The Ethereal Freud
As a psychology major I have a fascination with Sigmund Freud. I mean, don't get me wrong, I haven't read all of his books or have posters of him above my bed, but I have great respect for the man. Mostly because he wasn't afraid to think for himself and explore theories that scared the public. When I was in school I had a professor that had her students read an article about the mysterious Freud that changed my entire view of him as a person and his work. I have not for the life of me been able to find this article since then, and I can't find it in my heap of papers that I kept from college (sadly). I suspect it may have been an excerpt from Bruno Bettleheim's, Freud and Man's Soul.
Today, I would like to tell you about the ethereal Freud (as I have chosen to call him). A delicate man with a romantic way of speaking and ideas that, when read as intended, are almost poetic. Freud had a tendency to speak very metaphorically and would paint a picture with words to describe his theories. Here's a quote that is quite beautiful: "The conscious mind may be compared to a fountain playing in the sun and falling back into the great subterranean pool of subconscious from which it rises." **swoon** Does this sound like something that a pervert who compares everything to sex would write?
Here's the problem. Freud wrote in German, and for his time (early 1900's) his ideas were definitely considered taboo. Society was much more conservative back then and didn't feel comfortable discussing natural urges of the body and mind. Also, you have to remember that it was normal for humans to be segregated based on their race, sex and religion. Freud was coming forth and saying that all humans have the same basic urges and drives within our minds, essentially going against the notion of intolerance which flooded the world at the time. If I remember correctly, and don't quote me on this, Freud didn't start getting a lot of recognition until AFTER his works were translated into English, at which point the concepts were being introduced to the United States.
This is where we have the problem...
Poor Freud with his eloquent writing, metaphorical musings and forefront ideas had all of his work stripped of his voice and replaced with a much more literal voice. This voice substituted the German word for "soul" with the English word "mind". When his writing was translated into English they were translated from a medical perspective and often used medical terminology.
The ethereal Freud was fascinated by Greek mythology. He used the likes of the Oedipus complex and the story of Cupid and Psyche as metaphors for our basic desires. While he certainly realized that those stories were fantasy, he drew upon them to illustrate his points and his theories. For instance, the Oedipus theory, if you aren't familiar with it, is taught in modern day classrooms as the urge for children to have sex with their parents. Terrifying and disturbing right? When Freud wrote about this he was talking about it more in terms of love and affection, not sexual desires. His point was that children have their first interaction with the opposite and same sex with their parents. Boys, who are usually attracted to girls may develop a strong bond with their mother because his instincts tell him to develop relationships with females (and the opposite is true with daughters/fathers and I'm assuming even with homosexuality a child may then develop this relationship with the same sex parent).
I don't want to go off on a tangent here and lose you, so I'm going to reel it in. Freud was not some woman hating, perverted pedophile. He was a man that used his words as an art form to express his theories about humans and our development. With that I am going to leave you with some more delightful quotes:
"Everywhere I go, I find that a poet has been there before me."
"Whoever loves becomes humble. Those who love have, so to speak, pawned a part of their narcissism."
"Flowers are restful to look at, they have neither emotions nor conflict."
"Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness."
My mind is cluttered and this is the place where I can dump my thoughts. There's that saying that "one man's junk is another man's treasure" - Well, I hope you find some treasure.