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Burying Freud

[ Burying Freud Homepage | Freud's Seduction Theory Homepage ]

 In a message dated 96-04-16 14:26:11 EDT, Dr John O'Neil writes:

But I do agree that Fliess's ideas did betray "lunatic numerological notions and mystical fantasies". But again, beware of words such as "lunatic". Lunacy or delusion is not employed when the lunacy is shared with a significant cultural group. Fliess and Freud did not suffer from a folie-a-deux, but from a folie-a-plusieurs, just as you do in your covert inductivism.


Dr O'Neil
You overlook something vital in your proposition: Freud may have shared certain views with many occultists but certainly was hateful of the "black mud" of occultism. Neither did he care to notice any parallel or sympathy of his own ideas with the like. In other words, where he more likely would find lunacy in occult notions and delusion in religious belief he either chose not to notice parallels in either to his own ideas (e.g.,. his metaphysical notion of "race memory" which did not stand a chance against Jung's more epistemologically justified notion of psychogenic "archetypes.").

Yet you would draw the case that Freud may not be taken to account for "lunatic" notions simply because such notions may be shared by a great number of people ("Fliess and Freud did not suffer from a folie-a-deux, but from a folie-a-plusieurs "). Because Freud's detractors are a party to a truth by consensus proposition certainly does not allow the same as a worthy defense of Freud.

But the question of solitary lunacy (psychopathy) and collective lunacy (political efficacy) leads to the more disturbing question of why the renewed urgency to bury Dr. Freud? Whether the premises of Freud are "testable" or the practice of psychoanalysis is scientific are irrelevant questions. May we notice, in the investigative manner of Freud qua Sherlock Holmes, that Tallis qua Webster have more on their minds than scientific veracity. Is a special and distinctive motive involved that so far all the professionals who have rallied against Tallis' Lancet denigrations have not seen fit to point out?

The question has been deceptively focused instead on the to be or not to be a veritable scientist, as if science per se had only to do with scientifically predictable truths and not on a manner or mode of interpreting reality as it is grasped in any given epoch. Indeed, Freud came not for science but for scientists and the new approach that would be the new measure of all life. Is it possible to differentiate the two, place the objectivist truth here and the subjectivist truth there and between the two bury Freud in an unmarked grave?

No, that is too easy. We may bury (from consciousness) Aristotle, Newton and Einstein in similar manner simply because "times change" and along with them a collective manner and (culture) mode of understanding. In other words, any qualification and historical validation of Dr. Freud and his work requires a perspective that does not limit him to the criteria of hard edge (classical) empirical science (and the obsolete utilitarian Popperian epistemologies that go with it).

It must be noticed that Freud arrived on the edge of the post-Cartesian positivist revolution and by which much of his approach was at first iconoclastically colored and then tinted with reformational intent. The Psychoanalytic empire that he attempted to construct (with no less the defecting Jung as his crown prince!) came to supplement or displace, at least for the Middle Class, the waning viability of religion and however the morality of formal religion was suppressive of the broader possibilities of individual expression and behaviour.

In this sense psychoanalysis arrived as a special sensibility, a mode of moralistic praxis in response to reformational necessity. This necessity was quite clear for Freud when he noted:

"Having taken our bearings, let us return once more to the question of religious doctrines. We can now repeat that all of them are illusions and insusceptible of proof. No one can be compelled to think them true, to believe them. Some of them are so improbable, so incompatible with everything we have have laboriously discovered about the reality of the world, that we may compare them-- if we pay proper regard to psychological differences-- to delusion" (*Future of An Illusion*).

In this manner-- and with no doubt never having read William James on the subject-- he embarks his science of psychology as a new religion. He concludes:

"No, our science is no illusion. But an illusion it would be to suppose that what science cannot give us we cannot get elsewhere."

His fatalism is thus ambivalent since on one hand he suggests "Science" as the last and final word, and on the other infers another possibility. But this also condemns psychology, both theoretically and practically, insofar as *psyche* and the modes of human behaviour can neither be measured in molecular quantities or bent to the criteria of religious belief. It is thus inferred that neither science or religion may pigeonhole psychology as each their own. It is a bird of its own kind and quite new on the face of the earth. The attempt to discredit the efforts of Freud no doubt wishfully express a craven urge to regress to a pre-psychological age.

It is thus hardly the case that "the testability of psycho-analysis is crucial to all the Freud-bashing." There is more to it than that, simply because there are hardly open and declared vested interests that predicate such critiques but which are obviously a part of those groups that have little sympathy with the reformational efforts of Freud. First and foremost would be those sympathies that have been renewed with regard to religion and the vast "New Age" revival of esoteric subjects and disciplines. Second would be the contemporary relation to sexuality and the demise of the marriage and family ideal. In view of the latter much of the paternal priority is displaced by the "single parent" family and by which the mother assumes a dual parental role. In that case a pre-Oedipal circumstance is constellated by which the male child is either preconditioned as "gay" or prevailed in a Bronze age type of machismo "street gang" collective psychology (I speak here in terms of the U.S. since I do not know about what prevails in the U.K.)

Thus, between the socialist social psychology of the chronic welfare family, the feminist liberation, and the homosexual no longer confined to the closet, much of what Freud came to reform and reinstitute in a psychoanalytical ethic is not only irrelevant but received with hostility. In view of such changes, the recent predilection for reburying Freud finds its sources for motive. In all cases the line of least resistance for getting on with life is best served without a relation to soul (*psyche*) and the analytic perspective initiated by Dr. Freud. At best, psychological introspection has been conveniently tranpersonalized.

Many new events have evolved the human psychology to a variety of collective approaches that no doubt would have mollified Freud, especially with regard to the prevailing middle class moral attitudes he sought to ameliorate according to his understanding of a psychodynamic. The new relation to sexuality, Feminine "consciousness raising," the recursion to Bronze Age psychology of the welfare single parent family unit, Gay liberation, the new course of loose juridical procedure, rigor and standards, and all in all that which is the commonplace and accepted reality of the modern world (no doubt mimetic of the American media image): and not to mention the inscrutably ubiquitous proliferation of the "black mud" that ranges in proliferation from the new Hermiticism to belief in reports of abduction by intruders from outer space.

In view of all this Dr. Freud is as much an obsolete skeptical and inquisitive enquirer as Arthur Conan Doyle or Karl Marx for the materia of the unknown and the nature of the iniquitous they sought to unconceal. After all, "truth" in Greek is etymologically the "unconcealed," or revealed (*Aletheia*). Accordingly, it may do well to consider Messrs. Webster and Tallis and however they may be vestured in the variety of life styles that make up the new (post-Freudian) ethos. Short of that, how and why they seek to better inhume the ambient ghost of Dr. Freud makes little sense except for a peculiar sort of indwelled but unreflected contemporary suffering that is marked in a dread for what haunts-- with or without Freud-- the individual psyche. It is perhaps a credit to Freud that his disturbing ghost, however held in contempt, lingers as an agency for conscience.

Bernard X. Bovasso


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Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young - Last updated: 28 May, 2005 02:29 PM

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Burying Freud

[ Burying Freud Homepage | Freud's Seduction Theory Homepage ]

 In a message dated 96-04-16 14:26:11 EDT, Dr John O'Neil writes:

But I do agree that Fliess's ideas did betray "lunatic numerological notions and mystical fantasies". But again, beware of words such as "lunatic". Lunacy or delusion is not employed when the lunacy is shared with a significant cultural group. Fliess and Freud did not suffer from a folie-a-deux, but from a folie-a-plusieurs, just as you do in your covert inductivism.


Dr O'Neil
You overlook something vital in your proposition: Freud may have shared certain views with many occultists but certainly was hateful of the "black mud" of occultism. Neither did he care to notice any parallel or sympathy of his own ideas with the like. In other words, where he more likely would find lunacy in occult notions and delusion in religious belief he either chose not to notice parallels in either to his own ideas (e.g.,. his metaphysical notion of "race memory" which did not stand a chance against Jung's more epistemologically justified notion of psychogenic "archetypes.").

Yet you would draw the case that Freud may not be taken to account for "lunatic" notions simply because such notions may be shared by a great number of people ("Fliess and Freud did not suffer from a folie-a-deux, but from a folie-a-plusieurs "). Because Freud's detractors are a party to a truth by consensus proposition certainly does not allow the same as a worthy defense of Freud.

But the question of solitary lunacy (psychopathy) and collective lunacy (political efficacy) leads to the more disturbing question of why the renewed urgency to bury Dr. Freud? Whether the premises of Freud are "testable" or the practice of psychoanalysis is scientific are irrelevant questions. May we notice, in the investigative manner of Freud qua Sherlock Holmes, that Tallis qua Webster have more on their minds than scientific veracity. Is a special and distinctive motive involved that so far all the professionals who have rallied against Tallis' Lancet denigrations have not seen fit to point out?

The question has been deceptively focused instead on the to be or not to be a veritable scientist, as if science per se had only to do with scientifically predictable truths and not on a manner or mode of interpreting reality as it is grasped in any given epoch. Indeed, Freud came not for science but for scientists and the new approach that would be the new measure of all life. Is it possible to differentiate the two, place the objectivist truth here and the subjectivist truth there and between the two bury Freud in an unmarked grave?

No, that is too easy. We may bury (from consciousness) Aristotle, Newton and Einstein in similar manner simply because "times change" and along with them a collective manner and (culture) mode of understanding. In other words, any qualification and historical validation of Dr. Freud and his work requires a perspective that does not limit him to the criteria of hard edge (classical) empirical science (and the obsolete utilitarian Popperian epistemologies that go with it).

It must be noticed that Freud arrived on the edge of the post-Cartesian positivist revolution and by which much of his approach was at first iconoclastically colored and then tinted with reformational intent. The Psychoanalytic empire that he attempted to construct (with no less the defecting Jung as his crown prince!) came to supplement or displace, at least for the Middle Class, the waning viability of religion and however the morality of formal religion was suppressive of the broader possibilities of individual expression and behaviour.

In this sense psychoanalysis arrived as a special sensibility, a mode of moralistic praxis in response to reformational necessity. This necessity was quite clear for Freud when he noted:

"Having taken our bearings, let us return once more to the question of religious doctrines. We can now repeat that all of them are illusions and insusceptible of proof. No one can be compelled to think them true, to believe them. Some of them are so improbable, so incompatible with everything we have have laboriously discovered about the reality of the world, that we may compare them-- if we pay proper regard to psychological differences-- to delusion" (*Future of An Illusion*).

In this manner-- and with no doubt never having read William James on the subject-- he embarks his science of psychology as a new religion. He concludes:

"No, our science is no illusion. But an illusion it would be to suppose that what science cannot give us we cannot get elsewhere."

His fatalism is thus ambivalent since on one hand he suggests "Science" as the last and final word, and on the other infers another possibility. But this also condemns psychology, both theoretically and practically, insofar as *psyche* and the modes of human behaviour can neither be measured in molecular quantities or bent to the criteria of religious belief. It is thus inferred that neither science or religion may pigeonhole psychology as each their own. It is a bird of its own kind and quite new on the face of the earth. The attempt to discredit the efforts of Freud no doubt wishfully express a craven urge to regress to a pre-psychological age.

It is thus hardly the case that "the testability of psycho-analysis is crucial to all the Freud-bashing." There is more to it than that, simply because there are hardly open and declared vested interests that predicate such critiques but which are obviously a part of those groups that have little sympathy with the reformational efforts of Freud. First and foremost would be those sympathies that have been renewed with regard to religion and the vast "New Age" revival of esoteric subjects and disciplines. Second would be the contemporary relation to sexuality and the demise of the marriage and family ideal. In view of the latter much of the paternal priority is displaced by the "single parent" family and by which the mother assumes a dual parental role. In that case a pre-Oedipal circumstance is constellated by which the male child is either preconditioned as "gay" or prevailed in a Bronze age type of machismo "street gang" collective psychology (I speak here in terms of the U.S. since I do not know about what prevails in the U.K.)

Thus, between the socialist social psychology of the chronic welfare family, the feminist liberation, and the homosexual no longer confined to the closet, much of what Freud came to reform and reinstitute in a psychoanalytical ethic is not only irrelevant but received with hostility. In view of such changes, the recent predilection for reburying Freud finds its sources for motive. In all cases the line of least resistance for getting on with life is best served without a relation to soul (*psyche*) and the analytic perspective initiated by Dr. Freud. At best, psychological introspection has been conveniently tranpersonalized.

Many new events have evolved the human psychology to a variety of collective approaches that no doubt would have mollified Freud, especially with regard to the prevailing middle class moral attitudes he sought to ameliorate according to his understanding of a psychodynamic. The new relation to sexuality, Feminine "consciousness raising," the recursion to Bronze Age psychology of the welfare single parent family unit, Gay liberation, the new course of loose juridical procedure, rigor and standards, and all in all that which is the commonplace and accepted reality of the modern world (no doubt mimetic of the American media image): and not to mention the inscrutably ubiquitous proliferation of the "black mud" that ranges in proliferation from the new Hermiticism to belief in reports of abduction by intruders from outer space.

In view of all this Dr. Freud is as much an obsolete skeptical and inquisitive enquirer as Arthur Conan Doyle or Karl Marx for the materia of the unknown and the nature of the iniquitous they sought to unconceal. After all, "truth" in Greek is etymologically the "unconcealed," or revealed (*Aletheia*). Accordingly, it may do well to consider Messrs. Webster and Tallis and however they may be vestured in the variety of life styles that make up the new (post-Freudian) ethos. Short of that, how and why they seek to better inhume the ambient ghost of Dr. Freud makes little sense except for a peculiar sort of indwelled but unreflected contemporary suffering that is marked in a dread for what haunts-- with or without Freud-- the individual psyche. It is perhaps a credit to Freud that his disturbing ghost, however held in contempt, lingers as an agency for conscience.

Bernard X. Bovasso


human-nature.com
Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young - Last updated: 28 May, 2005 02:29 PM

US -
 Search:
Keywords:  

Amazon.com logo

UK -
 Search:
Keywords:  

Amazon.co.uk logo

 | Human Nature | The Human Nature Daily Review | Psychiatry Research Online |