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Freud’s Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Group Psychology and Other works (v18) left me with a deep impression, not only because those texts are nothing less than landmark writings in Freud’s work – which part of his work can be considered as secondary – but because of Freud’s style of writing. Perhaps this may explain why Freud was nominated for a noble price, in literature. Deciding not to read Freud is not based on a reputation for producing such vertical phrasings as to put anyone off from delving into it. The reason for avoiding Freud in the first place may just turn out to be more connected with what the reader is going to ultimately discover about himself, or herself; reading Freud is (almost) psychoanalysis in practice already.

Freud, in my experience as a reader, reassures, put the reader at ease, lead him by the hand, intuitively knows when to go back to some of what may have been misunderstood or felt to be confusing. In his Beyond the Pleasure Principle Freud is alive, so rigorous yet honest that I would on occasions burst with laughter – how can anyone resist when, after a relatively lengthy and exhaustive description of a dream a woman had shared with him in connection with the subject of telepathy, he had remarked after her being so astonished about the fortune teller’s words ‘this man predicted you would be having a child by the age of 31, you are now 45’.

Again, it would be quite redundant here to use this space to simply emphasize the value of reading Freud. Any so-called therapists whose practice he claims to be psychoanalytical even though he has not read Freud if only to find errors, deserve to be legitimately questioned. Freud’s theoretical elaborations on the Death drive, Identification amongst group psychology based on his libido theory and his case of a homosexual woman will be found inside this specific volume.

Of the many insights Freud left me with after reading his ‘Beyond the Pleasure Principle’ the following one has stayed with me in particular. Contrary to what some may seek in a fortune-teller, however mechanistic and materialistic some other may wish to view psychoanalysis, it will never predict anything in the future for you. It can only try to retrace and somehow make sense of the present. The reason is mind-bogglingly simple: it is impossible to know the extent to which we have invested ourselves in one thing or another.

See also The Interpretation of Dreams

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (20 Sept. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099426730
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099426738

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