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. But it cannot achieve its end. Its doctrines carry with them the stamp of the times in which they originated, the ignorant childhood days of the human race. Its consolations deserve no trust. Experience teaches us that the world is not a nursery. The ethical commands, to which religion seeks to lend its weight, require some other foundations instead, for human society cannot do without them, and it is dangerous to link up obedience to them with religious belief. 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.
We have created an industrial order geared to automatism, where feeble-mindedness, native or acquired, is necessary for docile productivity in the factory; and where a pervasive neurosis is the final gift of the meaningless life that issues forth at the other end.
In a culture whose media extols thinness as the great panacea that will bring happiness, sexuality, self-respect and social acceptance, they are blind to the insidious lies of the false goddess. Possessed by their own damaged instincts, and ironically driven by the same desire for power that their parents used in raising them, some children wolf down food, or reject it, or vomit it out. Whether that rejection of life is concretized in 200 pounds of armor, or 90 pounds of bone, or vomit in the toilet, the surest way out of the neurosis is to try to understand what food symbolizes in the individual psyche and why the energy is pulled in that direction.
I have frequently pointed out in a variety of contexts that it is far from my intention to cast blame on parents… I have also carefully explained that I do not regard external circumstances as the cause of neurosis but rather the child’s psychological situation – that is, the impossibility of articulating his or her strong feelings caused by traumatic experiences.
A child in its greed for love does not enjoy having to share the affection of its parents with its brothers and sisters; and it notices that the whole of their affection is lavished upon it once more whenever it arouses their anxiety by falling ill. It has now discovered a means of enticing out its parents' love and will make use of that means as soon as it has the necessary psychical material at its disposal for producing an illness.
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.
We have often heard the opinion advanced that SCIENCE should be built on clear and sharply defined IDEAS. In fact no science with such definitions. THINKING is an experiment dealing with small quantities of energy, just as a general moves miniature figures over a map before setting his troops in ACTION.
Thus we obtain our concept of the unconscious from the theory of repression. The repressed is the prototype of the unconscious for us.
The Americans are violently oral. That's why in America the mother is all-important and the father has no position at all -- isn't respected in the least. Even the American passion for laxatives can be explained as an oral manifestation. They want to get rid of any unpleasantness taken in through the mouth.
Rhymes, meters, stanza forms, etc., are like servants. If the master is fair enough to win their affection and firm enough to command their respect, the result is an orderly happy household. If he is too tyrannical, they give notice; if he lacks authority, they become slovenly, impertinent, drunk and dishonest.