Why was Freud's work so influential

Revolutionary in thinking

Sigmund Freud spent most of his life in Vienna, where, as a resident neurologist, he developed the basics of what would make a career and achieve world fame under the name of psychoanalysis. One year before his death, in 1938, he was expelled from the city, to which he had a kind of love-hate relationship and which he had once even called a "prison" because of the political situation and because he was a Jew.

"At the age of 82 I left my home in Vienna as a result of the German invasion and came to England, where I hope to end my life in freedom. My name is Sigmund Freud."

Psychoanalysis was born in 1900, when Freud published his groundbreaking work "The Interpretation of Dreams". In this basic work on psychoanalysis, Freud developed the essential elements of a theory of the unconscious, which assumes that humans, despite all acquired awareness and rationality, are desirous and fantasizing animals that always come to the fore when external censorship and prohibition barriers are lifted - for example in a dream. All that can be thought, said and acted in a dream that falls victim to the requirements of the reality principle in the waking state. With his subsequent publications, "On the Psychopathology of Everyday Life" from 1901 and "The Joke and Its Relationship to the Unconscious" from 1905, Freud consistently stayed on this track. Similar to the dream, so his postulate, the inconspicuous failures in everyday life as well as the successful joke reveal something of what drives the desiring and fantasizing animal called humans.

In the "Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie" published in 1905, Freud was able to prove that physical and psychological needs are already virulent in the child and must be described as sexual Century - proceeded. With his revolutionary innovations, Freud gained not only supporters, but also influential opponents, especially in medical circles: In 1910, the Secret Medical Councilor Wilhelm Weygandt decreed that Freud's teaching was a "matter of the police".

The real and lasting achievement of Freud lies in the fact that he did not limit the science of the unconscious to the medical-clinical aspect, but extended it to the knowledge and penetration of general cultural and social phenomena. Writings such as "Totem and Taboo", "Group Psychology and I-Analysis" and "The Discomfort in Culture", to name just the most important, bear witness in a wonderfully haunting way to the fact that human culture is based on mental attitudes that - more than we can sometimes like - are influenced by unconscious dispositions to aggression and self-destruction. However, despite all the growing interest in questions of cultural life and survival, Freud never denied the origin of psychoanalysis in medical practice. Shortly before his death in exile in London, he once again pointed out emphatically the "topsoil" from which psychoanalysis originates:

“I started my professional career as a neurologist trying to help his neurotic patients. Inspired by an older friend, I discovered some meaningful new facts about the unconscious in our lives, the role of driving forces, and so on. From these discoveries grew one new science, psychoanalysis, as part of psychology and as a new treatment for neuroses. "

Almost 70 years after his death, Freud continues to be hotly debated and argued. On the one hand, the psychoanalytic treatment method, which does not aim at rapid symptom healing, but rather at understanding and strengthening the ego, is repeatedly targeted by cost-savers in the health care system by being accused of a lack of efficiency. On the other hand, modern neuroscience, for example, discovers surprising correspondences with central assumptions of psychoanalysis and thus impressively confirms their innovative potential.

But however Freud is debated now and in the future: Without him and his work we would be, to vary a word of the writer Botho Strauss, immediately dumber.