Sigmund Freud is somewhat looked down on because, unlike other influential minds, his theories don’t use the scientific method. This in turn makes it impossible to prove them completely.
Translated by María Suárez
No matter what anyone says, the truth is that Sigmund Freud is one the most historically relevant intellectuals. He is somewhat looked down on because, unlike other influential minds, his theories don’t use the scientific method. This in turn makes it impossible to prove them completely.
But his study into dreams and the subconscious that revolutionized the way we all think, specifically in the art world. Freud brought us to modernity and without him we would still be living in the past.
Prior to the introduction of Psychoanalysis, society was overpowered by Positivism, which is based on numbers. Everything had to be measured or otherwise be disapproved. But if thoughts are abstract, how can they be measured? Sigmund Freud joined the likes of Darwin and Galileo when his studies helped explain the indecipherable.
By opening the doors of the mind, Psychoanalysis was able to reveal unknown places of the conscious. Through analysis we can discover why we have a particular personality, what memories trigger behavior, and even the reason behind our fears. Once we understand these issues, it’s easier to find ways to solve them.
Here are some of Freud’s teachings you can use to reach deep into your own mind:
There are no mistakes, just unconscious acts.
Freud’s research on the unconscious clearly stated that there is no such thing as accidents or coincidences. Even the “randomness” of feelings, ideas, impulses, desires, and actions are consequences of psychological energy deep within our mind. Freud focused on dreams and found the truth in our behaviors, motivations, and trauma. He made it clear that there is a reason for everything we are, even what would seem unlikely.
A cigarette is never just a cigarette.
Following up on the previous point about everything being related to sex, psychology has accepted that everything is determined by several factors and associations. When we look at a cigarette, or any other elongated object, it’s almost a given that you’ll related it to a penis. Why? Because we are sexual creatures, and there’s nothing wrong with that –as long as you know it is a cigarette when you put it in your mouth.
Talking is the best therapy.
The evidence found by Freud proves that psychoanalytic therapy is more efficient. This is because the Talking Cure method implies that the person must first arrange their thoughts prior to expressing them. This is incredibly helpful for couples and is more effective than medication, which doesn’t always solve the underlying issues.
Defense mechanisms protect our sanity.
The term “defense mechanism” is so overly used that we forget just how important it is. Freud came up with this term to explain this psychological process which distorts reality in order to protect us against anxiety or unpleasant impulses. It’s our mind’s best guardian.
It’s only natural to reject change.
Our mind and behavioral patterns are bound to resist change. Our brain takes it as an unfortunate threat. Psychoanalysis understood that this was an innate trait and developed tools to help yield stubbornness. Freud did this with individuals and groups.
The past affects the present.
That phrase sounds obvious, but a hundred years ago it was a breakthrough discovery. Now we understand that everything we experience registers in our unconscious and alters our future behavior. Freud’s theories on child development and the consequences of early-life experiences help treat patients living in repetitive patterns.
The cost of civilization is neurotic discontent
In 1929 Freud wrote “Men are gentle creatures who want to be loved.” He understood that there is an inherent dark side that needs to be satisfied to balance the self. Civilization suppresses that side so that humanity can achieve peace. But Freud clearly stated that rejecting that aspect of our nature makes us neurotic and unhappy.
Freud’s body of work is quite vast. These ten points are just a small taste of the whole theoretical universe that embodies psychoanalysis. Think of them as starting points, but not as complete fundamental truths. That requires years of study.