Monday, October 20, 2008

Short answer: 'No.'

"Does the work of Sigmund Freud have anything to teach us about the global financial crisis and how to extricate ourselves from its clutches?"

No. A thousand times, no. To the extent that Freud asserted anything original as being scientific, he was 100% wrong. His conceptions of the mind, its natural processes and ailments, were as primitive as those of any tribal shaman or voodoo priestess, and as scientifically useful as astrology, tarot or palmistry.

Mental illness does not result from bad potty training or repressed lust for one's own parents or any "complex" bearing a name from Greek mythology. Freud formed his theories from his practice treating the complaints of Viennese hypochondriacs in the Victorian Age. As such, his work offers some insight into the worries that afflicted 19th-century Austrian neurotics, but not much more than that.

Freud's ignorant theories spawned more nonsense than the theories of any other intellectual in modern history, excepting only Marx and Nietzsche. And in the case of all three of these European humbug merchants, there are still apologists who, having been taught to reverence the Great Man before they had sufficient experience to know any better, cling to the idiotic insistence that the Great Man's theories were true, and that any perception of error is the result of the misinterpretations made by the Great Man's followers.

To defend these eminent authors of error is the same as advocating error, and to perpetuate misconceptions that have long since been proven false. No amount of fact can seem to shake these people who cling to the bogus theories of Great Men. One still encounters educated people who worry that "sexual repression" causes mental illness, even though nothing could be plainer than (a) American society is now less sexually repressed than any major culture since Nero was Emperor, and (b) we've got far more genuine craziness than we had when Coolidge was president and the Comstock Laws were in full force.

Anyone who thinks that anything true or useful can be found in Freudian psychology needs to have his head examined.
P.S.: I should add that the falsehood of Freud's theories does not prove the truth of modern theories of the mind. I am a real physical being, not a perception induced by a neurochemical illusion. Also, if you think I'm sexy, it's not because of a biological deterministic evolutionary urge. Darwin was wrong, too; there is no "gay gene"; and my sexiness is an objective fact.

1 comment:

  1. Anyone who remembers the nineties who goes back and reads Freud will recognize the more common side effects of prolonged cocaine abuse.

    Add that to his very orthodox Victorian outlook and Freud becomes a very ordinary thinker.