Category Archives: Freudianism

New ways of understanding youth

Dalrymple writes that Hermine Hug-Hellmuth was

sycophantically respectful of and grateful to Sigmund Fraud, which meant that, being the kind of man that he was, she remained in his good books. This was not the case with Freud’s daughter, Anna, who could not forgive her for having been the first to apply psychoanalysis to children, which is how she, Anna, wanted to be known. Pettiness and spite have always been the hallmarks of psychoanalysis, despite its claims to wisdom.

She was leading an arid existence, involving herself

in an arcane sect that contributed nothing to human understanding. Rather, the reverse: it erected elaborate screens of absurd theory between people and their proper self-reflection or self-examination.

She had an illegitimate elder half-sister, Antoine, who in 1906 gave birth to an illegitimate son called Rudolf. In 1924, Rudolf murdered Hermine brutally, shortly after publication of her book, Neue Wege zum Verständnis der Jugend: Psychoanalytische Vorlesungen für Eltern, Lehrer, Erzieher, Schulärzte, Kindergärtnerinnen und Fürsorgerinnen. It is hard, says Dalrymple,

to suppress a smile at the irony of it.

Key players

Nothing is so foolish, writes Dalrymple,

that some philosopher has not said it, and no idea has been so discredited that it has not continued to be touted.

He points out that intellectuals are

particularly unsusceptible to refutation by experience, because they much prefer complex rationalisations to the patently obvious — which is a threat to their livelihood, for the patently obvious needs no priestly caste of interpreters. There is no experience that they cannot rationalise away.

Intellectuals who claim not only to be rationalists but rational are often drawn, Dalrymple notes

to gnostic doctrines that claim to reveal the hidden meaning not just of something, but of everything about human existence. Marxism, Freudianism, and, in its most recent form, Darwinism are examples of such doctrines. For many, they held, or hold, the key to reality as Mary Baker Eddy held the key to the Scriptures.

Freudulent poseur

The work of Sigmund Freud, writes Dalrymple, is

more like soothsaying than science.

This, he says, explains its popularity in the 20th century,

with its need for pagan mystics masquerading as rationalists.

Neither the plausibility nor the persuasiveness of Freud’s speculations

accounts for his influence on so many intelligent and well-educated people for so long; rather it was the convoluted implausibility of his speculations that attracted them. We like to be in on a secret not comprehensible to others.

Complete self-understanding at last

screen-shot-2016-12-24-at-18-11-26In the past couple of centuries, writes Dalrymple,

we have been offered the chimera of complete self-understanding: Marxism, Freudianism, Darwinism.

The latest offer

is neuroscience. This time it is for real, they tell us. Those Marxists, Freudians, and Darwinians were simpleminded; this time, finally, all will be made clear.