Basic Freud by Michael Kahn, PhD

I have to say, this has got to be one of the strangest books I have read in a long time.  It is difficult to write about, simply because the different interpretations on peoples’ lives seem very random, simply because there is a lot of freedom with the interpreter.  I’m not really going to try and analyze people too much with psychodynamics because I need more guidance in order to interpret people accurately.  After all, there is a good amount of material to cover on top of the creative interpretation.  All in all it was an interesting read even though I feel uncomfortable applying it to my everyday life.

I think we all remember the id, ego, and superego from psychology class at some point.  During the early psychosexual development, the id, ego, and superego are being developed.  The id is the unconscious thoughts that are urging to be expressed; the ego is the mechanism that determines if the unconscious thought is expressed; the superego is our conscious, the mechanism that follows societal standards.  Our human experience is the conflict between these three mechanisms.  It’s interesting, that a person has a certain amount of psychic energy, and even a libido.  The psychic energy is the energy used to repress these unconscious thoughts.  And, the libido is attached to certain people and their memories.  If more energy is exerted with the psychic energy and libido, the amount of energy that is available for everyday experience decreases.  So, if someone is having energy issues, it is possible that their ego is repressing a lot more subconscious wishes and urges than is normal.

What is interesting to me, is the development of the id, ego, and superego.  If the standards of society were to be different than our own, than the development of the superego and ego would drastically be affected.  This would also affect the expression of unconscious thinking, which would drastically change how people would behave.  However, there is one single instinct or mode of behavior, and that is the pleasure principle and reproductive instinct, at least according to this school of thought.  All living things have the instinct to reproduce, simply because it ensures the survival of the species, which in turn ensures the continuation of the super organism Gaia (or the planet Earth).  It is a brilliant system, however I believe that if there would be different societal standards, there would be vastly different people.  I think this overall school of thought is another testimony to this statement.  I am curious, how a different id, ego, and superego would affect the psychosexual development stages of every single human being.

So basically each stage is introduced when the individual notices pleasure with certain body parts.  And interestingly enough, how they deal with various stages has vast implications on their behavior, because this is following the pleasure principle.  There are two concepts that are interesting to know.  The first is fixation.  Fixation is when there is more than usual psychic energy that is associated with a certain stage.  And regression, is when there is a difficult part in someone’s life, they return to associations with that specific stage.  So, if someone is under a lot of stress, they regress to a certain stage of psychosexual development.  The oral stage is first, and fixated people in this stage I remember, can sometimes have eating problems, ranging from eating disorders, smoking, to eating when feeling down or lonely.  The second stage is the anal stage.  Someone who is anally fixated usually is either clean, or is messy, depending on whether or not they are anally explosive or retentive.  Which means, whether or not the person finds pleasure holding it in, or letting it out.  The phallic period is when children become interested in the differences between the sexes, and the awareness of pleasure with the genitals.  The latency period is when all sexual urges are repressed, simply because incestuous urges develop.  Then it is the genital period, where people want to have sex basically.  It is important to note, that the Oedipus Complex comes into play, where the child competes with the same sex parent for the love and attraction for the opposite sex parent.  And depending how that plays out, has vast consequences on the development of the individual.

I want to reiterate this again.  If parents behave differently, they would change the development of children greatly during their psychosexual development, which is central to the overall development of the individual.  Different standards would be into place when it comes to competition with the same sex parent with the Oedipal Complex.  So different behaviors would constitute a victory or a defeat.  A different society would have a different superego, which also means that the superego’s punishment of guilt would be different.  Guilt is also a factor into human behavior, and Freud believed that is our price if we want civilized society, the addage of guilt.  Guilt is actually a subconscious mechanism in the conscious superego, and a primary process.  This essentially means the guilt is associated with thoughts that have no time or associations, it is in the subconscious.

Basically psychodynamics to me is more evidence with what Erich Fromm was saying about human development.  That the human mind is practically a organ that can be developed in almost an infinite amount of ways.  (Sexual instinct is always going to be there)  Society inhibits various ways in which the human mind develops, which is similar to the changes of the superego, and therefore ego.  And like I said, this would have consequences to the psychosexual development of people, which would have a huge impact on their everyday lives.  It would also more specifically affect the guilt that is experienced to the person because the superego would be developed differently.  Again, another change in overall behavior.  (Again, I am really bad at applying this to overall human experience.  The psychoanalyst has to rely not only on their understanding of the material, but on their creativity.  It isn’t an exact science.)  In regards to my other post about human behavior, I think certain instincts will always drive our development, but there is a vast influence of society on our overall development as an individual.  Psychodynamic theory in my mind is more of a testimony to this.

And how would we change society?  It is with an intellectual revolution, which would be hard to accomplish on three main levels.  First, the revolution has to be defined, in a vision that most people are willing to follow.  Second, people would have to participate in this concept regardless of the contentment in their lives.  And third, they would have to participate and sacrifice the consumption of entertainment.

For me, even though I am thankful for what I have and I am thankful for living in America, I think life could drastically be better for the vast majority of people if things were thought differently.  No matter how much money is being printed to satisfy the demands of the economy, an ill proportionate amount of money is flowing to people that are already hording money.  I believe millions of people pay.  And I believe that the reasons why they are not overturned, are because people want the ideal of getting insanely rich (even though they will not touch the top 1 percent), the belief of individual freedom regardless of the consequences, the consumption of entertainment, and contentment with how things are, rather than wanting how things could be.

I think I am going to revisit a paper I was writing, and I was writing about this very topic.  And well, I have the difficult task of outlying the vision, how things are going to be reformed, and describing the new way of life.  I probably won’t get it done anytime soon, I may not get it done at all.  But it is definitely something cool to think about.

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1 Comment

  1. April 13, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    […] Basic Freud by Michael Kahn, PhD. […]

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