud's theories. Freud has been called one of the three masters of the "school of suspicion", alongside Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche, while his ideas have been compared to those of Plato and Aquinas.

IDEAS

Early Works
The goal of Freudian therapy, or psychoanalysis, was to bring repressed thoughts and feelings into consciousness in order to free the patient from suffering repetitive distorted emotions. Classically, the bringing of unconscious thoughts and feelings to consciousness is brought about by encouraging a patient to talk about dreams and engage in free association, in which patients report their thoughts without reservation and make no attempt to concentrate while doing so. Another important element of psychoanalysis is the transference, the process by which patients displace on to their analysts feelings and ideas which derive from previous figures in their lives. 

Cocaine
As a medical researcher, Freud was an early user and proponent of cocaine as a stimulant as well as analgesic. He believed that cocaine was a cure for many mental and physical problems, and in his 1884 paper "On Coca" he extolled its virtues.

The Unconsciousness
The concept of the unconscious was central to Freud's account of the mind. Freud believed that while poets and thinkers had long known of the existence of the unconscious, he had ensured that it received scientific recognition in the field of psychology.

The Dreams
Freud believed that the function of dreams is to preserve sleep by representing as fulfilled wishes that would otherwise awaken the dreamer.

Way to Freud's Chamber in Vienna
Psychosexual development
"I found in myself a constant love for my mother, and jealousy of my father. I now consider this to be a universal event in childhood," Freud said. Freud sought to anchor this pattern of development in the dynamics of the mind. Each stage is a progression into adult sexual maturity, characterized by a strong ego and the ability to delay gratification (cf. Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality). He used the Oedipus conflict to point out how much he believed that people desire incest and must repress that desire. The Oedipus conflict was described as a state of psychosexual development and awareness. He also turned to anthropological studies of totemism and argued that totemism reflected a ritualized enactment of a tribal Oedipal conflict. Freud also believed that the Oedipus complex was bisexual, involving an attraction to both parents
Id, ego, and super-ego
In his later work, Freud proposed that the human psyche could be divided into three parts: Id, ego, and super-ego. The id is the completely unconscious, impulsive, child-like portion of the psyche that operates on the "pleasure principle" and is the source of basic impulses and drives; it seeks immediate pleasure and gratification.
The super-ego is the moral component of the psyche, which takes into account no special circumstances in which the morally right thing may not be right for a given situation. The rational ego attempts to exact a balance between the impractical hedonism of the id and the equally impractical moralism of the super-ego; it is the part of the psyche that is usually reflected most directly in a person's actions.

Life and death drives
Freud believed that people are driven by two conflicting central desires: the life drive (libido or Eros) (survival, propagation, hunger, thirst, and sex) and the death drive.

Religion
Freud regarded the monotheistic God as an illusion based upon the infantile emotional need for a powerful, supernatural pater familias. He maintained that religion – once necessary to restrain man’s violent nature in the early stages of civilization – in modern times, can be set aside in favor of reason and science.

LEGACY

Verdicts on the scientific merits of Freud's theories have differed. Gilbert Ryle calls Freud "psychology's one man of genius" and the influence of his teaching "deservedly profound" even though its allegories have been "damagingly popular", while David Stafford-Clark calls him "a man whose name will always rank with those of Darwin, Copernicus, Newton, Marx and Einstein; someone who really made a difference to the way the rest of us can begin to think about the meaning of human life and society."

In contrast, Lydiard H. Horton calls Freud's dream theory "dangerously inaccurate" and Eysenck claims that Freud "set psychiatry back one hundred years" and that "what is true in his theories is not new and what is new in his theories is not true", while Peter Medawar, a Nobel Prize winning immunologist, made the oft-quoted remark that psychoanalysis is the "most stupendous intellectual confidence trick of the twentieth century", and Webster calls psychoanalysis "perhaps the most complex and successful" pseudoscience in history.

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TEXT and Image from Wikipedia, click here to read more

To further read some of my thoughts on Sigmund Freud and related interesting topics, please check these out.

A-    Is Human Nature Basically Selfish? – A brief note on Sigmund Freud’s idea of Oedipal Complex: An infant’s twofold attitude towards both Parents: on the one hand a wish to ELIMINATE the jealously hated father and take his place in a SENSUAL relationship with the mother (or vice versa in case of girl child).


B-    “When Nietzsche Wept” is an interesting movie based on the real life story of Nietzsche and Lou, where Sigmund Freud has played an interesting part in their lives, click below to read more…


 नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya

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