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116). By defining these elements, he constructs a safe model that only applies to his people. Still it was this premise of the potential illness found in the Jewish male that shaped "the discourse of psychoanalysis concerning gender and identity.
The next step in his revolutionary study came with defining his style of psychology. He believed in determination as a construct. This was defined; as one's action is causally determined with consideration that one does not have free will. Freud took this notion a step further and deducted that it is possible to have freedom. This type of conclusion would be typical of Freud's thinking and may seem contradictory and confusing. Deterministic systems by nature are "large closed systems and induce claustrophobia" (Gay, 1990 p. 79). Still he did not believe that people were mere puppets to unknown forces beyond their control. To combat the nature of determination, Freud created stories of different scenarios to act out a Subject's experiences. He liked to invent a plausible "tale in which an individual finds himself placed in before incompatible alternatives" (Gay, 1990 p. 87). It was during these creative moments his own "regressive moods also tended to recall memories of his political radicalism" (McGrath, 1986 p. 154). He continued to branch out this idea of hysteria and sex but also wondered how to go about discussing these repressions with Subjects. He used creativity, not only stories but also the realm of dreams.
Freud concluded "his most basic theoretical assumptions and substantially altered the internal balance of emotional forces manifested in dream life" (McGrath, 1986 p. 230). By discussing dreams with the Subject "we perceive at once that it was this critical attitude which prevented the subject from reporting any of these ideas" (Gay, 1989 p. 144) and therefore remained in the subconscious. What works best is for the Subject to write down the "first unintelligible associations to aid in the investigation" (Gay, 1989 p. 144). Freud believed that by understanding images from the dream life, one could better understand the events of the awake life. He concluded "the subject of dreams by applying them to a new of psychological investigation would do excellent service in the solution of phobias, obsession and delusions (Gay, 1989 p. 143). This method became common practice and effective for both doctor and patient. Freud explored many of his own dreams and began to understand that by doing so such analysis did not bring him closer to an answer but a new way of looking at life and discussing feelings.
Sex and the Erotic (Oedipus)
Earlier the taboo nature of the Subject's sexual thoughts, erotic fantasies and urges was discussed as being intertwined and submerged in the relationship one (male) has with one's father. Freud uses the Oedipus Rex Greek myth as a foundation of explaining sexual taboo and the subject's need to express with repressed feeling. His exploration of sexuality was "directly in line with the central interests of his whole scientific career and his writings on the subject emerges in a context with strong political and religious overtones" (McGrath, 1986 p. 165). He saw a correlation between the concept of hysteria and medieval culture. In the middle Ages, hysteria played a significant role in the history of civilization. It appeared as the cause of the unexplained such as epidemics, witchcraft, possession and other contagious disease. He wanted to pursue a link between the two but later surmised "his intent was to diminish the importance of hysteria altogether" (McGrath, 1986 p. 166). He considered the role of seduction and erotic urges as being a part of hysteria. That by introducing this concept of seduction explained the Subject's fear of intimacy with the opposite sex. He later theorized the notion of repression results because of this fear. It was the death of his own father that aided him in finalizing his conception of seduction. He explained the undercurrents evident in such a relationship as being difficult on both parties. They fight acknowledgment and desire to take action. As a result, a woman will have an unspoken kinship with her father and the same is true of a male with his mother. There is a certain attraction that cannot be acted upon or recognized because of its taboo nature but yet; it still exists within the psyche. From this respect, Freud could understand a virgin Subject's apprehension to discussing sex or acting upon their feelings. He concluded for the Subject, there is an element of terror involved. Maybe they see it as a disloyalty to their parent and the unspoken urge?
The conclusions expressed above are not with its controversy "because his discoveries could not easily be assimilated into our conventional self-image" (Roth, 1998 p. 169). What Freud surmises about the self is "we are not in control of our thoughts and emotions" (Roth, 1998 p. 169). The fact that Freud's theories provoked such criticism indicated to some that psychoanalysis was on the right track, bringing unpleasant truths to consciousness and finding ways to overcome repression of these truths. Everything constructed on his foundation and methods of therapy have been highly contested, the constructions have also served as a legacy to, and an inspiration for, some of the most important cultural developments of the twentieth century. Roth quotes L.L. Whyte as saying "Freud changed, perhaps irrevocably, man's image of himself" (Roth, 1998 p. 171). Multiple interpretations have grown out of Feud's foundation as times have changed. Feminists have protested his ideas and the concept of seduction by the father. Truly what is most important to identify here is the fact sexuality relating to culture and family is even being discussed in the first place. This challenges creative thought and raises disturbing issues of erotic urges and taboo relationships.
Social, Political and Cultural Implications
Freud, himself, was a bit of an egomaniac and believed "his discoveries to apply to all humanity, present and past" (Roth, 1998 p. 121). While other psychoanalysts of the time "discounted the influence of cultural variables on individual psyches" Freud was examining how culture played a scientific role. He was however, profoundly influenced by the classics and used such authors like Shakespeare and Homer to illustrate his views. By the 1940s many were looking at the links between the psychological and societal phenomena. Literary scholars such as Lionel Trilling and art critics like E.H. Gombrich and Clement Greenberg responded to the intellectual challenges Freud's ideas posed. Such challenges pushed the envelope and allowed others to build on Freud's concepts. It also allowed people to question their existence and their ability to change their life. This opens the search to only continue researching his theories, but to also examine new approaches to encompass modern changes. In this way, it is safe to assume that psychoanalysis has helped define modern culture and social practices. It has set the boundaries for the Subject's behaviors and created an atmosphere in which to cultivate creativity and new ideas for future use.
In closing, there is no cure. "The history of psychoanalysis, from the auspicious beginning, promised to be a sequence of triumphs" (Gay, 1990 p. 161) much of it thwarted by challenging concepts and taboo subject matter. What Freud managed to create in his time was a basis for therapy and talking out of one's issues so that an emotional stability could be achieved. This paper examined Sigmund Freud's work and the nature of this theoretical revolution. This paper discussed the practical and political consequences of Freud's innovative ideas. This paper achieved this by first defining Freud's innovative ideas by analyzing the foundation of psychoanalysis. The paragraphs above examined the basis of Freud's research and writings by analyzing his motivations and the underlying reasons behind his theories. This paper explored his innovative tool of using dreams as a foundation for the "talking cure" and a mechanism for opening up a Subject's subconscious for interpretation. The implications of such practices were discussed and elaborated upon. It is because of this approach that his ideas still remain the basis of modern therapy but and continues to be tested and researched. By opening these new realms, allowed for expression not seen before.
Bodie, Malcolm. 1991. Inventing the "I." London: Fontana Press.
Gay, Peter. 1990. Reading Freud: Explorations and Entertainments. New Haven: Yale
Gay, Peter. 1989. The Freud Reader. New York: W.W. Norton and Company.
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Freud Civilization and Its Discontents Humankind strives for happiness, but according to Sigmund Freud, the creation of civilization as a means to further this goal has instead generated unhappiness. In his book Civilization and its Discontents, Freud asserts the happiness of the individual is often sublimated to the need for civilization to establish law and order. People have an instinctual desire for absolute freedom which includes a need to be sexually
And moreover, the virtues that had been "automatically" accorded to Freud over the years -- "clinical acumen, wisdom in human affairs, dedication to his patients and to the truth" -- are now obscured by the skepticism that has come due to the deep questioning and investigation over time (Kramer, 1998, pp. 199-200). That skepticism among scholars has also been brought on by a lack of "accord" between what Freud
Some, such as Carl Jung, reconceived the nature of the unconscious, while others, such as Melanie Klein, replaced drives or instincts with interpersonal ("object") relations as the pivot of the psyche. Others, such as Alfred Adler, placed relatively greater emphasis than Freud did on the ego, while lessening the emphasis on the sexual drives. In Freud's wake, many varieties of talking therapy were created, some ultimately with little connection to
Freud's invention, 'psychoanalysis', wherein the patient would be encouraged by the doctor to talk freely about his varied memories and dreams and associations and thoughts, which became an important part of the psychiatric treatment of patients suffering from mental illnesses, in later years, was, when first introduced in the Vienna of the end of the century, openly ridiculed. When Freud's 'Interpretation of Dreams' was released, there was a commotion as
The personal and scientific environments within which Freud grew up therefore represent his primary influences. A further influence came in the form of physics. The second half of the nineteenth century, during which Freud did most of his important work, saw great advances in physics. According to Thornton, the discovery mostly responsible for this was Helmholz's principle of conservation energy. Helmholz held that the total amount of energy in a
267). None of the eighteen patients had been aware of being sexually abused prior to being treated by Freud. She quotes him: "…at the bottom of every case of hysteria there are one or more occurrences of premature sexual experience" that belong to early childhood but are "reproduced through the work of psychoanalysis" (p. 267). The very fact that Freud publicly raised this issue -- "a shocking topic…to many of
Sigmund Freud I have chosen to write my I-search paper about Sigmund Freud, known today as the father of psychoanalysis. He has impacted our society a great deal and this is obvious when you simply open up a psychology textbook. This semester I am taking a psychology course and we talk about him a lot. I have learned, not only through my psychology course, but also through my dad who majored