Posts tagged "Sigmund Freud"
Looking Inward, East of Eden: The Old Story of Unspectacular Evil

Looking Inward, East of Eden: The Old Story of Unspectacular Evil

Yet another profound look into a chronicled book-for-the-ages from Lynn MacDougall. This is part one of a new series:

“A child may ask, ‘What is the world’s story about?’  And a grown man or woman may wonder, ‘What way will the world go?  How does it end and, while we’re at it, what’s the story about?”

I’m in my second reading of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden. The first foray into this work was motivated by Mumford and Son’s “Timshel,” a reference to the story.  Late nights reading, bent pages, pens and highlighters later, I’m fairly sure my family was ready to…

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All Aboard the Murder Train: Sigmund Freud Visits The Cabin in the Woods

All Aboard the Murder Train: Sigmund Freud Visits The Cabin in the Woods

Another wonderful one from new contributor Charlotte Getz:

If you haven’t seen Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods yet, then you might be like me – you don’t just watch a scary movie, scream, and then roll over and go to sleep. No. You ingest it. Your skin soaks it up like toxic rays that, by the time you should have long been asleep, have charred your whole being black and left you at the mercy of the feral wilderness of your imagination… Yet…the very next night, that trailer for (another) movie featuring a nighty-clad little girl being exorcized in a…

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Walker Percy on Naming Sparrows and Self

Walker Percy on Naming Sparrows and Self

This comes from the scientist-novelist’s essay, “Naming and Being,” in which he talks about symbols and meaning–and how humans derive their special meaning from naming and being named. In doing so, Percy also catches on to modern anxiety’s root cause: the human awareness and fear in the face of something unnameable. One is, as Freud might say, “afraid of nothing,” while at the same time, as Kierkegaard might say, afraid of “a summons to an authentic existence.” Anxiety, as Percy pronounces, is also the experience of the strange, unnameable self. Though we can categorize quite well any other thing, including…

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Adam Phillips on Why You Are a Fundamentalist

Adam Phillips on Why You Are a Fundamentalist

From the psychoanalyst’s essay, “On What Is Fundamental” from his book On Balance:

And yet, of course–and this is the kind of move that psychoanalysis has made all too available to us–we are all fundamentalists about something. There must be, psychoanalysis might tell us, to put it in as silly a way as possible, a fundamentalist in all of us; we may think of ourselves consciously so to speak as liberals and modernists, but what these relatively new forms of self-description are up against is a more old-fashioned, even archaic inner fundamentalist.

…We are free to speak (as the democrat defends) so…

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Sigmund Freud’s Unpopular Refusal to Flatter Mankind

Sigmund Freud’s Unpopular Refusal to Flatter Mankind

A few weeks ago, The Topmost Apple featured an article from Prospect Magazine entitled “Freud: The Last Great Enlightenment Thinker,” and it was too rich not to post here as well. The piece, written by John Gray, explores the intellectual disdain that Sigmund Freud’s ideas continue to inspire, especially from those who claim such special allegiance to The Enlightenment, and it does so in a way that is remarkably accessible (sort of makes one realize how obtuse such articles tend to be). The gist of Gray’s argument is that, “Freud’s ideas are rejected today because they imply that the human…

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Populist, Piggishly Nostalgic Do-It-Yourselfers: Our Pictures of Ourselves in 2011

Populist, Piggishly Nostalgic Do-It-Yourselfers: Our Pictures of Ourselves in 2011

The Atlantic has always done a splendid job with immediate meta-cognition, at taking a few steps back from the cogs of the e’er-turning world “spinning madly on,” and communicating not only what’s going on, but what’s going on behind what’s, uh, going on. It’s hard not to celebrate journalism that is doing this kind of work–and we’re completely unbiased here–the kind that looks deeply into what we’re looking at everyday anyways, and asks what frameworks are at play. The news behind the news, in other words. It’s not always good news, but there’s something good about analyzing what greater narratives…

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Sigmund Freud and the Moral Importance of Emotional Transparency

Sigmund Freud and the Moral Importance of Emotional Transparency

For whatever reason, it’s never been fashionable to note the uncanny congruencies between Sigmund Freud and St. Paul. Yet they are there if you look: they both assert that ‘inheritance’ is a key factor in human behavior, they both paint the inner life as a conflict between forces over which we don’t necessarily always have control. In fact, the more one studies Freudian categories, the more eerily the concept of the ‘superego’ dovetails with Paul’s understanding ‘conscience’ or ‘Law,’ ‘id’ with ‘flesh,’ etc. The parallels are limited, of course, as the two men come to radically different conclusions on the…

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Understanding Decision Fatigue: Dieting, Shopping, Poverty and Willpower

Understanding Decision Fatigue: Dieting, Shopping, Poverty and Willpower

A veritable goldmine of relevant material in John Tierney’s “Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue?” in The NY Times Magazine this past week. We’ve written about “ego depletion” a number of times before – the verified psychological phenomenon of self-control being a depletable resource – but Tierney does a fine job of drawing out the implications, both positive and negative. Of particular note is the way compassion so automatically flows out of an understanding of the human will as having (severe) limitations. It comes through loud and clear, especially when he talks about how trade-off-related decision fatigue informs the cycle…

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From The New Yorker

Do You Have A Zombie Plan? Part V

Do You Have A Zombie Plan? Part V

As I promised in the last post, we now venture into the many fearful layers of our psyche … the land of the walking dead.

Sigmund Freud once wrote an interesting little ditty called “The Uncanny“.  In it, he set up an inner conversation between what he called Heimlich and Unheimlich. Heimlich, says Freud, is what one would call the “homely” or how one feels as one returns to the “old home fires” of the psyche.  The equivalent of the Norman Rockwell painting in your life or the old Christmas fire with green and red textures, scarves, top hats, and…

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David Brooks Gets Inside Your Head

David Brooks Gets Inside Your Head

The final post in our neuroscience extravaganza should come as no surprise: David Brooks’ editorial in yesterday’s NY Times, “The New Humanism.” Building on the comments he made in last week’s interview with The Daily Beast, Brooks synthesizes some of the recent neuroscience findings in a characteristically digestible way, offering us another preview of his new book, which came out yesterday. Not much to add here, and less to subtract – I’ve reposted almost all of it – suffice it to say, you have to go out of your way not to be struck by how much Brooks’ insights jive…

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The Moral Life Of Babies

The Moral Life Of Babies

From a fascinating article in this weekend’s NY Times magazine by Paul Bloom detailing some recent research into the subject Baby Morality. Prime 2 Cor 2:14 material, with some heavy doses of original sin. Some excerpts:

Why would anyone even entertain the thought of babies as moral beings? From Sigmund Freud to Jean Piaget to Lawrence Kohlberg, psychologists have long argued that we begin life as amoral animals. One important task of society, particularly of parents, is to turn babies into civilized beings — social creatures who can experience empathy, guilt and shame; who can override selfish impulses in the…

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The Id of Agassi

The Id of Agassi

“Why?” the sports pundits wail. “Why have you done this to us!” Andre Agassi’s recent admissions, in his book Open, that he took crystal meth for a year during his professional tennis career, lost matches on purpose, hated tennis, wore a wig during major tournaments, and, perhaps most importantly, didn’t wear underwear for the last ten years of his career, have rocked the sports world. Many pro tennis players, such as Martina Navratilova, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Marat Safin (most recently) have been critical of Agassi, mostly for the drugs and tanking. It is, however,…

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Annie Hall, Normal Neuroses, and the Mainspring of Human Activity

Annie Hall, Normal Neuroses, and the Mainspring of Human Activity

The recent posts about Woody Allen and Lucian Freud reminded me of a scene in Annie Hall where, shortly after explaining that “I feel that life is divided into the horrible and the miserable,” Alvy recommends Ernest Becker’s book The Denial of Death to Annie. Written in 1973, it is Becker’s evaluation of human psychology from a Freudian and post-Freudian perspective. In it, he argues that Freud’s (in)famous argument that people are fundamentally libidinal—that is driven by sexual desire—was descriptively accurate but specifically misguided; the real motivation behind people’s subconscious maladies lies not in the hyper-sexual realm but rather in…

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A Few From Freud

“The ego is not master in its own house.” (1917)

“The goal of all life is death.” (1920)

“Obviously one must hold oneself responsible for the evil impulses of one’s dreams. In what other way can one deal with them? Unless the content of the dream rightly understood is inspired by alien spirits, it is part of my own being.” (1925)

“Whoever loves becomes humble. Those who love have, so to speak, pawned a part of their narcissism.”

“Men are more moral than they think and far more immoral than they can imagine.”