On Freud’s Ideas Today

From an article by Michael S. Roth on the enduring importance of Freud’s ideas:

“Questions about what desires are being satisfied extend from the political to the personal (and back again). What desire is the war against terrorism really satisfying? Why do police departments in small towns want to acquire big tanks? Why are some straight people so angry about some gay people’s embracing marriage? Those questions assume that the surface answers—the reasons of which we are aware—will not get at powerful motivating factors. When asked Freudian questions, we know that the answers will be connected to desires of which we not only are unaware but are likely to feel ashamed…”


“…If we become interested only in how we are put together, in how our neurology works, and not in how we make meaning from our past, then Freud will have truly disappeared from our culture. But if we continue to consider the past important for giving meaning and direction to our lives, then it’s a good bet that we will continue to ask and try to respond to those annoying questions that require us to find new ways to tell our stories, to better work through who we are and what we want.”

Read the whole article in The Chronicle of Higher Education