Saturday, September 6, 2008

Like stepping on a rake head...

...and having the handle pop you in the face.

Freud claimed that religion is mere wish-fulfillment, based mostly on a subconscious desire for a perfect Father Figure (into whose hands we could, in turn, relinquish our secular autonomy and enjoy a soothing mirage of peace and control). Notoriously, autem, the same "logic" cuts against atheism, quatenis it is construed as a subconscious (Oedipal) desire to escape and murder all Father Figures.

The same pop-you-in-the-face problem, according to Mortimer Adler, besets Freudianism with respect to its emphasis on the cognitive dominance of subjective desires. In Adler's words:

Emotional thinking is, to use Freud's phrase, "wishful thinking"--controlled by the drive of subjective desires and passions rather than by the objective realities to which dispassionate thinking should respond. Paradoxically, and obviously not recognized by him, Freud is caught in self-contradiction at this point.

If psychoanalytic theory claims that its hypotheses can be empirically verified or falsified by the data obtained by scientifically conducted, clinical research, then psychoanalytic theorizing is not wishful thinking. Yet Freudian psychology also claims that the passions control all human thinking, which is therefore wishful thinking throughout. Both claims cannot be true.

(Intellect: Mind over Matter [New York: Macmillan, 1990], p. 183)

Frye? Frye? ... Bueller? Bueller? ... Anyone? Anyone?

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