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Thursday, 20 October 2011

Sigmund Freud - Lecture Notes

Sigmund Fred was an incredibly ambitious man, trying to explain everything he could, but this lead to him raising some very controversial views.

He was born in Vienna and died in London. His ideas were a challenge to the enlightenment (alternative to rationality).
Freud was seen as a sexual renegade - damaged our idea of ourselves as noble people.
He admitted he was pessimistic, his ideas had very little light to them, they were quite a dark vision of humanity.

Freud had a disciple called Wilhelm Reich. But they shared slightly different view points. While both many had theories heavily based around sex and that sexuality was important, also that thier are areas of our minds that we aren't in control of. But Reich believed that we are ultimately good people, and that sexuality was a good thing. He was a sexual radical that believed in an unparalleled significance in sex, he saw it as the ultimate measure of human happiness. Opponents of Freud follow Reich because he would encourage pateints to express thier feelings openy, it is a direct attack on the Freudians who tought people to 'control' thier feelings.
Freud followed Plato's idea of the tripartle self - reason, spirit and desire. However, thier were differences in thier views.
Plato believed that reason could rule 'the others', but Freud thought that reason was the weakest becase people are irrational. He felt we are driven by desires that are beyond our control.

Fred also shared conflicting opinions with Karl Marx. Marx' belief was that we are eading somewhere, and wanted a communist society. He believed in the infinite potential of human nature to develop and evolve.
Freud believed this too be too idealistic, our basic needs are not benign. Our deepest needs are aggression, the wilful desire to hurt others and ultimately to seek our own destruction in the 'death wish' (even wanting to ultimately destroy ourselves).
Sigmund saw the reality of human nature as pain and suffering arising out of his own psychic alienation and the painful interaction with other human beings.

Sigmund Freud
Source - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sigmund_Freud_LIFE.jpg
Psychoanalysis - He felt that this technique heled discover the truths about the unconcious that were never known before.

Freudian Personality
One of Freud's key theories was that the mind was divided into 3 distinct processes that are in constant conflict with eachother - The Id, the Ego, and the Superego.

This is part of you from birth, and is animalistic. Freud considers it to be a bundle of instincts aimed at gaining pleasure and avoiding pain. 'The reservoir of the unconscious'. Sex and aggression are fused in the Id and they dominate the personality, even though we have no idea how dominated we actually are.

Ego(or self)
The voice of reason. This is the reality principle - the least powerful part of the personality. It is where we get our moderation and common sense. It is hopelessly embattled and besieged.

Referred to as the 'policeman in your head'. It is the irrational part of your mind. It internalised rules of parents or society. The morality principle, it develops after birth through socialisation, and is effected by your surroundings.
It makes you think irrational, unreachable expectaions of yourself., and has an internal ideal - impossible standards of perfection.

It is a picture of the personality in conflict - divided within ourselves.

1 - our own decaying body, nature.
2 - the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
3 - the greatest pain of all is our everyday interaction with other people because it is loaded with pain.
People are out to get us, to hurt us - but we (as irrational beings) are inclined to hurt others.

Freud see's the answer as analysis, it is needed to strengthen the ego. Freud would also access the Id and in someways control it. But this isn't open to everyone, the masses will continue on thier destructive path.

Although, Freud did suggest alternative coping mechanisms :-
- Chemical Solution - intoxication, but is only temporary.
- Isolation - Temporary, and only works for a few people.
- Sublimation - Finding sexually acceptable releases for our aggression. Such as sport, or being a workaholic. But these are only mild satisfaction.

'Civilisation is a collective superego' - imposing moral limits on the Id.
'Men are not gentle creatures - they are aggressive forces'.
'Man is a wolf to man'.

The battle between the 3 distinct proccesses can result in -
- Repression - Censorship and defence mechanism.
- Sublimination - Turn sexual energy to something (such as art or sport).
- Displacement - Shameful thoughts, turn into something else.
- Projection - Send feelings onto someone else.
- Regression - Returning to earlier stage of development.

Freud saw dreams as a way into the unconscious.
He also believed that aggression would never be eliminated(meaning we can never escape the unconscious).
Freud Controversy
- Science has no way to vaildate his theories.
- Freud was too vague for it to be protected.
- Many would say that he didn't discover the unconscious, he merely made it famous.
- The unconscious, repression, childhood, regression etc were all discussed in academic circles in the 19th century - pre-Freud.


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