HCJ: Freud Revision

December 11, 2010

I am currently rewriting my lecture notes into blogposts for exam revision; I hope this helps.

All encompassing Theory: Theory of everything.

We live in a Freudian world.

A celebrity and ambitious cocaine addict.

Seen as a sexual renegade, and damaged our idea that humans are noble creatures.

His ideas were a challenge to the enlightenment –alternative to relational.

Saw sex as a central motivation factor for our actions, for example: phallic symbols all around us, such as buildings were self-consciously developed by architects to resemble man’s genitalia.

Penis envy by women- Women lack a penis, which means they believed they have been castrated. This results in them loving their fathers (as he has a penis) and rejecting their mothers (as they have no penis).

Freud thought that our ‘self love’ as a race was a barrier to science in three ways:

  1. It stops us accepting that the Earth wasn’t the centre of the Universe.
  2. Darwin’s theory of evolution was rejected as we didn’t want to believe we had come about this earth from fish and monkeys.
  3. The conscious brain was not in charge.

This is key to Freud, the unconscious has been his legacy.

Mind divided into 3 distinct part which are in direct conflict:

  1. ID -From birth,k animal part of the brain, instincts. Operates on the pleasure principle.
  2. Ego or Self-reality principle -The origin of consciousness, the ‘how to’ on satisfying pleasures.
  3. Super Ego Internalised rules of parents or society; the policeman in your head theory (Reich).

Freud believed there were 5 stages of development

  1. Oral stage -mouth. Premature wearing could lead to problems, eating smoking.
  2. Anal -toilet training. Compulsive clean, stingy.
  3. Phallic phase -obsessed with Penis or lack of. A woman’s need for dominance, Oedipus complex.
  4. Latency.
  5. Genitals -problems relating to difficulties in any of those phases.

The Oedipus theory- sleep with your mother , kill your father.

The battle between the super ego, ego and Id can result in:

  1. Repression: (censorship) and defence mechanisms.
  2. Sublimation: turning sexual en energy into something else (sport, art etc).
  3. Displacement: shameful thoughts, turn them into something else/someone else.
  4. Projection: sends feelings into someone else.
  5. Rationalisation: more society acceptable explanation.
  6. Regression: returning to an earlier stage of development.

The key to psycho-analysis is that you are minding something from yourself. Freud claimed he has found a way to deal directly with the unconscious.

Hypnosis: pressure method. Free association and dreams (dreams are the ‘royal road’ to the unconscious).

Ultimately any methods Freud used were methods to get people to let off steam- be we could never escape the unconscious.

Freud believed that aggression would never be eliminated.

‘the group wants to be dominated’ –there is a need for a parent figure (God is not dead).

Freud said civilisation was there to control peoples desires so individuals would always be unhappy.

He also stated that in groups, people give their feelings to their leader, and their aggressive instinct is unleashed to those outside the group.

Attacks on Freud:

  1. Science: - scientific predictions could be proven wrong (however Freud was so vague it cant be tested).
  2. No proof that psycho analysis works.
  3. Neuroscience (MRI scans).

Three different layers in the brain:

  1. 1) Reptilian brain: Motor movement, rage, attack appetite.
  2. 2) Limbic system: Emotions ‘flight or flight’.
  3. 3) Neo Cortex: Language.


Reich believed the complete opposite, the unconscious forces inside the mind were good and it was their suppression by society that distorted them and made people dangerous. He believed that the underlying energy was sexuality and if this was released then human beings would flourish.

Modernist novels:

  1. An obsession with art’s autonomy: the idea that art is its own law
  2. A sense of crisis: a radical break in culture
  3. Norms should be artistic norms: the idea that culture is the most important thing that people can engage in.
  4. A rejection of convention: especially sexual conventions and sexual morality.
  5. Artist as technician: someone whose craft is form and style rather than message or wisdom.
  6. Spatial form: in place of a linear narrative you have a system of cross references, repeated motifs that give the structure to the work, only visible on re-reading.
  7. Self consciously international: it will look to international tradition.
  8. Artist seen as a kind of spiritual exile.

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