The Freud Wars


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With all the emphasis upon A01 this and A02 that and A03 the other, I’d kind of forgotten about quotes. The use of quotes in exams is not by any means essential, but good ones can  crystallize a point and hurl it with vigour – for example there’s some great ones in this short piece on the ‘Freud Wars’ in France, concerning the publication of the sinister sounding ‘Black Book’:

“The Livre Noir de la Psychanalyse (The Black Book of Psychoanalysis) claims French mind-healers have become ‘fossilised’ in the ‘marginal, discredited’ teachings of Sigmund Freud”

“But France’s 6,000 psychoanalysts question the book’s motivation, claiming that its authors advocate cut-price American-style therapies, of the kind that involve locking up arachnophobes with spiders”

Editor Catherine Meyer claims she wants the book to serve as a wake-up call for France, the ‘world champion in anti-depressant consumption’.

Meyer claims that Freudian techniques have retained credibility in France because the generation of 1968 has raised them to the level of an ‘untouchable dogma’.

It is time to ‘open our minds and stop blaming our parents,’ she writes.

The battle widens here, as Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen wades in and lobs this at Freud:

“It’s because the theory is perfectly empty, utterly hollow, that it has proved so adaptable. We don’t have a coherent doctrine here, organized around clearly defined and potentially falsifiable hypotheses. Rather, psychoanalysis is a content-free nebulosity, a perpetually moving target. It is like Lévi-Strauss’s “zero symbol,” a thingamajig that can designate fill-in-the-blank as one sees fit”.

Before the ever-entertaining Slavoj Zizek sallies forth to Freud’s defence here:

“Perhaps we should instead insist that the time of psychoanalysis has only just arrived”.