Sigmund Freud is one of the most popular psychoanalysts with a particular way of seeing the world. Here are four great quotes from Freud and how they apply to our lives.
Sigmund Freud was the creator of psychoanalysis as a theory, making him the first psychoanalyst. Through psychoanalysis, Freud tried to understand suffering and mental issues in relation to the human mind, making him a genius ahead of his time.
Freud’s uniqueness is perfectly portrayed in all his work and books, showing his different way of seeing the world. Thanks to this ingenuity, he created one of the most widely accepted psychological theories. Psychoanalysis comprises postulates, researches, and therapies, all developed under Freud’s conception that the reason for our diseases and the cure are both inside us.
Freud started his theory as a treatment resource. As a psychoanalyst, his purpose was to go inside people’s minds. Because of him, the only way to treat mental issues was by first discovering what was inside the mental world. Thanks to Sigmund Freud, we now know that everything that happens inside us is not specifically conscious. That is how this psychoanalyst showed the world that we tend to repress our emotions and desires, which is the main reason for our suffering.
In that way, psychoanalysts present particular ways to understand ourselves. But Sigmund Freud wasn’t just a psychoanalyst, he was also a writer. Freud made sure to gather all his research and works through writing, which was the main way Freud presented his theory to the rest of the world. Plus, he was constantly communicating through letters with many public figures.
Freud is the reason I started Psychoanalysts to Read as a series because I wanted to share quotes from these professionals that allow us to not only understand the theory but to understand ourselves as humans. Because that is the main purpose of psychoanalysis: understanding the human mind.
Quote #1: On Freedom
If there was something Freud was really interested in, besides the human mind, it was society. For Freud, society reflected all the dark aspects of the human mind, but he also pointed out that there was a circle of interrelation between each human and society. That is why Freud analyzed aspects such as culture, human masses, religion, and others. For him, society manipulates individuals and is responsible for the repression of desires and emotions.
This quote is from one of Freud’s most popular works, Civilization and Its Discontents, published in 1930. Freud perfectly explains what sustains dictatorships, because freedom carries many other responsibilities. For that reason, most people decide to just leave those responsibilities in other’s hands, resulting in conformity.
For me, this is an interesting quote to reflect on, because most of the things that are happening today are because we left our responsibilities on other people. Also, as Sigmund Freud points out in this quote, we all search for freedom consciously. But inside of us, we all are constantly avoiding and justifying the consequences of being free instead of just facing them. For that reason, we need to make that change in ourselves, by accepting our freedom and its responsibilities.
Quote #2: On Sexuality
Sigmund Freud was known and criticized for his focus on human sexuality. For his time, this psychoanalyst was constantly studying and analyzing a forbidden topic. But the truth is that sexuality is a basic human need. For that reason, as Freud always pointed out, sexuality was the main aspect that moved and determined human behavior. And one of the best examples of that was the fact that this topic has always been forbidden and repressed.
This quote is from the Freud’s 1963 work, Sexuality and the Psychology of Love. In this quote, Freud perfectly portraits the main idea of his entire theory. A huge part of psychoanalysis is sustained on human basic desires and needs, such as sexuality. Along with that, there is no better way to know someone than based on the person’s behavior on basic needs. But also, to Freud, the repression of sexual desires was a logical reason for suffering and mental issues.
For me, this quote is completely fair. Because just as Freud exposed, all our behaviors result from something else, and there is something about sexuality that has always embarrassed humanity, making Freud’s position even more logical. Also, humans move and get motivated according to basic needs. So it is fair to say that we learn how to act based on response to needs. And that is why this psychoanalyst was interested in sexuality as an explanation of behaviors.
Quote #3: On Dreams
If there is something Freud changed in the world, it is the way to see dreams. This psychoanalyst found in dreams an incredible source to study the mind. Thanks to Freud’s research, we learned that everything we do, and what we don’t do, can be an expression of our unconscious. And dreams are a really interesting part of it, because dreams are something any of us can repress or manage. In that way, through dreams, Freud was able to study the deepest part of human beings.
This quote is from Freud’s 1899 masterpiece, The Interpretation of Dreams. The psychoanalyst’s main goal was to find a way to go into the deepest part of the mind, the unconscious. For that, Freud started working with hypnosis. But within the practice, the psychoanalyst found out that dreams were the biggest expression of unconscious’ messages. Because dreams are completely free, anyone can manage them or decide over them, just as you can read in the quote.
For me, this quote perfectly explains my work as a psychologist. Just as Freud portrayed in the quote, the soul and the human mind will always find a way to express what it is repressing. We are constantly trying to do catharsis, and the psychologist’s job is to pay attention to those expressions to guide patients to find out what is bothering them. That is something that, as Freud pointed out, should guide every therapeutic process.
Quote #4: On Wishes and Desires
Another relevant topic for psychoanalysis is wishes and desires. Because for Freud, humans were beings based on needs. Some of those needs can be expressed as wishes and others as desires. When we talk about wishes, we are talking about a psychological or emotional need. While when we talk about desires, we are talking about physiological needs. And for this psychoanalyst, dreams were the way the mind found to express repressed wishes and desires.
This is a quote that perfectly portraits the interconnection between dreams and wishes. Freud wrote this quote on his 1920 work Dream Psychology: Psychoanalysis for Beginners. Through his researches, Freud discovered that dreams were not just messages. Dreams are also representations of unconscious wishes and desires. For that reason, according to the psychoanalyst, what we dream is the representation of the wish conquered. But with a huge twist or costume, so it doesn’t hurt or shame.
For me, this is a great quote to understand what Freud proposes with psychoanalysis. There is the main reason why our subconscious represses what we have in the unconscious. And that reason is that it is something that can hurt or shame us or others. For Freud, those wishes we repress are seen as sins in society. So, to not be hurt, we repress them. And when they came out as dreams, they are twisted to protect us.
These four quotes are not only to recognize Freud as a writer, but also help to understand Freud, psychoanalysis, and ourselves. Through these quotes, many of the aspects we all have as humans are explained and portrayed, something only a genius like Freud could do.
So take your time to analyze them and reflect on it. And as always, see you soon, because there are more psychoanalysts with amazing quotes to read.