Love vs Sex 143

In 1882, on Brücke’s (one of Freud’s university professors) advice, Freud reluctantly left the laboratory to take a lowly post at the Vienna General Hospital. The reason was romantic: in April, he had met Martha Bernays, a slender, attractive young woman from northern Germany visiting one of his sisters, and fallen passionately in love. He was soon secretly engaged to her, but too poor to establish the respectable bourgeois household that he and his fiancée thought essential. It was not until September 1886, some five months after opening his practice in Vienna, with the aid of wedding gifts and loans from affluent friends, that the couple could marry. Within nine years, they had six children, the last of whom, Anna grew up to be her father’s confidante, secretary, nurse, disciple, and representative, and an eminent psychoanalyst in her own right.

Sigmund Freud: A Brief Life

Peter Gay          1989

Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 68

But there is one question which I can hardly evade. If the development of civilization has such a far-reaching similarity to the development of the individual and if it employs the same methods, may we not be justified in reaching the diagnosis that, under the influence of cultural urges, some civilizations, or some epochs of civilization—possibly the whole of mankind—have become ‘neurotic’?

Civilization and Its Discontents

Sigmund Freud          1930

Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 67

This may have spoilt the structure of my paper; but it corresponds faithfully to my intention to represent the sense of guilt as the most important problem in the development of civilization and to show that the price we pay for our advance in civilization is a loss of happiness through the heightening of the sense of guilt.¹


¹That the education of young people at the present day conceals from them the part which sexuality will play in their lives is not the only reproach we are obliged to make against it. Its other sin is that it does not prepare them for the aggressiveness of which they are destined to become the objects. In sending the young out into life with such a false psychological orientation, education is behaving as though one were to equip people starting on a Polar expedition with summer clothing and maps of the Italian Lakes. In this it becomes evident that a certain misuse is being made of ethical demands. The strictness of those demands would not do so much harm if education were to say: ‘This is how men ought to be, in order to be happy and to make others happy; but you have to reckon on their not being like that.’ Instead of this the young are made to believe that everyone else fulfills those ethical demands—that is, that everyone else is virtuous. It is on this that the demand is based that the young, too, shall become virtuous.

Civilization and Its Discontents

Sigmund Freud          1930

Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 65

We shall always tend to consider people’s distress objectively—that is, to place ourselves, with our own wants and sensibilities, in their conditions, and then to examine what occasions we should find in them for experiencing happiness or unhappiness. This method of looking at things, which seems objective because it ignores the variations in subjective sensibility, is, of course, the most subjective possible, since it puts one’s own mental states in the place of many others, unknown though they may be. Happiness, however, is something essentially subjective. No matter how much we may shrink with horror from certain situations—of a galley-slave in antiquity, of a peasant during the Thirty Year’s War, of a victim of the Holy Inquisition, of a Jew awaiting a pogrom—it is nevertheless impossible for us to feel our way into such people (I would argue for the highly aware/developed and stable empath that it is possible, though highly unlikely and highly improbable in general in regards to the masses – Cribb interjection) —to divine the changes which original obtuseness of the mind, a gradual stupefying process, the cessation of expectations, and cruder or more refined methods of narcotization have produced upon their receptivity to sensations of pleasure and unpleasure. Moreover, in the case of the most extreme possibility of suffering (I will add “experiencing” as a possible substitute – Cribb interjection), special mental protective devices are brought into operation.

Civilization and Its Discontents

Sigmund Freud          1930