Sunday, February 21, 2016

Tom Wolfe On Freud

Stuart Schneiderman writes: In a 2006 lecture he delivered at the National Endowment for the Humanities, Tom Wolfe offered some remarks about Freud. I report them without commentary.


In medical terms, Freud is now considered a quack. But his notion of sex as an energy like the steam in a boiler, which must be released in an orderly fashion or the boiler will blow up, remains with us, too. At this very moment ... you can be sure that there are literally millions of loin spasms and hip-joint convulsions that are taking place ... throughout the world that would not be occurring were it not for the power of the words of Sigmund Freud.


I turned to the literature of the physiology of the brain for the answer, only to discover that Sigmund Freud had stopped the physical study of the brain cold for 40 years. Freud had been so persuasive, had so convinced the scientific community and the academic community in general that he had found the final answers to mental disturbance in his theories of the id, the ego, the superego, and the Oedipal drama within the family, that it was rather pointless to go through the tedious, laborious business of determining what synapses, what dendrites, what circuits in the brain accounted for what one already knew anyway.