Sigmund Freud


From an interview with the BBC in December 1938

Hard upon the birthdays yesterday of Kierkegaard and Marx, today is Sigmund Freud‘s birthday (1856-1939): another passenger in “the drunken boat”:

From “The Drunken Boat”:

The major constructs which our own culture has inherited from its Romantic ancestry are also of the “drunken boat” shape, but represent a later and a different form of it from the “vehicular form” described above. Here the boat is usually in the position of Noah’s ark, a fragile container of sensitive and imaginative values threatened by a chaotic and unconscious power below it. In Schopenhauer, the world as idea rides precariously atop a “world as will” which engulfs practically the whole of existence in its moral indifference. In Darwin, who readily combines with Schopenhauer, as the later work of Hardy illustrates, consciousness and mortality are accidental sports from a ruthlessly competitive evolutionary force. In Freud, who has noted the resemblance of his mythical structure to Schopenhauer’s, the conscious ego struggles to keep afloat on a sea of libidinous impulse. In Kierkegaard, all the “higher” impulses of fallen man pitch and roll on the surface of a huge and shapeless “dread.” In some versions of this construct the antithesis of the symbol of consciousness and the destructive element in which it is immersed can be overcome or transcended: there is an Atlantis under the sea which becomes an Ararat for the beleaguered boat to rest on. (CW 17, 89)

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