Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud

Born: 1856. Died: 1939.


- Human behavior is the result of both heredity and environment.

- By means of the techniques of free association and analysis of symbols, we may learn about the structure and functioning of self.

- The model of self should be constructed in terms of the ;id; (which represents drives), the 'ego' (which represents reason), and the 'superego' (which represents conscience-restraints or self-judgment).

- The two principles of mental functioning are survival and pleasure.

- Fundamental human drives - eros and thanatos - that arise in the unconscious are expressions of the id; the successful repression of id impulses is called 'sublimation', which is a prerequisite of civilization.

- Infant behaviour exhibits primitive sexuality; the roots of neurosis or intrapsychic conflict lie in infant experience.

- Children may feel both jealousy and hostility toward one parent and love for the other (Oedipal complex).

- Motivations originate from unconscious wishes; conflict between these wishes is expressed in both normal and pathological behaviour.

- Dreams are disguised representations of repressed wishes; the manifest appearances of dream-images can disguise latent wishes.


Sigmund Freud was born on May 6, 1856 at Freiberg, Moravia, now Pribor in the Czech Republic. Freud developed the techniques of "Psycho-Analysis" for the treatment of psychological and emotional disorders.

Freud graduated as Doctor of Medicine from the Medical School of the University of Vienna in 1881.

In September 1891 Freud moved to 19 Berggasse in Vienna, where he lived and worked for the next 47 years. In 1896 in his paper, "The Aetiology of Hysteria," Freud first used the term "Psycho-Analysis." In October of 1902 a circle of physicians grouped around Freud began a weekly discussion of Psycho-Analysis. From 1908 on the group called itself "Vienna Psycho-Analytical Society."

In 1910 the "International Psycho-Analytical Association" was formed in Nuremberg with Swiss psychologist Carl Jung as the first president. Psycho-analysis soon gained acceptance all over the world as a scientific discipline and as a therapeutical approach.

On March 12, 1938 German troops marched into Austria and the Nazis assumed power. Freud's daughter Anna was arrested on March 22 by the Gestapo and held for a day.

On June 4, following numerous international interventions, Freud was allowed to emigrate to London with his wife, his youngest daughter Anna, his housekeeper Paula Fichtl and his medical caretaker Josefine Stross. Freud's other children also managed to escape. His brother lost all his property when he left Vienna, and four elderly and infirm sisters were forced to remain in Vienna and killed in concentration camps in 1941. Freud moved to a house at 20 Maresfield Gardens in London's Hampstead section.

He died on September 23, 1939.

Major Books of Sigmund Freud

- A Phylogenetic Fantasy: Overview of the Transference Neuroses
- An Outline of Psycho-Analysis, 1940
- Beyond the Pleasure Principle, 1920
- Civilization and its Discontents, 1929-1930
- The Ego and the ID, 1923
- Five Lectures on Psychoanalysis, 1910
- The Future of an Illusion, 1927
- Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, 1921
- The Interpretation of Dreams, 1899
- Introduction into Psychoanalyze, 1917
- Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious, 1905
- Moses and Monotheism, 1939
- On Creativity and the Unconscious: The Psychology of Art, Literature, Love, and Religion
- On Dreams, 1913
- On Narcissism, 1914
- The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, 1901
- Studies in Hysteria, with Josef Breuer, 1895
- Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, 1905
- Totem and Taboo, 1913

Major Articles of Sigmund Freud

- 1910, The Origin and Development of Psychoanalysis, The American Journal of Psychology
- 1927, The Struggle for Death, The Science News-Letter

Quotes from Sigmund Freud

- "The worst egoist is the person to whom the thought has never occurred that he might be one." (from "Notebook of aphorisms", 1871 )

- "I have often felt as though I had inherited all the defiance and all the passions with which our ancestors defended their Temple and could gladly sacrifice my life for one great moment in history." (from a letter to his fiance Martha Bernays, 1886)

- "I wonder how long it will be before I write something again. Not too long, I hope. A man must get himself talked about." (from a letter to his fiance Martha Bernays, 1886)

- "My appearance was immaculate. ... I had bought myself a new shirt and white gloves, as the washable pair are no longer veiy nice; I had my hair set and my rather wild beard trimmed in the French style; altogether I spent fourteen francs on the evening. As a result I looked very fine and made a favorable impression on myself. We drove there in a carriage the expenses of which we shared. R. was terribly nervous, I quite calm with the help of a small dose of cocaine." (from a letter to his fiance Martha Bernays, 1886)

- "Housekeeping and the care and education of children claim the whole person and practically rule out any profession. ...
   It seems a completely unrealistic notion to send women into the struggle for existence in the same way as men. Am I to think of my delicate, sweet girl as a competitor?" (from a letter to his fiance Martha Bernays, 1883)

- "A man like me cannot live without a hobbyhorse, without a consuming passion, without-in Schiller's words-a tyrant. I have found one. In its service I know no limits. It is psychology." (from a letter to Wilhelm Fliess, 1895)

- "An intimate friend and a hated enemy have always been indispensable to my emotional life; I have always been able to create them anew, and not infrequently my childish ideal has been so closely approached that friend and enemy have coincided in the same person." (from "The Interpretation of Dreams", 1899)

- "The causes of conflict between mother and daughter arise when the daughter grows up and finds herself watched by her mother when she longs for real sexual freedom, while the mother is reminded by the budding beauty of her daughter that for her the time has come to renounce sexual claims." (from "The Interpretation of Dreams", 1899)

- "The dream is the (disguised) fulfillment of a (suppressed, repressed) wish." (from "The Interpretation of Dreams", 1899)

- "For the purposes of interpretation every element of the dream may represent its opposite, as well as itself. One can never tell beforehand which is to be posited; only the context can decide this point." (from "The Interpretation of Dreams", 1899)

- "I am not, so far as I know, ambitious." (from "The Interpretation of Dreams", 1899)

- "The interpretation of dreams is the via regia [i.e., royal road] to a knowledge of the unconscious element in our psychic life." (from "The Interpretation of Dreams", 1899)

- "It may be that we were all destined to direct our first sexual impulses toward our mothers, and our first impulses of hatred and violence toward our fathers; our dreams convince us that we were. King Oedipus, who slew his father Laius and wedded his mother Jocasta, is nothing more or less than a wish-fulfillment- the fulfillment of the wish of our childhood." (from "The Interpretation of Dreams", 1899)

- "One of the immortal infantile wishes ... the wish to become great." (from "The Interpretation of Dreams", 1899)

- "People who dream, often, and with great enjoyment, of swimming, cleaving the waves, etc., have usually been bed-wetters." (from "The Interpretation of Dreams", 1899)

- "The psychoanalysis of neurotics has taught us to recognize the intimate connection between wetting the bed and the character trait of ambition." (from "The Interpretation of Dreams", 1899)

- "Today I resumed my practice and saw my first batch of nuts again. I must now transmute the nervous energy gained during my holiday into money to fill my depleted purse." (from a letter to Carl G. Jung, 1910)

- "We are certainly getting ahead; if I am Moses, then you are Joshua and will take possession of the promised land of psychiatry, which I shall only be able to glimpse from afar." (from a letter to Carl G. Jung, 1909)

- "The delusional formation, which we take to be the pathological product, is in reality an attempt at recovery, a process of reconstruction." (from "Psychoanalytic Notes on an Autobiographical Account of a Case of Paranoia", 1911)

- "Psychoanalytic investigation of the individual teaches with especial emphasis that god is in every case modeled after the father ... and that god at bottom is nothing but an exalted father." (from "Totem and Taboo", 1913)

- "Men are strong so long as they represent a strong idea; they become powerless when they oppose it." (from "On the History of the Psychoanalytic Movement", 1914)

- "[Psychoanalysis] presupposes the consent of the person who is being analyzed and a situation in which there is a superior and a subordinate." (from "On the History of the Psychoanalytic Movement", 1914)

- "Paraphrenics [i.e., schizophrenics] display two fundamental characteristics: megalomania and diversion of their interest from the external world-from people and things. In consequence of the latter change, they become inaccessible to the influence of psychoanalysis and cannot be cured by our efforts." (from "On Narcissism: An Introduction", 1914)

- "Civilization is the fruit of renunciation of instinctual satisfaction." (from "Reflections upon War and Death", 1915)

- "What no human soul desires there is no need to prohibit; it is automatically excluded. The very emphasis of the commandment, Thou shalt not kill, makes it certain that we spring from an endless ancestry of murderers, with whom the lust for killing was in the blood, as possibly it is to this day with ourselves." (from "Reflections upon War and Death", 1915)

- "The state has forbidden to the individual the practice of wrongdoing, not because it desires to abolish it, but because it desires to monopolize it." (from "Thoughts for the Times on War and Death", 1915)

- "The psychic development of the individual is a short repetition of the course of development of the race." (from "Leonardo da Vinci: A Study in Psychosexuality", 1916)

- "An overwhelming majority of symbols in dreams are sexual symbols." (from "A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis", 1917)

- "Mental processes are essentially unconscious, and ... those which are conscious are merely isolated acts and part of the whole psychic entity." (from "A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis", 1917)

- "The [paranoid] patient who has a primary tendency to believe himself persecuted draws from this the conclusion that he must necessarily be a very important person and therefore develops a delusion of grandeur." (from "A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis", 1917)

- "Our psychoanalysis has also had bad luck. No sooner had it begun to interest the world because of the war neuroses than the war comes to an end." (from a letter to Sandor Ferenczi, 1919)

- "Great decisions in the realm of thought and momentous discoveries and solutions of problems are only possible to an individual working in solitude." (from "Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego", 1921)

- ""Social anxiety" is the essence of what is called conscience." (from "Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego", 1921)

- "Anxiety is the reaction to danger." (from "The Problem of Anxiety", 1926)

- "[Neurotic] symptoms are created in order to avoid the danger situation of which anxiety sounds the alarm." (from "The Problem of Anxiety", 1926)

- "The words, "secular pastoral worker," might well serve as a general formula for describing the function which the analyst, whether he is a doctor or a layman, has to perform in his relation to the public." (from "The Question of Lay Analysis", 1926)

- "A quack is anyone who undertakes a treatment without possessing the knowledge and capacities necessary for it." (from "The Question of Lay Analysis", 1926)

- "The effect of the consolations of religion may be compared to that of a narcotic." (from "The Future of an Illusion", 1927)

- "My illusions-apart from the fact that no penalty is imposed for not sharing them-are not, like the religious ones, incapable of correction." (from "The Future of an Illusion", 1927)

- "One gets the impression that culture is something which was imposed on a resisting majority by a minority that understood how to possess itself of the means of power and coercion." (from "The Future of an Illusion", 1927)

- "Science is no illusion. But it would be an illusion to suppose that we could get anywhere else what it cannot give us." (from "The Future of an Illusion", 1927)

- "Thus religion would be the universal obsessional neurosis of humanity. ...
   If on the one hand religion brings with it obsessional limitation, which can only be compared to an individual obsessional neurosis, it comprises on the other hand a system of wish-illusions, incompatible with reality, such as we find in an isolated form only in Meynert's amentia, a state of blissful hallucinatory confusion." (from "The Future of an Illusion", 1927)

- "A love that does not discriminate seems to me to forfeit a part of its own value, by doing an injustice to its object; and secondly, not all men are worthy of love." (from "Civilization and its Discontents", 1929-1930)

- "Ethics is ... to be regarded as a therapeutic attempt-as an endeavor to achieve, by means of a command of the superego, something which has so far not been achieved by means of any other cultural activities. As we already know, the problem before us is how to get rid of the greatest hindrance to civilization- namely, the constitutional inclination of human beings to be aggressive towards one another." (from "Civilization and its Discontents", 1929-1930)

- "If this grandiose commandment [i.e., "Love thy neighbor as thyself"] had run "Love thy neighbor as thy neighbor loves thee," I should not take exception to it. And there is a second commandment, which seems to me even more incomprehensible and arouses still stronger opposition in me. It is "Love thine enemies."" (from "Civilization and its Discontents", 1929-1930)

- "One instance of the innate and ineradicable inequality of men is their tendency to fall into two classes of leaders and followers. The latter constitute the vast majority; they stand in need of an authority which will make decisions for them and to which they for the most part offer an unqualified submission. This suggests that more care should be taken than hitherto to educate an upper stratum of men with independent minds, not open to intimidation and eager in the pursuit of truth, whose business it would be to give direction to the dependent masses." (from a letter to Albert Einstein, 1932)

- "Why do you and I and so many other people rebel so violently against war? Why do we not accept it as another of the many painful calamities of life? After all, it seems quite a natural thing, no doubt it has a good biological basis and in practice it is scarcely avoidable." (from a letter to Albert Einstein, 1932)

- "A mother is only brought unlimited satisfaction by her relation to a son. ... Even a marriage is not made secure until the wife has succeeded in making her husband her child as well and in acting as a mother to him." (from "New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis", 1933)

- "The effect of penis-envy has a share ... in the physical vanity of women, since they are bound to value their charms more highly as a late compensation for their original sexual inferiority. Shame, which is considered to be a feminine characteristic par excellence but is far more a matter of convention than might be supposed, has as its purpose, we believe, concealment of genital deficiency." (from "New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis", 1933)

- "The fact that women must be regarded as having little sense of justice is no doubt related to the predominance of envy in their mental life. ... We also regard women as weaker in their social interests and as having less capacity for sublimating their instincts than men." (from "New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis", 1933)

- "There is no other source of knowledge but the intellectual manipulation of carefully verified observations-in fact, what is called research ... and no knowledge can be obtained from revelation, intuition, or inspiration." (from "New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis", 1933)

- "The whole theory of psychoanalysis is ... built up on the perception of the resistance offered to us by the patient when we attempt to make his unconscious conscious to him." (from "New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis", 1933)

- "A man of about thirty strikes us as a youthful, somewhat unformed individual, whom we expect to make powerful use of the possibilities for development opened up to him by analysis. A woman of the same age, however, often frightens us by her psychical rigidity and unchangeability. ... There are no paths open to further development; it is as though the whole process had already run its course and remains thenceforward unsusceptible to influence" (from "New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis", 1933)

- "The moment a man questions the meaning and value of life, he is sick, since objectively neither has any existence." (from a letter to Marie Bonaparte, 1937)

- "The special conditions of analytic work do actually cause the analyst's! own defects to interfere with his making a correct assessment of the state of things in his patient and reacting to them in a useful way. It is therefore reasonable to expect of an analyst, ... a considerable degree of mental normality and correctness. In addition, he must possess some kind of superiority, so that in certain analytic situations he can act as a model for his patient and in others as a teacher. And finally he must not forget that the analytic relationship is based on a love of truth-that is, on a recognition of reality-and that it precludes any kind of sham or deceit." (from "Analysis Terminable and Interminable", 1937)

- "A hero is a man who stands up manfully against his father and in the end victoriously overcomes him." (from "Moses and Monotheism", 1939)

- "Christianity marked a progress in the history of religion: that is to say, in regard to the return of the repressed. From now on, the Jewish religion was, so to speak, a fossil." (from "Moses and Monotheism", 1939)

- "Early trauma-defense-latency-outbreak of the neurosis-partial return of the repressed material: this was the formula we drew up for the development of a neurosis. Now I will invite the reader to take a step forward and assume that in the history of the human species something happened similar to the events in the life of the individual." (from "Moses and Monotheism", 1939)

- "Religious intolerance ... was inevitably born with the belief in one God." (from "Moses and Monotheism", 1939)

- "A dream ... is a psychosis, with all the absurdities, delusions and illusions of a psychosis." (from "An Outline of Psychoanalysis", 1940)

- "Dreams bring to light material 'which cannot have originated either from the dreamer's adult life or from his forgotten childhood. We are obliged to regard it as part of the archaic heritage which a child brings with him into the world, before any experience of his own, influenced by the experiences of his ancestors. We have the counterpart of this phylogenetic material in the human legends and in surviving customs. Thus dreams constitute a source of human prehistory which is not to be despised." (from "An Outline of Psychoanalysis", 1940)

- "The governing rules of logic carry no weight in the unconscious; it might be called the Realm of the Illogical." (from "An Outline of Psychoanalysis", 1940)

- "We serve the patient in various functions, as an authority and a substitute for his parents, as a teacher and educator." (from "An Outline of Psychoanalysis", 1940)

- "To love and to work. (Lieben und arbeiten.)" (from "Childhood and Society" by Erik H. Erikson)

- "Do you know why psychiatrists go into their specialty? It is because they do not feel that they are normal, and they go into this work because it is a means of sublimation for this feelingŚa means of assuring themselves that they are really normal. Society puts them in charge of the mentally abnormal, and so they feel reassured." (from "Diary of My Analysis with Sigmund Freud" by Smiley Blanton)

- "It is not attention that the child is seeking but love." (from "Diary of My Analysis with Sigmund Freud" by Smiley Blanton)

- "Calling me a genius is the latest way people have of starting their criticism of me. ... If they thought I was a genius, one should think they would not question my authority." (from "Fragments of an Analysis with Freud" by Joseph Wortis)

- "I had the greatest respect for the authorities of my day-until I studied things for myself, and came to my own conclusions." (from "Fragments of an Analysis with Freud" by Joseph Wortis)

- "The reason for so much bad science is not that talent is rare, not at all; what is rare is character." (from "Fragments of an Analysis with Freud" by Joseph Wortis)

- "There is a general moral deterioration in old age. The old saying that youth has no virtue is just the opposite of the truth: only in youth does one find virtue. The older you get, the worse you become." (from "Fragments of an Analysis with Freud" by Joseph Wortis)

- "Thought is behavior in rehearsal." (from "Fragments of an Analysis with Freud" by Joseph Wortis)

- "Naturally homosexuality is something pathological, it is an arrested development." (from "Fragments of an Analysis with Freud" by Joseph Wortis)

- "I cannot stand the parricidal look in his eye." (from "Freud: His Life and His Mind" by Helen Walker Puner)

- "If the fire rages uncontrolled in a house, we call it a disastrous conflagration; if it burns in a smelting furnace, we call it a useful industrial force. In other words, our drives and impulses as they live within us are neither good nor bad, right nor wrong." (from "Freud: His Life and His Mind" by Helen Walker Puner)

- "The progress of society rests upon the opposition between succeeding generations." (from "Horizon" by Bruce Mazlish)

- "The poets and philosophers before me discovered the unconscious. What I discovered was the scientific method by which the unconscious can be studied." (from "The Liberal Imagination: Essays on Literature and Society" by Lionel Trilling)

- "A man who has been the indisputable favorite of his mother keeps for life the feeling of a conqueror, that confidence of success that often induces real success." (from "The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud" by Ernest Jones)

- "[Albert Einstein] is cheerful, sure of himself and agreeable. He understands as much about psychology as I do about physics, so we had a very pleasant talk." (from "The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud" by Ernest Jones)

- "America is a mistake, a giant mistake." (from "The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud" by Ernest Jones)

- "From an old man who greets in the Ruler the Hero of Culture." (from "The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud" by Ernest Jones)

- "The great question that has never been answered and which I have not been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is "What does a woman want?"" (from "The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud" by Ernest Jones)

- "I don't rack my brains much about the problem of good and evil, but on the whole I have not found much of the "good" in people. Most of them are in my experience riffraff, whether they proclaim themselves adherents of this or of that ethical doctrine, or of none at all." (from "The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud" by Ernest Jones)

- "I have never done anything mean or malicious and cannot trace any temptation to do so, so I am not in the least proud of it. ...
   Why I-and incidentally my six adult children also-have to be thoroughly decent human beings is quite incomprehensible to me." (from "The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud" by Ernest Jones)

- "[Jesus could even have been] an ordinary deluded creature." (from "The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud" by Ernest Jones)

- "What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages they would have burned me; nowadays they are content with burning my books." (from "The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud" by Ernest Jones)

- "In private life I have no patience with lunatics. I only see the harm they do." (from "Men and Affairs: A Modern Miscellany" by Colin Bingham)

- "Perhaps the gods are kind to us, by making life more disagreeable as we grow older. In the end, death seems less intolerable than the manifold burdens we carry." (from "Sigmund Freud Confronts the Sphinx" by George Sylvester Viereck)

- "We are only at the beginning. I am only a beginner. I was successful in digging up buried monuments from the substrata of the mind. But where I have discovered a few temples, others may discover a continent." (from "Sigmund Freud Confronts the Sphinx" by George Sylvester Viereck)

- "One has no right to despair because one has been deceived in one's expectations; one must revise them." (from "The Story of Psychoanalysis" by Lucy Freeman and Marvin Small)

- "[Psychoanalysis] is in essence a cure through love." (from "Two Views of Freud" by Bruno Bettelheim)

- "Whoever undertakes to write a biography binds himself to lying, to concealment, to hypocrisy, to flummery and even to hiding his own lack of understanding." (from "Two Views of Freud" by Bruno Bettelheim)

- "No neurotic harbors thoughts of suicide which are not murderous impulses against others redirected upon himself." (from "The Unquiet Grave: A Word Cycle by Palinurus" by Cyril Connolly)


Facebook Twitter