Freud as Philosopher (Read 996 times)

    Thought this was a nice little piece in The Stone on Freud. The insights that Freud had into the philosophical mindset are, I think, applicable to the (my?) message board mindset, as they share sometimes a fixation on argumentative correctness to the detriment of other sorts of communicative goals. How often does our "Rottweiler of conscience" cause us to snarl?

     

    Up until the 19th century, our sense of right and wrong was held to be sacrosanct, grounded in God and/or reason. Freud, however, detected that conscience is often inconsistent, irrational and sometimes plain bonkers. In the end, he believed it was frequently the magistrate on our shoulder rather than our basic drives that steers us into neurosis.


    On Freud’s reckoning, hyperbolic ideals such as the prohibition of lustful feelings or of hatred towards our loved ones make for a snarling Rottweiler of a conscience, one that takes a sizable bite out of our prospects for happiness. Unlike moral rigorists such as Kant and Kierkegaard, Freud maintained that humans are born with psychological as well as physical limitations. As a result, he was intensely critical of the Christian ideal that we should not only love our neighbor but our enemies as well. In sum, the doctor prescribed calibrating our morals to our psychological abilities.

      As a result, he was intensely critical of the Christian ideal that we should not only love our neighbor but our enemies as well. In sum, the doctor prescribed calibrating our morals to our psychological abilities.

       

      And if the Christian Holy Spirit, Who empowers Christian believers to live supernaturally above our psychological abilities is a fairy tale rather than a fact then I'd say that wacky old Freud was right about this.

      - Joe

      all running goals are under review by the executive committee.

        Joe,

         

        Christian teachers throughout the centuries have always taught us to calibrate ourselves back, based upon our own abilities. From Egyptian history, circa 3rd century, we have the following:

         

        A hunter in the desert saw Abba Anthony recreating with the brethren and he was shocked. Wanting to show him that it was necessary sometimes to meet the needs of the brethren, the old man said to him,
        "Put an arrow in your bow and shoot it."
        So he did. The old man then said,
        "Shoot another,"
        and he did so. Then the old man said,
        "Shoot yet again,"
        and the hunter replied,
        "If I bend my bow so much I will break it."
        Then the old man said to him,
        "It is the same with the work of God. If we stretch the brethren beyond measure they will soon break. Sometimes it is necessary to come down to meet their needs."
        When he heard these words the hunter was pierced by compunction and, greatly edified by the old man, he went away. As for the brethren, they went home strengthened.

         

        This exchange is not about moral standards, but it is about rigorism and its dangers. 

         

        Also, I don't think the article is really about Christianity. But, I haven't had the chance to read carefully it yet. 

        "If you have the fire, run..." -John Climacus

          Yes, the article is certainly more about the dangers of moral rigorism--it hardly treats Christianity (and when it does, it speaks only of a single Christian ideal, which of course does not sum up to any extent this rich tradition of religious and ethical thought.) I was surprised that this was what was picked up upon.

           

          Indeed, as Nader says, the article reminds us that Freud was highly critical of philosophy and philosophers (and also religious folk) who were more concerned with moral rectitude than what you might call "ethical health" or simply happiness.

           

          I was interested in the article as it applies to the ethics of message-boarding... but of course happy to see what other reactions are.


          HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

            This is a criticism of running with gps watches, isn't it.

            It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

              If you accept that two epistemic peers cannot reasonably disagree, then when you find yourself in a message board disagreement, you must at least consider that either your counterpart has different evidence than you do (and either you or they are not making all the evidence clearly known), or one of the two of you is not reasonable. And it’s plausible that even when you think you’re being reasonable, you may just be kidding yourself. In the end, neither of you is probably truly 100% reasonable, as that’s practically impossible. That’s sort of what I got out of it. I could be wrong.

              Come all you no-hopers, you jokers and rogues
              We're on the road to nowhere, let's find out where it goes


              Feeling the growl again

                So we should temper blind idealism with a realistic acceptance of limitations?  Try getting THAT through Congress.

                "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                 

                  Hey Nader, you may be right about what some Christians have taught through the centuries, but Jesus set a much higher bar for us -- "Be holy as your heavenly Father is holy", not to mention the whole Sermon on the Mount.  I'm not disagreeing with Jeff or Freud.  I was just extending the discussion by pointing out that with no supernatural assistance Freud was indeed correct, one cannot possibly even attempt to live up to the Christian ideal.

                  - Joe

                  all running goals are under review by the executive committee.

                    I see your point and I was kind of discourteous to you in my post (unlike your courteous reply).  It just seemed like there was more to be said about the article than "Since we have the Holy Spirit, we can't learn anything from Freud," or "The only way we would need to learn anything from Freud is if the Holy Spirit was a fairy tale."  

                     

                    More importantly, few people here want to read a discussion of Christianity. 

                     

                    Speaking of Freud, I don't know if you like PBS, but this was on a few years ago and it was pretty interesting.  It was based on this book.

                    "If you have the fire, run..." -John Climacus

                    Scout7


                    CPT Curmudgeon

                      Hey Nader, you may be right about what some Christians have taught through the centuries, but Jesus set a much higher bar for us -- "Be holy as your heavenly Father is holy", not to mention the whole Sermon on the Mount.  I'm not disagreeing with Jeff or Freud.  I was just extending the discussion by pointing out that with no supernatural assistance Freud was indeed correct, one cannot possibly even attempt to live up to the Christian ideal.

                       

                      The point of an ideal (at least in this case) is not to present something that we should necessarily be expected to live up to or achieve, but rather it presents the uppermost limit towards which we should strive.  It also provides a modicum of direction when faced with a decision.

                       

                      As proof, I point to the many places throughout the New Testament where Jesus says that Gd knows people are not perfect, and that is why He can forgive us our sins.

                       

                      As to the original post, I don't have anything yet.


                      Feeling the growl again

                        The point of an ideal (at least in this case) is not to present something that we should necessarily be expected to live up to or achieve, but rather it presents the uppermost limit towards which we should strive.  It also provides a modicum of direction when faced with a decision.

                         

                        As proof, I point to the many places throughout the New Testament where Jesus says that Gd knows people are not perfect, and that is why He can forgive us our sins.

                         

                        As to the original post, I don't have anything yet.

                         

                        And depending upon your denomination, it is taught that we are by nature imperfect -- and therefore incapable of living up to that ideal -- and cannot be saved except through Him as a result.

                        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                         


                        HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                          My reaction was that it seemed like a series of pretty commonsense observations about people. Here's my summary of what I saw:

                           

                          • Moral importance of emotional self-transparency
                          • Our emotions are ambivalent
                          • Our emotions color our perception of facts, and our choice of facts to receive/believe
                          • Our psyches are layered, conscious layers upon subconscious
                          • Example of rage at "welfare queen" instances upswelling and filling people's responses to healthcare discussions
                          • "Conscience" can be an oppressive tyrant, driving emotions underground

                          Nothing in it struck me as particularly insightful.

                           

                          Maybe it was because they didn't mention barefoot running, or ostriches, or LT runs, or short vs long taper, so I got bored.

                           

                          MTA: Although the ongoing threadjack into a Christian theological discussion is entertaining.

                           

                          MTA2: Or perhaps the entire point is that this stuff is simplistic to us now, but was shocking then, and it illustrates how mainstreamed these ideas have become. And the point went completely over my head when I read it.

                          It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

                            As proof, I point to the many places throughout the New Testament where Jesus says that Gd knows people are not perfect, and that is why He can forgive us our sins.

                             

                            Hi Scout, to what are you referring?  I can think of a time or two where Jesus may suggest that sins can be possibly overlooked due to ignorance, but I'm struggling to think of a time where He speaks of sins being forgiven because we're just morally imperfect. 

                            - Joe

                            all running goals are under review by the executive committee.

                              MTA: Although the ongoing threadjack into a Christian theological discussion is entertaining.

                               

                              I probably should just let this lie, but I think this is unfair, AP.  The original quote posted by Jeff specifically called out Freud's intense criticism of the Christian ideal.  That seems like it was fair game for some comment.  Is that really threadjacking?

                              - Joe

                              all running goals are under review by the executive committee.

                                Hey Nader, you may be right about what some Christians have taught through the centuries, but Jesus set a much higher bar for us -- "Be holy as your heavenly Father is holy", not to mention the whole Sermon on the Mount.  I'm not disagreeing with Jeff or Freud.  I was just extending the discussion by pointing out that with no supernatural assistance Freud was indeed correct, one cannot possibly even attempt to live up to the Christian ideal.

                                 

                                Kierkegaard would ask you, Joe, whether or not this really counts as living up to the Christian ideal, since you received the assistance of God, who as we know can do all things effortlessly and so it turns out to be no biggie.