Sigmund, Will You Never Leave?

Oh honestly. Does nonsense never go away? Well I shouldn’t complain, it certainly keeps us busy and entertained here at B and W. But it would be nice to think humans could pay attention once in awhile. Take
this article about Freud in Time magazine, for instance.

At the same time, post-Freudian psychotherapists are figuring out that the old master still has something to offer the science of mental health: an understanding of the human mind and its many malfunctions that’s richer, fuller and more exciting than anything invented since.

Really? Well I suppose it depends how you define ‘richer’ or ‘more exciting’. It would be rich and exciting to be told our brains were full of gremlins and talking spiders and extra-terrestrial visitors and reincarnations of Cleopatra, too, but it wouldn’t be true. If the science of mental health is actually a science, does it really want the evidence-free speculations and faubulations of Freud to help its work?

One of Freud’s key insights was to divide the mind into the conscious and the unconscious: he showed us that beneath the surface banality of everyday thoughts and gestures lurk subterranean caverns of forbidden longings that reach all the way back to our earliest childhood memories.

Oh honestly. That old chestnut. Has no one on the editorial desk ever heard of Nietzsche? Schelling? The Romantics? Freud expanded on other people’s work, he was not the originator of insight into the unconscious. ‘But the goal of psychoanalysis is deeper understanding!’ the defenders cry. Good idea! Deeper understanding always a good thing! Start building your library now.

Comments are closed.