Social Recognition Of The Human Individual

.. the 1848 revolutions failed because they lacked the support of the militaries, but they were clear evidence that the rising urban middle class of Europe was beginning to find its identity in their respective cultures. This was a key stage in the metamorphosis fraternity was undergoing in order to become the most potent political force of the period from 1850 to 1918, nationalism. Here the industrial revolution plays a key role in the evolution of fraternity. As the aforementioned monolithic, industrial infrastructures were raised all around Europe, an individual citizen of such a large system motivated only by the guilt of his Protestant work ethic loses his feelings of purpose or significance in such a vast world.

He turns to the comfort that nationalism provides him with. The result is a vast majority of European society becoming conformist automatons who are supplied their daily dose of patriotic purpose by their imperial governments. The three fruits of Napoleon had matured and been fully cultivated by the 1880, when Freud began working under Joseph Breuer in Vienna. The stage was set for Freud to rock the boat, where there was an over institutionalized status quo that created a false sense of security amongst Europeans. Pre-1880, every intellectual who analyzed mankind looked at man as purely social creature, it was the progress of society over time that was charted, analyzed, and studied.

What Freud discovered is that history should be approached on an individual level. If a historian understands the socio-economic conditions of an individual, than he can reason what insecurities and desires that the man possesses. This changes mans interpretation of history and society entirely. Society is really just a group of individuals who act accordingly to their wants and needs. To understand a society better one may psychoanalyze the arts of that culture, such as paintings, literature and performance arts.

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Freud psychoanalyzed Leonardo Da Vinci numerous times via his artwork. Freuds in depth understanding of the human thought process influenced almost every great thinker of the 20th century. Early in his life Freud focused on his exploration of the individual mind. He published multiple works that are to this day some of the most profound works of literature in the world: Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1904), The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), Totem and Taboo (1913), Ego and the Id (1923) and Three Contributions to the Sexual Theory (1905) . Each one of these works delved deep into the mind of the individual and explained it’s interactions with the social structure within it lives.

Many of Freuds works were read all over the world, yet they still became a favorite kindling within the Third Reich. Publicly the Nazis condemned all of Freuds work as fictitious manifestations and lies of a Jewish fool. Behind closed doors some of the Nazi ruling elite understood that if Freuds work was ever studied by a large portion of the population, than the German people might lose its faith in the Nazi party as they would realize the sadomasochistic escape from freedom that was taking place. Freuds works allows for us to truly understand the rise of the Third Reich. Without the Freudian understanding of human behavior, we probably would simply dismiss the European shift towards authoritative Fascist powers as a longing to return to Imperialism, which is a simplistic explanation that does not begin to fully grasp the historical viscera of the time period.

This new Freudian synthesis analyzed mans history in a profoundly new way. The greatest psychoanalytical sociologist of the 20th century is a man who Freud had a profound effect upon, which is a testament to the massive relevance of Freuds contributions to Western society. That man was a German by the name of Erich Fromm. If one considers Freuds findings as a cause, than the synthesis Fromm published in his books is the resulting effect. Fromms publications are epitomized by the convergence of a Marxist understanding of society and a Freudian psychoanalytical emphasis upon desires, insecurities and repression. In Fromms Escape from Freedom (1941) he explains mans tendencies to escape from freedom; He explains how over the last 500 years the idea of the individual, with individual thoughts, feelings, moral conscience, freedom and responsibility has come about.

With our newfound individuality came feelings of loneliness and isolation. Therefore, whenever we can, we tend to run from our freedom to sources of security and false identity. Despite all of the human progression over the last half millennium, man still fears isolation from which he desires freedom. Fromm also explains in his books the ideas of determinism, may it be biological determinism (Freudian) or socio-economic determinism (Marxist). Once again it is the perfectly complimenting ideologies of Freud and Marx that Fromm uses harmoniously to explain the history of human development, from which present society learns.

Freudian ideologies are slowly woven into the social fabric more and more as man expands his understanding of himself. The specialized profession Freud created, psychology, has assumed the role in modern western society as almost an oracle where men seek answers to there biggest problems (and due to the mentally exhausting modern infrastructure it is usually mental). If a man is seriously troubled or confused then he goes to his psychoanalyst for answers which proves that contemporary society not only utilizes Freudian ideologies, but after each session with his doctor that individual will take what he has learned and apply it to the world around himself. Therapy is an example of just one means of integration of Freud into the contemporary paradigm. If you look closely at our cultural arts the are Freudian influences all over. Contemporary actors study the psychological make up of their characters.

He wants to know the why behind every one of his actions, and in order to give the best possible performance; he attempts to portray his character with conflicts on many different levels. He makes the characters desires and insecurities his own as so he can truly become that character. Now if Freud saw the way contemporary actors prepare their roles, he would argue that they were trying to put on a mask to show the world because they were too insecure of their own identity. They would be fulfilling deeply hidden desires from their childhood to escape reality somehow, in order to be someone else because they did not want to individuate, or separate themselves from their characters. American sociologist Philip Reiss once explained the self-image of the 20th century was that of the psychological man. Arguments can be made for the economic or even political man, but I believe that in every decade throughout the 20th century the emergence of the individual and the self-discovery of mans mental capacity has been a central and under lying theme.

Of course the pivotal cause of this effect is when psychoanalysis was first created and employed correctly. Psychoanalysis was the first proven scientific method that could be utilized by scientists for factual and accurate experimentation and documentation in probing the human unconscious, conscious and perception of reality. Freud truly was a prism as his entire career was devoted to taking a solid ray of white light, representing the social fabric, and splitting it up into a diverse array of colors. He focuses upon the study of the individual colors that made up the solid ray of light, rather than the white ray itself.