Sigmund Freud: The Life, Work, and Legacy of a Brilliant Mind
“Thinking is an experimental dealing with small quantities of energy, just as a general moves miniature figures over a map before setting his troops in action.” These are the words of a man who has shaped our views about childhood, sexuality, dreams, personality, and therapy. He was one of the most criticized thinkers of his time but one of the most influential personalities of all time. He was a curious rebel who moved the world out of the hypocritical norms of his time with his brilliant mind. He is Sigmund Freud, the Father of Psychoanalysis. At the age of 17, he entered the University of Vienna where he joined the medical faculty and received his doctor’s degree in Medicine in 1881. Freud started his medical career in 1882 at the Vienna General Hospital where he worked in various departments of the hospital. There, he met Martha Bernays, who was once his patient, with whom he had seven years of long distance relationship before marrying her in 1886. They had six children. In 1939, Freud was suffering from jaw cancer and was, upon his advice to his physician, ‘mercy-killed’ by an overdose of morphine.
Among the works of Freud, he was most famous for his developmental theory of Psychoanalysis. Freud delved to the understanding and treatment of psychological disorders where he and his friend Josef Breuer discovered the “talking cure” after making a patient suffering from hysteria named Anna O to talk about her traumatic experiences which eventually led to a more developed form of therapy called “free association”. This contributed to the birth of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis assumes that the unconscious mind is the most powerful force behind thought and behavior and that dreams have meaning and are the most direct route to the unconscious mind arguing that the conflicting impulses, thoughts, and feelings that threaten the waking mind are released as visual compromise in distorted and disguised form by the sleeping mind. It also assumes that our childhood experiences are a form of a powerful drive in the development of our adult personality and that sexual and aggressive impulsion and the repression thereto are part of the maladaptive behavior of adults.
Freud’s theories are not without criticism but nevertheless his works remain to be a strong influence not only in the fields of psychology and medicine, but also to the day to day lives of every person. As W.H. Auden wrote in his 1939 poem, In Memory of Sigmund Freud, "if often he was wrong and, at times, absurd, to us he is no more a person now but a whole climate of opinion."
Essay on Sigmund Freud on Human Nature
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Sigmund Freud, a noteworthy trailblazer of modern-day philosophy, developed a deterministic view on human nature based on instinct and personality. Unlike other theories, Freud considers us not as humans, but animals with inborn biological drives: a complex species with primitive urges. These urges, he says, are only kept under control by the pressures between peers and the repression of society. Though the word “instinct” can relate to a wide range of impulses, Freud narrowed it down to four main drives: Self-preservation, aggression, the need for love, and the impulse to attain pleasure and avoid pain. These topics along with the model of the psyche embedded within the principles of pleasure and civilization form the most…show more content…
Passions, on the other hand, are a bit more complicated. In simple terms, men are so entirely governed by instinctual wishes that they often overlook their sense of reason. This claim is exemplified in the phrase “love is blind.” When two lovers are so encompassed by their relationship it is not uncommon for one of the two to make a few questionable decisions. Arguments of reason then relate to the idea of intellect. The voice of intellect is soft, but persistent which in turn provides optimism for the future of mankind. This optimism, however, dwindles in the fact that men have gained control and power over nature, granting them the ability to exterminate one another if they chose to. The awareness of this power results in unrest, unhappiness, and anxiety. Subsequently, this leads to Freud’s idea of Defense mechanisms and the Ego which will be discussed further along in this essay. In general, Freud claims that civilization has its own influence on human nature, providing guidelines to follow and morals standards to maintain.
In addition to civilization, Freud expands his view of human nature according to pleasure. According to the “Beyond the Pleasure Principle,” hunger and love regulate the world. Though the original thought was taken from Schiller, Freud applies it to the core instincts he believes to sum up human nature. Hunger represents the instincts which aim at preservation of the self while love strives after objects and preservation of the