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Clio's Psyche #2


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bdagostino2687
9/10/17
Trevor,
I agree that a deeper understanding of Freud’s historical context does not shed much light on the details of Oedipal theory, but that misses my point about the importance of historical context.  Let me sketch a little more of what I have in mind and why historical context cannot be dismissed as “nice window dressing.”  As I said in my previous email, I am a beginner in Freudian studies and can only present what I have gotten out my limited reading of the literature.  If I misstate anything, don’t hesitate to point it out so I can continue to learn.
Let’s start with Pierre Janet, whose published lectures beginning in 1889 outlined the role of early childhood trauma, especially sexual abuse, in the etiology of hysteria.  Janet pioneered the concepts of the unconscious and of dissociation, and connected the dots between early childhood abuse, dissociation, and the symptoms of “hysterics.” Freud acknowledged his debt to Janet in his “Studies in Hysteria,” coauthored with Joseph Breuer in 1895.  It is not possible to understand the significance of Freud’s Seduction Theory without understanding this historical context.  Only when read in the context of Janet’s earlier work do we see what was original and what was not original in Freud’s Seduction Theory.  What was original to Freud was the notion that sexual trauma could be the cause of a wider range of psychological disorders than hysteria.  In other words, he went beyond the clinical data to a general theory of psychopathology.  When Freud revised his Seduction Theory beginning in 1897, he backtracked on this general theory—which attributed psychopathology to early trauma—and replaced it with a very different kind of general theory (Oedipal Theory), which attributes psychopathology to the repression of sexual drives.  In The Assault on Truth (1984), psychoanalyst Jeffrey Masson reconstructed the historical context of this reversal, which was the beginning of Freudian psychoanalysis as it came to be known in the early 20th century.  
In the attached 1989 Psychoanalytic Review article, Dorothy Bloch argues, plausibly in my opinion, that Masson overlooks a major psychobiographical component of Freud’s reversal, namely the death of his father in 1896 less than five months after he and Breuer presented their hysteria paper on May 2, 1896.  Since Freud had developed his seduction theory in part from his observation of sexual abuse of his siblings by their father, the death of Freud’s father and its timing very likely elicited massive guilt for Freud, which is also suggested by Freud’s “One is requested to close the eyes” dream around this same time.  Freud’s new Oedipal explanation of psychopathology relegated parental abuse of young children to the margins of psychoanalysis for many years.  According to Bloch, this new mindset helps explain why Freud attributed Daniel Schreber’s psychosis to Daniel’s own homosexual fantasies towards his father, which overlooks the overwhelming evidence of physical abuse by Schreber’s father.
As Arnie and his coauthors indicated, psychoanalysis subsequently developed in ways that went beyond Freud’s own thinking.  Most notably, the object relations school has returned psychoanalysis to a focus on the importance of early trauma and the effects of parenting, a focus that Freud originally shared with Janet but which he mainly abandoned after 1896 in favor of the Oedipal Theory.  Such historical thinking about the origins and present state of psychoanalysis is necessary if we want to learn from the past and not simply repeat its mistakes.
Brian
www.bdagostino.com
917-628-8253
From: cliospsyche@googlegroups.com [mailto:cliospsyche@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Trevor Pederson
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Freud's Retraction of his Seduction Theory.pdf
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arniedr
9/10/17
Freud was putting together a whole theory of personality and a model of mind. This can be investigated in its own right, and whatever other ideas that might have had an influence on him won't explain the internal logic to this model of mind.
I very much agree Freud was developing a model of the mind a theory of developement and a theory of symptom formation which also applied to dreams and parapraxis and personality and character
Arnold Richards
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Trevor Pederson
9/10/17
Hi Brian
On Sun, Sep 10, 2017 at 12:59 PM, Brian D'Agostino <bdagostino2687@gmail.com> wrote:
Trevor,
I agree that a deeper understanding of Freud’s historical context does not shed much light on the details of Oedipal theory, but that misses my point about the importance of historical context.
I don't think it does. You have to have a coherent theory first, both in order to test it, and in order to criticize it.
What you are dealing with here are speculations about what might have influenced Freud.
When things in Freud's theories turn out to be false then it is valuable and interesting to look into potential causes (whether psychological or sociological), but the theories need to be tested themselves to establish their value, and this won't happen until there is a theoretical framework in which to understand and operationalize different concepts.
Let me sketch a little more of what I have in mind and why historical context cannot be dismissed as “nice window dressing.”  As I said in my previous email, I am a beginner in Freudian studies and can only present what I have gotten out my limited reading of the literature.  If I misstate anything, don’t hesitate to point it out so I can continue to learn.
Let’s start with Pierre Janet, whose published lectures beginning in 1889 outlined the role of early childhood trauma, especially sexual abuse, in the etiology of hysteria.  Janet pioneered the concepts of the unconscious and of dissociation, and connected the dots between early childhood abuse, dissociation, and the symptoms of “hysterics.” Freud acknowledged his debt to Janet in his “Studies in Hysteria,” coauthored with Joseph Breuer in 1895.  It is not possible to understand the significance of Freud’s Seduction Theory without understanding this historical context.
I disagree. Its significance is to be determined clinically, and Freud gave his reasons for retracting this view. He never said that trauma had no part in neurosis, after this, but instead that it wasn't always the cause. However, even back then, there was a more generalized view of sexual seduction or abuse as part of suffering mortification:
In the earliest case accounts, reported in Studies on Hysteria,  Breuer and Freud had assigned “mortification,” a variant of the shame family, a central role in symptomformation. They observed that “an injury suffered in silence” is a “mortification”—a “kran-kung”—which literally means to “make sick.” When one suffers an injury, they wrote, one tries to get revenge, as a catharsis. Or one can confess a tormenting secret. Or one can right the memory of a humiliation by remembering his worth. By contrast, an injury suffered in silence makes one ill.
Breuer and Freud had also emphasized, however, that they were addressing themselves to the mechanism of symptom formation rather than to the etiology of neurosis. The early formulations about the role of mortification in neurosis have therefore suffered neglect as incomplete, first formulations, which were superseded by later theoretical developments.
It is interesting that in the Outline of Psychoanalysis, written some forty-five years after the Studies on Hysteria, Freud again refers to the role of mortification in neurosis. He uses the same metaphor of a “mortification suffered in silence” as the source of neurosis.
Lewis, H.B. (1971). Shame and Guilt in Neurosis (p. 436-7)
Only when read in the context of Janet’s earlier work do we see what was original and what was not original in Freud’s Seduction Theory.  What was original to Freud was the notion that sexual trauma could be the cause of a wider range of psychological disorders than hysteria.  In other words, he went beyond the clinical data to a general theory of psychopathology.  When Freud revised his Seduction Theory beginning in 1897, he backtracked on this general theory—which attributed psychopathology to early trauma—and replaced it with a very different kind of general theory (Oedipal Theory), which attributes psychopathology to the repression of sexual drives.  In The Assault on Truth (1984), psychoanalyst Jeffrey Masson reconstructed the historical context of this reversal, which was the beginning of Freudian psychoanalysis as it came to be known in the early 20th century.  
Freud himself mentioned that he didn't take sexuality in hysterical  symptom formation to be his own idea. He writes:
A year later when I had begun my medical activities in Vienna as a private dozent in nervous diseases I was as innocent and ignorant in all that concerned the etiology of the neuroses as any promising academician could be expected to be. One day I received a friendly call from Chrobak, who asked me to take a patient to whom he could not give sufficient time in his new capacity as lecturer at the university. I reached the patient before he did and learned that she suffered from senseless attacks of anxiety, which could only be alleviated by the most exact information as to the whereabouts of her physician at any time in the day. When Chrobak appeared, he took me aside and disclosed to me that the patient's anxiety was due to the fact that though she had been married eighteen years, she was still a virgo intacta, that her husband was utterly impotent. In such cases the physician can only cover the domestic mishap with his reputation and must bear it if people shrug their shoulders and say of him: “He is not a good doctor if in all these years, he has not been able to cure her.” He added: “The only prescription for such troubles is the one well-known to us, but which we cannot prescribe. It is:
Penis normalis
dosim
Repetatur!
I had never heard of such a prescription and would like to have shaken my head at my informant's cynicism. (History of the Psychoanalytic Movement)
Also, Oedipal theory doesn't just involve the repression of the sexual drives, there are also aggressive impulses that are linked to parental imagos. Moreover, even when they are sexual, in the general sense of eros (love) the Oedipal aspect also involves a real object. For example, when he is looking at melancholia, he is looking at the death of a real love object and even just being jilted by a lover:
The object has not perhaps actually died, but has been lost as an object of love (e.g. in the case of a betrothed girl who has been jilted). In yet other cases one feels justified in maintaining the belief that a loss of this kind has occurred, but one cannot see clearly what it is that has been lost, and it is all the more reasonable to suppose that the patient cannot consciously perceive what he has lost either. This, indeed, might be so even if the patient is aware of the loss which has given rise to his melancholia, but only in the sense that he knows whom he has lost but not what he has lost in him. This would suggest that melancholia is in some way related to an object-loss which is withdrawn from consciousness, in contradistinction to mourning, in which there is nothing about the loss that is unconscious.
In Melancholia the self-reproach is linked to an aggressive instinct towards the the beloved that is turned on the self, along with the defense enacted in object loss.
However, the object loss from which the defense and symptom breakout, still references an earlier loss that reaches back to the past.
In the attached 1989 Psychoanalytic Review article, Dorothy Bloch argues, plausibly in my opinion, that Masson overlooks a major psychobiographical component of Freud’s reversal, namely the death of his father in 1896 less than five months after he and Breuer presented their hysteria paper on May 2, 1896.  Since Freud had developed his seduction theory in part from his observation of sexual abuse of his siblings by their father, the death of Freud’s father and its timing very likely elicited massive guilt for Freud, which is also suggested by Freud’s “One is requested to close the eyes” dream around this same time.  Freud’s new Oedipal explanation of psychopathology relegated parental abuse of young children to the margins of psychoanalysis for many years.  According to Bloch, this new mindset helps explain why Freud attributed Daniel Schreber’s psychosis to Daniel’s own homosexual fantasies towards his father, which overlooks the overwhelming evidence of physical abuse by Schreber’s father.
This is a quotation from Freud's analysis of Schreber
In my Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality [Standard Ed., 7, 235] I have expressed the opinion that each stage in the development of psychosexuality affords a possibility of ‘fixation’ and thus of a dispositional point. People who have not freed themselves completely from the stage of narcissism—who, that is to say, have at that point a fixation which may operate as a disposition to a later illness—are exposed to the danger that some unusually intense wave of libido, finding no other outlet, may lead to a sexualization of their social instincts and so undo the sublimations which they had achieved in the course of their development. This result may be produced by anything that causes the libido to flow backwards (i.e. that causes a ‘regression’): whether, on the one hand, the libido becomes collaterally reinforced owing to some disappointment over a woman, or is directly dammed up owing to a mishap in social relations with other men—both of these being instances of ‘frustration’; or whether, on the other hand, there is a general intensification of the libido, so that it becomes too powerful to find an outlet along the channels which are already open to it, and consequently bursts through its banks at the weakest spot. (p. 61-2)
There is a part played by psychosexual development at the beginning, and the onset of the neurosis goes along with the parental-substitute causing some ego injury, frustration, etc. that causes repression. This is Oedipal.
More precisely, Freud has 3 steps to symptom formation and these are the first and 3rd stages.
As Arnie and his coauthors indicated, psychoanalysis subsequently developed in ways that went beyond Freud’s own thinking.  Most notably, the object relations school has returned psychoanalysis to a focus on the importance of early trauma and the effects of parenting, a focus that Freud originally shared with Janet but which he mainly abandoned after 1896 in favor of the Oedipal Theory.  Such historical thinking about the origins and present state of psychoanalysis is necessary if we want to learn from the past and not simply repeat its mistakes.
1. The first phase consists in fixation, which is the precursor and necessary condition of every ‘repression’. Fixation can be described in this way. One instinct or instinctual component fails to accompany the rest along the anticipated normal path of development, and, in consequence of this inhibition in its development, it is left behind at a more infantile stage. The libidinal current in question then behaves in relation to later psychological structures like one belonging to the system of the unconscious, like one that is repressed. We have already shown [pp. [61-2] that these instinctual fixations constitute the basis for the disposition to subsequent illness, and we may now add that they constitute above all the basis for the determination of the outcome of the third phase of repression.
2. The second phase of repression is that of repression proper—the phase to which most attention has hitherto been given. It emanates from the more highly developed systems of the ego—systems which are capable of being conscious—and may in fact be described as a process of ‘after-pressure’. It gives an impression of being an essentially active process, while fixation appears in fact to be a passive lagging behind. What undergo repression may either be the psychical derivatives of the original lagging instincts, when these have become reinforced and so come into conflict with the ego (or ego-syntonic instincts), or they may be psychical trends which have for other reasons aroused strong aversion. But this aversion would not in itself lead to repression, unless some connection had been established between the unwelcome trends which have to be repressed and those which have been repressed already. Where this is so, the repulsion exercised by the conscious system and the attraction exercised by the unconscious one tend in the same direction towards bringing about repression. The two possibilities which are here treated separately may in practice, perhaps, be less sharply differentiated, and the distinction between them may merely depend upon the greater or lesser degree in which the primarily repressed instincts contribute to the result.
3. The third phase, and the most important as regards pathological phenomena, is that of failure of repression, of irruption, of return of the repressed. This irruption takes its start from the point of fixation, and it implies a regression of the libidinal development to that point. We have already [p. 61 f.] alluded to the multiplicity of the possible points of fixation; there are, in fact, as many as there are stages in the development of the libido. We must be prepared to find a similar multiplicity of the mechanisms of repression proper and of the mechanisms of irruption (or of symptom-formation), and we may already begin to suspect that it will not be possible to trace back all of these multiplicities to the developmental history of the libido alone. It is easy to see that this discussion is beginning to trench upon the problem of ‘choice of neurosis’, which, however, cannot be taken in hand until preliminary work of another kind has been accomplished.1 Let us bear in mind for the present that we have already dealt with fixation, and that we have postponed the subject of symptom-formation; and let us restrict ourselves to the question of whether the analysis of Schreber's case throws any light upon the mechanism of repression proper which predominates in paranoia.
In Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety the second phase is discussed again:
As regards the metapsychological explanation of regression, I am inclined to find it in a ‘defusion of instinct’, in a detachment of the erotic components which, with the onset of the genital stage, had joined the destructive cathexes belonging to the sadistic phase.2
In enforcing regression, the ego scores its first success in its defensive struggle against the demands of the libido. (In this connection it is of advantage to distinguish the more general notion of ‘defence’ from ‘repression’.3  Repression is only one of the mechanisms which defence makes use of.)  p 114
In regards to the second stage, trauma that was experienced in early childhood, as well as after latency becomes a potential point that the 3rd stage of symptom formation will reference:
It may be that regression is rendered possible not because the genital organization of the libido is too feeble but because the opposition of the ego begins too early, while the sadistic phase is at its height. I am not prepared to express a definite opinion on this point, but I may say that analytic observation does not speak in favour of such an assumption. It shows rather that, by the time an obsessional neurosis is entered upon, the phallic  stage has already been reached. Moreover, the onset of this neurosis belongs to a later time of life than that of hysteria—to the second period of childhood, after the latency period has set in. In a woman patient whose case I was able to study and who was overtaken by this disorder at a very late date, it became clear that the determining cause of her regression and of the emergence of her obsessional neurosis was a real occurrence through which her genital life, which had up till then been intact, lost all its value. (ISA, p 113).
I think you can see that this is complicated stuff and that it becomes easy to say Freud said this or that, so as to make a straw man that can be attacked.
There's a place for looking at historical influences, but lets understand the man first.
Trevor
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bdagostino2687
9/10/17
Arnie, Trevor and all,
Arnie, you wrote: “I don't think Oedipal theory has to do with suppression of sexual drives  It has to do with the ambivalence conflicts of childhood and the centrality that parents play in the scenerio  Conflict is central and the way the child develops unconscious fantasies in which are satisfied and guilt diminished.”  Are you giving your own view here, or are you attributing this view to Freud, or both?
Trevor, thank you for the extensive quotes from Freud.  These illustrate nicely the richness and complexity of his thought, while simultaneously illustrating (at least to me) why we cannot see the forest for the trees without a knowledge of the historical context in which these things were said.  I have made a rudimentary effort at providing such a context.  I find this useful in making developmental sense of Freud’s thought as a whole and in assessing what is living and what is dead in his thought today, to steal a metaphor from Benedetto Croce.  Apparently you do not find this useful, which is perfectly OK but leaves us talking past one another, as we did through multiple iterations in a similar conversation earlier this year.  Since I don’t know what more to say that could advance our exchange of ideas, this is a good place for me to stop.
Brian
www.bdagostino.com
917-628-8253
      
From: cliospsyche@googlegroups.com [mailto:cliospsyche@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Trevor Pederson
Sent: Sunday, September 10, 2017 4:45 PM
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Trevor Pederson
9/10/17
Hi Brian
I'm sure that work is useful for a lot of people, but when I try to understand what Freud meant, it doesn't help me to construct the theory of mind that I see in his work.
I don't mean to be dismissive. On the contrary, people should be more upset with psychoanalysts for not being more rigorous in their formulations in the past, and then totally dropping almost all of Freud's metapsychology but still misleadingly calling themselves psychoanalysts, today.
Trevor  
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arniedr
9/11/17
Freuds views emerge from his theoretical papers ands case studies  I don't thin it is very useful to try to decide what Freud's view visor was
His views are dynamic and evolving as our view of his view is
Arnold Richards
arnoldrichards.net
internationalpsychoanalysis.net
ipbooks.net
-----Original Message-----
From: Brian D'Agostino <bdagostino2687@gmail.com>
To: cliospsyche <cliospsyche@googlegroups.com>
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arniedr
9/11/17
http://internationalpsychoanalysis.net/2016/11/03/coming-soon-from-ipbooks-a-brief-introduction-to-sigmund-freuds-psychoanalysis-and-his-enduring-legacy-by-sander-abend/
A very good read  All you want to know about Freud and ....
Arnold Richards
arnoldrichards.net
internationalpsychoanalysis.net
ipbooks.net
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Ken Fuchsman
9/11/17
1. Brian D'Agostino said that Freud's work needs to be placed in intellectual and historic perspective. Trevor Pederson disagrees. He thinks that to understand Freud's internal logic we examine the writings themselves.
2.  To do so, Trevor explores Freud's concept of the Oedipus complex, as he does in his valuable book, The Economics of Libido. Arnie Richards and Brian also discuss the meaning of the Oedipus complex. As Freud wrote about the Oedipus complex for over 40 years, there are twists and turns, gaps and contradictions. There are challenges to finding Freud’s internal logic.
3. In their short expositions, neither Trevor, Arnie, nor Brian mention Freud's notion of the positive and negative Oedipus complex. In the positive side, the boy, for instance, chooses his mother as his object choice, and his father is the rival. In the negative version, the boy makes his father the object choice and the mother is the rival. In looking for any writer's internal logic, it sometimes happens that we find selected parts of the work explicated instead of treating the whole.
4.  Freud characteristically describes the Oedipus complex as universal. For ninety years, anthropologists have examined Freud's Oedipal claims cross-culturally and many have found different family structures and dynamics than Freud did. His response is to turn to Lamarck's discredited notion of what Freud calls the phylogenetic inheritance. Freud claims that if the child's actual experiences do not fit into his Oedipal notions, the child's unconscious imagination has them fit into Freud's conception. Clearly, here and in other places, Freud finds ways of avoiding inconvenient evidence from other disciplines and perspectives, and sometimes becomes dogmatic. The meanings of Freud's concepts can sometimes be illuminated by going beyond Freud's own writings.
5.  Not all recent writers on Freud seek to understand his internal logic only through his published works. In the last year, three full length biographies of Freud have been published in English. One by literary critic Frederick Crews, and two by psychoanalysts. The two analysts, Elisabeth Roudinesco and Joel Whitebook, each claim that to understand the logic of Freud's work we need to see him as a representative of the Dark Enlightenment, which questions the sufficiency of the rational and explores the non-rational. Both Roudinesco and Whitebook, as Brian would advocate, then turn to the intellectual and historical to understand Freud's theoretical development and significance.
6.  Arnie Richards in the first two volumes of his selected papers seeks to comprehend the historic context, power struggles and dynamics within the psychoanalytic movement. He too goes beyond textual explication to find understanding.
7.  The approaches Trevor, Brian, and Arnie take are necessary, each can illuminate aspects of the whole. To understand Freud the person and thinker, any other psychoanalyst, psychoanalytic clients, or any of us, we need to see the individual as a whole person, to see the self in psychological, intellectual, emotional, relational, historic, and cultural context. In other words, to grasp the entirety of the individual, psychohistory with its integration of the individual, the group and the past is an essential element in this quest.  
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Trevor Pederson
9/11/17
Hi Ken
You can't have it both ways. If there are power struggles, "ideological" or "tribal" conflicts that influence interpretations, then when different biographers or others are making their case for Freud being influenced, how do we know it's objectivity and not their tribalism?
I know that many would dismiss Freud's concept of the superego with a straw man, but I think this has very little to do with understanding the concept and seeing that it fails any tests.
Theory must be combined with the clinical and prove itself there. Then when things pass and fail, we can turn to biography and sociology to make sense of the failures.
Trevor
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bdagostino2687
9/11/17
What I like about Ken’s post is that he is addressing the multifaceted nature of Freud’s thought.  Freud was a neurologist, a clinician, a public intellectual, and the founder of a scientific/clinical movement or organization, among other things.  As such, his writings are nothing if not multifaceted, and different methodologies are needed to do justice to each of these facets.  Similarly, each of us reads Freud (or any other thinker) through the multifaceted lenses of our own training, interests, etc.  
Trevor, you seem to read Freud primarily through your own lenses as a humanist philosopher and a clinician.  But I also get the sense that Freud is a hero for you, which may explain why you seem resistant to the fact that he was a person of his own time and place whose thought was rooted in the neurology, psychiatry, and philosophy that were available to him in late 19th and early 20th century Vienna.  While Freud’s work contains a general theory of mind, surely that theory needs to be updated in light of advances in neuroscience, philosophy, and indeed in psychoanalysis itself since the time of Freud.  See, for example, Bennett, Dennett, Hacker, and Searle, Neuroscience and Philosophy: Brain, Mind, and Language (Columbia University Press, 2003.  Ken recommended this very interesting book to me, and I am currently reading it.
I think a good model of how we need to appropriate Freud today is Croce’s classic What is Living and What is Dead in the Philosophy of Hegel.  So my question is, “What is living and what is dead in the thought of Freud?”
Brian
www.bdagostino.com
917-628-8253
          
From: cliospsyche@googlegroups.com [mailto:cliospsyche@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Trevor Pederson
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arniedr
9/11/17
The answer to the question about what is living and what is dead  in the thought of Freud depends on who asks and answers the question   Kohut would answer in one way Melanie Klein another Steve Mitchel a third way  Brenner would say the centrality of conflict and compromise formation lives but the ego superego and id are dead
CF  http://internationalpsychoanalysis.net/2017/08/07/introduction-by-arnold-richards-to-psychoanalysis-the-science-of-mental-conflict-essays-in-honor-of-charles-brenner/
Arnold Richards
arnoldrichards.net
internationalpsychoanalysis.net
ipbooks.net
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Trevor Pederson
9/11/17
Hi Brian
I admire Freud, but I also admire Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx, Klein, Horney, and many other philosophers and analysts.
Freud is human, fallible, and like all the others, he has made mistakes.  
I know that the theory of the human mind that he was able to articulate is wrong in some ways and I have needed to turn to other analysts to understand, for example, the importance of the "combined parent imago," and get different takes on both masculinity and femininity.
However, in other ways, I think that the models of a lot of other schools are regressive and Freud's system shows more nuance and complexity. This is even though some of these people will give lip-service to "mirror neurons" or "quantum physics" and advances in other sciences.
Freud can definitely be appreciated in all the ways you mention.
My only point has been that what Freud meant can be constructed by explicating the internal logic of his model of mind. The failure to do this will mean that a person will say the Oedipus complex or some other concept is wrong or disproven when they give it a single faceted reading.
I'll keep with Freud for as long as his concepts seem the most suited to what I see in my clinical practice. When they aren't valuable any longer, I will move on.  
Trevor
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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change)
9/11/17
I've read other people other than deMause, but it would probably make me ill to have to make that clear so that people would take me seriously. Anyway, when people provide this sense of a great multitudinous flower of influences upon us, determining what we think, I always think of chapter 5 of deMause's Emotional Life of Nations. I think too on the fact that social science during our own time is under heavy attack for possibly having emphasized activist goals over truth, that we've had scientists, a whole generation or two of them, who won't allow themselves to see truths that provide cognitive dissonance in regards to the social outcomes they're trying to effect, so their updates, might in a sense be regressions. If the people who've been doing that also are the ones who tend to argue against people's lack of contextualization and are always shaming people for being insufficiently considerate of complexity and also of being ignorant of their own intrinsic self-limitedness, then people who bring them up in arguments don't win as easily for just showing themselves on "their" side.
And I'm certainly for that, because I think deMause is right about single-cause, and about everyone else arguing against it, as not more sophisticated, but those who've scattered off from the only place that counts, and who confuse this essential reality by pointing at the quantity of their acquisition of lesser charms:
Social scientists have rarely been interested in psychology. Using the model of Newtonian physics, they have usually depicted individuals as opaque billiard balls bouncing off each other. That individuals might have their own complex internal motivations for the way they act in society-that they have emotions that affect their social behavior-has rarely been acknowledged. The most interesting question about any group, one which we asked even as children-“Why are they doing that?”-is rarely asked in academia. Durkheim, in fact, founded sociology with studies of suicide and incest that claimed these very private acts were wholly without individual psychological causes, claiming that understanding individual motivations is irrelevant to understanding society.1 By eliminating psychology from the social sciences, Durkheim laid down the principle followed by most social theorists today: “The determining cause of a social fact should be sought among the social facts preceding it and not among the states of individual consciousness.”2
THE DENIAL OF PSYCHOLOGY IN THE STUDY OF SOCIETY
Sociologists still echo Durkheim’s bias against psychology. Most agree with the sociologist C. Wright Mills, who advised me when I was his research assistant at Columbia University, “Study enough psychology to make sure you can answer the bastards when they attack you.” Sociologist Thomas Scheff agrees: “There is a strong tradition in modern scholarship in the human sciences of ignoring emotions as causes.”3 Political scientists follow the same assumptions: “Political attitudes are generally assumed to be the result of a rational, reflective process.”4 Most anthropologists concur; as Murdock summed up their view, “The science of culture is independent of the laws of biology and psychology.”5 Those anthropologists, from Roheim, Deveraux and LaBarre to Whiting, Munroe and Spiro,6 who began studying the effects of childhood on culture have been grossly ignored by other anthropological theorists. In fact, most anthropologists today are so opposed to psychological analysis of cultures the distinguished series The Psychoanalytic Study of Society has recently been terminated for lack of interest, the number of psychoanalytic anthropologists having dwindled in recent years. Anthropology, says Clifford Geertz, isn’t even a “hard science;”7 it’s more like literature it’s telling stories. Even those few anthropologists who belong to the Society for Psychological Anthropology have managed to avoid emotional life so completely that their journal, Ethos, which does contain psychological articles, recently had to remind anthropologists that “culture consists of ideas in people, not meanings in tokens.”8
Unfortunately, the anthropologist’s central concept that “culture determines social behavior” is simply a tautology. Since “culture” only means “the total pattern of human behavior” (Webster), to say “culture is what makes a group do such and such” is merely stating that a group’s behavior causes its behavior. Even if culture is restricted to “shared beliefs,” it is purely tautological to then speak of “cultural causation,” since all this could mean is “a group of individuals believe something because they all believe it.” Culture is explanandum, not explanans. Ever since Kroeber launched cultural determinism as the central anthropological theory early in the century,9 tautological explanations have dominated the social sciences as is apparent in Lowie’s claim that culture is “a thing sui generis, the formula being omnia cultura ex cultura.”10 That this tautological circularity has made anthropological evolutionary theory sterile is slowly becoming evident. In fact, according to Tooby and Cosmides, the Standard Social Science Model of cultural determinism has recently collapsed. This model, they say, states that “the cultural and social elements that mold the individual precede the individual and are external to the individual. The mind did not create them; they created the mind,”11 a theory that turns out, they say, to explain nothing:
A large and rapidly growing body of research from a diversity of disciplines has shown that…the Standard Social Science Model is…impossible…It could not have evolved; it requires an incoherent developmental biology; it cannot account for the observed problem-solving abilities of humans or the functional dimension of human behavior…it has repeatedly been empirically falsified; and it cannot even explain how humans learn their culture or their language.12 Most historians, too, have assiduously avoided psychology, going along with Paul Veyne in believing that history “consists in saying what happened,” little more13 or trying to explain history by “impersonal structural forces,” as though such a passionate human enterprise as history could be “impersonal.” The result is that I have at least a hundred books on war on my shelf, and I don’t recall seeing the word “anger” in any of them. Nor does the word “love” appear very often in any of the hundreds of books of history, sociology or political science on my shelves, though most of history has origins in problems of insufficient human love and all of its derivatives. Most historians are a priori relativists, avoiding any attempt to see personal meaning in historical events, agreeing with Hayden White, history’s leading theoretician, in claiming “there are no grounds to be found in the historical record itself for preferring one way of construing its meaning over another.”14 Only the recent disciplines of political psychology and psychohistory have begun to consider inner meanings and motivations as the focus of causation in social theory.15
This passionate denial of the influence of individual developmental psychology on society has been at the center of the social sciences since their beginnings. The actions of individuals in society have a priori been assumed by social philosophers from Hobbes to Marx to be determined by pure self-interest, “a war of every man against every man,” based on an assumed selfish nature of humanity.16 The same is true of economics. As one economist puts it, “Economic man must be both rational and greedy.”17 In fact, Hobbesian models have been accepted by John Locke, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, Edmund Burke, Karl Marx and all their contemporary followers-their theories differ only in the arrangements of social institutions suggested by the authors to handle this basic rational selfishness.
Social behavior, using these models, cannot therefore be (a) irrational (because all men use only reason to achieve their goals), (b) empathic (because empathy for others would not be totally self-interested), (c) self-destructive (because no one can rationally ever want to hurt themselves), nor (d) sadistic (because people don’t waste their resources just to harm others). At most, people might be shortsighted or uninformed in their social behavior, but not unreasonable, benevolent, suicidal or vicious-i.e., not human.
The exclusion of the most powerful human feelings other than greed from social and political theory plus the elimination of irrationality and self-destructiveness from models of society explains why the social sciences have such a dismal record in providing any historical theories worth studying. As long as “social structure” and “culture” are deemed to lie outside human psyches, motivations are bound to be considered secondary, reactive solely to outside conditions rather than themselves being determinative for social behavior.
Nor have the few attempts by social and political theorists to use psychoanalytic theory to explain history been very successful. This is true whether the theorists have been sociologists, like Marcuse or Parsons, or psychoanalysts, like Freud or Róheim.18 Outside of a handful of psychoanalytic anthropologists, most rely on the same basic Hobbesian model of society, with selfish individuals remorselessly fighting each other for utilitarian goals, rather than analyzing how individuals actually relate in groups in history. The reason for this failure of social and political theory bears some scrutiny, as it will allow us to move away from an ahistorical, drive-based psychology to a historical, trauma-based psychology that can be used in understanding historical change. But first we will have to know something about the effects of childrearing on adult personality.
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Joel Markowitz
9/11/17
Patrick McEvoy-Haslton:
But Patrick, there IS a rich literature, which is more than a century old, on the effects of childrearing on adult personality.   It’s based largely on Freudian-based principles.   SOME of it is brilliant, and is, I believe, valid.
And people’s thinking, while not necessarily RATIONAL, is based on the natural selection of WHAT IS MOST-WORKABLE to believe— at the period and in the particular group—  in which they live.
Moreover, some good psychohistory— i.e., WHY things happened as they did— HAS been written.  I believe that I’ve written some of it.
Joel
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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change)
9/11/17
But whenever we articulate a time period as beholden to certain frameworks, they end up seeming, all in all, fundamentally limited, and probably overall, primitive. Proof of this is found in how usually we don't really believe it applies to our own selves.... if we try and come with some, some framework that we're operating within and which limits us, it's really only an effort to be consistent. Probably no one would accept what you said in regards to the physical sciences, that older has something over the new, and the only way it can be made to seem true for the social sciences is the way in which I attempted it... to say that perhaps it progressed to a point, but then got waylaid (mind you, if I had to make a defence for the activism before truth that HAS occurred, I could and would make it), which is something Crews has been thought to be doing too, but in his case, for the empiricism proudly there before Freud. Personally I think this "what is most workable" means what will help me manage the particular nature of how I was raised so that I can function mostly sanely in everyday life. The aggregate average childrearing determines the nature of the cultural sphere around us, all constructed specifically so to best address aspects of our childhoods which unaddressed, would prevent us from living constructive adult lives at all. If one grows up in a family that is healthier than others, your thoughts aren't determined by the cultural sphere that'll surround you. You'll abstract it out and use it as building blocks in which to articulate entirely different sentiment. This is your start, but if you've got any momentum you'll eventually find building blocks that suit your own thoughts better, and a new framework of thinking comes into being.
I'm glad to hear you do notable psychohistory, Joel. I admit I'm starved for people to out themselves as fascinated by deMause's work though, for it's surely impossible for this silence around work which Elovitz has said is novel and deeply fascinating to keep up much longer... there's got to be some break where intelligent people, starved for the radically different, just can't help themselves from partaking in his thinking again. Maybe if more Brians come out to encourage our reading Paul Kennedy or Fukuyama again it'll prompt us to flee to deMause, with ascribed stigmatism for doing so better than the hell of seeing done-over books presented as the salve for the world disintegrating at our feet. We've been using scholarship as lubricant for a sophisticated world that's been pleasant to live in. We at some level know it. Now that we sense its inevitable destruction, we've got to sort through for truth again. The best news for those who think Freud still powerfully useful and even his controversial views, on the mark, is that brilliant Crews had an audience that wanted to know it was okay if they never gave much thought to anything of their childhoods that gave them the chills. Increasingly stripped of a social sphere of their own making, which handled all their undealt with childhood issues for them -- all their own "badness" deposited into Hillbilly nation, then revenged upon, for example -- we'll watch them start seeming unable to function, their seeming insane, and this'll be our prompt to start working over psychoanalysis again. And this time we won't be looking for what is most amenable for our desired activist outcomes, but for what will help us function sanely in an era where the only collective thinking we'll be able to bind to, will have nationalist, even fascist, overtones. Within that, we're just going to have to be deeply smart and infinitely resourceful.
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Ken Fuchsman
9/12/17
Trevor,
I think Freudian theory is tested not at first exclusively in clinical settings. First, clinical findings are not always conclusive. After all, within psychoanalysis there have been a diversity of theoretical and clinical approaches which give divergent interpretations of the same materials, and struggle to find criteria to resolve the differences. Second,  there are many psychoanalytic claims that overlap with research in other fields. It makes sense to critically evaluate those findings and apply what's solid to psychoanalytic claims.
I do not use the terms objectivity or tribalism, and the only way for you to know if these terms apply to what Freud's recent biographer's claim is for you to read the books yourself. As you know, Freud from time to time used a biological approach to illuminate the works of significant writers.

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Trevor Pederson
9/12/17
Hi Ken
Can you say more about what you see as Freud's biological approach? As I understand it, it's not separate from his ontogenetic one.
I agree that there are many competing approaches to the clinical realm, but I still see that as illustrating the need for a better conceptual framework so that these approaches can be assessed.
I also agree about overlap with other fields, but until the individual aspect is understood in the clinic, I'm not sure how seriously people in other fields can take the claims. I'd like to think that there are a few psychodynamic claims that we could say are established, but overarching ones like the Oedipus complex are not.
Trevor
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me (Patrick McEvoy-Halston change)
9/12/17
Ken, if someone was a through and through deMausian, would they be in compliance with all that you would expect of someone to be listened to, or wouldn't they? I'm not sure, but it does seem that s/he would only be interested in the nature of the childrearing someone had undergone, and wouldn't really recognize the world outside the mother-child dyad as being so much a cultural environment, or a historical environment... that is, something that requires a different expertise, a different sort of expert, and who's calling in to have their say would provide a wonderful sense of evolved reaching out, but just the exoskeleton produced by the aggregate of everyone else's childhoods.... it's all contained by the expert in early childhood. My concern is, are we in an intellectual environment where someone could be almost entirely right, have in their own focused research come up with most essential of research, but be overlooked because he unlike others doesn't entwine himself within the larger scholarly community, doesn't acknowledge the intrinsic limitation of only one area of knowledge/expertise? Your way of assessing how truth is uncovered sounds very evolved, it sounds like the kind of lubricant of manners that made our Obama era seem so inspiringly cosmopolitan, professional, peaceful, inspiring, evolved. But I am worried that it's become a useful weapon to vaporize people who in their own focussed research might be digging at truths... we don't actually want touched, because secretly its been in occluding them that we've been able to function so well, so we say to them, how can what you say be so useful when you've spend so much time in your burrow that you've missed the multidisciplinary splendour produced by worldwide collection of ....?
I know you must have deep respect for deMause, but boy you sound the opposite of him.
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Ken Fuchsman
9/12/17
Patrick,
In studying Freud's theory of the Oedipus complex I found that to evaluate Freud's theories findings from other disciplines were indispensable. In other areas I have examined I have also frequently found out that an interdisciplinary approach was necessary to get a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter. To go deep you also often need to go wide. I have found that the wider I go the deeper my understanding becomes.
The mother child dyad is central to being human. Yet it occurs within social-cultural contexts. Borrowing from E. O. Wilson, anthropologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy says that cooperative breeding across generations is about as central to what makes us human as the mother-infant bond, especially in cultures where the mother has other economic functions that limit the time she has to care for her newborn. The economic roles of mothers outside of child rearing is found in hunter-foraging cultures and in contemporary industrial nations.  Once again, we need to cross disciplines to know all the factors involved in an area of investigation. There is much more to say on this subject of child care.
If I don't sound like a deMausian, it is because I have not been positively influenced by his work.

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Ken Fuchsman
9/12/17
Trevor,
Freud’s statements on the importance of biology for psychoanalytic understanding not only have gaps but on occasion are actually contradictory. From the 1890s to the 1930s, there are wild fluctuation in Freud’s statements on the roles of heredity and experience in psychology. Towards the end of his life in 1937, Freud wrote: “for the psychical field, the biological field does in fact play the part of the underlying bedrock.” Eleven years earlier, Freud had said: “There is no more urgent need in psychology than for a securely founded theory of the instincts….Nothing of the sort exists…and psychoanalysis is driven to making tentative efforts towards some such theory.”
But in 1935, Freud had declared: “we must keep psychoanalysis separate from biology.” Over twenty years before, he had written that it is “necessary to hold aloof from biological considerations…so that we may not be misled in our impartial judgment of the psychoanalytic facts before us.” This is part of a general strategy, for “psycho-analysis must keep itself free from any hypothesis that is alien to it, whether of an anatomical, chemical or physiological kind, and must operate entirely with purely psychological auxiliary ideas.” Freud did not want “to subordinate the psychological material to biological considerations,” nor did he want psychoanalysis to be dependent “on philosophy, physiology, or brain anatomy.”
Ironically, Freud reluctantly recognizes that psychoanalysis cannot be kept segregated from biology. “In spite of all our efforts to prevent biological terminology and considerations from dominating psychoanalytic work, we cannot avoid using them even in our descriptions of the phenomena that we study.  We cannot help regarding the term ‘instinct’ as a concept on the frontier between the spheres of psychology and biology.”
For example, Freud recognizes that the psychological phenomenon of the Oedipus complex has a biological foundation. The “Oedipus complex is the psychical correlate of two fundamental biological facts: the long period of the human child’s dependence, and the…way its sexual life reaches a first climax in the third to fifth year of life, and then…sets in again at puberty.”
Yet he continues to vacillate on the centrality of biology to psychoanalysis.   In particular, Freud has great trouble integrating the relationship of biology and experience.  In a 1911 letter, he says: “The question as to which is of greater significance, constitution or experience…can in my opinion only be answered by saying that…not one or the other are decisive.”  Twenty years later, Freud confesses: “we are not as yet able to distinguish…between what is rigidly fixed by biological laws and what is open to movement and change under the influence of accidental experience.”
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arniedr
9/12/17
This is why Freud survives  He never comes down on one side of a dichotomy  It is nature and nurture biology and psychology trauma and psych reality    trauma and bcc fantasy  Hs approach is always dialectic
Arnold Richards
arnoldrichards.net
internationalpsychoanalysis.net
ipbooks.net
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Hi Brian
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Dear Arnie,
Good evening from Oklahoma. Could you provide the full citation of your article/chapter on "Psychoanalysis After Freud"?  Thanks.
Warm regards,
Howard (Stein)
Author of Light and Shadow (poetry): https://doodleandpeck.com/adult
Listening Deeply (Second Edition): https://www.amazon.com/Howard-F.-Stein/e/B001HCZ62C/ref=ntt_dp_epwpk_0
The Dysfunctional Workplace (with Seth Allcorn): same url as above, amazon.com
Howard F. Stein, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
Department of Family and Preventive Medicine
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
Oklahoma City, OK  USA;
howard-stein@ouhsc.edu
Phone: 405-787-6074
Poet Laureate, High Plains Society for Applied Anthropology
Home address: 1408 Oakhill Lane, Oklahoma City OK 73127 USA

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