Dr. Freud: Happy 161st birthday!
We know that you were not keen on conventional social gatherings such as birthday parties, weddings, etc. Yet we can imagine the joy that Jakob Freud and the young Amalia Nathanson had when the little Sigismund was born. Jakob had already 2 children from his first marriage. For Amalia, it was her first baby, “Goldene Sigi”, the light of her eyes, the son that a Jewish mother who had to have an important future. We know that conviction in a destiny is the confidence in having what it takes to get there, even though subconsciously. You had the conviction that you were going to be a great discoverer, a great scientist, and that you were going to be surrounded by those chosen by destiny to be outstanding among them.
It has been 161 years since your birthday, a little less than twice the years you lived, alongside your works, your creation, examining the human soul so that it could be understood according to the laws of science; but not a known science since by discovering the true soul, the unconscious one, you had to create the method to study it, the psychoanalytic method.
Discoverer and inventor and its consequences: the treatment and understanding of everything that humankind creates, health, disease, the ways we relate to each other, the ways of production, arts, politics, economy, literature, theater, etc. Everything under the lens of a new method, discovering much more than what superficial looks showed.
Since you passed away, the expansion has been enormous. Wars did not stop your progress, in fact, they pushed you, you went into more and more territories, conquering more interests and applications. And the result is a true boom all around the world and lately setting foot in the East of the civilization that gave birth to it.
This year, by the time of your birthday, a great number of disciples of your disciples will meet in Taipei, China, an event organized by the International Psychoanalytical Association, that you founded in 1910. The subject brings together psychoanalysts from the East and the West: “Asian Oedipus” (#AsianOedipus). This reminds us that many of the books that you read show that your interest encompassed that part of the world as well: “One thousand and one nights” show us the Indian and the Chines cultures, among others: “Chinesische Kunst”, by Ludwig Bachofer, shows your interest in Chinese Art. You also had with you the studies by Kurt Breisyg about China in “Die Geschichte der Menschheit”; we know that you read “The birth of China” by Herrlee Glessner Creel, the most renowned Chinese scholar in America, you also read Marie Jean Leon Lecoq (Marquis de Hervey de Saint-Denis), one of the first scholars who studied dreams in his book “Les rêves et les moyens de les diriger”. We have seen in your personal library the book “Von Chinas Göttern, Reisen in China”, by Friedrich Perzynski. China was in your mind on a daily basis. When you entered your office, you could see the statuette of a Chinese wise man in one of the corners of your desk.
You talked about synapses even when they were not even called that. You talked about the anatomic and functional unity of the nervous system when Ramón y Cajal had not won the Nobel Prize yet. You could have used your knowledge of Neurology in an easier path since your text “Aphasias” was a great progress for Neurology that back then was almost mechanistic with its localizationist explanation. You excelled clinically with your text “Infantile Cerebral Paralysis”, the most thorough and complete work on the matter according to the opinion of specialists 40 years later and led to your contribution to the Nothnagel´s medical encyclopedia.
All sciences have continued to progress since you were gone: Neurophysiology, Neurochemistry, Behavioral therapies (to treat addictions and phobias, etc.), but no other science of the soul, like the one you created. We all respect, months before your farewell, your attempt at keeping things in perspective: your work was just a beginning, you said. Sure, and what a beginning!!! You have left seeds for us for an exceptional scientific crop and it will be up to your followers to take care of them, protect them from damage and finally plant them on fertile soil. It is not easy, we sometimes complain, because we forget the difficulties you went through, from your soul and from the social environmental reaction.
We celebrate the progress of all sciences and their application for the betterment of human life, but no science has been able to explain a single Freudian slip. This is just a small example of all there is in the human soul between the exterior stimuli and the behavioral response. The human soul! What animates artistic and scientific creation, hatred, love... We’ve found a Baedecker only in the guide that you have given us as a legacy.
There will be others in the future, for sure, because we all know and you yourself have said that your legacy does not explain everything. But we also know that without it nothing of the soul is explained.
Excuse us but we want to say Happy Birthday!!!. We always celebrate that you were once born.
Dr. José Treszezamsky
Buenos Aires, Argentina
On May 6th each year, APsaA celebrates the birthday of Sigmund Freud with several activities we call Freud Day. This includes outreach to the media to offer story ideas such as Freudian Notions of Fantasy Are Apparent in How We Use the Internet and The 12 Things Sigmund Freud Got Right. We also invite members to write articles for our blog, for example Freud is Everywhere and Psychoanalysis! Is That Still Around?. And we promote stories about Freud's contributions to the field on social media. We work with all of our institutes and centers, sister organizations, and international psychoanalytic associations to come together to honor the father of psychoanalysis.
Twitter Chat: What Would Freud Say?
Additionally, as has become tradition, APsaA hosts a live chat via Twitter using the hashtag #FreudDay. We encourage you to participate in our online Twitter chat by asking our experts questions about Sigmund Freud. This year, our experts will be addressing questions related to Freud's theories on culture & society in light of today's many political anxieties.
To participate, login to Twitter and follow @psychoanalysis_ and then search for the #FreudDay hashtag. Using a site such as TweetChat.com can be helpful to use when participating in a live chat.