8. Freud 186
Chapter Eight Freud …the ego is not the master in its own house.1 —Sigmund Freud, “A Difficulty in the Path of Psycho-Analysis” (1917) As we move forward in time through the 20th and into the 21st century, we find that scientific fields that address the workings of the mind and brain, i.e., psy- chology, psychiatry, and neuroscience, tend to take a determinist point of view, that is, that free will is purely an illusion. They recognize that the choices we make are contingent on past events and also on neuroscience (the way that the human brain physically works and transmits information). They acknowledge that these interactions influence our behavior and therefore, the goal of psy- chology has evolved so that today it seeks to investigate the numerous vari- ables—biological (inheritance, gender, neuroscience of the brain), personal (one’s upbringing), and social beliefs (imparted by one’s culture and social status)—that interact in determining behavior and thought processes. If a psy- chologist suspects that a mental condition may be causally related to a mal- function of the brain, he will recommend that the patient be evaluated by medical doctors and by neuroscientists, in particular. Sigmund Freud, the single most influential psychologist of the 20th cen- tury, thought that the unanalyzed mind does not have free will. He viewed us as marionettes who strings are commandeered by various realms, each compet- ing for dominance. These spheres of influence that rule us—and often even ruin our lives—are many: the conscious mind;...
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