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Sigmund Freud Essay, Research Paper
Sigmund Freud was an interesting man with many opinions and ideas, ranging from
Religion, to philosophy, to medicine, all the way to science. Sigmund Freud was born in 1856 in
Maravia, but grew up in Vienna. He started out by studying medicine, then later, in 1885, traveled
to Paris, where Charcot encouraged him to study hysteria from a pschological point of view. Then
later, in 1895, making his first publishing, Uber Hysterie. Freud was the man who came up with all
these theories about why we dream, and what they mean. He believes that what we dream about
is what we, without knowing it, desire. After many years of work and study, Freud died in 1938.
But he will always be remembered because of all his accomplishments, and creativity.
According to the book, The Ordeal of Civility, Freuds book, The Interpretation of Dreams
which was written in 1900, concluded in the great ninteenth-century debate on “Jewish Emancipation”,
Freuds early work seemed to have so much censorship that it blocks the Jewish socialization, and in
turn makes some sort of a compromise which is the assimilating Jew. Freud was very interesting in the
way that his imagination worked. He believes very strongly that what we dream is what we may un-
knowingly fantasize about. Maybe we don’t recognize these fantasies and wishes, but supposedly they
are there. Just as the “Jewish Emancipation” was the unruly wish that could fulfill itself only in a
disguised dream of some sort. As Freud points out, a wish left unrecognized and has been disguised, had
to have existed in some way in order to make itself defensive toward recognition, which in a dream
would turn out distorted. And I think that this theory of Freuds is true, because just like many others, I
myself have experienced exactly what Freud explains to us. This is only one of many of Freuds theories,
but his theories on dreams seemed to be the most popular, even to this day.Freud thinks that the agent that
distorts our dreams is what you would call a “censor.” A censor stands before our dreams and says: “Thou
shall not pass.” Just like all through the nineteenth century , the Eastern European Jew tried to get admission
to bourgeois Western civil society. During Freuds time he experienced the journey of seeking social
acceptance and rejection. Which, for Freud that was very difficult to deal with. His internal censor definately
represented bourgeois-Christian nineteenth century culture. There were standards to live by,
and components of the common culture, as part of the personality structure. Internal censor, according
to Freud is “the censor which allows nothing to pass without excersizng its rights and making such modification
as it sees fit in the thought which is seeking admission to consciousness.” It is the greatness of Jewish “passing”
and its cognate, which is the “Jewish joke,” that stand behind Freuds discovery of “internalization.” It
seems as though Freud started his study of the unconscious by examining the psychopathology of everyday life.
Freud was always fascinated by just about any phenomenon, espacially of “unsuitable affect,” its expression,
suppression, and repression, and ofcourse the most important of all, how it passed or failed the censor.
According to The Ordeal of Civility Freud was an expert on the status of the emancipated Jew in the late
nineteenth century. Freud studied how he could cope or fail to cope with the terminal social stage of Emancipation.
Freud deals mainly with feelings, thoughts, and attitudes.He was definately one of those people who look
deep into everything to find out truth. He wants no fiction in life, only facts. Freud was interested in pariahs,
most especially what is called “pariah affect,”and the difficulties in the bourgeois-Christian West.
Freuds interests in civility preceded his concern with Civilization and Its Discontents, in 1930. James A.
Sleeper writes that the primary component in the socializationand self image of jews, “is the pintele yid,
that ineradicable…Jewishness which surfaces at least occasionally to create havoc with carefully calculated
loyalties and elaborately reasoned postures.”
Infact, for 150 years, a genre of post-Emancipation Jewish humor has benn predicated on the
“sudden havoc” that the unwanted and unvoluntary eruption of Ostjude identity from beneath the “passing”
exception Jew can come up with in public. A recent example of such humor goes as follows: “A nouveau
riche Jewish couple moved to a non Jewish neighborhood, changed their name from Cohen to Cowles,
and sought admission to the country club that frowned upon Jews. Finally admitted, they show up at
the Sunday night club dinner, Mrs. Cowles, nee Cohen, decked out in her pretty jewels and brand new gown.
The waitor serving soup slips and it lands on Mrs. Cowles lap. She lets out a shriek:’oy Gevalt, whatever that
means’”. The meaning behind this “humorous” story told in The Ordeal of Civility, is to let the readers know
that stories like this entail many different functions. For instance, if this story was told in the Jewish community
just like this one was, it is a source of social control, a warning to Jews to not try and leave the Jewish
community because one would fail at doing so. If this story was to be told by an outsider of the Jews,
such a joke could serve as an objective correlative of ones subjectively ambiguous poition or situation.
I personally don’t know any Jewish people, and I don’t know much about their religion and/or beliefs,
but I most definately would like to learn more about it, so that I can understand their position a little
clearer. But I think that goes for any religion that is not of your own. Many of us have the wrong
corralations and ideas of one anothers religion and belief and faith, and maybe if we all just took a
second to try and understand and listen, then there wouldn’t be so many disputes about religion, and which
one is the best and the wisest. Because, who really knows? I don’t think anyone on this planet could
prove it other than our Lord Jesus Christ. Other than that, nothing is proof enough. And maybe it
is a good thing that we all have different religions and beliefs anyways, because maybe that is how
God wanted us to learn about him, through eachother. In all honesty, I believe we won’t ever know
the whole truth until we go to Heaven and meet God in person. But don’t tell my parents I said that,
because they are going to think that they waisted all these years raising me as a Catholic, then
come to find out, I think the only proof is there in Heaven. But that really isn’t wrong for me or for
anyone to feel that way. I mean, I am a strong believer in the Catholic religion, but I don’t think it is
perfect, just like I don’t think the other religions are either. But God didn’t want any of us to be perfect, in fact ,
I believe he wanted us to all be different, and that is how we succeed.
Freud record this joke in Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious (1905): “A Galacian Jew
was traveling in a train. He had made himself very comfortable, had unbuttoned his coat and put
his feet up on the seat. Just then a gentlemen in modern dress entered the compartment.
The Jew promptly pulled himself together and took up a proper pose. The stranger fingered through the
pages in a notebook, made some calculations, reflected for a moment and then suddenly asked the Jew:
‘Excuse me, when is Yom Kipper (the day of Atonement)?’ ‘Oho!’ said the Jew, and put his feet up
before answering.” Freud returns to this train joke later, and come to find out this anecdote of a Jew
in a railway train, “promptly abandoned all nice behavior and manners when he discovered that the
newcomer on his compartment was a fellow-believer…is meant to portray,” Freud assures us, “the
democratic mode of thinking of Jews, which recognizes no distinction between lords and serfs.” This
joke remained for nearly fifty years before it was taken over by one of Freuds disciples, Theodor Reik,
and was restored and reintepreted in the center of his book, Jewish Wit. Obviously Freud was not
comfortable nor confident with remaining on the same level as which the joke was told, which was the
social level. But was Freud ever sure of what level he was on? He may have been very intel-
igent, but I think he was still unsure of many things, including what level he was on. And believe it
or not, I think we all go through different levels and stages, depending on our surroundings and
experiences. One thing can change another. One day we think we have it all figured out,
and then the next day a loved one dies, so then we are back to square one. I haven’t ever known
anyone who is so sure of life that they never question it. But what makes us strong people, and
knowledgable people, is our experiences. Maybe some of us are just born geniuses, but it has taken
me many stages to get to where I am today, and still, I am questionable of certain things. And
I probably always will be. But I can live with that.
The disciple who recovered this train joke came derives from Artur Schnitzler’s novel,
The Way to the Opera, and is told by the Jewish writer Heinrich Berman to his aristocratic friend
George von Werkenthin. Heinrich explains this joke to his friend expressing “the eternal truth that
no Jew has any real respect for his fellow Jew…. Envy, hate, yes frequently admiration, even love,
but never respect.” I don’t know that if when Freud told this joke, he wanted us to think that Jews
have no respect for one another. I don’t exactly know what kind of outcome Freud wanted, but I don’t
think Heinrich is completely right. But, of course, I do not know that for a fact. I guess there were
many different ways you could take the joke, I guess I just took it differently.
Most importantly, the aggravation of Jewish Emancipation is the focus of Freud’s material,
no matter if they are jokes, slips, dreams, or patients. Freud goes to considerable amounts of pain to
reduce social gaffes and parapraxes to a nonsocial level.
All in all, I found Freud’s material to be very interesting, yet some were disturbing as well. I
think Freud was a very intelligent man, but I wouldn’t categorize him as honorable or respectable. I
guess it is too hard to judge one by his material, but you can still get a pretty good idea of how one
is, and what kind of person he was by his writings. Sigmind Freud was definately one of a kind, and
the fact that he made history is very promising. I think, though, that in some ways he was a confused and
twisted man.But that is only my oppinion. He obviously made an impression on many others, because he is
very well known. If I had to do it all over again, I would still choose Sigmund Freud, because he sure kept
me on my toes.
I would recommend Freud as a topic to anyone else that needs to do a report, because I
really learned a lot that I hadn’t known before. It helped me appreciate my religion even more than
I already had. It also helped me to open my imagination. And I think it would do the same for anyone else. It is
one of those topics where you have to pay attention and really focus, orelse you will be really lost. But
Sigmund Freud is definately worth it!
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