Monday, February 21, 2005

Revising my view of Freud.

For years, I have held a modicrum of scorn for Dr. Freud. I have been willing to admit that without him, psychology would not be a science and that some of his theories still hold a little water. But I've always considered him someone I would not want to have dinner with.

Last week, I was introduced to a video to his early life history (The Young Dr. Freud) and I have decided that Sigmund Freud was indeed a *gasp* HUMAN!

Not only was he human, but he was a sappy romantic where his wife was concerned. Wrote some of the mushiest loveletters I've ever heard. And her letters were just as mushy. Overbearing, yes. But he did adore the woman in his own way. In fact, it was because he wanted to marry his wife and have a proper life that he gave up being a researcher at a university, studying physics and chemistry, and became a doctor, which lead to his achievements in psychology.

Just think - psychology came into being because a guy wanted to marry his sweetheart. (Yeah, yeah, I know - it wasn't the only thing that lead to it, but it was why a research scientist with a proven record ended up in the right place at the right time.)

And actually, he wasn't as sexist as some of his colleages. He at least believed the women he was treating for hysteria were actually suffering from something and not just pretending to get out of doing their duties and/or to get attention. He at least cared enough to believe they deserved his help and not his scorn on the medical front. I wonder how some of those with influence back then would have reacted to a more enlightened mindset as exists now. I suspect that anyone that "radical" to the time's mores would have been kicked into the street and blocked at every level.

Comparing him to today's standards, I agree - he's repulsive. Comparing him to some of his peers - he actually looks enlightened. You really have to see the enviroment these people lived in to really understand what type of people they really were.

And let's not forget - he pissed off enough people that a lot of what we have now was brought into being in protest of his methods. That should count for something.

So, while Freud will never be a "hero" of mine, I have decided he's not a "villian" either.

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