By Freud, SigmundTranslated by Brill, A. A.
In this controversial study, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) applies the theories and evidence of his psychoanalytic investigations to the study of aboriginal peoples and, by extension, to the earliest cultural stages of the human race before the rise of large-scale civilisations. Freu...d points out the striking parallels between the cultural practices of native tribal groups and the behaviour patterns of neurotics. Beginning with a discussion of the incest taboo, he compares some of the elaborate taboo restrictions seen in these cultures to the scrupulous rituals of compulsion neurotics, who in a similar fashion are wrestling with the ambivalent emotions aroused by the incest taboo. He suggests that many of the rituals of culture are developed as psychological reactions to taboos, which prohibit the acting out of an infantile impulse that would be socially destructive. Freud concludes by invoking his famous Oedipal complex as the key to the development of culture. The repressed psychological urge to kill the father as a rival for the mother's affections is the underlying motive for the symbols and ceremonies of religion with its rituals of atonement and its notions of angry gods, original sin, and human guilt. Although Freud's theories are controversial today, this masterful synthesis and its undeniable influence on later scholars of religion, anthropology, and psychology make it a seminal work.Read more
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SIGMUND FREUD was born in Freiberg, Moravia, on May 6, 1856. When he was four, his father, a Jewish wool merchant, moved the family to Vienna. Concentrating on the study of the human nervous system and human personality, Freud entered the University of Vienna medical school in 1873 and studied under physiologist Ernest Bruecke from 1876 to 1872. After earning a degree in medicine in 1881, he completed his internship and residency at the Vienna General Hospital. 1n 1885, he was awarded a one-year fellowship to study in Paris with neu-rologist Jean-Martin Charcot, an authority on hysteria. Freud returned to Vienna in 1886 and established a medical prac-tice, specializing in nervous diseases. He worked with physician Josef Breuer on the treatment of hysteria with hypnosis, collaborating with Breuer on Studies in Hysteria (1895). Freud believed that repressed and forgotten impressions underlie all abnormal mental states and that revelation of these impressions often effects a cure. Convinced that repressed sexual urges play a major role in many forms of neurosis, he developed the Oedipal complex the-ory, which focuses on emotional and sexual complications between parents and children. He described this theory in the major work, The Interpretation of Dreams (1899). In 1902, Freud organized a weekly discussion group, which became the Vienna Psycho-Analytical Society in 1908. Among its member were Carl Jung and Alfred Adler. But by 1911, the society dissolved. Freud taught neuropathology at the University of Vienna from 1902 to 1938, and continued his private psychoanalytic practice. Dur-ing this period he wrote many of his major works including Psy-chopathology of Everyday Life (1904), Five Lectures on Psychoanalysis (1910), Totem and Taboo (1913), The Complete Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (1917), Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920), The Ego and the Id (1923), The Future of an Illusion (1927), Civilization and Its Dis-contents (1930), New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (1932), and Moses and Monotheism (1939). When the Nazis invaded Austria in 1938, they burned Freud's books and banned his theories. Friends helped him escape to England, where he died of cancer of the jaw and palate in London on Septem-ber 23, 1939.
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