Austrian Psychologist, Neurologist, Originator of Psychoanalysis
Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud
Austrian Psychologist, Neurologist, Originator of Psychoanalysis
If one attempts to assign to religion its place in man's evolution, it seems not so much to be a lasting acquisition, as a parallel to the neurosis which the civilized individual must pass through on his way from childhood to maturity.
In the important decisions of personal life, we should be governed by the deep inner needs of our nature.
It is unavoidable that if we learn more about a great man's life, we shall also hear of occasions on which he has done no better than we, and has in fact come nearer to us as a human being.
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.
Poets ... are masters of us ordinary men, in knowledge of the mind, because they drink at streams ... not yet made accessible to science.
Every normal person, in fact, is only normal on the average. His ego approximates to that of the psychotic in some part or other and to a greater or lesser extent.
I can still recall vividly how Freud said to me, 'My dear Jung, promise me never to abandon the sexual theory. That is the most essential thing of all. You see, we must make a dogma of it, an unshakable bulwark' ... In some astonishment I asked him, 'A bulwark-against what?' To which he replied, 'Against the black tide of mud'—and here he hesitated for a moment, then added—'of occultism'.
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.
In the long run, nothing can withstand reason and experience, and the contradiction religion offers to
It is unreasonable to expect science to produce a system of ethics—ethics are a kind of highway code for traffic among mankind—and the fact that in physics atoms which were yesterday assumed to be square are now assumed to be round is exploited with unjustified tendentiousness by all who are hungry for faith; so long as physics extends our dominion over nature, these changes ought to be a matter of complete indifference to you.
Man could no longer keep death away from him, for he had tasted of it in his grief for the deceased, but he did not want to acknowledge it, since he could not imagine himself dead. He therefore formed a compromise and concealed his own death but denied it the significance of destroying life, a distinction for which the death of his enemies had given him no motive. He invented spirits during his contemplation of the corpse of the person he loved, and his consciousness of guilt over the gratification which mingled with his grief brought it about that these first created spirits were transformed into evil demons who were to be feared. The changes wrought by death suggested to him to divide the individual into body and soul, at first several souls, and in this way his train of thought paralleled the disintegration process inaugurated by death. The continued remembrance of the dead became the basis of the assumption of other forms of existence and gave him the idea of a future life after apparent death.
No other technique for the conduct of life attaches the individual so firmly to reality as laying emphasis on work; for his work at least gives him a secure place in a portion of reality, in the human community. The possibility it offers of displacing a large amount of libidinal components, whether narcissistic, aggressive or even erotic, on to professional work and on to the human relations connected with it lends it a value by no means second to what it enjoys as something indispensable to the preservation and justification of existence in society.
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.
Every one of us owes nature his death and must be prepared to pay his debt, in short, that death was natural, undeniable, and inevitable. In practice we were accustomed to act as if matters were quite different. We have shown an unmistakable tendency to put death aside, to eliminate it from life. We attempted to hush it up, in fact, we have the proverb: to think of something as of death. Of course we meant our own death. We cannot, indeed, imagine our own death; whenever we try to do so we find that we survive ourselves as spectators. The school of psychoanalysis could thus assert that at bottom no one believes in his own death, which amounts to saying: in the unconscious every one of us is convinced of his immortality.
I cannot face with comfort the idea of life without work; work and the free play of the imagination are for me the same thing, I take no pleasure in anything else.
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?
In the small matters trust the mind, in the large ones the heart.
It might be said of psychoanalysis that if you give it your little finger it will soon have your whole hand.
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 ... 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.
No, our science is no illusion. But an illusion it would be to suppose that what science cannot give us we can get elsewhere.
Psychoanalysis is in essence a cure through love.
Flowers are restful to look at. They have neither emotions nor conflicts.
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).
If you can't do it, give up!