Universal Neurosis Essay Research Paper Sigmund Freud

Universal Neurosis Essay, Research Paper

Sigmund Freud defined the goal of psychoanalysis to be to replace unconscious

with conscious awareness, where his ego shall be, and

through this an individual would achieve self-control and reasonable

satisfaction of instincts. His fundamental ideas include psychic determinism,

the power and influence of the unconscious, as opposed to the pre-conscious

mind, the tripartite division into id, ego and super-ego, and of course the

ideas of universal illusion and universal effects of the Oedipal Complex. The

examination of the Oedipal Complex is the most essential to the understanding of

Freud`s theories since he claimed that due to the resistance, repression,

and transference of early sexual energies the world had developed a universal

complex which did not allow for the healthy development of individual`s

but lead instead to the neurosis and mass illusion of religion. For his

perceivably vicious attacks on religion and his logical and yet totally

undermining examination of religion and other vital social issues, Freud has

been slandered and his theories criticised simply because of the away he

addressed these painful issues. Through the systematic development of the

theories of psychoanalysis, all stemming from one another and all tied together

into a universal Oedipal Complex and religious illusion, the ideas of the

tripartite human psyche and wish-fulfilment that Freud developed came under fire

from critics for their controversial messages and analysis. Briefly stated, the

Oedipus Complex is the preservation in the adult individual of the perceptions,

strategies and scars of a conflict the individual underwent during his/her

pre-school years. According to Freud, these perceptions, etc, later colour and

shape the individual’s future experiences. This psychological crisis results

when a young child’s sexual desire for the parent of the opposite sex collides

with the competition, rivalry and overwhelming power of the parent of the same

sex. According to Freudian theory, the ghosts of this Oedipal crisis haunt us

our entire lives. Psychopathology, slips of the tongue, dreams, and religious

experience all were understood to be functions whose origins and energy resulted

from this repressed material. In his later work, Freud interpreted the reports

of his clients (reports offered under hypnosis, under verbal encouragement and

suggestion, and finally, in the later work, reports given through

free-associations) as revealing a universal Oedipal drama. Freud found what he

took to be evidence for the universal existence of the Oedipus Complex in the

testimony of patients, in his analysis of the repressed in dreams, in slips,

wit, and the transference phenomenon, as well as in art, philosophy and

religion. As the child develops, he/she identifies with the parent of the same

sex and renounces incestual desire. This renunciation is achieved and

strengthened by the formation of the super-ego, a section of the child’s ego

identified with the childhood image of the parents (the parental Imago)

perceived in consciousness as conscience and as the ego ideal. The ego ideal is

the self`s conception of how he/she wishes to be and is a substitute for

the lost narcissism in childhood when I was my own ideal. When

projected onto or into the world, the Imago (a word used by Freud to describe

unconscious object-representations) is taken by the experience to be a veridical

perception of a divine being. Throughout life, these experiences of this

childhood conflict are alive and present in the unconscious of the individual.

This childish, magically thinking, ever desiring, instinctually driven self is

described topographically by Freud in his tripartite division of the person as

the id (Latin for it). That part of the individual

responsible for maintaining congress and connection with reality and mediating

between the id and reality is the ego. That part of the ego,

largely and usually unconscious, which bears and enforces the ego ideal, is the super-ego. An activity is ego-syntonic just in case it strengthens

the ego in its function of mediating between the demands of reality, basic

instinctual drives (of appetite, aggression, and sexuality), and conscience. As

mediator, the ego needs to make adequate contact with both the external and

internal demands involved. Thus, one of its main tasks is reality

testing – making an accurate determination of the limits imposed on the

organism by the external world including one’s own body. Illusory beliefs are

not ego-syntonic and are thus ultimately destructive if allowed to control

individuals and societies, even if they should happen, e.g., by accident, to be

true. Freud has an unusual definition of illusion. For Freud,

although illusions are usually false, they are not false by definition.

According to the definition Freud offers in his paper, The Future of an

Illusion, what characterises illusions is one’s motivation for believing

them. Freud begins by distinguishing illusions from falsehoods. Though illusions

are derived from human wishes, they, unlike delusions, are not

necessarily false. A middle-class child’s expectation of a royal marriage is one

example Freud gives of an illusion; the belief in the coming of the Messiah is

another. Freud is aware that, whether one classifies this belief as an

illusion or as something analogous to a delusion will depend on one’s personal

attitude. In an attempt to focus on the motivation of the beliefs in

question he defines a belief as an illusion when a wish-fulfilment is a

prominent factor in its motivation, and in doing so we disregard its relations

to reality, just as the illusion itself sets no store by verification. In The Future of an Illusion, Freud considers that religious ideas

are illusions, fulfilments of the oldest, strongest, and most urgent

wishes of mankind, Further, Freud interprets belief in God as a

regressive emotional response to the recognition of human helplessness, namely, the terrifying impression of helplessness in childhood aroused the need

for protection for protection through love which was provided by

the father; and the recognition that this helplessness lasts throughout life

made it necessary to cling to the existence of a father, but this time a more

powerful one. Freud was an enemy of all religions. He had

no hope for conscience based on a repressed part of the

personality. Instead, he placed his faith in reason and scientific

analysis thinking that beliefs shaped by wishes cannot be good

for anyone. For Freud, Religious experience is a function of the subject’s

perception of his/her projected parental Imago, the characteristics of which

were produced by the inherited trauma of the pre-historic experience of humanity

along with the subject’s resolution of the Oedipal crisis. The experience of the

projected Imago as real is a function of wish fulfilment; it is tied to illusory

beliefs accepted on the basis of their conformity with the subject’s wishes. The

resulting condition, religion, may be diagnosed as a universal

obsessional neurosis. Belief based on illusion undermines the ego’s

reality-testing function which is needed to deal with the environment. Such

belief is thus destructive for the integration of individual persons and

societies. The step from inadequate neurotic response to reality – as a function

of transference and illusion – to a blatant and dangerous inadequacy in

perceiving reality is a short one. The acceptance of illusions paves the way to

living in a world of delusions. Freudian psychoanalysis provides grounds for a

pragmatic criticism of both popular argument from religious experience and will to believe type arguments. That Freud holds such illusory

belief to be destructive is made clear in his work, New Introductory

Lectures on Psycho-Analysis. Through the formation of the Oedipal

Complex, an individual sparks the formation of the super-ego in order to combat

the id both of which are regulated by the ego itself. The transference of the

projected Imago that a child receives through this complex results in the

experience of this projected Imago as wish fulfilment latter in life in the

aspects of religious illusion. Due to his chastising of religion as a product of

a child`s projected Imago, and thereby directly linking it of a

child`s sexuality, Freud himself and his ideas were criticised and

renounced. His use of his own and patients dreams in order to come to this

conclusion about a Oedipal Complex, caused these ideas as well as those of the

tripartite id, ego, and super-ego to be ignorantly discredited instead of

examined and studied for their useful revelations about the human psyche.

Through the systematic development of the theories of psychoanalysis, all

stemming from one another and all tied together into a universal Oedipal Complex

and religious illusion, the ideas of the tripartite human psyche and wish-fulfilment

that Freud developed came under fire from critics for their controversial

messages and analysis. These are important aspects of Freud`s legacy.


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