Quick Thoughts on Freud

This is for a Theories of Personality class… and only meant to be a discussion topic; however, I’d thought I share:

Freud has given us many gifts and many pitfalls in exploring the individual’s inner-most makeup. His view of the individual as an entirely sexualized object, however, is worrisome and in it I find the root of much of the discussion over homosexuality and other so-called sexual deviancies. Along with Freud, our modern religious and political dialogue is overly concerned with the intimate actions of individuals, believing that they are defined wholly by those actions, and specifically, sexual actions. Further, we tend to think that human sexuality is the end result of childhood issues. We see this in the use of molestation statistics to identity a “cause” of homosexuality. While, I agree with him, that the development of a human personality begins at an early age, and I would say immediately upon the development of cognitive ability, I am unsure as to how sexuality is developed or the unseverable connection between sexuality and personality, as we can pick apart statistics and recreate them in our image to fit our respective agendas.

Another worrisome track is his view on women. Following the Greeks in suggesting that woman are somehow malformed males, they seek nothing but a penis to propel themselves into completion. While the female Egyptian Pharaoh, Hatshepsut, may have erected phallic looking objects to justify her position as Pharaoh, I am unsure as if viewing women who want equality with men in the social structure as seeking a penis is actually the most psychologically accurate description. Further, in this scenario, a woman can only achieve psychological happiness if she were to either become a man or satisfy herself that she will not be a man, as if being male is the most satisfactory position in the social structure. It would seem that Freud was scared of strong women, seeing them as eager to castrate him.

Further, his methods seem to lack a few scientific details. While he has created a heuristic journey, the ability to completely replicate his achievements leaves something to be desired. No doubt, in his genius and in his seeking to know people intimately, he was able to decipher emotions, dreams, and even slips of the tongue, this is little more than accurate guesswork until it can be repeated. As the author pointed out in the previous chapter regarding Freud’s case study of Da Vinci and the conclusions of homosexuality based on molestation, the methods employed may lead to other conclusions by other analysis’, and if that is the case, then how can we safely determine whether or not Freud’s methods are viable enough to continue to use?

I view Freud favorably, because I do believe that individuals do develop due to attachment issues and a whole host of other psychological factors. I do not see enough pitfalls in Freud to disregard him altogether, and, fortunately, no one takes Freud wholesale. Frankly,  I would really have liked to see Freud in today’s modern medical field and what he could have done with our neuroscience.

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One Reply to “Quick Thoughts on Freud”

  1. “I would really have liked to see Freud in today’s modern medical field”…I don’t think so. With every mention of Freud, people should also mention that he was hopelessly addicted to cocaine. So the “grain of salt” rule applies to everything he came up with.

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