Freuds Literary Culture (Cambridge Studies in German)

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Have these genealogists of morality up to now ever remotely dreamt that, for example, the main moral concept "Schuld" "guilt" descends from the very material concept of "Schulden" "debts"? Raskolnikov, with his "joy of the axe", was the "pale criminal" incarnate. Shortly before his departure to a Siberian prison for a double murder, he reflected: "But why do they [mother and sister] love me so much, if I don't deserve it? Oh, if only I were alone and no one loved me and I had never loved anyone!

All this would have never taken place! Astonishingly, Nietzsche read the novel if he read it at all several years after he had written the above passages. Zeitgeist, surely! The idea of becoming a criminal from a sense of guilt was also given a powerful dramatic voice by Eugene O'Neill who read both Nietzsche and Dostoevsky obsessively in his play The Iceman Cometh. Hickey kills his ever-forgiving wife Evelyn because "There is a limit to the guilt you can feel and the forgiveness and the pity you can take!

Paradoxically, provoking one's own punishment might be a way of resolving the guilt. This purification of emotions was pivotal to ancient Greek tragedy, in which a protagonist would facilitate an emotional release among the audience by inducing "pity and terror". Lehrer has traced Freud's origin of the cathartic method to Nietzsche. Now the grave events are supposed to be leading pity and terror inexorably towards relief of discharge. However, he mentions neither Aristotle nor Nietzsche, and not even Jacob Bernays.

Free Association. The method of free association became one of Freud's favourite psychoanalytic tools, being one which provided immediate access to the unconscious. It superseded hypnosis and suggestion. Attributing the inspiration to his patient Elisabeth von R.

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It is no more possible for an idea to enter consciousness without an occasion than it is for the body to be set in motion without a cause. Now this occasion is either external, and thus an impression on the senses, or internal, and hence itself again an idea which produces another idea by virtue of association. This association in turn rests either on a relation of ground and consequent between the two, or on similarity, or even on mere analogy, or finally on the simultaneity of their first apprehension; and this again can have its ground in the spatial proximity of their objects.

Pathology as a Magnification of Normality. Primary and Secondary Process Thinking.

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For Nietzsche, the dream world Dionysian , by virtue of having its roots in the primordial, was more "true" than logic and reason Apollonian. The origin of this duality goes back to Kant, who claimed that the "phenomenon" was only a construction of the human mind Schopenhauer called it representation , while the "thing-in-itself" noumenon remains undifferentiated, unknown and unknowable. Dreams are best viewed as a direct expression of Kantian noumenon, Schopenhauerian will or Nietzsche's Dionysian consciousness.

The unconscious nonverbal should thus become conscious verbal. He called it the Nirvana principle and admitted to having borrowed the term from Barbara Low. Insofar as Schopenhauer never advocated life free from stimulation, but only from desire, his argument was on a different plane. He in fact went beyond duality and proclaimed that suffering was a necessary part of joy: "For pain and pleasure are not opposites" ibid.

And: "Thus all pleasure includes pain. For Nietzsche, eradicating pain meant eradicating both pleasure and joy; hence his prescript - have more pain and more joy! On this point he radically departed from Schopenhauer and regarded his Nirvana-seeking quest as a sign of decadence. He emphasised that "everything living dies for internal reasons - becomes inorganic once again Dying is certainly to be regarded as the real aim of life; at the moment of dying, everything is decided which through the whole course of life was only prepared and introduced.

The verbal parallels speak for themselves. Why should not a bold thinker have guessed something that is afterwards confirmed by sober and painstaking detailed research?

We are not asserting that death is the only aim of life; we are not overlooking the fact that there is life as well as death. We recognize two basic instincts and give each of them its own aim. How the two of them are mingled in the process of living, how the death instinct is made to serve the purposes of Eros, especially by being turned outwards as aggressiveness - these are the tasks which are left to future investigation. Since there is no evidence that Freud did any "sober and painstaking research" on the subject, his assertion would seem purely speculative. Young and Brook have stressed that Schopenhauer had never postulated a positive drive to die, and that Freud acknowledged their similarities only at the point where they diverged.

In his film of the same title, Visconti ingeniously used Mahler's Adagietto as part of the soundtrack.

This mournful, erotic music, reminiscent of Wagner's motif of Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde, was an ultimate transmutation of Schopenhauer's idea into music. Discussion: Influence, Confluence and the Burden of Debt.

Arthur Schnitzler archive formally acquired by Cambridge University

We learn what we already know, even if subliminally. Wagner, who became besotted with Schopenhauer, made "Schopenhauerian" observations before he read his philosophy ibid. So, too, Nietzsche had reached several "Dostoevskyian" insights before he discovered Dostoevsky's writings in Freud's highly ambivalent attitude towards those who might have been seen as progenitors of his ideas led him to produce incompatible statements, perhaps even lies. And yet, he could not refrain from criticising Nietzsche for having failed "to recognise infantilism as well as the mechanism of displacement" pp.

Earlier, he confessed to Fliess: "I have just acquired Nietzsche, in whom I hope to find the words for many things which are still mute in me Fliess, February 2, ; in Mason, , p. It is difficult to believe that this voracious reader had acquired an expensive collection of Nietzsche's work only to let it sit idly on his bookshelf. Roazen suggested that Freud had a need to ascertain his right to priority, and Freud's own statement indirectly supports this:. The large extent to which psycho-analysis coincides with the philosophy of Schopenhauer - not only did he assert the dominance of the emotions and the supreme importance of sexuality but he was even aware of the mechanism of repression - is not to be traced to my acquaintance with his teaching.

I read Schopenhauer very late in my life. Nietzsche, another philosopher whose guesses and intuitions often agree in the most astonishing way with the laborious findings of psychoanalysis, was for a long time avoided by me on that very account; I was less concerned with the questions of priority than with keeping my mind unembarrassed. The old, autocratic king demanded priority of passage, and, as the younger man did not yield, he struck him with a staff.

Oedipus's subsequent impulsive killing of Laius was the reaction of a proud and hot-headed man, who then readily accepted responsibility for his actions. As a result of his own investigation and self-imposed prosecution, he lost his kingdom, because for him truth was more important than prestige or even life. Rudnytsky claimed that, in his life, Freud enacted the Oedipus complex pp. However, unlike Oedipus, Freud never attacked his "progenitors" in an open combat, but merely obliterated their existence from his theory.

Intolerant of any dissent, he ruthlessly expelled "heretics" from the Psychoanalytic Movement in a Laius-like manner. Jung recalled how Freud, when confronted with a certain uncomfortable truth, had exclaimed to him: "'But I cannot risk my authority! Fromm believed that Freud was inwardly torn between his need to be nurtured and his resentment at being dependent. Freud received adulation and privileges from his parents particularly from his mother who expected him to go far in life.

That may have been Freud's predicament. According to Freud's "seduction theory", only when the trauma of early sexual molestation usually by a father was deeply buried in the unconscious could it cause neurotic symptoms. Freud obtained his patients' confessions only with the use of this "energetic pressure".

Yet, as he abandoned the theory, and put it on its head by creating the Oedipus complex, he blamed his patients for lying to him. For a full discussion of this see Cioffi's Was Freud a Liar? Despite an undeniable proclivity for speculation, Freud had a burning ambition to conquer the world as a scientist, in the manner of Darwin as implied by his dream upon entering England in in which he saw himself as William the Conqueror.

Yet, his scientific aptitude was not that of Darwin, and, despite numerous nominations for the Nobel Prize in science, he was never awarded this Stolt, Simultaneously, Freud wished to be remembered by posterity as an unassailable "solver of riddles", a heroic, lone begetter of a new school of thought, and he managed to persuade a considerable number of followers that he was.

However, his philosophising abilities were not in the league of Schopenhauer or Nietzsche, and by acknowledging his debt to them he may have felt obliged to enter into a philosophical debate. From such a confrontation, Freud was unlikely to have emerged victorious. He wrote to Fliess perspicaciously:. I am not really a man of science, not an observer, not an experimenter, and not a thinker. I am nothing but by temperament a conquistador - an adventurer if you want to translate the word - with the curiosity, the boldness, and the tenacity that belongs to that type of being.

Such people are apt to be treasured if they succeed, if they have discovered something; otherwise they are thrown aside. And that is not altogether unjust.

Freud's literary culture

Freud to W. Fliess, February 1, ; in Mason, , p. Many parallels presented in this essay are too specific to be a consequence of the Zeitgeist alone. Let us briefly consider cryptomnesia as offering a possible explanation. This is a phenomenon of a long forgotten memory re-emerging into consciousness, yet being perceived as new and original. A disturbing image of a figure descending into a hellish volcano appears in both texts, with some identical verbal expressions. But the source of that image may be traced even further.

While Nietzsche had unconsciously reproduced an image, Freud would have had to unconsciously reproduce a whole array of complex, abstract concepts.


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This looks improbable. While Jung had no opportunity to confirm directly with Nietzsche the source of his volcano image, those who questioned Freud about his philosophical sources met with a vehement denial. One is tempted to paraphrase Freud's beloved poet and say that the gentleman protested too much.

It is impossible to prove "beyond any reasonable doubt" Freud's indebtedness to Schopenhauer and Nietzsche; one can only draw tentative conclusions "on the balance of probabilities".

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