Freud for Thought

By Fields, Suzanne | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 15, 1998 | Go to article overview

Freud for Thought


Fields, Suzanne, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Trying to figure out Freud can drive you crazy. He's easily mocked and derided, widely admired and even revered. His defenders and detractors spar in ivy towers, courtrooms and hospitals. Nearly everyone argues from both truth and error, insight and obfuscation, dogmatism and tentativeness, hubris and humility, provoked by the patriarch of psychiatry himself.

How you think, feel and interpret Freud may determine how you free associate with objects and texts in a major exhibition about the Freudian zeitgeist which opens today at the Library of Congress. "Sigmund Freud: Conflict and Culture" is likely to be as controversial as the man, but it ought to provoke illuminating debates about the extent and limits of psychological knowledge as we lurch toward the millennium. It requires an open mind, but not one so open that our brains fall out.

No matter how we would like it to be otherwise, the jigsaw puzzle of the mind has very few pieces scientists can fit together (though there are more connections today than when Freud was alive). That's why claims made on behalf of the Viennese doctor's research and writings find greater resonance in disciplines such as literature, philosophy and anthropology, even theology, than in medicine.

The greatest culprits in Freud's legacy are those who claimed too much on behalf of the clinician, who dared to raise the language of psychoanalysis to a science, setting in concrete some of his most speculative notions of the unconscious. (These were the same doctors who made it essential for a psychoanalyst to be a medical doctor, an idea Freud rejected.) At his best, Freud alerted us in modern terms to what the oracle at Delphi said was essential in life: Know thyself.

That concept has been interpreted in the extreme as ego-gratifying narcissism, but in the beginning it was a philosophical concept as much as it was a therapeutic approach, and Freud was always more concerned with soul-searching than itch-scratching. Since sex as a subject is more fun to talk about than other forms of human activity, Freudian ideas were easily reduced to superficial inquiries into the libido. Only later was this expanded to include his more fascinating thought into the human condition. What Freud wanted most was to enable troubled patients to liberate their unconscious to take responsibility for their own actions. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Freud for Thought
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.