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PSYCHOANALYSIS LOSES ITS MYTH AS A PANACEA PDF Print E-mail
Psychology - Soul
Self_wikimediaThe cycle of the first schools and thematic fields of psychology and the sciences of psychological phenomena has closed. It has closed through the marginal negotiation of the first wave of ideas, and also in their experimental stage of experiment and in that of application of their development.

Typical here is the case of the principal school of psychoanalysis - that of Sigmund Freud, which has been taken to its extremes as regards its clinical effectiveness by the subject undergoing therapeutic psychoanalysis, thus showing up an impenetrable and opaque background of the subjects undergoing treatment. A typical example is that of Marilyn Monroe,[i] in spite of the well-founded scenarios as to her probable murder. At the same time, the development of psychoanalysis with its squabbling dynamics in the field of theory is worth mentioning.[ii]


Another point where psychoanalysis has gone off the rails has become apparent from the way in which it has been incorporated into the domain of advertising and the market. This incorporation started out from Freud's nephew Edward Bernays,[iii] that dangerous man of the market, who, like others of his contemporaries or successors, moved heaven and earth to incorporate psychology into advertising. More specifically, Bernays used a knowledge of psychology in advertising, creating consumer models in the society of spectacle and working against mental health by revitalising the models of alienated individualism and of 'rational organisation of irrationality'. He invigorated the trend towards the visualisation of human issues on models of consumerism and charged the models of 'infinite needs' and the unfulfilled demand of micro-economic theory. A knowledge of psychology was used for the hegemony of the productive - profiteering and purchasing power in demand.

At the same time, the incorporation of psychoanalysis into the field of social movements as a movement, even though it is not identified with that of sexual liberation, is worth noting.

However, the extreme example of the aberration of knowledge is to be found in the direction of existential psychoanalysis. The 'hierarchies of needs' of the existential psychologist Maslow[iv] 'made use of' the science of management in the administration of businesses. More generally, we see that management and advertising deploy the whole of psychological knowledge with great rapidity in the sphere of social, historical, and cultural applications. Its application in the field of political advertising and the art of creating consensus is more widely known.[v]

The admission of the former Vice-President of the United States Al Gore about the experience he derived from his electoral campaign is indicative: After a careful study of the polls ... I was surprised to hear my advisers forecast with impressive exactitude: if this advertisement of ours plays so many times at specific moments in the programme and if Ashe answered as we foresee, and if, then, we buy so much time to reply, after three weeks, you'll be 8.5% ahead in the polls ... . Three weeks later, I saw to my surprise that my lead really had increased and had reached 8.5 points.[vi]

Psychoanalysis has indeed lapsed into a difficult position. It has developed rival schools which are reminiscent most of all of scholasticism in their behaviour. There are no longer intellectuals in the public communication of psychoanalysis. On the other hand, there are plenty of unproductive 'intellectuals' and academics, as, in any event, there have been in every age. However, more general thought was equally sterile in the age of Freud.

It would be of interest for us to recall the academic - whom no one would now remember if it had not been for Freud - who, addressing Freud, told him that his theory put forward some things that were new and some things that were true. Those that were new he described as unimportant, and those that were true as having been said by others in the past; in which case, he concluded, Freud's discourse was superfluous.

At the same time, as is usually the case with the of founders of schools, Freud himself had three scales of theoretical demonstration and was dogged in his research, in spite of the fact that he was quarrelsome and, retrospectively, in many regards aligned himself with his associates, such as Carl Jung[vii] or Alfred Adler.

Freud succeeded in approaching in a subversive way the instinct of the Ego and of destruction, in his first approach to the subject. Subsequently, by his research on the relation between dreams and telepathy, which was distilled into book form, he opened up to study, from the point of view of research, the field of psychoanalysis.[viii] His pupils attempted to deter him, as long as he lived, from the presentation of this so that the impetus of the prestige which psychoanalysis enjoyed academically was not diminished. Thus we see, then, a collectivised narcissism and its limits.

Freud's work in its entirety has been subjected to criticism both as regards its individual parts and its central issues. Freud himself was particularly productive in the quest for knowledge about the human species, and matters of freedom and peace, as is shown in his letters to Einstein and others.[ix]

Incontrovertibly, he was a great and creative figure, a great pioneer; nevertheless, a part of his classic status - perhaps the most basic – has been lost because there has been a linguistic and communications intellectualism on the part of his successors, reaching as far as the disputes and critiques which they have engaged in, such as those to which Lacan was subjected by Sartre, Castoriadis, Axelos, and others.

Yet again, in the history of innovative ideas, we can observe a deviation with declining performance in the problématique; this in many fields is incapable of recovering the algorithm of the classic dynamic.

Freud's explorations at the level of the role of stem cells in life and identity admittedly are of interest again.

We have devoted an account more to the case of the school of Freud - in summary form, in spite of the fact that it deserves much more space, in order to demonstrate the limits which the psychological school and psychoanalysis have reached.

Ioannis Zisis, Writer

Photo from Wikimedia



[i] Schneider, Michel, Marilyn's Last Sessions [Greek edition], publ. Kastaniotis, foreword by Nikos Dokas and Vasilis Kalamaras, http://archive.enet.gr/

"When the cinema industry gave the coup de grȃce to Marilyn Monroe, she, now a psychological wreck, turned to psychoanalysis. Her last doctor was the famous Freudian psychoanalyst Ralph Greenson. The French author re-works the relationship between doctor and star in the manner of a novel. Their sessions started in January 1960 and came to an abrupt end on 4 August 1962, with the unexpected and much-debated death of the actress. Although he was an experienced psychoanalyst, Greenson was not able to keep their relationship at the level of therapist - patient, but undertook the role of protector - father. He was, moreover, accused of being responsible for her death, since he was the last person to see her alive and the first to find her dead. He himself, bound by his Hippocratic oath, never spoke about their conversations, not even when he needed to defend himself against the grave accusation." This is the second book by Schneider to be brought out by this publishing house.

[iii] Gore, Al, The Assault on Reason [Greek edition], publ. Kathimerini, 2008.

Bernays, Edward: If we understand the mechanisms and the motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing it? Recent experience from the use of propaganda shows that yes, it is possible, at least up to a point and within certain limits. p. 122.
Mazur, Paul: We must shift America from a -needs- to a -desires- culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed [ ... ] Man's desires must overshadow his needs. p. 120.

[iv] Maslow was influenced by Existential Philosophy, which sees man as an existence responsible for his fate. The basic points of Maslow's theory are:

• the results of research into animal behaviour is not sufficient to explain the psychology of man;

• the individual can only be treated as a single whole;

• there is in man an innate potential for creativity which is in danger of being destroyed by his 'civilisation';

• each man tends in a natural way towards his remediation.

Maslow created a scale of need which became well known as the Hierarchy of Needs. More specifically, he spoke of natural needs, needs for security, social acceptance, self-esteem  and self-knowledge.

[v] Rauter, Ernst,  How an Opinion Forms in the Mind- Creating Subject People [Greek edition], publ. Aigokeros, 1990.

[vi] Gore, Al, The Assault on Reason [Greek edition], publ. Kathimerini, p. 22, 2008.

[vii] Freud - Jung, The Correspondence [Greek edition], publ. Armos, 2008.

[viii] Freud, Sigmund, Dream and Telepathy [Greek edition], publ. Epikouros, 1983.

 
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