We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
U VA's Mark Edmundson writes about his new book, The Death of Sigmund Freud: the legacy of his last days, in The Chronicle Review. One quote:
The Death of Sigmund Freud began as a book about death and dying. I wanted to understand what it might mean to die a good death — a good secular death. From what I knew of Freud's last days, when he was dying of cancer, he had done exactly that. In fact, as I studied his life, I found that to the end he was tough, brave, and resolutely secular. His final public act was to publish his most controversial book, Moses and Monotheism. "Quite a worthy exit," he said of the volume, and it was. So I began writing about Freud's heroic demise.
But the true subject of a book is often about 20 degrees away from the author's original intention, and so it was here. As I studied Freud's old age and his late work, I came to see that the problems he encountered were in many ways still ours. Both religious fundamentalism and political tyranny threatened Freud in old age, and in quite immediate ways. Freud worked on his Moses book under the shadow of the repressive Roman Catholic Church of Austria, which surely would have moved to suppress the book if he had tried to publish it in Vienna. When he was 81 years old, Nazi Germany invaded Austria and threatened Freud and his family with death.
Read the whole piece. Quite remarkable the way Anna was brought for interrogation by the Gestapo - with a suicide pill in her pocket. Tyranny has always been fearful of psychoanalysis due to the centrality it grants to the individual soul and spirit.
That a political system in the very heart of civilization and in our living memory, could so terrify an innocent hausfrau that suicide was a rational reaction to the prospect of talking to its operatives, should give pause to anyone who might think that the current MoveOn-type organizations are harmless sideshows.
One of the cable channels (maybe the history, or the military channel?), a few weeks ago, had a show about a certain 1943 psychological profile of Hitler, ordered by OSS and done by a Freudian, a Dr Walter C Langer.
The report (according to the tv production) posited a constellation of psychoses emanating from a powerful central Oedipus Complex (dunno what it is, just recall the term). But what catches one's attention is that in 1943, with Hitler at his zenith, Langer predicted both his withdrawal into isolation, his solitary end-madness, and his suicide only when there was nothing more he could destroy.
I googled the report (couldn't otherwise recall the Dr's name for this comment), and here's more on it. A high point for Freudian analysis, a lay person might say.
Yet today Freud is largely dismissed by modern psychiatry and his talking cure held to be ineffective. Beyond that, as a New Yorker series reported a few years back, Freud was flagrantly dishonest about key aspects of the research on which he rested his theories. Anna, his daughter, who was in charge of his archives, tried mightily to keep this hidden.