Book Review: An Outline of Pyscho-Analysis

"When architects walk through a campus, they see buildings and walls. When I walk through a campus, I see behavior."

That’s what my teacher announced on day one of my psych class. I’ve studied psych on my own before, especially when it comes to real-life applications in business, but I am now getting grounded more thoroughly on the Freudian school of thought from a neo-Freudian (and ex clinical psychologist) himself. To that end, I recently read Freud’s An Outline of Psycho-Analysis. It was your standard stuff – id, ego, superego, and so forth. Most fascinating was the chapter on dream interpretation. According to Freud, every single dream is a form of wish fulfillment as it pertains to your two central drives: sex (pleasure) and aggression. I now wake up every morning thinking, "What in the world is in my unconscious that caused me to have that dream?"  I’ve learned or re-learned a few other things:

  • 90% of our mental activity occurs below the conscious, a good explanation for many otherwise unexplainable behavior.
  • In my amateurish viewpoint, I employ virtually all of the mature defense mechanisms to cope with life and virtually none of the typical adolescent defense mechanisms. The one neurotic defense mechanism (above immature, below mature) that I employ is intellectualization. That is, I convert feelings to ideas that can be studied, defeated, channeled, or ignored.
  • No wonder the "how to be a great parent" industry is booming. If you subscribe to Freud, those first few years of childhood are absolutely paramount. Still, there are tons of geneticists and others refute Freud’s theory such as Steven Pinker, who I posted about here.

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