Have you thought about your relationship with Freud lately?

For discussion of general issues pertaining to asexuality.
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Mr. Paradox
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Have you thought about your relationship with Freud lately?

Postby Mr. Paradox » Fri Jan 18, 2008 11:35 am

I'll admit that I'm not very well versed in Freud, for as so many of my generation I've avoided him like the crazy drunk on the subway. I would be interested in hearing some views from others who know what they're talking about, though. A blog post along the lines of "WWFD?" may be in order if anyone has a particular familiarity.

I've repeatedly heard Sigmund paraphrased to the effect of, "the only unnatural sexuality is not to do it," but I've never found the actual quotation. If it's true, that attitude makes me suspect we wouldn't like what he would have to say if he were with us now. At any rate, the current state of opinion seems to be that Freud was working with a bunch of wacky, repressed Victorians and his particular subjects led him to put all the sex in the psychosexual development. I don't know if this is fair, but it's a handy explanation.

My poorly informed issues with Freud are epistemological, in line with Karl Popper's -- what he created was ideology, not scientific theory, because it lacks falsifiability at every level. He left no opening for any of us to dispute what's going on in our own subconscious.
"He cannot, however, long remain asexual when he sees the great peasant girls, as ardent as mares in heat, abandoning themselves to the arms of robust youths."
--Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex

70thousandfathoms
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Re: Have you thought about your relationship with Freud lately?

Postby 70thousandfathoms » Fri Jan 18, 2008 11:47 am

My own poorly informed opinion is that he was the Dr. Joy Davidson of a bygone era.

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Nijiiro
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Re: Have you thought about your relationship with Freud lately?

Postby Nijiiro » Fri Jan 18, 2008 11:55 am

I studied him briefly as part of my English.
The basics just seemed to be 'if you are a boy, you secretly desire your mother and everything represents her. If you are a girl, you long for your fathers touch and wish to please a man in honour of him, knowing that you have already been castrated long ago for something you did, which is why you envy penis so much'.

Also. Cigarette = Phallic. Cigar = don't be silly, Freud smoked those.

Basically, he had problems, he tried to put them on other people. He discovered themes because he went looking for them and made a load of stuff up. Essentially, he was the one with the problem.

The man can't be trusted, it's right to avoid him XD

But it would be interesting the source and explanation for the quote ;) I just wouldn't take his opinions to be the truth. But, hey, I'm probably just supressing a little daddy love.

[EDIT]
Did he have any opinions that DIDN'T involve sex? It's just...my degree only focussed on that. With or without Freud's help.

Kelly
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Re: Have you thought about your relationship with Freud lately?

Postby Kelly » Sat Jan 19, 2008 4:10 am

Image

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Gadfly-in-Chief
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Re: Have you thought about your relationship with Freud lately?

Postby Gadfly-in-Chief » Sat Jan 19, 2008 12:05 pm

I've always wondered what it was in his relationship with his own mother that made him think everyone processed/experienced sexuality the way he thougght they did.

I suppose it was as good a theory as any to get things going, but it's like heliocentric astronomy: it can explain some things, but it just isn't true.
Yes, the unexamined life is not worth living. But as a student of logic, you must realize that this does not imply that the examined life is.

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ghosts
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Re: Have you thought about your relationship with Freud lately?

Postby ghosts » Sun Jan 20, 2008 9:14 am

I don't know a whole lot about Freud, so I could be completely wrong about whatever I post! But I believe that he thought that anything other than heterosexuality (or rather - sex for the sake of reproduction) was deviant - I think that includes homosexuality, but also various acts like masturbation, oral sex, and such. Now, I think that didn't necessarily mean that he had a problem with any of these sexualities/acts, or that they were bad/immoral or anything, but I suppose that seems like a weird concept? Mainly, he didn't think something like homosexuality was bad, necessarily, just that it was "deviant." ::shrugs:: I could be wrong, though.

Other than that though--
Mr. Paradox wrote:My poorly informed issues with Freud are epistemological, in line with Karl Popper's -- what he created was ideology, not scientific theory, because it lacks falsifiability at every level. He left no opening for any of us to dispute what's going on in our own subconscious.

I basically agree with that.

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Emmarainbow
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Re: Have you thought about your relationship with Freud lately?

Postby Emmarainbow » Sun Jan 20, 2008 6:50 pm

I did Freud for my psychology a-level - everything he said was complete crap, but his treatments worked. *shrugs*

We didn't really cover sexuality though. He was very much into repression, so I probably had a bad realtionship with my parents in childhood or somehting. He said that you should act out your fantasies/desires (where acceptable) or you'd get even more screwed up. He had a point, but his theories are pretty insane. And he definitely had something strange going on with his mother... :shock:

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spin
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Re: Have you thought about your relationship with Freud lately?

Postby spin » Mon Jan 21, 2008 12:09 pm

Freud is crap.

Thing about Freud is he started out in psychology by analyzing himself (dude had some fucking issues) and why he didn't mourn his father's death (parent issues!). Then he went on to develop theories using "hysterical" women, which is not terribly applicable to general populations. Trouble is he had some valid and revolutionary points--like the very idea of subconscious emotions or thought processes--which took off, but his "research" was all so convoluted and poorly executed that we're still fighting the stupid misogynist phallocentric drivel, which far outnumbered those valid points.

In terms of Freud's stages of psychosexual development, asexual people would generally fall under "latency," a period from age 6 to puberty when children are non-sexual. Of course, he described this as a period of intense repression of sexual desires, which is eventually worked out by resolving one's Oedipus/Electra complex and transferring one's intense focus and admiration from one's opposite sex parent to other members of the opposite sex--leading to a happy healthy adjusted heterosexual adulthood. So, like Emmarainbow says, Freud would just think we're a bunch of repressed people with unhealthy relationships to our parents.

He did have opinions that weren't. . .well, entirely. . .about sex. "Future of An Illusion" is an interesting little book about Freud's thoughts on religion. He defined an "illusion" and "delusion." He basically transferred his psychosexual development to society as a whole, with a deity as a father figure, and claimed that through education society would eventually work though its Oedipal complex by seeing through the illusion of religion and turning towards science. He defined this belief in a protective God father figure as an "illusion" or hopeful wish fulfillment, as opposed to a psychotic "delusion." In "The God Delusion," Dawkins clearly disagrees.

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Gadfly-in-Chief
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Re: Have you thought about your relationship with Freud lately?

Postby Gadfly-in-Chief » Mon Jan 21, 2008 12:38 pm

When I was a junior in university, I did volunteer work at the adolescent wing of a state psychiatric hospital, and we had an hour of training every week before three hours with the residents. I particularly remember this at the end of a session about various schools of psychology:

Behaviorist: Freudian psychology is only valid for upper middle class late 19th century Viennese women.
Freudian: How long have you hated your mother?
Yes, the unexamined life is not worth living. But as a student of logic, you must realize that this does not imply that the examined life is.

pretzelboy
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Re: Have you thought about your relationship with Freud lately?

Postby pretzelboy » Wed Jan 23, 2008 7:51 am

Here's an interesting article from the New York Times a few months ago: "Freud Is Widely Taught at Universities, Except in the Psychology Department"

"http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/25/weekinreview/25cohen.html?scp=5&sq=freud&st=nyt"

I'm a bit hesitant to make fun of Freud since I haven't actually read his stuff myself. A lot of what I hear seems pretty silly (like the Oediupus complex), and it seems equally silly to most other people as well. (When I was younger, I sometimes wondered what his mother must have thought of the idea.) The thing that annoys me the most is the dominance of the idea of "sexual repression" in our society, which I think comes from Freud.

I don't believe "sexual repression" is an empirically meaningful term and for the life of me, I cannot figure out what it means (and no matter how hard I try I can't come up with anything that is both true and useful.) This makes me suspect that most other people who use the term don't know what it means either.

Guilt, on the other hand, seems to be a very meaningful concept. I can very easily imagine someone with sexual desires/thoughts who believes that they shouldn't have those sorts of thoughts or do those sorts of things and tries to "repress" them--unsuccessfully. The resulting failure makes the person very guilty about their thoughts/actions. But the psychological issues (like guilt, low self-esteem and whatever else might be a result) seem to come more from failure to repress sexual desires rather than from the repression of them. (Coming to accept sexual desires/behaviors as being ok--at least under some circumstances--would work too, obviously.)

But ideas that if sexual desires are always repressed can somehow be bad for a person seems to me to be widely accepted as true despite the fact that I highly doubt that there is any empirical data supporting this view. (Pretty much anyone who has desires of any kind has to suppress/repress them at least sometimes. Why wouldn't that create problems too?) A good number of people probably wouldn't be very successful at this, but for those who are able (and, for whatever reason want to), believing that never acting on sexual desires (like a celibate person, for example) is somehow psychologically harmful, would, I think, require a substantial burden of proof (and it would be very hard to prove because there are so many confounding variables that would have to be dealt with.)

Anyway, this is something that's bothered me for a while, and I wanted a chance to get it off my chest.

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Shockwave
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Re: Have you thought about your relationship with Freud lately?

Postby Shockwave » Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:02 am

I'm going to have to step and support the old guy since nobody else seems to want to. He is widely misunderstood in our day, as he was in his own. So, let's discuss a few of his ideas:

Libido: People often use the word libido to mean sex drive but according to Freud that was only the final stage of the libido. The libido is basically the desire for physical pleasure that shifts between certain body parts throughout our lives. The first stage is the Oral Stage, in which we seek pleasure through our mouths by sucking and biting (have you ever noticed how a baby tries to put everything in its mouth?). Next comes the Anal Stage, where we derive pleasure from defecating. After that is the Phallic Stage, in which we first start to explore our nether regions. The fourth stage is the Latency Stage, during which sexual desires go are almost non-existent (it could well be argued that many asexuals never went beyond this stage). The final stage is the Genital Stage, the one most people associate with the libido.

Oedipus Complex: This is probably one of the areas in which Freud gets the most criticism. Many people claim that Freud said that every child wants to have sex with his/her opposite-sex parent. While he may have used the word sex, he didn't mean intercourse. He meant any kind of affectionate interaction with that parent. He arrived at this theory by observing that little children often have closer relationships with their opposite-sex parent and don't like to share that person with anybody, especially the other parent.

Id, Superego and Ego: Maybe the least criticized of Freud's ideas is his theory of the structure of the subconscious. In this model there are basically three parts, the Id, the Superego and the Ego. The Id is the unconscious part of the mind that seeks pleasure and self-gratification, it also the avoids unpleasantness. Our desires and aversions are part of the Id. The Superego is the preconscious part of the mind that houses our ideals and morals and balances out the Id. It's also known as the conscience. The Ego is the conscious part of the mind that takes into account our thoughts and perceptions and decides whether the Id or Superego is right in any given situation.

There's a lot more that Freud contributed to psychoanalysis and this doesn't begin to summarize what he said. However, my point is that if you set aside his choice of terminology and really look at his theories more closely you just might find something useful in there. Besides, he was a pioneer in his field and had very little to work with. We may have a much better understanding of the human mind today but we couldn't have arrived at this point without Freud's contribution.

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Re: Have you thought about your relationship with Freud lately?

Postby orangee zest » Sun May 04, 2008 1:47 pm

I know what ya mean, Nijiiro. I had to study hm, and he did have some wacky ideas about attraction and that...he kind of scared me :eh:

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ily
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Re: Have you thought about your relationship with Freud lately?

Postby ily » Wed May 21, 2008 3:45 pm

I think Freud has probably been more harmful to queer people than anyone else I can think of.