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Freud and Pavlov


Steve Sailer posted an item on Freud, and my short comment in reply grew too long, so here it is as a very brief post.

Here are some quick reflections. I think that commentator Discordiax is right that the First World War is part of the explanation for the rise of Freudianism. “Thoughts for the Times on War and Death” had a big impact. Freud was a good essayist, and gave an explanation of sorts for a catastrophic event. He linked sharp observation with an attractive, all purpose hydraulic system, in which pressure which did not come out of one pipe had to come out from another. Pavlov, on the other hand, who was a real experimentalist, used the telephone exchange analogy, which was far better.

So why is Pavlov nowhere in comparison? The answer was that he was a real scientist (Nobel for Physiology) and reading science is hard. You have to know stuff. Most of us read Einstein and then struggle somewhat, but we know it led to a bomb, and some other stuff (satnavs in part). He keeps being proved right.

With Marx and Freud you can go anywhere. They defy falsification.

The really interesting question is why New York, Chicago, Buenos Aires and one part of North London still worship the Freudian flame. More of that later.

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  1. FKA Max says:

    Here another potential explanation:

    Albert Einstein, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud Exposed!

    More details here:

    • Replies: @FKA Max
  2. FKA Max says:
    @FKA Max

    A related comment of mine from a couple months back:

    FKA Max
    July 5, 2016 – 11:46 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Mr. Durocher.

    Selective skepticism/criticism is very common in Jews.

    I shared this article about Einstein’s selective skepticism/criticism on TOO before:

    The Myth of Consistent Skepticism: The Cautionary Case of Albert Einstein

    Born would later comment that most people in the West at the time believed the trials “to be the arbitrary acts of a cruel dictator.” Einstein, however, relied upon information from people he described as “those who know Russia best.”

    The important point, however, is that Einstein’s positive beliefs toward the Soviet Union did not change as substantial information came forth demonstrating that the Soviet Union was a totalitarian state that did not tolerate political liberty. Einstein was never shy about judging capitalism or Nazism by their deeds and actions instead of their rhetoric. He did not apply this standard to the Soviet Union. A consistent skeptic would not use double standards to evaluate different forms of governments.

    There is another rather obscure case of this type of selective Jewish skepticism/criticism, that was quite interesting to me, and might also interest some other TOO readers.

    Paul Edwards (born Paul Eisenstein) was very critical/skeptical of gentile reincarnation researcher Ian Stevenson’s work

    Edwards was highly skeptical of claims regarding reincarnation.[8] He was the author of the book Reincarnation: A Critical Examination (1996), which is notable for criticizing the cases collected by Ian Stevenson. The book has received positive reviews.[9][10][11]

    But curiously enough, he tried to protect the legacy and legitimacy of his fellow Jew, the quack Wilhelm Reich, by omitting Reich’s research on orgone, etc., in an article about Reich:

    Edwards said that when he arrived in New York in 1947 Wilhelm Reich was “the talk of the town” and that for years he and his friends regarded Reich as “something akin to a messiah”: “There was … a widespread feeling that Reich had an original and penetrating insight into the troubles of the human race.”[12] Twenty years later, as editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Edwards wrote an article about Reich, comprising 11 pages as compared to the four devoted to Freud. He pointed out what is of interest to philosophers in Reich: his views concerning the origin of religious and metaphysical needs, the relation between the individual and society and the possibility of social progress, and, above all, the implications of his psychiatry for certain aspects of the mind-body problem. An abridged version of the article appeared in the Encyclopedia of Unbelief (ed. Gordon Stein, 1985).

    Edwards omitted Reich’s orgone therapy from the Encyclopedia article because, he said, “it is of no philosophical interest.” But in a BBC interview he said somewhat more: “I concede that Reich had no real competence as a physicist… At the same time I am quite convinced that the orgone theory cannot be complete nonsense. For a number of years, largely out of curiosity, I sat in an orgone accumulator once a day.”[12]

  3. Paolo says:

    I visited Sigmund (later Anna) Freud’s house in North London last year. It did have the feel of a shrine. More poignantly, knowing about his last minute escape from Austria and his inability to clearly see the mad menace that was Nazism rising around him, made reading his essays on what is necessary for civilisation extremely pertinent, given current trends in Europe. Those essays do remain interesting, even if now we would think more in terms of teaching affect regulation skills rather than managing ‘drives’.

    Visiting the psychoanalytic bookshop around the corner was also poignant. Many of the books there are now completely impenetrable to all but acolytes (and I have trained in both Psychology and Child Psychotherapy).

    • Replies: @James Thompson
    , @fitzGetty
  4. @Paolo

    It is a lovely house, and I found it an emotional place to visit. I have done two television interviews sitting on Freud’s couch for about an hour each time, a strange experience. Good collection of Egyptian artefacts, and also a poignant little room where he had his cancerous jaw attended to every week. Auden’s poem about him is a great memorial “an important Jew who died in exile”.

    No wonder the ancient cultures of conceit
    in his technique of unsettlement foresaw
    the fall of princes, the collapse of
    their lucrative patterns of frustration:

  5. fitzGetty says:

    … and, not far away, is the ghastly ash jar …

  6. Freud plays a part in the series of mysteries set in Vienna by Frank Tallis. Recommended.

  7. Psychology and psychiatry both being the epitome of BS and pure nonsense.
    Shrinks are a scourge of mankind with their maniacal theories being used in court decisions causing more grief than can be presented here.

    “Repressed memories” of events, incidents which never happened in order to separate fathers from their children after a bitter divorce fight, and on and on.

    My last surviving Childhood/teenage buddy was a clinical psychologist working with one of the most troubled jail systems in the US.
    He told me thirty years ago that nothing, but nothing of psychological theory enabled him to get through to the human wrecks incarcerated there, and my reply was “did you ever consider that the flaw just may lie with Psychology itself, and not with the folks it is supposed to aid, ” His reply was laughter.

    Authenticjazzman “Mensa” society member of forty-plus years and pro jazz artist.

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
    , @FKA Max
  8. @Authenticjazzman

    Jazz Baby, with that comment, you may be a genius after all!!

    With Marx and Freud you can go anywhere. They defy falsification.

    There must be a G-wd!!!

    Freud and Marx were frauds to the max. Definitely world-class bullshitters and Marx not only admitted it, but bragged about it! I don’t know if Freud did, but I have little doubt he’s laughing in his grave about all the suckers he duped.

    Here’s Marx bragging about it.

    “ It’s possible that I shall make an ass of myself. But in that case one can always get out of it with a little dialectic. I have, of course, so worded my proposition as to be right either way.”

    Karl Marx, Letter to Friedrich Engels, dated 15 August 1857

    Here he is mocking the gulls.

    “The compromise with the followers of Lassalle has also led to compromises with other half-baked elements, but also with a whole gang of immature students and overly wise PhDs who want to give a ‘higher, ideal’ twist to socialism, i.e. to replace its materialistic foundation through modern mythology with their goddesses of Justice, Liberty, Equality and fraternite [brotherhood] …. The workers themselves, when they give up working and become professional literati like Mr. Most and his ilk, always incite ‘theoretical’ trouble and are always ready to attach themselves to muddleheads from the alleged ‘learned’ caste.”

    – Karl Marx to Friedrich Adolph Sorge, Letter 19 October 1877)

    Ex-Bolshie, Bella Dodd remarked…

    Earl Browder and other Party leaders were warning Union leaders not to regard Marxism as dogmatic, but as flexible in meeting new situations. As a matter of fact, this literature sometimes seemed a handicap, cluttered as it was with double talk used purposely by Marx and Lenin.

    -Bella Dodd, School of Darkness Chap 8

    • Replies: @Uebersetzer
  9. FKA Max says:

    Professionals: What do you do if you learn your patient is likely a Psychopath?

    For each item, assessors — psychologists or psychiatrists — assign a score of zero (the item doesn’t apply), one (the item applies in some respects), or two (the item applies in most respects). The maximum possible score is forty, and the boundary for clinical psychopathy hovers around thirty. Last year, the average score for all incarcerated male offenders in North America was 23.3. Hare guesses his own score would be about four or five. […]

    He calls them “subclinical” psychopaths. They’re the charming predators who, unable to form real emotional bonds, find and use vulnerable women for sex and money (and inevitably abandon them). They’re the con men like Christophe Rocancourt, and they’re the stockbrokers and promoters who caused Forbes magazine to call the Vancouver Stock Exchange (now part of the Canadian Venture Exchange) the scam capital of the world. (Hare has said that if he couldn’t study psychopaths in prisons, the Vancouver Stock Exchange would have been his second choice.) […]

    So many of these awkward questions would vanish if only there were a functioning treatment program for psychopathy. But there isn’t. In fact, several studies have shown that existing treatment makes criminal psychopaths worse. In one, psychopaths who underwent social-skills and anger-management training before release had an 82 percent reconviction rate. Psychopaths who didn’t take the program had a 59 percent reconviction rate. Conventional psychotherapy starts with the assumption that a patient wants to change, but psychopaths are usually perfectly happy as they are. They enrol in such programs to improve their chances of parole. “These guys learn the words but not the music,” Hare says. “They can repeat all the psychiatric jargon — ‘I feel remorse,’ they talk about the offence cycle — but these are words, hollow words.”

  10. pyrrhus says:

    Yes, Freud essentially spun easily understood fairy tales. But as many people in the field are aware, many of his fairy tales were used to cover up the epidemic of adults in Vienna and elsewhere having sex with children, including Freud’s mentor, who asserted that the children wanted it….So Freud is not a harmless figure, even apart from the financial harm his nonsense exacted on patients.

  11. @jacques sheete

    Marx was having a pop at the followers of Most, an early German anarchist theoretician and incidentally a pioneer of propaganda of the deed (Most’s followers were partial to dynamite, then a new invention).
    I don’t regard soured ex-Communists of the postwar Red Scare like Dodd as slamdunks, as there was a fair amount of charlatanry to be found in their ranks. The FBI paid out a lot of money to them, and for example one of them, Louis Budenz, a former editor of the CP daily, would suddenly “remember” that X was a Communist he had known if the FBI prodded him, even though he had failed to mention X in earlier testimony.

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