Foreign Affairs by Allison Laurie

Powerful Essays
As one of the many infamous psychologists of the 20th century, Sigmund Freud attempted to explain why people act and speak as they do. He divided the human mind into three different states, overlapping from consciousness to unconsciousness, and maintained that ideas or “psychic energy” could neither be created nor destroyed, but simply flowed back and forth between the states (Alexander). According the Freud, the unconscious mind was further divided between the overtly moral superego and the pleasure-seeking id. The id serves to explain the irrational actions people make, often suggesting that the violation of laws, rules, and codes of etiquette are acceptable in the pursuit of pleasure. It begins to wave its influence over one’s actions during infancy, or as Freud interpreted the beginning of sexual desires in humans. Young males develop an Oedipus Complex or “attachment to the parent of the opposite sex accompanied by envious and aggressive feelings towards the parent of the same sex” (Dollof) and young females develop a similar Electra Complex. However, they are often prevented from acting on their desires due to fear of the same sex parent, or current mate of their object of attraction. Then, they suppress these feelings back into the unconscious mind for the majority of their adolescence and begin to feel contempt for the parent of the same sex. This development shapes their attractions, perceptions, and general attitudes towards people throughout their lifetimes. Illicit desires, social sympathy, and conversely social apathy all emerge during childhood. Should all this information be found valid, then the key to understanding adult behavior lies buried within childhood.

Author Alison Lurie undertakes the task of interpreti...

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... their reason is imperfect and all, if not most, of their actions are motivated by animalistic desires. The validity of Freudian theory is not proved by some great and obscure science experiment, but by commonplace, person-to-person exchanges.

Works Cited

Alexander, Jonathan M. "Psychoanalytic Theory." Introductory Notes. Burlington Community College, Sept. 2013. Web. 08 Apr. 2014.

Bang, Abha. "Personality Development Theories – Freud's Theory of Personality Development." MDhil. 19 July 2012. Web. 08 Apr. 2014.

Dollof, Lauren. "The Oedipus Complex." CLAS 095 TAP: Greek Tragedy. University of Vermont, 16 Nov. 2006. Web. 7 Apr. 2014.

Felluga, Dino F. "Introduction to Sigmund Freud, Module on Neuroses." Introductory Guide to Critical Theory. Purdue University, 31 Jan. 2011. Web. 08 Apr. 2014.

Lurie, Alison. Foreign Affairs. New York: Random House, 1984. Print.
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