As I See It | Archive | E-mail This Article
As I See It... (23 May, 2006)
23 May, 2006
The introduction and practice of psychoanalysis in England towards the end of the 19th century, caused a cynical reaction in skeptical medical circles. Psychology had not developed into a proper science yet, and was lumped together with physiology and the study of medicine in general.
Some critics were so determined to belittle psychoanalysis, and the strange little Jewish foreigner who had brought his notebooks and mysterious texts from Vienna into the innocent atmosphere of Victorian Britain. So perturbed were they that these academic fools dubbed “psychoanalysis” a new attempt at fake magic, that they called it another form of Spiritualism, a subject which had been made respectable and fashionable at around that time by no less a patron than the eminent writer of the day, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes.
This master of Logic and Common Sense had become a convert to Spiritualism after the death of his son, and wanted desperately to reach him “on the other side”. Not all his fellow cult members ware as dedicated and sincere as Sir Arthur. The Vast portion of his wealth disappeared into the eager hand’s of various shady ‘mediums’. It is all very sad to relate. The comparison between psychoanalysis and spiritualism is of course absurd! The former is a science which concerns concrete beings, whilst the latter deals in abstracts and shadows, in a world that is invisible.
At the very outset of his career in London, Freud realized what he was up against, but soon people began to gravitate towards him, and persons of eminence in the intellectual world began to be friend him. Among these were Leonard Woolf and his novelist wife Virginia, who published his early works in the Hogarth Press, and, gradually, the whole Bloomsbury Group rallied round the fascinating little man who argued that what happens to us at an impressionable moment in our childhood may shape the patterns and actions in our lives when we grow up. Sigmund Freud was no complacent dreamer, however much significance and importance he attached to the interpretation of them! He was aware of the difficulties and dangers which may lie ahead, in the war he would wage against the ignorant brain doctors of his day.
“In the Middle Ages they would have burned me. Now they are content with burning my books.” You were overoptimistic, I fear, Dr Freud. Today they are ignoring you altogether. Now which is worse? The Nazis did not try and understand you. It may have led to their understanding themselves, and Hitler would not have liked that. Books were piled, ready for the bonfire. What difference if Siegmund Freud was added to Karl Marx and Franz Kafka?
On this, his 150th anniversary, the great founder of psychoanalysis has been thoroughly sidelined. The profession he created has turned its back on the inventor of the “Oedipus Complex” and the Interpreter of dreams, dismissing his theories as flawed, his methods as slow and ineffective, his treatment of patients archaic, and his attitude to women unspeakable. During the 1930s, the anti-Freudians attacked all his tomes with vehemence and ignorance, and made fun of his “concept of the Id”. The Oedipus Complex played havoc in many a sophisticated family.
He had it coming, of course. This is the age of the selfish gene, which maps the shape of our personality long before we have acquired a taste for the maternal breast. We know more — or we think we know more — about the chemistry of the brain than the good old doctor ever dreamed of, and we have devised a formidable range of drugs to control that supreme organ, without understanding how properly to use them.
Ridicule was a ready weapon. Serious students of the Science of Human Behaviour were taunted on campus by the morons with cries of “Go back to the Womb!” And “Why not suck your Mommy’s tits for a change?” Research has revealed that when Sigmund was a child he once glimpsed his mother taking a bath through the door, which was ajar.
The painstaking classification of neuroses that Freud annotated and his attempts to trace them back to buried episodes in our childhood, is generally discarded in favour of a stiff dose of medication, and a period of seclusion in an expensive rest home on Millionaires Row. We have neither the time, the inclination, or indeed the sexual deviation necessary for long and intensive hours spent on the psychiatrist’s couch. We prefer the quick fix to the “Free Association of Ideas”.
Now I’m being deadly serious. I think the average man tries to hide three things : how he makes his money, where he keeps it, and his true sexuality. He will spend his entire adult life crouched in a closet, than risk even a slight creak! This denial of the truth about his sexual cravings are the cause of most of his poor health. To maintain good mental and physical health, a person requires regular ands fully satisfactory orgasms.
Many schools of psychology grew up after Freud had sown the first seeds. They all had their own approaches to the problems of man’s puzzling personality, and it’s many elusive symptoms of disease. I am about to mention the names of other pioneers in the realm of psychology : Alfred adler, C. J. Jung, Hirchfeld, Kraft-Ebbing, Havelock Ellis, and the comparatively recent (1948) Dr Alfred Kinsey, and his two deafening Reports. These man have almost been forgotten, and “Sex Education” after World War II took a nosedive, in both West and East! Instead, we have Hordes of gnome-like creatures fussing around the polished floors of their consulting chambers. Western women spend their own time, and their husband’s money on hairdressers, the latest fashions, beauticians, massage parlours, and pet Psychoanalysts.
The threats to man’s happiness have hung over him ever since he can remember. These threats have taken many dangerous forms, the strangest of which are to be found in the various religions he has created, ever scene he can remember.
Potting a side Freud’s “Oedipus complex”, and man’s determination to conceal his sexuality, the compelling force which drives his actions and takes him to his ultimate distention, is what Alfred adler called “Inferiority complex”, a truth which has been slowly but surly understood and accepted. Let us take a look at Alfred Adler.
The good man was born in Austria in 1870, and died in 1937. He was a famous psychologist and psychiatrist, and educated in the University of Vienna. After leaving university, he was associated with Sigmund Freud. In 1911 Adler left the orthodox psychoanalytic school to found a neo-Freudian school of psychoanalysis. After 1926 he was a visiting professor at Columbia University, and in 1935 he and his family moved to the United States.
In his analysis of individual development, Adler stressed the sense of inferiority, rather than sexual drives, as the motivating factor in human life. According to him, conscious or subconscious feelings of inferiority (to which he gave the term “Inferiority Complex”), combined with compensatory defence mechanisms, are the basic causes of psychopathological problems. The function of the psychoanalyst, furthermore, is to discover and rationalize such feelings and break down the compulsive neurotic will for power that they engender in the sufferer. Adler's works include “The Theory and Practice of Individual Psychology” (1918) “and The Pattern of Life” (1930).
Dr Adler wished to establish that things are either inferior or superior to one another. This comprises the entire Universe, and there is no argument about it. This basic scientific truth should not be the cause of surprise, embarrassment, or shame.