The Reports of Freud’s Death are Greatly Exaggerated (but Not Osama bin Laden’s)

At The Daily Beast is the following rather arresting paragraph:

“Interestingly and ironically,” says [University of North Carolina Chapel Hill religious studies professor Omid] Safi, “some of the Muslim societies that are the most repressive toward women or that have the strictest gender segregations also have some of the highest rates of pornography usage in the world. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt rank as among the highest consumers of pornography worldwide. I think what is true of bin Laden, the Taliban, and many of these extremist movements is that there seems to be a link between the dehumanizing of women and the dehumanizing of the entire block of humanity, Muslims and non-Muslims included.”

And we learned Friday that Osama bin Laden had a porn stash. (Imagining Osama bin Laden jerking off to an old video cassette of Ron Jeremy doing Christy Canyon in Swedish Erotica 57 is hilarious—or at least jarring. Beneath the Islamic veneer lurked a conflicted nihilist worthy of a Dostoevsky novel. A Saturday Night Live sketch must surely be in the works.)

And here’s another headline in the news (from this past week):

Research Finds Straight Men Like Looking at Fat Women, Penises

Sometimes a cigar is more than a cigar. I think it’s time to have another look at the writings of Sigmund Freud, don’t you? If Osama bin Laden is dead, Freud sure isn’t.

File:Sigmund Freud LIFE.jpg

Image Source: Wikipedia Commons.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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4 Responses to The Reports of Freud’s Death are Greatly Exaggerated (but Not Osama bin Laden’s)

  1. Paradigm says:

    No, Freud really is dead, at least if you look at psychology and psychiatry as science. He and his followers have done so much damage to people with their useless psychoanalysis. Even more horrifying is how they explained autism and schizophrenia and other conditions as a result of bad mothering – even though studies as early as 1950s showed a strong genetic component.

    Today we also know that the environmental factor is what is known as shared environment, that is to say not about the family as the Freudians claimed. The same holds for personality. So he was so wrong about human nature it is hard to grasp how his ideas could become so influential. Like Marx his ideas were bogus but his marketing skills were amazing. And like Marx his ideas became devastating for millions of people. So if Freud really is alive we should send those nave SEALs on another search-and-destroy mission immediately.

    It’s ironic that Jung, always considered more new agey and unscientific that Freud, is more in line with the cognitive and more valid theories and treatments that have emerged since the 1980s.

  2. What a statement of patent nonsense to imply that Marx’s theories were “bogus” and “disastrous”. Au contraire, they were the intelligent boiling down of massive struggle on the part of ordinary people for greater democracy in their everyday lives, to free themselves from the feudalism of the workplace and create some dignity. It amazes me how ignorant people can be of such a fundamental and critical philosopher.

    I’ll agree that Jung is tremendously important, but so is Freud. Freud is the father of depth psychology, and responsible for the critically important idea that we are strongly motivated by our unconscious, and that the conscious mind is not in control. Moreover, early childhood experience is critical to life.

    It’s lazy people who make statements on the order that Marx and Freud are somehow passe or bogus. Our lives would be immensely worse without their work.

    • santitafarella says:


      Thank you for saying it. Marx (at least with regard to his critiques of capitalism) and Freud should not be dismissed. Marx’s dictatorship of the proletariate is a very bad idea, though.


    • Paradigm says:

      Marx ‘s theories inspired the revolutions in Russia and China and the reign of terror that followed. I think overall the transition from feudalism to democracy went rather more peacefully in countries were his ideas were less influential. His idea that man is the sum of his social relations is bogus in that it is completely disproven by modern research. Intelligence and personality as well as psychitric conditions are mainly genetic in origin – not social relations.

      As for Freud, he did spawn the idea that early childhood is “critical” to life. But modern research on heredity disproves this almost completely. Also remember that the environmental factor in personality and psychopathology is shared – not your parents fault as the freudians insisted. Blaming the parents had disastrous consequences.

      You either put on record that the findings of behavioral genetics are false or you admit that Freud and Marx are bogus. You can’t have both.

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