Sigmund Freud

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Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.
A man like me cannot live without a hobby-horse, a consuming passion — in Schiller's words a tyrant.

Sigmund Freud ([ˈziːgmʊnt ˈfrɔʏ̯t]; 6 May 185623 September 1939) was an Austrian neurologist and psychologist and the founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychology. He was the grandfather of Sir Clement Freud and Lucian Freud.

Quotations[edit]

No one who, like me, conjures up the most evil of those half-tamed demons that inhabit the human beast, and seeks to wrestle with them, can expect to come through the struggle unscathed.
The act of birth is the first experience of anxiety, and thus the source and prototype of the affect of anxiety.
What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages they would have burned me. Now they are content with burning my books.
What does a woman want?

1880s[edit]

  • How bold one gets when one is sure of being loved.
    • Letter to his fiancée Martha Bernays (27 June 1882); published in Letters of Sigmund Freud 1873-1939 (1961), 10-12
  • Woe to you, my Princess, when I come... you shall see who is the stronger, a gentle girl who doesn't eat enough or a big wild man who has cocaine in his body.
    • Letter to his fiancée, Martha Bernays (2 June 1884)
  • Princess, my little Princess,
    Oh, how wonderful it will be! I am coming with money and staying a long time and bringing something beautiful for you and then go on to Paris and become a great scholar and then come back to Vienna with a huge, enormous halo, and then we will soon get married, and I will cure all the incurable nervous cases and through you I shall be healthy and I will go on kissing you till you are strong and gay and happy — and "if they haven't died, they are still alive today."
    • Letter to Martha Bernays, after receiving a travel grant he had been having dreams of receiving (20 June 1885)

1890s[edit]

  • A man like me cannot live without a hobby-horse, a consuming passion — in Schiller's words a tyrant. I have found my tyrant, and in his service I know no limits. My tyrant is psychology. it has always been my distant, beckoning goal and now since I have hit upon the neuroses, it has come so much the nearer.
    • Letter to William Fless (1895), as quoted in Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences Vol 3-4 (1967) p. 159
  • I do not doubt that it would be easier for fate to take away your suffering than it would for me. But you will see for yourself that much has been gained if we succeed in turning your hysterical misery into common unhappiness.
  • I do not in the least underestimate bisexuality. . . I expect it to provide all further enlightenment.

1900s[edit]

  • I am actually not at all a man of science, not an observer, not an experimenter, not a thinker. I am by temperament nothing but a conquistador — an adventurer, if you want it translated — with all the curiosity, daring, and tenacity characteristic of a man of this sort.
    • Letter to Wilhelm Fliess, Feb. 1, 1900. The Complete Letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess 1887-1904 (1985).
    • Ich bin nämlich gar kein Mann der Wissenschaft, kein Beobachter, kein Experimentator, kein Denker. Ich bin nichts als ein Conquistadorentemperament, ein Abenteurer, wenn Du es übersetzt willst, mit der Neugierde, der Kühnheit und der Zähigkeit eines solchen.
  • The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind.
    • The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), from The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, translated by James Strachey.
    • At any rate the interpretation of dreams is the via regia to a knowledge of the unconscious in psychic life.
      • Alternate translation by Abraham Arden Brill, p. 483. Freud did use the Latin phrase via regia in the original as opposed to translating it into the German of the surrounding text.
    • "Royal road" or via regia is an allusion to a statement attributed to Euclid.
  • And now, the main thing! As far as I can see, my next work will be called "Human Bisexuality." It will go to the root of the problem and say the last word it may be granted to say — the last and the most profound.
  • No one who, like me, conjures up the most evil of those half-tamed demons that inhabit the human beast, and seeks to wrestle with them, can expect to come through the struggle unscathed.
    • Dora : An Analysis of a Case of Hysteria (1905), his analysis of the case of Ida Bauer (also translated as Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria)
  • He that has eyes to see and ears to hear may convince himself that no mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore.
    • Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria (1905) Ch. 2 : The First Dream
  • A person who feels pleasure in producing pain in someone else in a sexual relationship is also capable of enjoying as pleasure any pain which he may himself derive from sexual relations. A sadist is always at the same time a masochist.
  • Moreover, the act of birth is the first experience of anxiety, and thus the source and prototype of the affect of anxiety.
    • The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), in a footnote Freud added to the Second Edition in 1909 (see Psychoanalytic Pioneers, p. 46.)

1910s[edit]

  • At bottom God is nothing more than an exalted father.
    • Totem and Taboo : Resemblances Between the Mental Lives of Savages and Neurotics (1913)
  • The psychic development of the individual is a short repetition of the course of development of the race.
    • Leonardo da Vinci (1916)
  • The ego is not master in its own house.
    • A Difficulty in the Path of Psycho-Analysis (1917)
  • Cruel though it may sound, we must see to it that the patient's suffering, to a degree that is in some way or other effective, does not come to an end prematurely. If, owing to the symptoms having been taken apart and having lost their value, his suffering becomes mitigated, we must re-instate it elsewhere in the form of some appreciable privation; otherwise we run the danger of never achieving any improvements except quite insignificant and transitory ones
    • Freud (1919) Lines of Advance in Psycho-Analytic Therapy. cited in: Jürgen Habermas (1972) Knowledge and Human Interests. p.234

1920s[edit]

  • The unconscious is the larger circle which includes within itself the smaller circle of the conscious; everything conscious has its preliminary step in the unconscious, whereas the unconscious may stop with this step and still claim full value as a psychic activity. Properly speaking, the unconscious is the real psychic; its inner nature is just as unknown to us as the reality of the external world, and it is just as imperfectly reported to us through the data of consciousness as is the external world through the indications of our sensory organs.
    • Dream Psychology : Psychoanalysis For Beginners (1920) as translated by M. D. Eder
  • Cruelty and intolerance to those who do not belong to it are natural to every religion.
    • Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (1921)
  • When the wayfarer whistles in the dark, he may be disavowing his timidity, but he does not see any more clearly for doing so.
    • The Problem of Anxiety (1925)
  • The poets and philosophers before me discovered the unconscious; what I discovered was the scientific method by which the unconscious can be studied.
    • On his seventieth birthday (1926); as quoted in The Liberal Imagination (1950) by Lionel Trilling

1930s[edit]

  • In some place in my soul, in a very hidden corner, I am a fanatical Jew. I am very much astonished to discover myself as such in spite of all efforts to be unprejudiced and impartial. What can I do against it at my age?
    • Letter to Dr. David Feuchtwang (1931), as quoted in Freud and Moses: The Long Journey Home (1990) by Emanuel Rice, p. 25
  • What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages they would have burned me. Now they are content with burning my books.
    • Letter to Ernest Jones (1933), as quoted in The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations (1993) by Robert Andrews, p. 779
  • Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation, it cannot be classified as an illness.
    • Letter to an American mother's plea to cure her son's homosexuality (1935)
  • A man's heterosexuality will not put up with any homosexuality, and vice versa.
    • "Analysis Terminable and Interminable" (1937)
  • The Mosaic religion had been a Father religion; Christianity became a Son religion. The old God, the Father, took second place; Christ, the Son, stood in His stead, just as in those dark times every son had longed to do.
  • Man found that he was faced with the acceptance of "spiritual" forces, that is to say such forces as cannot be comprehended by the senses, particularly not by sight, and yet having undoubted, even extremely strong, effects. If we may trust to language, it was the movement of the air that provided the image of spirituality, since the spirit borrows its name from the breath of wind (animus, spiritus, Hebrew: ruach = smoke). The idea of the soul was thus born as the spiritual principle in the individual. Observation found the breath of air again in the human breath, which ceases with death; even today we talk of a dying man breathing his last. Now the realm of spirits had opened for man, and he was ready to endow everything in nature with the soul he had discovered in himself.
    • Moses and Monotheism (1938)

Attributed from posthumous publications[edit]

  • ...three of life's most important areas: work, love, and taking responsibility.
    • From The Wolf-man and Sigmund Freud Muriel Gardiner, p. 365 (cf. books.google.com)
  • A man who has been the indisputable favorite of his mother keeps for life the feeling of conqueror, that confidence of success that often induces real success.
    • From The Life and Works of Sigmund Freud, Vol. I, ch. 1 (1953) edited by Ernest Jones
  • Was will das Weib?
    • What does a woman want?
    • [Freud] said once to Marie Bonaparte: 'The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is "What does a woman want?" - Sigmund Freud: Life and Work (Hogarth Press, 1953) by Ernest Jones, Vol. 2, Pt. 3, Ch. 16. In a footnote Jones gives the original German, "Was will das Weib?" (cf. books.google)
    • Translated by Gertrud Meili-Dworetzki with the cooperation of Katherine Jones in the German version of Jones book: Das Leben und Werk von Sigmund Freud, Vol. 2, Bern and Stuttgart 1962, p. 493, into: Die große Frage, die nie beantwortet worden ist und die ich trotz dreißig Jahre langem Forschen in der weiblichen Seele nicht habe beantworten können, ist die: 'Was will das Weib?'
  • America is a mistake, admittedly a gigantic mistake, but a mistake nevertheless.
    • Remark to Ernest Jones as quoted in The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud: Years of maturity, 1901-1919‎ (1957) by Ernest Jones, p. 60
  • I can heartily recommend the Gestapo to anyone.
One of the conditions for being granted an exit visa was that he sign a document that ran as follows, "I Prof. Freud, hereby confirm that after the Anschluss of Austria to the German Reich I have been treated by the German authorities and particularly the Gestapo with all the respect and consideration due to my scientific reputation, that I could live and work in full freedom, that I could continue to pursue my activities in every way I desired, that I found full support from all concerned in this respect, and that I have not the slightest reason for any complaint." When the Nazi Commissar brought it along Freud had of course no compunction in signing it, but he asked if he might be allowed to add a sentence, which was: "I can heartily recommend the Gestapo to anyone".
  • Freud's eldest son Martin told a similar story in his Book Glory Reflected. Sigmund Freud - Man and Father (London 1957; Sigmund Freud - Man and Father, New York 1958, p. 217):
[...] an S.S. party had come to ask father to give a certificate proclaiming that he had been well treated by the authorities. Without hesitation, father wrote "Ich kann die Gestapo jedermann auf das beste empfehlen (I can recommend the Gestapo very much to everyone)," using the style of a commercial advertisement. The irony escaped the Nazis; although they were not altogether sure as they passed the certificate from man to man. Finally, however, they shrugged their shoulders and marched off, evidently deciding it was the best the old man could think of.
  • In 1989 the original text turned up in an auction of documents concerning the emigration of Freud's family. It contained no "recommendation" but only a very sober confirmation of not having been harassed but treated decently by the authorities, written by Freud's lawyer Dr. Alfred Indra and signed "Wien, den 4. Juni 1938. Prof. Dr. Sigm. Freud." (Alain de Mijolla: A Sale in Vienna. Journal de l'association internationale d'histoire de la psychanalyse, vol. 8 (1989), http://www.enotes.com/gestapo-reference/gestapo-187690).
Martin Freud's daughter Sophie commented in her book Living in the Shadow of the Freud Family (Praeger, Westport CT 2007, p. 137 books.google):
This document was later found by historians, and no such sentence appears in it. I can imagine a scenario in which Freud told his family what he almost wrote. It would indeed have been unthinkable for Freud to jeopardize the lives of 17 people for the sake of a clever joke.

The Ego and the Id (1923)[edit]

The ego represents what we call reason and sanity, in contrast to the id which contains the passions.
  • It is easy to see that the ego is that part of the id which has been modified by the direct influence of the external world.
  • The ego represents what we call reason and sanity, in contrast to the id which contains the passions.
  • The sexual wishes in regard to the mother become more intense and the father is perceived as an obstacle to the; this gives rise to the Oedipus complex.
  • We obtain our concept of the unconscious, therefore, from the theory of repression … We see, however that we have two kinds of unconscious — that which is latent but capable of becoming conscious, and that which is repressed and not capable of becoming conscious in the ordinary way.

The Future of an Illusion (1927)[edit]

Die Zukunft einer Illusion
Religious doctrines … are all illusions, they do not admit of proof, and no one can be compelled to consider them as true or to believe in them.
  • If the truth of religious doctrines is dependent on an inner experience that bears witness to the truth, what is one to make of the many people who do not have that experience?
  • The voice of the intellect is a soft one, but it does not rest until it has gained a hearing. Ultimately, after endlessly repeated rebuffs, it succeeds. This is one of the few points in which it may be optimistic about the future of mankind, but in itself it signifies not a little.
  • Es braucht nicht gesagt zu werden, daß eine Kultur, welche eine so große Zahl von Teilnehmern unbefriedigt läßt und zur Auflehnung treibt, weder Aussicht hat, sich dauernd zu erhalten, noch es verdient.
    • It goes without saying that a civilization which leaves so large a number of its participants unsatisfied and drives them into revolt neither has nor deserves the prospect of a lasting existence.
  • Religious ideas have sprung from the same need as all the other achievements of culture: from the necessity for defending itself against the crushing supremacy of nature.
    • Ch. 3
  • A poor girl may have an illusion that a prince will come and fetch her home. It is possible, some such cases have occurred. That the Messiah will come and found a golden age is much less probable.
    • Ch. 6
  • Religious doctrines … are all illusions, they do not admit of proof, and no one can be compelled to consider them as true or to believe in them.
    • Ch. 6
  • Where the questions of religion are concerned people are guilty of every possible kind of insincerity and intellectual misdemeanor.
    • Ch. 6
  • Immorality, no less than morality, has at all times found support in religion.
    • Ch. 7
  • Our knowledge of the historical worth of certain religious doctrines increases our respect for them, but does not invalidate our proposal that they should cease to be put forward as the reasons for the precepts of civilization. On the contrary! Those historical residues have helped us to view religious teachings, as it were, as neurotic relics, and we may now argue that the time has probably come, as it does in an analytic treatment, for replacing the effects of repression by the results of the rational operation of the intellect.
    • Ch. 8
  • The true believer is in a high degree protected against the danger of certain neurotic afflictions, by accepting the universal neurosis he is spared the task of forming a personal neurosis.
    • Ch. 8
  • "In so doing, the idea forces itself upon him that religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis, and he is optimistic enough to suppose that mankind will surmount this neurotic phase, just as so many children grow out of their similar neurosis."
    • Ch. 10
  • Religion is a system of wishful illusions together with a disavowal of reality, such as we find nowhere else but in a state of blissful hallucinatory confusion. Religion's eleventh commandment is "Thou shalt not question."
  • But man's helplessness remains and along with it his longing for his father, and the gods. The gods retain their threefold task: they must exorcise the terrors of nature, they must reconcile men to the cruelty of Fate, particularly as it is shown in death, and they must compensate them for the sufferings and privations which a civilized life in common has imposed on them.

Civilization and Its Discontents (1929)[edit]

Das Unbehagen in der Kultur (literally, "The Uneasiness in Culture") - Full PDF online
  • Man kann sich des Eindrucks nicht erwehren, daß die Menschen gemeinhin mit falschen Maßstäben messen, Macht, Erfolg und Reichtum für sich anstreben und bei anderen bewundern, die wahren Werte des Lebens aber unterschätzen.
  • Towards the outside, at any rate, the ego seems to maintain clear and sharp lines of demarcation. There is only one state — admittedly an unusual state, but not one that can be stigmatized as pathological — in which it does not do this. At the height of being in love the boundary between ego and object threatens to melt away. Against all the evidence of his senses, a man who is in love declares that "I" and "you" are one, and is prepared to behave as if it were a fact.
  • One feels inclined to say that the intention that man should be "happy" is not included in the plan of "Creation."
    • Ch. 2
  • I cannot inquire into whether the abolition of private property is expedient or advantageous. But I am able to recognize that the psychological premisses on which the [system]] is based are an untenable illusion. In abolishing private property we deprive the human love of aggression of one of its instruments, certainly a strong one, though certainly not the strongest, but we have not altered the differences in power and influence which are misused by aggressiveness, nor have we altered anything in its nature. Aggressiveness was not created by property. It reigned almost without limit in primitive times, when property was still very scanty, and it already shows itself in the nursery almost before property has given up its primal, anal form; it forms the basis of every relation of affection and love among people (with the single exception, perhaps, of the mother's relations to her male child).
  • It is always possible to bind together a considerable number of people in love, so long as there are other people left over to receive manifestations of their aggressiveness.

New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (1932)[edit]

  • It often seems that the poet's derisive comment is not unjustified when he says of the philosopher: "With his nightcaps and the tatters of his dressing-gown he patches the gaps in the structure of the universe."
  • Analogies prove nothing, that is quite true, but they can make one feel more at home.
  • One might compare the relation of the ego to the id with that between a rider and his horse. The horse provides the locomotor energy, and the rider has the prerogative of determining the goal and of guiding the movements of his powerful mount towards it. But all too often in the relations between the ego and the id we find a picture of the less ideal situation in which the rider is obliged to guide his horse in the direction in which it itself wants to go.
    • The Anatomy of the Mental Personality (Lecture 31)
  • The poor ego has a still harder time of it; it has to serve three harsh masters, and it has to do its best to reconcile the claims and demands of all three... The three tyrants are the external world, the superego, and the id.
    • The Anatomy of the Mental Personality (Lecture 31)
  • Where id is, there shall ego be.
    • The Anatomy of the Mental Personality (Lecture 31)
  • Thinking is an experimental dealing with small quantities of energy, just as a general moves miniature figures over a map before setting his troops in action.
    • Anxiety and Instinctual Life (Lecture 32)
  • If one wishes to form a true estimate of the full grandeur of religion, one must keep in mind what it undertakes to do for men. It gives them information about the source and origin of the universe, it assures them of protection and final happiness amid the changing vicissitudes of life, and it guides their thoughts and motions by means of precepts which are backed by the whole force of its authority.
    • A Philosophy of Life (Lecture 35)
  • Religion is an attempt to get control over the sensory world, in which we are placed, by means of the wish-world, which we have developed inside us as a result of biological and psychological necessities.
    • A Philosophy of Life (Lecture 35)
  • Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires.
    • A Philosophy of Life (Lecture 35)


Misattributed[edit]

  • A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.
    • This is not a statement that appears in any translation of any of Freud's works. It is a paraphrase of a statement from the essay "Guns, Murders, and the Constitution" (February 1990) by Don B. Kates, Jr. where Kates summarizes his views of passages in Dreams in Folklore (1958) by Freud and David E. Oppenheim, while disputing statements by Emmanuel Tanay in "Neurotic Attachment to Guns" in a 1976 edition of The Fifty Minute Hour: A Collection of True Psychoanalytic Tales (1955) by Robert Mitchell Lindner:
Dr. Tanay is perhaps unaware of — in any event, he does not cite — other passages more relevant to his argument. In these other passages Freud associates retarded sexual and emotional development not with gun ownership, but with fear and loathing of weapons. The probative importance that ought to be attached to the views of Freud is, of course, a matter of opinion. The point here is only that those views provide no support for the penis theory of gun ownership.
Due to misreading of this essay and its citations, this paraphrase of an opinion about Freud's ideas has been wrongly attributed to Freud himself, and specifically to his 10th Lecture "Symbolism in Dreams" in General Introduction to Psychoanalysis on some internet forum pages: alt.quotations, uk.politics.guns, talk.politics.guns, can.talk.guns , etc.
One of the statements by Freud which Kates summarized from in Dreams in Folklore (1958), p. 33, reads: "The representation of the penis as a weapon, cutting knife, dagger etc., is familiar to us from the anxiety dreams of abstinent women in particular and also lies at the root of numerous phobias in neurotic people."
  • Sometimes a Cigar Is Just a Cigar.
    • Psychology proffesor Alan C. Elms stated in the article “Apocryphal Freud: Sigmund Freud’s Most Famous ‘Quotations’ and Their Actual Sources.” (2001): "In this case, however, not only do we lack any written record of Freud as the direct source, but also there are many reasons to conclude that Freud never said it or anything like it." Quote tracking done by the Quote Investigator

Quotes about Freud[edit]

Sorted by author surname
I differ from Freud in that I think that most dreams are neither obscure nor bowdlerized, but rather are transparent and unedited ~ J. Allan Hobson
Freud … agreed in principle to the importance of sexual health. But he did not want what sexual health entailed, the attack on certain institutions which opposed it. ~ Wilhelm Reich
  • If often he was wrong and at times absurd
    To us he is no more a person
    Now but a climate of opinion.
  • When Freud turned his searing eye to socialism he saw a delusional philosophy […] To Freud, the communists of the twentieth century were engaged in a perfectionist political project […] The central flaw Freud identified in socialist doctrine was the idea that private property is the primary, if not the sole, source of man’s depravity. With this foundational idea, socialists were able to say that man could be redeemed if, and only if, the institution of private property were abolished and replaced by a kinder, more humane system. [To Freud,] Man’s “depravity” is rooted much deeper in his nature and the abolition of private property would do little or nothing to change his basic constitution. [Freud argued that] socialism has its roots not in love and fraternity, as the socialists themselves would have us believe, but rather in revenge and aggression. According to Freud, “It is always possible to bind together a considerable number of people in love, so long as there are other people left over to receive the manifestations of their aggressiveness” (Freud 1961, 72). Freud pointed to nascent Soviet Russia as evidence of this phenomenon: “it is intelligible that the attempt to establish a new, communist civilization in Russia should find its psychological support in the persecution of the bourgeois. One only wonders, with concern, what the Soviets will do after they have wiped out their bourgeois.”
    • Nicholas Buccola, in "'The Tyranny of the Least and the Dumbest': Nietzsche’s Critique of Socialism” in Quarterly Journal of Ideology Vol 31, no. 3 & 4 (2004), quoting and sumarizing Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents
  • I have become increasingly convinced that some of the popular methods presumed to discover what is in the unconscious cannot be counted upon as reliable methods of obtaining evidence. They often involve the use of symbolism and analogy in such a way that the interpreter can find virtually anything that he is looking for. Freud, for instance, from a simple dream reported by a man in his middle twenties [i.e., Sergei Pankejeff ] as having occurred at 4 years of age drew remarkable conclusions. The 4-year-old boy dreamed of seeing six or seven white wolves sitting in a tree. Freud interpreted the dream in such a way as to convince himself that the patient at 18 months of age had been shocked by seeing his parents have intercourse three times in succession and that this played a major part in the extreme fear of being castrated by his father which Freud ascribed to him at 4 years of age. No objective evidence was ever offered to support this conclusion. Nor was actual fear of castration ever made to emerge into the light of consciousness despite years of analysis.
  • In the early twentieth century the concepts of the preconscious and unconscious were made widely popular, especially in literary circles, by Freud, Jung, and their associates, mainly because of the sexual flavor they gave to them. By modern standards, Freud can hardly be regarded as a scientist but rather as a physician who had many novel ideas and who wrote persuasively and unusually well. He became the main founder of the new cult of psychoanalysis.
    • Francis Crick, The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul (1994)
  • A few professional alienists understood his importance, but to most of the public he appeared as some kind of German sexologist, an exponent of free love who used big words to talk about dirty things. At least a decade would have to pass before Freud would have his revenge and see his ideas begin to destroy sex in America forever.
  • He had a sharp vision; no illusions lulled him to sleep except for an often exaggerated faith in his own ideas.
    • Albert Einstein, as quoted in Sigmund Freud (2006) by Kathleen Krull and Boris Kulikov, p. 132
  • That human nature and society can have conflicting demands, and hence that a whole society can be sick, is an assumption which was made very explicitly by Freud, most extensively in his Civilization and Its Discontent. ...he arrives at the concept of "social neurosis." "If the evolution of civilization," he writes, "has such a far-reaching similarity with the development of an individual, and if the same methods are employed in both, would not the diagnosis be justified that many systems of civilization — or epics of it — possibly even the whole of humanity — have become 'neurotic' under the pressure of the civilizing trends?
  • Freud was one of the last representatives of Enlightenment philosophy. He genuinely believed in reason as the one strength man has and which alone could save him from confusion and decay.
    • Erich Fromm, in The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness (1977)
  • While the implications of Darwin’s views were threatening and unsettling, they were not quite so directly abrasive, not quite so unrespectable, as Freud’s views on infantile sexuality, the ubiquity of perversions, and the dynamic power of unconscious urges. 

    • Peter Gay (1987). A Godless Jew: Freud, Atheism, and the Making of Psychoanalysis. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, p. 144
  • While Darwin was satisfied with revising his work after further reflection and absorbing palpable hits by rational critics, while he trusted the passage of time and the weight of his argumentation, Freud orchestrated his wooing of the public mind through a loyal cadre of adherents, founded periodicals and wrote popularizations that would spread the authorized word, dominated international congresses of analysis until he felt too frail to attend them and after that through surrogates like his daughter Anna. 

    • Peter Gay (1987). A Godless Jew: Freud, Atheism, and the Making of Psychoanalysis. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, p. 145
  • I am fascinated by the fact that thousands of people continue to idealize and defend [Freud] without really knowing anything about him as a person.
    • Phyllis Grosskurth (1991). The Secret Ring: Freud’s Inner Circle and the Politics of Psychoanalysis. Boston: Addison-Wesley, p. 219
  • I differ from Freud in that I think that most dreams are neither obscure nor bowdlerized, but rather that they are transparent and unedited. They reveal clearly meaningful undisguised and often highly conflictual themes worthy of note by the dreamer (and any interpretive assistant). My position echoes Jung's notion of dreams as transparently meaningful and does away with any distinction between manifest and latent content.
    • J. Allan Hobson, in The Dreaming Brain : How the brain creates both the sense and nonsense of dreams (1988)
  • Every time I see a photograph of Freud I wonder how a man who spent his whole life tête-à-tête with sex can look that gloomy.
  • Sigmund Freud… Analize [sic] this! Analize this! Analize this-this-this!
    • Madonna, as written in Die Another Day
  • For Freud the ultimate psychological reality is the system of attractions and tensions which attaches the child to parental images, and then through these to all other persons.
    • Maurice Merleau-Ponty, as quoted in The Essential Writings of Merleau-Ponty (1969) edited by A. L. Fisher
  • There is no longer any risk that Freudian research will shock us by recalling what there is of the "barbarian" in us; the risk is rather that the findings will be too easily accepted in an "idealist" form.
    • Maurice Merleau-Ponty, as quoted in The Essential Writings of Merleau-Ponty (1969) edited by A. L. Fisher
  • At one time, many philosophers held that faultless "laws of thought" were somehow inherent, a priori, in the very nature of mind. This belief was twice shaken in the past century; first when Russell and his successors showed how the logic men employ can be defective, and later when Freud and Piaget started to reveal the tortuous ways in which our minds actually develop.
  • Each child makes "internal models" that help them predict their Imprimers' reactions... as an "internalized" system of values—and this could be how people develop what we call ethics, conscience, or moral sense. Perhaps Sigmund Freud had such a process in mind when he suggested that children can "introject" some of their parents' attitudes.
    • Marvin Minsky, The Emotion Machine (2006)
  • Much research in psychology has been more concerned with how large groups of people behave than about the particular ways in which each individual person thinks... too statistical. I find this disappointing because, in my view of the history of psychology, far more was learned, for example, when Jean Piaget spent several years observing the ways that three children developed, or when Sigmund Freud took several years to examine the thinking of a rather small number of patients.
    • Marvin Minsky, The Emotion Machine (2006)
  • How much of a person's competence is based on knowing which actions not to take? We usually think of a person's abilities in positive terms... But one could take the opposite view that "An expert is someone who rarely slips up—because of knowing what not to do." However, this subject was rarely discussed in the twentieth-century—except, perhaps most notably, in Sigmund Freud's analysis.
    • Marvin Minsky, The Emotion Machine (2006)
  • Sigmund Freud's early view of the mind [is] as a system for dealing with conflicts between our instinctive and acquired ideas.
  • Freud is all nonsense; the secret of neurosis is to be found in the family battle of wills to see who can refuse the longest to help with the dishes.
  • Whereas Freud was for the most part concerned with the morbid effects of unconscious repression, Jung was more interested in the manifestations of unconscious expression, first in the dream and eventually in all the more orderly products of religion and art and morals.
  • As Dr. Sigmund Freud has observed, it can not even be said that the State has ever shown any disposition to suppress crime, but only to safeguard its own monopoly of crime.
  • When Freud comments on the shocking disparity between State-ethics and private ethics – and his observations on this point are most profound and searching – the historical method at once supplies the best of reasons why that disparity should be looked for.
  • American feminism’s nose dive began when Kate Millet, that imploding beanbag of poisonous self-pity, declared Freud a sexist. Trying to build a sex theory without studying Freud, women have made nothing but mud pies.
    • Camille Paglia (1991) "Junk Bonds and Corporate Raiders : Academe in the Hour of the Wolf." First published in Arion, Spring 1991, reprinted in Sex, Art and American Culture: New Essays (1992) ISBN 9780679741015, p. 243
  • The two deepest thinkers on sex in the twentieth century are Sigmund Freud and D.H. Lawrence. Their reputations as radical liberators were so universally acknowledged that brooding images of Freud and Lawrence in poster form adorned the walls of students in the Sixties.
    • Camille Paglia (1994), "No Law in the Arena: A Pagan Theory of Sexuality" in '"Vamps and Tramps: Essays NY: Vintage, p. 328
  • Doctor Freud not only used cocaine himself, but he also prescribed it to his patients. And then he drew his generalizations. Cocaine is a strong sexual arouser. That's why everything Freud invented — all those oedipuses, sphinxes and sphincters — is relevant only to a mental dimension of a patient, whose brain is turned to fried-eggs by cocaine. In such a state, one really has only one problem left — what to do first, to screw his mother or to do away with his father. Of course, until his cocaine runs out. And in those times, there were no problems with supplies. But so long as your daily dose is less than three grams, you don't have to fear either the Oedipus complex, nor other things discovered by Freud.
  • Babies are … obviously narcissistic, but not in the way adults are, not even Spinoza's God, and I am a little afraid that Freud sometimes forgets that the narcissistic baby has no sense of self.
    • Jean Piaget, in The First Year of Life of the Child (1927), as quoted in The Essential Piaget (1977), edited by Howard E. Gruber and J. Jacques Vonèche
  • Yes, you hate me. But didn't I try to atone? If I'd been a real Nazi I'd have chosen Jung, nicht wahr? But I chose Freud instead, the Jew. Freud's vision of the world had no Buchenwalds in it. Buchenwald, according to Freud, once the light was let in, would become a soccer field, fat children would learn flower arranging and solfeggio in the strangling rooms.
  • Perhaps the last cultural fad one could still argue against was Karl Marx. But Freud — or Rawls? To argue against such persons is to grant them a premise they spend all of their effort disproving: that reason is involved in their theories.
    • Ayn Rand as quoted in The Ayn Rand Letter Vol. IV, No. 2 (November-December 1975)
  • Freud … agreed in principle to the importance of sexual health. But he did not want what sexual health entailed, the attack on certain institutions which opposed it.
    • Wilhelm Reich, as quoted in Reich Speaks of Freud (1967) edited by Mary Higgins and Chester M. Raphael
  • When I came to read Freud himself, I was amazed to discover how sensible his writings are and how much milder than what passes for Freudianism among the pseudo-intelligent.
  • It is now clear that Freud was correct in positing the unconscious mind develops before the conscious and that the early development of the unconscious is equivalent to the genesis of a self-system that operates beneath conscious verbal levels for the rest of the life span.
    • Allan N. Shore (2009). “Relational Trauma and the Developing Right Brain: An Interface of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology and Neuroscience,” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04474
  • The two most original and creative figures in modern psychiatry, Freud and Jung were both proscribed by the Nazis … for both, though holding widely divergent views, upheld the value of the individual personality.
  • Freud ... showed us that poetry is indigenous to the very constitution of the mind; he saw the mind as being, in the greater part of its tendency, exactly a poetry-making faculty.
    • Lionel Trilling, Beyond Cutlure (1965), p. 79
  • Probably no theory evolved by man is as absurd as Sigmund Freud's theory of penis envy. To a woman, the penis and scrotum seem superfluous to man's otherwise neatly constructed body. They are almost untidy. She cannot understand that after use the penis is not retractable like an aerial on a portable radio. And as for envy — it would never occur, even to a little girl. Not in her deepest unconscious would she wish to possess a penis; and as to being at a disadvantage compared to a little boy, that is nonsense, for she gets preferential treatment anyway.
    Freud was merely the victim of training by woman's self-abasement techniques — thanks to his mother, wife, and probably his daughters as well. He confused cause and effect; a woman only says she is worth less than a man. She doesn't really think it. If anyone ought to feel a sense of envy, it is men. They should be jealous of women's power. But, of course, they never are, for they glory in their powerlessness.
  • The scientific debate on reports and recollections of child sexual abuse goes back to at least 1896, when Freud argued that repression of early childhood seduction (sexual molestation) had etiological significance for adult hysteria […]. He later recanted, saying that he was wrong about the repression of actual experiences of child sexual abuse and that it was fantasies (of sexual contact with parents or other adults) that drove the hysteria [..]. The research [in peer-reviewed publications in the 1980s and ‘90s] revisited the issue of repression of child sexual abuse and suggest that a large proportion of women sexually abused in childhood have no recall of the abuse. These studies support Freud's originally hypothesized connection between child sexual abuse, no recall of the abuse, and high levels of psychological symptoms in adulthood, at least in clinical samples.
    • Linda Meyer Williams (1994). “Recall of Childhood Trauma: A Prospective Study of Women's Memories of Child Sexual Abuse,” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology Vol. 62, No. 6, 1167-1176
  • Freud is constantly claiming to be scientific. But what he gives is speculation — something prior even to the formation of an hypothesis.
  • Wisdom is something I would never expect from Freud. Cleverness, certainly; but not wisdom.
  • Freud … has not given an explanation of the ancient myth. What he has done is to propound a new myth.

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