Psychoanalysis

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Psychoanalysis (or Freudian psychology) is a body of ideas developed by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud and continued by others. It is primarily devoted to the study of human psychological functioning and behavior, although it can also be applied to societies.

Quotes[edit]

  • In psychoanalysis nothing is true except the exaggerations.
  • Or look at it this way. Psychoanalysis is a permanent fad. A vogue here to stay because it tells an old story in a new way. I mean the traditional conflict between flesh and spirit, as viewed by the Christianity now supposedly outmoded, isn't likely to ease up because we have scrapped the notion of sin and now speak instead of the ego and superego between them riding herd on something called the id. It's the same keg of nails any way you open it. "Id" isn't just another big word, either. Far from it.
  • How such an elaborate theory could have become so widely accepted – on the basis of no systematic evidence or critical experiments, and in the face of chronic failures of therapeutic intervention in all of the major classes of mental illness... – is something that sociologists of science and popular culture have yet to fully explain.
    • Paul Churchland (1995) The Engine of Reason, the Seat of the Soul. p. 181: Talking about Freudian analysis.
  • Psychoanalysis justifies its importance by asserting that it forces you to look to and accept reality. But what sort of reality? A reality conditioned by the materialistic and scientific ideology of psychoanalysis, that is, a historical product...
    • Mircea Eliade Journal entry (7 October 1965) as published in No Souvenirs (1977) later retitled Journal II, 1957-1969 (1989), p. 269.
  • I always say that a successful parent is one who raises a child so that they can pay for their own psychoanalysis.
    • Nora Ephron, in The Guardian, 26 June 1995, as reported in Chambers Dictionary of Quotations (1997), p. 379.
  • The application of psychoanalysis to sociology must definitely guard against the mistake of wanting to give psychoanalytic answers where economic, technical, or political facts provide the real and sufficient explanation of sociological questions. On the other hand, the psychoanalyst must emphasize that the subject of sociology, society, in reality consists of individuals, and that it is these human beings, rather than abstract society as such, whose actions, thoughts, and feelings are the object of sociological research.
    • Erich Fromm (1929) "Psychoanalyse und Soziologie" ; published as "Psychoanalysis and Sociology" as translated by Mark Ritter, in Critical Theory and Society : A Reader (1989) edited by S. E. Bronner and D. M. Kellner.
  • Psychoanalysis, which interprets the human being as a socialized being, and the psychic apparatus as essentially developed and determined through the relationship of the individual to society, must consider it a duty to participate in the investigation of sociological problems to the extent the human being or his/her psyche plays any part at all.
    • Erich Fromm (1929) "Psychoanalyse und Soziologie" ; published as "Psychoanalysis and Sociology" as translated by Mark Ritter, in Critical Theory and Society : A Reader (1989) edited by S. E. Bronner and D. M. Kellner.
  • Freud is the father of psychoanalysis. It had no mother.
  • Freud’s link to a Hegelian tradition—with which he otherwise shares little—is in the deliberate renunciation of common sense. “A person who professes to believe in commonsense psychology,” Freud is reported saying once, “and who thinks psychoanalysis is ‘far-fetched’ can certainly have no understanding of it, for it is common sense which produces all the ills we have to cure.”
  • Only a few years ago one could observe, at least among German psychologists, a quite pessimistic mood. After the initial successes of experimental psychology in its early stages, it seemed to become clearer and clearer that it would remain impossible for experimental method to press on beyond the psychology of perception and memory to such vital problems as those with which psychoanalysis was concerned. Weighty 'philosophical' and 'methodological' considerations seemed to make such an undertaking a priori impossible.
    • Kurt Lewin (1935) A Dynamic Theory of Personality p. v.
  • There is considerable danger that psychoanalysis, as well as other forms of psychotherapy and adjustment psychology, will become new representations of the fragmentation of man, that they will exemplify the loss of the individual's vitality and significance, rather than the reverse, that the new techniques will assist in standardizing and giving cultural sanction to man's alienation from himself rather than solving it, that they will become expressions of the new mechanization of man, now calculated and controlled with greater psychological precision and on a vaster scale of unconscious and depth dimensions — that psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in general will become part of the neurosis of our day rather than part of the cure. This would indeed be a supreme irony of history. It is not alarmism nor the showing of unseemly fervor to point out these tendencies, some of which are already upon us. It is simply to look directly at our historical situation and to draw unflinchingly the implications.
    • Rollo May p. 35; also published in The Discovery of Being : Writings in Existential Psychology (1983), Part II : The Cultural Background, Ch. 5 : Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Freud, p. 86.
  • Psychoanalysis does not distort the truth by accident. It does so by necessity. It is an effective system for the suppression of the truth about childhood, a truth feared by our entire society. Not surprisingly, it enjoys great esteem among intellectuals... Fear of the truth about child abuse is a leitmotif of nearly all forms of therapy known to me.
    • Alice Miller The Drama of the Gifted Child (Das Drama des begabten Kindes, 1979).
  • You have got to be realistic. It is absurd to worry about universal truths; the only universals are these mechanical forces in your brain and in your pants. And, each person comes up with his or her own, more or less successful way of reconciling these forces with the experiences that you receive in the course of growing up. Why, the whole history of social science—from Freud and almost every psychologist, plus almost all of sociology, and almost all of anthropology—is one great effort to prove that you can't judge a truth in terms of all mankind; truth is all relative to the individual. And what is more, you have to accept that your mind is not truly free: Biology means that you can never completely control those erotic little demons inside you. So, don't set your sights unrealistically high: The only thing you can hope to discover—with the help of professionals like me—is how to be well-adjusted.
  • Psychoanalysis provides truth in an infantile, that is, a schoolboy fashion: we learn from it, roughly and hurriedly, things that scandalize us and thereby command our attention. It sometimes happens, and such is the case here, that a simplification touching upon the truth, but cheaply, is of no more value than a lie. Once again we are shown the demon and the angel, the beast and the god locked in Manichean embrace, and once again man has been pronounced, by himself, not culpable.
    • Stanisław Lem, His Master's Voice (1968), tr. Michael Kandel (1983), Preface.
  • Psychoanalysis is unlikely to be repealed; people are not going to go back to reading novels in order to understand themselves and their lives.
  • For our purposes, the essential discovery of psycho-analysis is this: that an impulse which is prevented, by behaviourist methods, from finding overt expression in action, does not necessarily die, but is driven underground, and finds some new outlet which has not been inhibited by training. Often the new outlet will be more harmful than the one that has been prevented, and in any case the deflection involves emotional disturbance and unprofitable expenditure of energy. It is therefore necessary to pay more attention to emotion, as opposed to overt behaviour, than is done by those who advocate conditioning as alone sufficient in the training of character.
    • Bertrand Russell (1932) Education and the Social Order, Ch. 4: Emotion and Discipline.
  • Freud becomes one of the dramatis personae, in fact, as discoverer of the great and beautiful modern myth of psychoanalysis. By myth, I mean a poetic, dramatic expression of a hidden truth; and in placing this emphasis, I do not intend to put into question the scientific validity of psychoanalysis.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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