william.scherk

From the master of Freud debunkers, the book that definitively puts an end to the myth of psychoanalysis and its creator

Since the 1970s, Sigmund Freud’s scientific reputation has been in an accelerating tailspin―but nonetheless the idea persists that some of his contributions were visionary discoveries of lasting value. Now, drawing on rarely consulted archives, Frederick Crews has assembled a great volume of evidence that reveals a surprising new Freud: a man who blundered tragicomically in his dealings with patients, who in fact never cured anyone, who promoted cocaine as a miracle drug capable of curing a wide range of diseases, and who advanced his career through falsifying case histories and betraying the mentors who had helped him to rise. The legend has persisted, Crews shows, thanks to Freud’s fictive self-invention as a master detective of the psyche, and later through a campaign of censorship and falsification conducted by his followers.

A monumental biographical study and a slashing critique, Freud: The Making of an Illusion will stand as the last word on one of the most significant and contested figures of the twentieth century.

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Message added by william.scherk

Reading: Freud, the Making of an Illusion

I've mentioned the author Frederick Crews a few times on OL** ... and now I am ploughing steadily through his book "Freud, the Making of an Illusion."  

It's the kind of book people reserve the word 'magisterial' for, so far.  The subject is Freud's story-telling, in essence, and the divergence from the actualities. Crew is the first to exploit the new availability of previously censored or suppressed materials.  He has previously rubbished mythic Freud in some earlier work referred to by the lesser term "tour-de-force."

What will appeal to the Objectivist or Objectivish is the hard line, the hard line for reality trumping bullshit.  Crews was the first to achieve a kind of encyclopedic knowledge of the Freudian-derived Recovered Memory movement and its associated Satanic Ritual Abuse allegations, trials and injustices. He was able to 'wrap it up' like a good prosecutor, with an at-my-fingertips-knowledge of what went down where and when and how and why.

A good taste of what would be to come were you to purchase or borrow the book comes from its Preface, which I quote from (you can also Look Inside at Amazon):

Among historical figures, Sigmund Freud ranks with Shakespeare and Jesus of Nazareth for the amount of attention bestowed upon him by scholars and commentators. Unlike them, he left behind thousands of documents that show what he was doing and thinking from adolescence until his death at age 83. Although many of those records were placed under lengthy restriction by followers who felt both financial and emotional incentives to idealize him, that blackout has at least partially expired by now. More revelations will emerge, but they are unlikely to alter the outlines of Freud's conduct and beliefs as they appear in the most responsible recent studies.

[...]

Of course, hardcore partisans can be counted upon to dismiss this book as an extended exercise in Freud-bashing -- a notion that gets invoked whenever the psychoanalytic legend of lonely and heroic discovery is challenged. To call someone a Freud basher is at once to Shield Freud's theory from skeptical examination and to shift the focus, as Freud himself so often did, from objective issues to the supposedly twisted mind of the critic. Like other aspects of Freudolatry, the charge of Freud bashing deserves to be retired at last. The best way to accomplish that end, however, is just to display the actual record of Freud's doings and to weigh that record by an appeal to consensual standards of judgment.

_________________________________

**

  1. totalismCult Warning Signs

    william.scherk posted a blog entry in Friends and Foes

    ...One of the many astute chroniclers of this time wasFrederick Crews, whose "The Memory Wars" still stands out above the rest. I note in passing his most recent book, a stunning tour de force in my opinion. See Freud: The Making of an Illusion. I have mentioned his work a couple of times here...
  2. william.scherk

    Solving a Puzzle-- Understanding Some People's Reactions

    william.scherk replied to Philip Coates's topic in Objectivist Living Room

    ...ThenFrederick Crews saved me. He let me see that crashing through the Dominant Discourse of Freudian Bullshit was a dangerous job. Those who had peddled that shit all the years were deadly opposed to being pushed off their thrones, their departmental thrones, their kingdoms of influence and tenure...
  3. william.scherk

    Emotions as products of Ideas

    william.scherk commented on nealelehman's blog entry in neale's Blog

    ...readFrederick Crews on Freud/psychoanalysis, anything you can get by Allen Esterson, Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, Frank Cioffi, and the very interesting current-philosophical-outrages site Butterflies and Wheels , a British site that is part of my regular reading. My favourite living philosopher is Susa...

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5 minutes ago, KorbenDallas said:

No need, you've posted your ideas and you're entitled to them.

No, I've presented a criticism of Rand's ideas. You clearly don't grasp it.

J

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13 minutes ago, Jonathan said:

See, the deal is that, just because Rand said it, and you've uncritically accepted it

Wrong!  Jonathan, how in the world are you pretending to know whether I did or did not "uncritically accept" it?  LOL!!  :lol:

Wait, double LOL!!  :lol::lol:

You don't!  Wait, triple LOL!!! :lol::lol::lol:

17 minutes ago, Jonathan said:

In fact, the criticism that I brought up is a very common one, and it represents pretty basic stuff that Rand and her circle obviously overlooked.

So, again, address the issue. Right now, it appears that you're not even grasping it, despite its incredible simplicity.

LOL!!  Oh I get it, you disagree with the premise, and I understand your disagreement.  (I have heard it before, LOL!)

Damn you're funny!

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1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

This particular case you want to gotcha about involves causality and the law of identity. The concept that something cannot have a continuation without having a start is very simple. Resist it if you will. It will still exist.

I will not defend something so simple any further.

But what makes you think I'd disagree with that? I only say that such a triviality is not relevant in this discussion. You could as well say "A is A", well so what?

 

1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Sounds like Ayn Rand with cigarettes causing cancer.

How do you condemn one without condemning the other? Certainly not with consistency of principle.

Of course I'd condemn both. So?

 

1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Try to use the falsifiability system on evolution and see how far it gets you. It gets you the same results as falsifying religion. That is, nowhere.

Oh, but evolution could in principle be falsified. That this so far never has happened is very strong evidence for the correctness of the theory. You shouldn't believe what creationists say...

See for example:

https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Falsifiability_of_evolution

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13675-evolution-myths-evolution-cannot-be-disproved/

https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/07/09/what-would-disprove-evolution/

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00045845

1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

See, here is where we have a problem from different thinking systems. The bulk of your post is ad hominem (in the strict sense, not the rhetorical one generally thrown about). You condemn Freud as a quack. Period. That is your answer to all ideas about him. And you back it up with anecdotes and other items that throw his character in a bad light. The few ideas you discuss are ones nobody takes seriously anymore but even then, they are to show that Freud was a quack. OK. That's your opinion and way of reasoning about it.

What you call anecdotes are verified historical facts, many from Freud's own letters to his fiancée (quite revealing, and therefore longtime suppressed) , his publications, and letters and publications of contemporaries. It is no tabloid gossip, as sometimes is suggested. But, as I wrote before, the central point is that he either lied about his treatment of certain patients, or even made up stories out of whole cloth, but did use those stories as evidence for his theories. That is what makes him a quack, even if his theories might accidentally be correct (never mind that the probability of that is quite low). It may be good fiction, but it isn’t science. For that matter, Freud was certainly a gifted writer, his Die Traumdeutung and his Zur Psychopathologie des Alltagslebens I’ve read many times, it makes fascinating reading, although I’d now have more problems with his tricks and deception. An artist, but not a scientist.

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2 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Just as a curiosity, do you have a link or something? I have not seen anyone call Crews a raving lunatic and I find it hard to imagine. So I would like to see it if possible.

No, it isn't a literal quote, just my impression from the many negative reviews I found on the Internet.

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1 hour ago, Jonathan said:

Yeah, so are you going address the substance of the criticism? No? Just gonna LOL and triple LOL?

You have nothing.

J

You forgot double LOL!!!  :lol::lol:

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I just noticed this from the opening post (which the forum software does not allow you to automatically quote for some reason).

Quoting William quoting Crews, from the Preface of "Freud, the Making of an Illusion."

Quote

Among historical figures, Sigmund Freud ranks with Shakespeare and Jesus of Nazareth for the amount of attention bestowed upon him by scholars and commentators.

Oh, for God's sake.

Scholars and commentators have given the same amount of attention to Freud as they have given to Jesus and Shakespeare?

On what planet has this happened? Certainly not here on earth...

Talk about hype.

Just look at that quote. There's a whopper of an illusion right there.

I think it's rotten marketing to start a book about debunking someone by presenting a claim as fact when it is so easy to debunk it. Not only that, it's a hell of a demonstration of corrupted academic standards.

Michael

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5 hours ago, Jonathan said:

If one isn't already thinking and focused, how does one "volitionally switch on" thinking and focus?

J

I've also always wondered about that. Stranger still that some people don't see the problem with that.

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3 hours ago, Max said:

Max,

Good God.

A screed against creationism?

Who the hell cares about creationism?

Can't they just do it through the lens of falsification and only that?

This thing is shot through with errors. Here's a hint. A correct prediction about something is falsified when the same prediction also fails, irrespective of the number of times. A prediction that is generally true (but not always) has been falsified. Period. Going yada yada yada mumble mumble mumble creationism yada yada yada every other sentence is not a good argument for unfalsified predictions concerning evolution.

But I value predictions that are generally true, so I use a different standard in those cases.

I didn't look at the other links due to the poor quality of this one.

This stuff is long and life is short...

Michael

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7 hours ago, Jonathan said:

So, you're saying that the "switch" was already on? As in automatically? But then, what, the person volitionally turns it on again, even though it's already on?

Do you understand the contradiction now? If not, you should think about it a bit more. Focus harder.

Let's review:

Tony said that "Switching on thinking and focus is volitional..."

That means that one chooses to think and focus. But in order to choose, one must already be thinking, and walso focused, about the subject of whether to choose to think and focus or not. And if one is already thinking and focused, prior to making the conscious, volitional choice to think and focus, then, therefore, thinking and focusing would be automatic, and not volitional.

So, I replied, "If one isn't already thinking and focused, how does one 'volitionally switch on' thinking and focus?"

Then you piped in with an answer that reveals that you didn't understand the gist of the question. Your response doesn't answer the question.

J

It is what you choose to think about and the level of focus that you bring to a situation. You don't turn these on and off through a mental process. If you are awake they are on.

I don't care what Objectivism reportedly says about these.

--Brant

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14 hours ago, Max said:

Try to use the falsifiability system on evolution and see how far it gets you. It gets you the same results as falsifying religion. That is, nowhere.

Why should the notion of falsifiability you get nowhere in the case of evolution? The only people I know who raise the question of falsifiability and evolution are creationists - they maintain often that evolution is not falsifiable, of course as an argument against evolution. Biologists know that evolution is perfectly falsifiable, only it has never been falsified, to the great regret of the creationists. The links I gave are refutations of the creationist claim that evolution is not falsifiable, with examples of possible falsifications. 

 

10 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

This thing is shot through with errors

Could you please show us what some of these errors are? And please a bit more specific than just "mumble yada".

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16 hours ago, KorbenDallas said:

You forgot double LOL!!!  :lol::lol:

Hahahaha!!!! :lol::lol::lol::lol: Tee hee hee!!! Quadruple LOL!!!

INFINITY LOL!!!!!!

Yay, I win!!!!

And still no substance from Korben.

J

P.S. Heh, and I see that bitter racist Carol had to show her support of Korben's infantilism with an emoji. Boy, that'll show me!

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16 hours ago, Max said:

I've also always wondered about that. Stranger still that some people don't see the problem with that.

Ya know, it's really not that strange. I've seen a lot of people unable to recognize really obvious contradictions when Rand was the one who came up with them. For example, there were some people over at the Pigero site (maybe including James Valiant?) who couldn't wrap their heads around the idea that it was contradictory for Rand to have said that art can't serve a utilitarian function, but that architecture, which serves a utilitarian function, nevertheless qualifies as art, and also her view that art is a re-creation of reality, but that architecture is a valid art form even though her view was that it "does not re-create reality."

Their position was that those are not contradictions, and that I would have to do quite a lot of fancy philosophical footwork to show how they might vaguely be considered somewhat similar to contradictions.

J

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Yup. A little revision is in order. Those interested should hear the full lecture below from Branden to get on board with "a volitional consciousness". First hear, comprehend and then discount it and ignore it all you like, afaic. I recommend this especially to those who think they know it well, everyone's prone to forgetfulness, perhaps giving them a fresh perspective -  most of those of skeptical mindsets will go on doing what they do best and can't do otherwise...

 

 

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25 minutes ago, anthony said:

Yup. A little revision is in order. Those interested should hear the full lecture below from Branden to get on board with "a volitional consciousness". Hear, comprehend and then discount it and ignore it all you like, afaic. I recommend this especially to those who think they know it well, everyone's prone to forgetfulness, perhaps giving them a fresh perspective - I predict the skeptics will go on doing what they do best and can't do otherwise...

 

 

???

Who are you talking about?

Instead of posting a vid and asking people to find your argument somewhere in it, why not just post your argument? Sum it up in a nutshell.

See, the problem is that there have been way too many times that I've experienced on O-forums that someone posts a link or a vid to piles of info or hours of footage, and asks readers to go find the argument. It's usually a wild goose chase. The point being argued at the forum is not covered in the thicket of material.

If you have something to say, then say it. I'm not going to listen to a vid for an hour and a half while trying to interpret what Nat is saying in the way that you might interpret it, or misinterpret it, or guess at how you might imagine how what he's saying answers any questions that have been asked here.

In short, if you have a position to take, then take it and support it. I'm not at all interested, not in the slightest, of guessing what your position is and doing your work of supporting your argument.

J

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Michael, An interesting snippet I found recently in an essay by one Matt McManus (In Merion West - "a View from the Left"):

"The world is not becoming meaningless; it is becoming so saturated with symbolism that meaning itself no longer means anything. Substance had now given way to triumphant form".

You might appreciate this (bearing upon politics and politicians, society, media, and certainly upon epistemologies and ethics). I don't agree with McManus' conclusions much, but the above is some good thinking. Style winning over substance, in effect. 

Briefly for me, and I gather in Objectivism, "meaning" - that eternally-looked for Holy Grail - is combined *identity + value*, found, of course, individually. But the "meaning" so craved by mankind should - to most - appear 'perfectly' and effortlessly in order to 'mean' anything. And, given to one by -- you name it: religion, the state, the group, etc.

So it seems to me "meaning" has already become unmoored from identification. Much worse, symbolism the substitute for it, is drifting further away from meaning. The superficial appearance of things, the style, a manner, metaphor and symbol no longer serve to just add a fresh, picturesque insight to aid identification, conceptual thinking and communication -- it has become the main thing (and people feel "meaningful", moral, safe and secure in this fake, symbolic reality). 

[Added by WSS October 6 2018: click and go image link for Tony's reference]

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Edited by william.scherk

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Still chugging along with the Crews book.  I can entertain a few shitty-but-thoughtful reviews, since at least one I have come across kind of mirrors an aspect of Michael's critique (although of course, Michael hasn't read the book and does not intend to) -- an unrelenting narrative hostility. 

I will add an excerpt from that review, but first a positive review from the Washington Times: 'Freud: The making of an illusion' by Frederick Crews. The author of the review is Aram Bakshian Jr.

Quote

If there is anything to the theory of reincarnation, Sigmund Freud must have been Moby Dick in a past life and his most recent biographer, Frederick Crews, was probably Captain Ahab.

Mr. Crews plies his harpoon to great effect and readers who make it all the way through his 746-page, tightly reasoned, thoroughly documented and crisply written indictment of the Great White Whale of psychoanalysis will come away wondering at how Sigmund Freud could excel as a marketer of such shoddy psychological merchandise while admitting to confidants that most of his clients were past curing and mainly of interest to him as lab specimens.[...]

Many of Freud’s colleagues “had been shocked at his willingness to keep affluent patients in treatment for as long as five years without signs of consistent improvement. And he made no secret, among his friends, that he wanted his professorship chiefly in order to attract high-paying clients and to raise his fees.” Four years of meandering couch conversations cost one wealthy patient what would today amount to half a million euros, with Freud also urging the man to give him a valuable gift in order to “keep his feeling of gratitude from becoming too strong.”

After losing his first fortune during World War I, from 1919 onward Freud made a point of “accepting only clients who could pay him in inflation-resistant currencies (the dollar was especially strong), and hiding his earnings from the tax authorities.” He may have respected the Yankee dollar, but “Freud’s hatred of the United States was sharpened, not alleviated, by his acceptance of well-off American clients. he found Americans grievously lacking in respect for class distinctions.”

If Freud can be forgiven for dissing his cash cows even as he milked them, his irresponsible turn-of-the-century touting of cocaine as a new miracle drug is inexcusable. By the mid-1880s, he had concluded that almost everything went better with coke. In at least one case, his “therapy” of prescribing consumption of cocaine as a cure for a patient’s morphine habit left his hapless victim suffering from two addictions instead of just one.

At times a heavy user of the stuff himself, some of the notions Freud came up with during what might be called his Cocaine Period “give off a ‘druggy’ air of strangeness,” not least his assertion that “[t]he use of a condom is evidence of weak potency; being something analogous to masturbation, it is a continuous causation of melancholia.” Put that in your crack pipe and smoke it.

[...]

Again and again, Sigmund Freud projected his own obsessions and fixations onto others, tampered with the evidence and then presented his pre-existing biases as scientifically proven fact. He was talented, articulate and always kept his eyes on the prize: a proto L. Ron Hubbard with a bigger audience and a broader intellect, a cult leader whose mumbo-jumbo message is still taken seriously by a lot of troubled souls today.

The best remedy, writes Mr. Crews, “is just to display the record of Freud’s doings.” In “Freud: The Making of an Illusion” he does so, strapping Sigmund Freud to his own couch with devastating results.

• Aram Bakshian Jr., an aide to Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan, writes widely on politics, history, gastronomy and the arts.
 

I am thinking of lists, again!  Of the list heading, "Should I Read This Book?"  I put under the NO column, Darrell, Michael, Brant, Jonathan and Tony.  Corrections gratefully accepted.

It is very interesting to hear so much opinion on the 'legacies' of Freud, especially as mediated through the lens of Objectivism/Objectivish thought. I hope to get around to answering some salient points here and there, but as with most of my hopes, it may not come to pass.

One request going forward -- please try to keep "personal invective" to the lowest level, if you can.   I hesitate to go all Moderator on anybody in particular, but I am fighting the urge to delete without warning shitty personal attacks that have fuck all to do with the book or Freud.  Fair? Unfair? Neurotic?  Projecting? Murmurs from the Unconscious? Hysteria?  Cocaine fantasies?  Only your hairdresser knows for sure ...

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A wax likeness of Austrian founder of the psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud sits in Berlin's Madame Tussaud's wax museum, during a press preview of the museum on July 3, 2008. The museum opens to the public on July 5.      AFP PHOTO  DDP/ CLEMENS BILAN         GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read CLEMENS BILAN/AFP/Getty Images)

GETTY IMAGES
A wax likeness of Austrian founder of the psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud sits in Berlin's Madame Tussaud's wax museum, during a press preview of the museum on July 3, 2008. The museum opens to the public on July 5. AFP PHOTO DDP/ CLEMENS BILAN GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read CLEMENS BILAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Point number 85:  What is 'truthful hyperbole'?  Unanswered query number 665:  "Has anyone read Freud's case study of 'Dora'? [Fragments of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria]

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1 hour ago, william.scherk said:

I am thinking of lists, again!  Of the list heading, "Should I Read This Book?"  I put under the NO column, Darrell, Michael, Brant, Jonathan...

Huh? What am I being grouped in with and pre-accused of? Why?

J

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I am not so churlish or arrogant of habit to dismiss and forget to review critical comments. Some strong points made here turned me loose -- reading hills to climb, research path to hack out, a non-musical 'song of inquiry' to winnow a theme and provide refrains.

What? I don't always respond to posted comments that spur  |cognition, not immediately, anyway. Sometimes two topic threads will combine in my mind. This one, for example, made me think about missing lenses and concepts that are active in the Story Wars thread, and I also connected back to issues of metaphor, analogical reasoning, and fallacy tests.

That is kinda vague, so I'll just poke in a link or two, some of my audio review material and a quote/dictation from the book. The most marvelous chapter for me so far (I do jump about) is in Part Four | Playing Doctor, chapter 14. "Medicine Man," but my presentism quote comes from much earlier.

Theme song: StoryWars-mp3 

Metaphorical / analogical reasoning: A, B, C, D
Negative/challenging commentary/reviews or critical reviews of Crew's book/Freud bios/hagiography: A, B, C, D, E
Presentism (in Philosophy, Cosmology, History): A, B, C, D
Fallacy determination: A, B, C
 

[Dictated and redacted] "When judging Freud's pronouncements about cocaine, however, it will be important to keep at bay anachronistic judgements deriving from the modern cocaine plague. In the closing decades of the nineteenth century there were no statutes banning or even regulating the sale or consumption of cocaine in Austria or anywhere else, and its most concentrated forms, crack and freebase, where as yet unknown. In the United States, low-grade cocaine was being added to soda pop, cigars, and cigarettes, consumed as a general tonic, and prescribed to ease hay fever, sinusitis, and even teething. Meanwhile, one cocaine-laced wine, Vin Mariani, in circulation since the 1860s, was still being consumed internationally in the first years of the new century. It's devotees included President McKinley, sore Alexander II of Russia, and Queen Victoria, and it was endorsed in advertisements by Pope Leo XIII, who was said to carry it everywhere in a hip flask. Footnote 15 hahaha"  pp 62-63.

 

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