By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Freud Misguided

Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, smok...    Image via WikipediaLike many of you, my reaction to Freudianism has been profoundly skeptical over the years. Yesterday, as I listened to a classicist lecture on the famous Oedipus Rex play of Sophocles, this long-term skepticism was further strengthened. The lecturer made clear that, in her view and that of others, Freud mightily misread the Sophoclean play in his attempt to find an "Oedipus Complex" relating to "infant sexuality" (I put the latter phrase in quotes because I am not persuaded of the existence of an alleged infant sexuality).

Now, this morning, I read this excerpt from a book review in the N.Y. Times:
Recent scholarship, he [the author, Howard Markel of the University of Michigan] writes, has offered “nuanced contemplations on the connection of Sigmund’s cocaine abuse to his signature ideas about accessing unconscious thoughts with talk therapy; the division of how our mind processes pleasure and reality; the interpretation of dreams; the nature of our thoughts and sexual development; the Oedipus complex; and the elaboration of the id, ego and superego.”
He quotes the historian Peter Swales thus: “Freud’s [concept of the] libido is merely a mask and a symbol for cocaine; the drug, or rather its invisible ghost, haunts the whole of Freud’s writing to the very end.”
Let us continue to be profoundly skeptical of Freudianism.

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