Wednesday 21 September 2022

Freudianism in the USA, and its enduring harm to global public discourse (including the Secular Right, 'manosphere' and 'Trad' Christians)

Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis was mainly adopted in the USA, where it soon permeated almost the entirety of social discourse - and did immense and lasting harm. 

Of course, few people have ever been-through anything like a full 'analysis' - i.e. an hour, three times a week for several or many years, done by an accredited analyst who had himself been analyzed.

(Except for Freud himself. Founders of initiatory organizations, somehow, themselves never require the prolonged and systematic they require of their followers. Rudolf Steiner was the same in this regard. I suppose this exemplifies Weber's discussion of charisma and bureaucracy, and how the one invariably assimilates to the other.) 

But a very high proportion of people in the USA, especially among the ruling and professional classes, have spent significant time in 'therapy' of one sort or another; and all these therapies are more-or-less-closely descended from Freud in terms of their broad assumptions, and effects

(e.g. In a month at a medical school in Texas, I met only one person who had Not experienced psychotherapy.) 

All sorts of aspects of psychoanalysis became embedded in US life. For example, the idea of psychological 'traumas' being The cause of 'problems' later - this assumption forms the basis of most modern biographies. 

Or, the 'confessional' way of interacting; whereby people 'spill the beans' about themselves, their history and their feelings, as a major mode of social interaction, even among strangers - and the assumption that Not to do this is unhealthy: storing-up problems for the future. 

Extending from this, is the notion that 'repressing' any feeling does harm, whereby expressing it - doing it - is healthy and a sign of good adjustment. This, especially and above all, in the realm of sex and sexuality; where in fact the anti-Freudian idea is that desires need to be 'acted-out' rather than being purely articulated and discussed. 

('Strict' Freudian analysis takes places entirely within the consultation room.) 

The archetypical American extraversion and action-orientation thereby fused with Freud's abstract intellectualism, to produce a kind of public and explicit drama from the (all-but endless) speaking and listening, thinking and discussing of strict psychoanalysis. 

Consequently, psychoanalysis and 'therapy' of all kinds became, in the USA, heavily sexualized - with sexual relationships between therapists and clients almost normal, certainly unremarkable. 

More generally, psychoanalysis led to the idea that 'it's good to talk', to interact, to socialize, to have lots and lots of 'friends'; and that these friends are (primarily) 'supportive'  and 'encouraging' in terms of their comments.

And the flipside of this has been first to 'problematize' and then to punish the opposite: i.e. comments - or facial expressions - that make people 'feel bad'. Leading onto the ludicrous discourse of 'micro-aggressions' being developed, taken seriously; and then deployed as a core political weapon. 

Similarly, the culture of 'analysis' and 'therapy' created and sustained the discourse and legislation based on 'unconscious racism' (or sexism, or *phobias) - which is posited as the primary cause of any difference in outcomes that disfavour an officially-privileged (i.e. officially labelled 'oppressed') group. This represents Freud's 'unconscious'; literalized and weaponized for social control.  

Therefore, we can see that Freud was the origin of the New Left, with its psychological focus and (racial, sexual, etc.) 'victim groups'; which - from the middle 1960s - displaced the Old Left (which had been rooted in economics and class analysis). 

The US way of understanding was quickly (almost instantly) exported to the rest of the world, mainly by domination of mass media, but also by the US status of political hegemony.  

These and other themes were generated in the USA in the wake of the Freudian cultural-takeover back in the middle twentieth century. Freudian ideas (in culturally-adapted forms), in fact, became metaphysical assumptions: basic assumptions regarding the nature of reality - in particular the human condition. 

Mainstream US life came to be rooted in the atheism, materialism, psychologism derived from Freud and therapy; combined with a hedonism (or utilitarianism) the Americans added to it. 

This means that the framework of modern mass media - from news stories to movies and TV drama, and the interactions of social media - substantially dictates the approved content, and the status hierarchies.

(And these are sustained and manipulated - for Their own ends - by those with power, naturally.)  

This began the process we now see at an advanced and degenerate stage of evolved corruption. Psychologism 'infects' many areas of American discourse; even among those who regard themselves as on The Right or at least against The Left - even among Christians!

For example; the current (weird) 'manosphere' obsessions with the 'socio-sexual hierarchies' (alpha, beta, gamma men, and so forth); or the endless discussion of blue, red, black and white 'pills'... indeed much of the everyday discussion in this general corner of the internet, and among 'trad' Christians of several denominations and churches... 

Yet these discourses are derived from that same toxic set of attitudes and concepts that - broadly - evolved from Freudian psychoanalysis. 

They are, indeed, instances of Residual Unresolved Positivism - and thus also of Residual Unresolved Leftism - and they work-against Christianity at a structural, metaphysical level

Serious Christians would, I believe, be well-advised to recognize the malign roots of these ultimately New Left discourses; and to identify, and repent, their own impulse to engage in such thinking and interaction.    


Lady Mermaid said...

Francis Berger hit the nail on the head when he stated the Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx have done more damage to the West than the two world wars combined. We largely have Freud to thank for destroying same sex friendships. It used to be that two people of the same sex could show great affection and even live together w/o being considered to be homosexual. Freud popularized the idea that intimate friendships were repressed homosexuality.

Ironically the manosphere doesn't seem very manly to me. What could be less masculine than to complain about women over the Internet and pour out details about horrid ex wives? Real men don't worry about being masculine; they just are. The need to constantly talk to strangers over the Internet about various traumas is a reflection of Freudian values. We're all caught up in leftism and don't even realize it.

R.J.Cavazos said...

Interesting and confirms some of my impressions. At times with such things I wonder if its less the leader (Freud, Steiner) and more the followers/adherents/propagators that are responsible for the distorting the ideas to those that suit their inclinations and or self interest. For example, Freuds last book Moses and Monotheism would likely lead most avowed Freudians to have a stroke.

Bruce Charlton said...

@LM - "the manosphere doesn't seem very manly to me" "The need to constantly talk to strangers over the Internet about various traumas is a reflection of Freudian values"

I agree.

I feel similarly about the desire of so many modern Men to show-off about their weight training regimes, post pictures of their muscled bodies, and boast how much they can lift; and to equate this with what they term masculinity...

When it comes to this kind of behaviour, Freud's nonsense about 'repression' and 'overcompensation' may have had *some* kernel of truth!

I detest that seedy subversive stuff about male friendships (and indeed female) being supposedly (at root) sexualized (e.g. sniggering snark about Frodo and Sam, or Merry and Pippin, in Lord of the Rings); and regard it as part of the demonic strategy to destroy all strong personal commitments (also marriage and family) to render everybody isolated, alienated, and hence submissive to the bureaucratic machine and mass media distraction.

Epimetheus said...

I wouldn't be surprised if childhood trauma or whatever is a far more prominent factor in people's lives now. Our society seems to be designed to torment and worsen all emotional states, so wounds that might've healed in a month under loving tribal conditions in the past might well fester for life in the alienated in the lonely, loveless hellscape of the modern West.

There's a fascinating book called Tribe by the war correspondent Sebastian Junger. He noticed that the soldiers he befriended only suffered PTSD when they returned home from war. He believed it wasn't combat that traumatized them, but the shock of abandonment when they re-entered civilian "society" after the intense closeness of military brotherhood. The same might obtain for non-combat trauma - people aren't healing because they aren't enveloped in loving families.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Epi - I do not think childhood trauma is any more than one factor among many. For example, I have seen plenty of happy and well raised children go off-the-rails at adolescence, or in young adult life, under the continuous, pervasive and increasing pressure of evil from our culture - due to the lack of effectively motivating Christianity in their own souls.

wrt PTSD - Seb Jung is just describing *classic* shell-shock/ PTSD - in that it was originally (and correctly) defined as a *delayed* reaction to extreme and debilitating combat stress. The idea that it should be manifested immediately after stress is a modern corruption of the concept, without valid foundation.

I am not dismissing the importance of loving families - and these are a prime target of establishment totalitarian propaganda. But it seems obvious that loving families are necessary but not sufficient; and that a truly Christian metaphysics is also required - in order to provide sufficient courage and hope to resist the expediency of present evil.

GFC said...

The US way of understanding was quickly (almost instantly) exported to the rest of the world, mainly by domination of mass media, but also by the US status of political hegemony.

Interestingly enough, the man with the most individual impact on this mass dissemination of Freud's outlook on the world was none other than his own nephew, Edward Bernays. His role and influence in the development of mass media into what it is today cannot be exaggerated.

sam said...

I have an, as yet underdeveloped, theory that we've had the best part of 150 years of a kind of Psychic war between the Freudians with their ideas for open society, breaking things down and egalitarianising things and the Wagnerians on the other hand, looking for men to realise their potential and become greater and lift the world that way.
There must have been cafes in Switzerland and Vienna between 1890 and 1914 which contained 3/4 of the men who have shaped the ideas, science and politics of the modern world.