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The Influence of Sigmund Freud on Society Essay

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The Influence of Sigmund Freud on Society

The late nineteenth century marked a number of radical developments on science, art, and philosophy. Although the lives of humans used to be constantly at the mercy of nature, during this time, humans began harnessing its power and eventually started controlling it. A sudden urge to look beyond the surface of things became widespread. Sigmund Freud looked beyond the effects of behavior and explored the unconscious. He significantly changed the way the world viewed behavior by explaining certain levels of consciousness, the components of the unconscious mind, and different developmental phases.

Sigmund, son of Amalia and Jacob Freud, was born on May 6, 1856 in Freiburg, a rural town which was then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A confused child, he experienced extreme love, desire, and hate which ultimately inspired him to study human development. School consumed virtually all of Freud's time until he graduated from the University of Vienna in 1881, with a degree in medicine (Stevenson).

Freud began experimenting with hypnosis and asking his patients to freely speak while being hypnotized. In this he discovered the existence of an unconscious. Freud referred to this as "free association" and soon began using it with patients who were not hypnotized but merely in a relaxed state. While his patients spoke he found their unconscious minds were releasing memories, sometimes painful ones, that had been trapped within their minds since childhood. He called this uncovering of memories psychoanalysis (Myers 420).

In his experimentation with the unconscious mind, Freud discovered three levels of consciousness. The first is consciousness. This i...


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...sible to find clear solutions to problems without blaming people.

These and other discoveries of Freud's changed the world in many ways. It was then possible to understand the origin of behavior and how to change it. Psychoanalysis opened doors to the unconscious mind and gave reasons for certain behavior. The work of Sigmund Freud was only a small portion of the gradual control over nature that humans began possessing at the turn of the century, yet in the world of psychology this was quite a large step.

Works Cited

- Myers, David G. Psychology. Holland: Worth Publishers, 1998.
"Sigmund Freud" <http://oldsci.eiu.edu/psychology/Spensor/Freud.html> (31 March
1998).

- Stevenson, David B. "Sigmund Freud: The Father of Psychoanalysis."
http://www.stg.brown.edu/projects/...dow/HTatBrown/freud/Biography.html> (31 March
1998).


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