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Burying Freud

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

I am a Ph.D. student in psychology, who was raised on Freud as a great scientist, and then in the midst of an Email discussion with a friend who happens to be a survivor of childhood abuse and incestuous rape, realized that Freudian doctrine was used to further abuse such victims. Then I encountered Masson's books and was amazed at what has been done by Freudians and returned to research Freud's theories.

I was particularly taken by the cover story of Time Magazine "Is Freud Dead?", Nov 29, '93 and the reply in Scientific American Dec.'96 "Why Freud isn't dead" which both refer to Freud's paradigm without bothering to mention any specific theories. I reread Kuhn's "Structure of Scientific Revolutions" and noted his theory of paradigms is that they are published books which come to attract a set of professionals to use the concepts of that book in their work.

I then noted that the Case of Dora would fit neatly as Freud's paradigm, the book which established his science as its fan club. Reviewing that case history, I found its assumption that a 13 year old girl who was disgusted rather than aroused and pleased at being grabbed and propositioned by a friend of her father was obviously totally psychoneurotic and hysterical totally foolish. Once one suspects that Freud is not accurate in his diagnosis of Dora, the case history quickly dissolves into a simple case of Freud projecting his sex fantasies upon her.

Reviewing the relevant letters from Freud to Fliess at the time of the case of Dora and the writing of the case history it became clear that both Fliess and Rie had similar reactions to reading the original manuscript. Further, it became clear that Freud's fantasies of Dora wanting oral sex with many men, including Freud and that such an act by Freud would cure her cough seems to have caused Fliess such jealousy that he withdrew from his intimate relationship with Freud, and when Freud published the manuscript in 1905 gave rise to a public attack published by Fliess against Freud for his betrayal. Though the relationship is said to have broken up for other reasons, close reading of the letters shows only after reading the manuscript of the case history of Dora was there any distance or acrimony between Freud and Fliess.

Looking further into the published case history and the Freud-Fliess letters, it appears that the case history is mostly fiction. It claims Dora left Dec 31, 1900 in a dramatic scene; however, in his letter to Fliess of 1 Jan 1901, the next day he notes that all his patients are continuing the same and doing well. In letters to Fliess he notes when Dora begins "treatment" with him, and he notes on the 10th of Jan that he is working eagerly on the case history, notes 25 Jan 1901 that he has finished it, and now misses having a narcotic, apparently to replace the thrill of the writing. And when Fliess reads the manuscript, Freud quotes back the line from Fliess saying his analysis is really only projection of Freud's own sex fantasies, and says with such criticism from Fliess he withdraws the manuscript from publication until their relationship totally dissolves in 1904.

Taking the Case History of Dora as probably projection, and the possibly totally fictionalized incidents of 31 Dec 1901 and the postscript about events of 1 April 1902, a date 2 weeks after Freud had successfully bribed his way to establishment as a Professor, and also the day his father celebrated his birthday, this becomes a literary paradigm not a clinical observation. Since the paradigm is established without any claim to cure, it allows psychoanalysis to be a "science" for those who love the imagery and don't care about the results or the reaction of their patients.

I was further intrigued when the International Journal of Psychoanalysis articles note that none of Freud's theories are still believed literally by orthodox Freudians and even that the justification of psychoanalysis now is done in terms of the relationship between patient and analyst and said to be effective as long as the patient believes it to be effective. This is the definition of a placebo, that it works only if believed effective. To have a therapy which only claims that as its justification is clearly a theory which delights in itself and cares about little else.

As I finished my research, and found that it had been necessary to reread Freud's letters to Fliess five and six times to work through all the commentary and later theorizing to find what was the simple content of the letter. The question is one of letting go of later enthusiasm for Freud as a great clinical scientist, to see that he was writing love letters to Fliess which included sex theory, particularly theory of universal bisexuality, to make their relationship more comfortable.

Read as love letters of a rather repressed individual in mid-life crisis, it appears that what we know today as Freud's theories of psychology started out as ways to converse sweet nothings with his intimate friend Fliess who had various strange theories which allowed them to explore what they enjoyed.

Fliess found that a woman patient reported less menstrual pain after he applied cocaine to her nasal membranes. From this, rather than discovering introducing cocaine to the bloodstream by "snorting," he developed the theory the nose was a symbolic phallus, important in both men and women. From this Freud found reason to treat his own depressed moods by applying cocaine to his nose and like Madame Bovary, encouraged Fliess to invent a nasal surgery to cure Emma Eckstein's presumed psychoneuroses shown by the appearance of her nose. That surgery was a dismal failure and gave rise to much controversy about Freud's so called seduction theory.

Reading the famous letter of 21 Sept 1897 as a love letter, can be seen as Freud giving up his seduction theory or any hope of finding one simple, magical cure to hysteria to make his fame and worldly success since now that Fliess has told him their relationship is important to him too, he is content with their love and no longer needs to have any other success.

It is only when Freud's sex fantasies go beyond what pleases Fliess too, and projecting notions that make Fliess jealous so that he breaks off sharing his thoughts with Freud does Freud then plot to again make his name and fame in the world. He quite consciously sets out to make his name and fame by whatever means works.

Freud became the emblem of 20th century science after World War I, and his writings rose in public appreciation alongside the Sherlock Holmes stories. The Case History of Dora is noted as being like a Sherlock Holmes mystery and also like mildly sadistic pornography. The development of the private enclave of the Psychoanalyst reacted badly to any objective criticism, calling it insane, depraved or whatever else they could get away with to keep their private control of their secret activities upon the couch. Freud became totally established only in the final decades of his very long life, and though his reputation grew until there was sufficient clinical experience to note that his theories and claims could not be substantiated and other techniques worked better to deal with real human suffering, the drive to keep him as myth hero of the 20th century remains very strong. It is only as this century is about to end that anyone has dared to suggest he was fundamentally wrong. Once the 20th century comes to be as old fashioned as the 19th, Freud will be read for what he said, and it will be difficult to respect anyone who took such obvious claptrap as anything but wonderfully written erotic fiction like the Marquis de Sade.

Frank R. Kegan
Palm Desert, CA 
23rd August 1998


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

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

Burying Freud

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

I am a Ph.D. student in psychology, who was raised on Freud as a great scientist, and then in the midst of an Email discussion with a friend who happens to be a survivor of childhood abuse and incestuous rape, realized that Freudian doctrine was used to further abuse such victims. Then I encountered Masson's books and was amazed at what has been done by Freudians and returned to research Freud's theories.

I was particularly taken by the cover story of Time Magazine "Is Freud Dead?", Nov 29, '93 and the reply in Scientific American Dec.'96 "Why Freud isn't dead" which both refer to Freud's paradigm without bothering to mention any specific theories. I reread Kuhn's "Structure of Scientific Revolutions" and noted his theory of paradigms is that they are published books which come to attract a set of professionals to use the concepts of that book in their work.

I then noted that the Case of Dora would fit neatly as Freud's paradigm, the book which established his science as its fan club. Reviewing that case history, I found its assumption that a 13 year old girl who was disgusted rather than aroused and pleased at being grabbed and propositioned by a friend of her father was obviously totally psychoneurotic and hysterical totally foolish. Once one suspects that Freud is not accurate in his diagnosis of Dora, the case history quickly dissolves into a simple case of Freud projecting his sex fantasies upon her.

Reviewing the relevant letters from Freud to Fliess at the time of the case of Dora and the writing of the case history it became clear that both Fliess and Rie had similar reactions to reading the original manuscript. Further, it became clear that Freud's fantasies of Dora wanting oral sex with many men, including Freud and that such an act by Freud would cure her cough seems to have caused Fliess such jealousy that he withdrew from his intimate relationship with Freud, and when Freud published the manuscript in 1905 gave rise to a public attack published by Fliess against Freud for his betrayal. Though the relationship is said to have broken up for other reasons, close reading of the letters shows only after reading the manuscript of the case history of Dora was there any distance or acrimony between Freud and Fliess.

Looking further into the published case history and the Freud-Fliess letters, it appears that the case history is mostly fiction. It claims Dora left Dec 31, 1900 in a dramatic scene; however, in his letter to Fliess of 1 Jan 1901, the next day he notes that all his patients are continuing the same and doing well. In letters to Fliess he notes when Dora begins "treatment" with him, and he notes on the 10th of Jan that he is working eagerly on the case history, notes 25 Jan 1901 that he has finished it, and now misses having a narcotic, apparently to replace the thrill of the writing. And when Fliess reads the manuscript, Freud quotes back the line from Fliess saying his analysis is really only projection of Freud's own sex fantasies, and says with such criticism from Fliess he withdraws the manuscript from publication until their relationship totally dissolves in 1904.

Taking the Case History of Dora as probably projection, and the possibly totally fictionalized incidents of 31 Dec 1901 and the postscript about events of 1 April 1902, a date 2 weeks after Freud had successfully bribed his way to establishment as a Professor, and also the day his father celebrated his birthday, this becomes a literary paradigm not a clinical observation. Since the paradigm is established without any claim to cure, it allows psychoanalysis to be a "science" for those who love the imagery and don't care about the results or the reaction of their patients.

I was further intrigued when the International Journal of Psychoanalysis articles note that none of Freud's theories are still believed literally by orthodox Freudians and even that the justification of psychoanalysis now is done in terms of the relationship between patient and analyst and said to be effective as long as the patient believes it to be effective. This is the definition of a placebo, that it works only if believed effective. To have a therapy which only claims that as its justification is clearly a theory which delights in itself and cares about little else.

As I finished my research, and found that it had been necessary to reread Freud's letters to Fliess five and six times to work through all the commentary and later theorizing to find what was the simple content of the letter. The question is one of letting go of later enthusiasm for Freud as a great clinical scientist, to see that he was writing love letters to Fliess which included sex theory, particularly theory of universal bisexuality, to make their relationship more comfortable.

Read as love letters of a rather repressed individual in mid-life crisis, it appears that what we know today as Freud's theories of psychology started out as ways to converse sweet nothings with his intimate friend Fliess who had various strange theories which allowed them to explore what they enjoyed.

Fliess found that a woman patient reported less menstrual pain after he applied cocaine to her nasal membranes. From this, rather than discovering introducing cocaine to the bloodstream by "snorting," he developed the theory the nose was a symbolic phallus, important in both men and women. From this Freud found reason to treat his own depressed moods by applying cocaine to his nose and like Madame Bovary, encouraged Fliess to invent a nasal surgery to cure Emma Eckstein's presumed psychoneuroses shown by the appearance of her nose. That surgery was a dismal failure and gave rise to much controversy about Freud's so called seduction theory.

Reading the famous letter of 21 Sept 1897 as a love letter, can be seen as Freud giving up his seduction theory or any hope of finding one simple, magical cure to hysteria to make his fame and worldly success since now that Fliess has told him their relationship is important to him too, he is content with their love and no longer needs to have any other success.

It is only when Freud's sex fantasies go beyond what pleases Fliess too, and projecting notions that make Fliess jealous so that he breaks off sharing his thoughts with Freud does Freud then plot to again make his name and fame in the world. He quite consciously sets out to make his name and fame by whatever means works.

Freud became the emblem of 20th century science after World War I, and his writings rose in public appreciation alongside the Sherlock Holmes stories. The Case History of Dora is noted as being like a Sherlock Holmes mystery and also like mildly sadistic pornography. The development of the private enclave of the Psychoanalyst reacted badly to any objective criticism, calling it insane, depraved or whatever else they could get away with to keep their private control of their secret activities upon the couch. Freud became totally established only in the final decades of his very long life, and though his reputation grew until there was sufficient clinical experience to note that his theories and claims could not be substantiated and other techniques worked better to deal with real human suffering, the drive to keep him as myth hero of the 20th century remains very strong. It is only as this century is about to end that anyone has dared to suggest he was fundamentally wrong. Once the 20th century comes to be as old fashioned as the 19th, Freud will be read for what he said, and it will be difficult to respect anyone who took such obvious claptrap as anything but wonderfully written erotic fiction like the Marquis de Sade.

Frank R. Kegan
Palm Desert, CA 
23rd August 1998


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 |