Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams was originally published in 1900. The era was one of prudish Victorians. It was also the age of the continued Enlightenment. The New Formula of science, along with the legacy of Comte’s Positivism, had a firm hold on the burgeoning discipline of psychology. Freud was groomed as both scientist and Romantic, but his life’s work reflected conflict of the two backgrounds and a reaction against each one. It is my opinion that The Interpretation of Dreams was not simply written as a methodology of deconstructing dreams and assigning them meaning, but its latent content (as it were) was a critique of science’s New Formula, and was designed to question, and even undermine, the possibility of objective methodology in psychology, and indeed in the sciences as a whole.
The importance of his innovations were wholly unappreciated; Freud was an anomaly. Many of his contemporaries rejected his work on the grounds of invalid methodology and inconsistency. Neurologists and psychiatrists today still continue to discount his theories. The point of Freud’s subversion of contemporary mental science, was, however, quite missed, and many critics and reviewers continue to systemically assail his work, utterly oblivious to the inclusive meaning of his theories, rather than the meanings of his words themselves.
Clinical studies convinced Freud that hysterical symptoms could be analyzed and deconstructed to understandable statements expressive of some underlying and utterly logical thought. From this interest, Freud embarked on a comprehensive study of dreams, and in the process, created a theory that drew meaningful attention to the unconscious, a previousl...
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...ertain concepts, such as depth of mind, latent meanings, wish-fulfilments, etc.,--all of which remain valuable in themselves, in spite of Freud’s parallel objective of crushing positivistic natural science. Freud’s work has provided a paradigm through historical findings and future investigations, leaving him as pioneer of the unconscious through his unmasking of dreams. And lastly, in spite of science and philosophy’s tendencies to exploit the theory’s weaknesses instead of strengths, the deeper aim of the text, as unmasker of Positivism’s weaknesses, can no longer be ignored in its hermeneutic exploration.
Freud, Sigmund. (1971). The Interpretation of Dreams, Volume IV,1900.
London: The Hogarth Press.
Freud, Sigmund. (1968). The Interpretation of Dreams, Volume V.
1900-01. London: The Hogarth Press.
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