The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud

The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud

The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud

The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud

Excerpt

Psychoanalysis was unknown in this country until I introduced it in 1908. Ever since then, I have been translating, lecturing and writing on this subject both for physicians and laymen; and I am happy to say that today psychoanalysis, which has encountered so much opposition here, as it did abroad, is firmly established not only in medicine, but also in psychology, sociology, pedagogy and anthropology. It has not only permeated and transvalued the mental sciences, but indirectly also belles lettres and the cultural trends of the last generation.

At the beginning of the psychoanalytic movement in this country, its opponents and some of its lukewarm friends predicted that, like so many other discoveries in mental therapy, psychoanalysis was destined to be short-lived. They were poor prophets. The falsity of their prognosis can be seen in the fact that the psychoanalytic terminology, some of which I was the first to coin into English expressions, can now be found in all standard English dictionaries. Words like abreaction, transference, repression, displacement, unconscious, which I introduced as Freudian concepts, have been adopted and are used to give new meanings, new values to our knowledge of normal and abnormal behavior.

How did Freud come to discover psychoanalysis? Every contribution to the sum total of out knowledge has been consciously or unconsciously motivated by the wish to ameliorate the lot of mankind. Discoveries of this sort never come out of the clear sky; there is always a vis a tergo, which forms some definite nucleus in the mind of some genius, and this slowly grows until it attains sufficient proportions to make itself felt despite all obstacles. Freud has said that a human being is a resultant of constitution and fate, or heredity and environment. The constitution is brought along from all the past centuries and millenniums, but once here cannot be changed. A living being either comes into the world with a normal body and mind, and survives in the struggle for existence, or he is born defective and falls by the wayside. But, given an average being, his . . .

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