This is very thoughtful. I myself have great respect for Sigmund Freud, his thoughts on when religion can get problematic, but I do think Jones has an interesting point.
“It all began in the early 1920s in Vienna. Wilhelm Reich was not only a young student of Freud’s… But the father of psychoanalysis himself called him: ‘Der beste Kopfe.’ “The Best Mind in Psychoanalysis.” His ideas were so brilliant that already at the age of 22 – well before finishing his studies – Freud introduced him to work as a Psychoanalyst.”
This pops up in my FB-feed (an ad for something called “Metameric massage”). I don’t know much about Wilhelm Reich, hardly anything at all, other than that he somehow derailed later in in his career.
But It gets me starting to think about genius and madness. I recently got reminded of another of those freethinking pioneers, R. D. Laing, who also derailed, disappeared, and whose work has long been in the psychiatric-therapeutic freezer. But is being taught again today.
Yes, Madness and Genius, how they are connected. I think something that many of the pioneers, the founders of different schools, etc, in the world of psychology (I limit my thoughts to that) had in common, is that they somehow have been troubled souls. “Cross-border.” But what’s underneath this? What does their desire to transcend boundaries come of?
I often think it must have had something to do with their early upbringing. A sort of imbalance, actually. How they have had it with mom and dad (or equivalent), simply put. Reasonably harmonious individuals, who have found their (psychologically) place in the world rarely have what it takes. They rarely have that itch to make revenge or make their mark on the world, to rebel against establishments & authorities. They seldom have this deep experience that you have something unique to come up with, something that you obviously need to manifest.
So, that it’s really a defect or wound, a developmental psychological flaw in them, that drives them… They can achieve great things, find truths, make important contributions. But basically or in some respects, at least in the beginning, they often are “sicker” than average.
This morning I passed this house on Dalagatan in Stockholm. I took a picture that I shared on Facebook. I wrote:
“Passing the ‘Eastman Institute’, which is an eye clinic for children… Learned the other day that it was actually THAT very Eastman, George Eastman, who once donated the money to start that place. He who made his fortune inventing the 35mm-film and the “Kodak”-camera.
I like photography. And I had read this story in detail with great interest a few days ago. So it had created a vivid memory.
After a while, it was an acquaintance who pointed out that wasn’t it rather a DENTAL clinic for children? She had got a brace herself from there a long time ago.
And, of course, that’s what I had read! And I had no problem recalling the actual story. That Eastman cared about the young people having good teeth, because a healthy, beautiful smile does so much to promote a good life, etc.
But completely unconsciously, I had embellished the whole thing (photo pioneer=children’s eyes?). And if I hadn’t been corrected, that particular version would have been even clearer to me. I had even retelled it to others…
This was long, about a small event in everyday life, but that tells me something important. On the theme of false, fabricated, or at least refined, memories. The unreliability of memory? The creativity of memory?
We like to pick on Sigmund Freud. He thought and he wrote so much that is strange.
Sometimes it feels as if he has become like a mix of “The Father” in his own imaginative theories, which are challenged and killed (and devoured ) by his sons – and by Särimmer in Norse mythology. He’s constantly re-emerging so you can beat him up again 🙂
But sometimes people manage to remind themselves that, okay, he actually lived a hundred years ago. How much else crazy and limited didn’t happen then! Diverse cultural personalities who were petty-Nazi, racist, misogynistic, etc. And at the same time recognized talented, artistic, profound, wise and sensitive individuals.
And then you can normally calm down a little, get your pulse down. It’s like you still have some basic understanding of what’s called “mentality history”, which can then be activated. Collective development has taken place on certain levels.
But, and this is where I was going to come!, I wonder if we who have taken deep impressions of new age/esoteric ideas can even be extra inclined to judge Freud? And have a hard time agreeing with his flaws? That our thought apparatus may even have become a little loose or underdeveloped in some respects because of those spiritual conceptions? How come?
Well (speculative), for being dazzled, intoxicated by the idea of “eternal, timeless wisdom”, “enlightened people” (and even the company of such individuals), etc., which have existed in all times & as have seen the world o their fellow men much as we ourselves can do, to the point, that Freud can then be dismissed as mediocre or a parenthesis.
When, in fact, he was so much ahead of his time that many of his discoveries has not yet had time to sink in… His thoughts still offer resistance, they are challenging. (Although a lot has also become part of the usual vocabulary, of course, and of the usual way we are looking at ourselves and each other.)
And he was a man of his time, as well.
I want to write something about this picture… Is that an original snob, believe me? Anyway, I’ve been saving on it for a long time, it means something to me that I’m not sure is the same as for the author, but I think so, in the same direction…
I think of the term “inflation”, it’s not exactly a psychological word, but I’ve seen it a couple of times when you talk about spiritual ideals and ambition. Even with Freud, I think firmly?, when he writes about “almost love”. That is, this perfect sympathy that one should have for everything o everyone. But above all, I think of what I think is, like, the only psychoanalytic examination of specifically the new-age/newage philosophy of life: “New Age Thinking” (1996), by M.D. Faber. This is how he writes, among other things… (Look, look…) …
“From the psychoanalytic angle, three items stand out clearly; first, we have an overarching presence of infantile omnipotence, the egocentric, unconscious belief in one’s unlimited powers […]; second, we have the urge to fuse regressively with the environment, to attach oneself to the surrounding world (universe) in a way that denies, erases, cancels out the ever-present sense of separation which the cronologically mature individual must cope with during the course of his days on the planet; third, we have a longing for narcissistic inflation, the longing to go about in the belief that one is somehow magical, wonderful […] as opposed to being simply another regular person in the world.”
The tricky thing about such psychological “inflation”, if there is no coverage for the so-called, whether it is the ideal to be able to have a high un pure love and acceptance of everything you meet, or your own imminent perfection, is that there is gladly to be some “junk” that needs to be deposited somewhere. According to the simple psychologically therapeutic rule that when something is too much in one direction, excessively, where has the other gone?