torsdag, maj 06, 2010

Le crépuscule d'une idole

In this book Michel Onfray writes about one of our many religions, namely that of psychoanalysis (psychoanalyses) and more specifically the freudisme.

In an earlier work by Onfray - Traité d'Athéologie (Treaty of Atheology) - he besets the monotheism, finding it obsolet and more or less unacceptable.
In this book it's the God of psychoanalysis who is being attacked from different angles.

Onfray first establish that Sigmund Freud wanted to build a "science" and secondly that he never achieved his goal.

Freud wanted to prove that the unconsious mind had its laws, its intrinsic logic, expressed in "experimental protocols" but according to Onfray Freud was obliged to lie a little - or a lot? - in order to defend the scientificity of psychoanalysis.

In investigating this theory we need an expert opinion from someone else than Freud and it's Onfray's 'expert opinion' we are being served in this book.

Trying to achieve this goal, Onfray had to study all the major works by Freud and in a television programme in France called La Grande Librarie, I remember him mentioning that he had read some 6000 pages in order to give his opinion.

The conclusion is that the psychoanalysis only stands in a dependancy state to the "ordinary" psychology, the literature and the philosophy and consequently by no means being the "hard facts"-science its founder wanted it to look like.

The ideas put forward by Onfray are not new and Freud has been discussed since the dawn of the days his theories became public but in this case Onfray also puts forward more or less solid proofs demonstrating that a great deal of the, so called, scientific work carried out by Freud was never correctly documented. There exist hidden freudian files who can not be opened before a certain date (2050?) in which the hard facts or the lack of hard facts, will be revealed.

A lot of the work carried out by Freud of course emanated from his own imagination and his own sexual frustration(s) and one should ask oneself how much of his work actually was founded on a more solid scientific-critical approach.

Onfray could of course be accused of not having dealt with his own unconcious or subconcious mind leading him to attack Freud and this could be true in a Freudian sense. On the other hand, this kind of reasoning has always followed fanatics, and those devoted to idolatry, may it be Freud or any other god or semi-god.

This is also often the technique psychologists have used and still use during therapies when a patient starts to questioning their analyses, trying to tell the therapist that they are wrong: "You're just trying to suppress [this or that] side of yourself..." might be an approximate answer from the therapist.
This might be a valid argument for those being convinced of the truth in these theories - as with all fundamentalists - but not valid from a more objective or intersubjective point of view and it's often very degrading for the patient, being confronted with these arguments or pseudo-arguments.

Onfray has taken this kind of reasoning into consideration and in the beginning of the book he refutes these arguments.

Even if we don't have to believe that the theories put forward by Onfray is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, it seems to be a very interesting and - I believe - beneficial work for both psychoanalysts, patients and others who still seem to think that psychology or psychoanalysis is a strict science with measurable results.

On the contrary, the brain and our mind/psyche is something so complexed that neither psychiatrists, psychologists or the neuroscience ever will be able to exhibit all its intricate functions and effects on our body and psyche/soul, though it seems to be a goal some scientitsts believe they will be able to reach.

Finally I must admit that I haven't read this book - yet - but the things I've written about the book is taken from the presentation of this œuvre in La Grande Librarie in French television the other day.

I wish you a pleasant reading!

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