Biography and Sexual Teachings of Sigmund Freud Part 3

About the famous psychiatrist Sigmund Freud, history and biography of the man who had a lot to say about sexuality.

COLLEGE OF SEXUAL KNOWLEDGE

SIGMUND FREUD (1856-1939), Austria

Freud was not charismatic; he said of himself that he lacked that "indefinite something which attracts people." He was also a poor judge of men. His relationships were often marked by a love-hate ambivalence. He would grow passionately attached to various colleagues, for example, then break with them when disagreements came up. His relationship with Carl Jung is a famous example. He was also for a time intimate with Wilhelm Fliess, a young psychologist who originated the idea of bisexuality and was enamored of the numbers 23 and 28, feeling that they were significant in people's lives. It was from Fliess that Freud adopted the terms "latency period" and "sublimation."

Freud was the leader of a group of psychologists who were exploring a young field; many of them were brilliant, some unstable (Victor Tausk committed suicide). Viewed by many as sexual perverts for their daring ideas, they needed to band together. At a meeting, a psychologist not of their school said in reference to one of Freud's theories, "This is not a topic for discussion at a scientific meeting; it is a matter for the police." After 1919, however, Freud's theories were widely accepted; on his 70th birthday, the city of Vienna held a public celebration in his honor.

In 1923 Freud developed cancer of the jaw, a disfiguring malady which gave him 16 years of horror and pain until his death at the age of 83. During this time, he suffered 33 operations, some under only local anesthetic. He had to wear a mouth prosthesis, which he called "the monster." Throughout his illness he kept working (he saw patients up to a month before he died), and his only complaint was that the cancer was "most uncalled-for."

Freud hated chicken and cauliflower. He loved Mark Twain, records, Mozart operas, and antiquities like old statues. He liked getting mail and was one of the first people in Vienna to have a telephone installed.

Though he was an atheist and did not practice orthodox Judaism, Freud considered himself a Jew and loved to tell Jewish anecdotes and stories. After hearing Jung's mythological theories, he said, "We Jews have an easier time, having no mystical element." He reacted violently to anti-Semitism. Once he beat with his cane at a crowd shouting anti-Jewish slogans, and when the Nazis came to search his house in 1938, he was so hostile to them that they left.

After his books were burned in Berlin and the Gestapo began to harass him, Franklin Delano Roosevelt sent word indirectly to the Germans that they had better leave Freud alone or risk world disapproval. In 1938 Freud's friends got him out of Austria and took him to England, where he spent the last year of his life. As he left, the Nazis forced him to sign a document saying that they had given him full freedom. Under his signature, he added, tongue in cheek, "I can heartily recommend the Gestapo to anyone."

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