Freud was considered as one of the most influential person in the 19th century simply because he had proven to be someone with profound influence on psychiatry, education, sociology and anthropology. He has created a whole new climate of opinion which changes the face of society not just in America and Europe but to the whole academic sphere around the world.
But, unfortunately, most people who write and comment about him never read his original papers. Had they have done so; they would have found no evidence to proof or even to falsify his theory. His claims were just based on fascinating story, which had some fiction-like elements, full with ironic commentary on human nature, partly played by imitation and fantasy.
We have to remember that Freud entered medicine at a time when vast areas of ignorance existed. When Freud was born, brain was just fully understood and recognized as the organ of the mind. His theories were made without full understanding of endocrine glands and hormones. For example his notion of infantile sexuality was made before scientists know all about the aetiology of precocious puberty.
There are growing evidences to suggest that Freud was suffering from rapid mood swings from exalted elation to profound depression, clouded consciousness and episodes of hyperactivity (1,2) that caused by cocaine intoxication which was taken in its pure and unadulterated form, in strengths and dosages far exceeding those use for medical purposes.
Freud might have been experiencing sexual excitation in the earlier phase when he formulates his theory and with prolonged usage, sexual activity diminishes to the point of almost complete cessation. Medical historians have shown that Freud’s addiction followed an almost classic course(1).
So, shall we say that the unconscious mind theory does not exist and baseless. Worst still, the greatest sin of all is that Freud himself when he formulated them, was under the influence of toxic drug with specific effects on the brain. It implies the fact that psychoanalysis which cures anybody of anything is not more than just a placebo which has some placebo effects; to which the evidence for its efficacy is shaky and practically non-existent.
What say you……
1. Ernest Jones. The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud. Hogarth Press, London.
2. Smith, RP (1892). Case of Cocainism. Journal of Mental Sciences, vol 38, p408.