Introduction: Diving into the Freudian World of Dreams
What makes psychologists plunge into the weird world of people’s subconscious and research it thoroughly, with all the absurdities and controversies that it offers, is a complicated question.
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One of the greatest psychologists of the XX century, Sigmund Freud, cannot be denied his merits as a pioneer in psychological analysis. However, the reasons that pushed him to research the realm of people’s dreams remain to be analyzed. According to Meghnagi, the author of the article
Of course, it is worth keeping in mind that, now that the great psychologist is gone and there is no way to deny the existing interpretations of his works, it is rather tempting to read as many issues into Freud’s researches as possible.
However, when the evidence for Freud’s obsession with reclaiming his identity as a member of a Jewish community is too obvious not to notice it, one has to interpret the existing facts the only way possible, which is exactly what Meghnagi does.
Freud’s Oedipal Desires Analysis in the Social Context: Reading between the Lines
Like any other research, the given paper has a specific theoretical foil to back the arguments up with. However, it is worth mentioning that in the given case, the analysis of the issue is rather tricky; by interpreting Freud’s correspondence, Meghnagi tries to prove that Freud did have the problems of the Jewish community in mind when developing his theories.
Therefore, the theories of psychoanalysis must be used to prove the point. Hence, a psychological theory is being used to research the basis for another psychological theory, which is rather ironic. Anyway, Meghnagi uses the analysis of Freud’s correspondence in a rather efficient way.
Feudist theories, revived: a different vision of dreams
When speaking of the theories that are mentioned in the paper, Freud’s theory of dreams must be brought up. Meghnagi often refers to the latter, making it clear that the theory of dreams is the key point of his research.
Regaining identity by analyzing the society
No matter how much the given article relies on the analysis of Freud’s personality through the interpretation of his correspondence, the need to use a relevant social theory is obvious, since, according to Meghnagi, Freud was expressing his social concerns through his psychological theories. Hence, Meghnagi applies another theory to analyze Freud. The given theory can be referred to as the theory of social identity (Stets & Burke, 2000).
Hitting the Chord with the Readers: The Positive Aspects of the Article
Analyzing the given article, one should keep in mind that Meghnagi raises quite a debatable issue. Therefore, no matter how subtly the author might approach the problem, there are still going to be a number of debatable issues regarding both the national integrity of the Jewish Community and the interpretation of Freudian theory.
Hence, it is crucial to emphasize the efforts that the author has made to reduce the controversy of the topic and address the problem in a proper way.
The analysis of Freud’s concept of desires and dreams
When considering the positive aspects of the article, it is necessary to stress that Meghnagi has managed to offer a fairly decent and by far one of the most original analyses of Freud’s theories.
Even though at certain points, the idea of tying in Freud’s personal concerns and his scientific research seems somewhat forced, it is still necessary to admit that Meghnagi’s allegations concerning the real driving force behind Freud’s work are rather thrilling. Moreover, it is clear that Meghnagi offers a very detailed overview of Freud’s dream theory.
For example, the fact that “The dream incorporates elements of his childhood and an adolescence with its unresolved conflicts” (Meghnagi, 2011, 682) is derived from a quote from Freud’s work that the author of the article offers above. Hence, it can be claimed that Meghnagi provides a well thought-out analysis of Freud’s works.
Another emphasis on the national identity
There is no need to explain that in the modern world of globalization, the issue of national identity is especially significant (Blum, 2007). With the culture fusion that comes on the heels of globalization, the concern for belonging to a specific culture, as well as for the viability of the given culture, has gained especial importance (Herzog, Herzog & Lapp, 2008).
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It is evident that Meghnagi stresses the importance of the issue throughout his article: “In the relentless examination of his own dreams […] we are indirectly led to another aspect of the issue of Jewish emancipation, which centres on the preoccupation with not falling victim to identification with the aggressor” (Meghnagi, 2011, 677).
Therefore, Meghnagi’s article allows to evaluate the necessity for people to form national groups and approach the idea of belonging from a psychological perspective, which is a unique approach.
Something to Ponder over: Concerning Flaws and Misconceptions
However, it cannot be denied that Meghnagi’s article also has problems. Even though the flaws mentioned below cannot be considered as great as to ruin the premises for the research completely, these issues still have to be mentioned.
Though they do not make the article less credible, they still offer enough room for discussion. In the light of the given doubts concerning the correctness of Meghnagi’s conclusions, it is necessary to reconsider the author’s major findings, as well as reevaluate the positive and the negative aspects of Meghnagi’s article, therefore, making it clear whether Meghnagi’s ideas have any grounds to base on.
Attempting to bring the far-fetched issues closer
First and foremost, the idea that Freud’s personal problems stood behind the great theories that the latter came up with does not sound right. Even though one must give Meghnagi credit for analyzing Freud’s letters and searching for the grain of truth in them, as well as interpreting Freud’s theories in a rather witty manner, Meghnagi’s idea still somehow diminishes the researcher’s role in the creation of these theories.
Meghnagi’s supposition means that Freud’s discovery of Oedipus’ complex (Keitlen, 2003) could have been not the result of thorough work, but the result of the loss of integrity, which brings Freud’s works a few notches down.
Freud’s correspondence and its interpretation
Another problem with Meghnagi’s research is that the materials that Meghnagi had at his disposal, i.e., Freud’s letters, could have been interpreted in a million of ways other than the ones suggested by the researcher (Lieberman & Kramer, 2012).
Without knowing the most detailed background of the given letters, a precise interpretation of the correspondence is hardly possible, which raises doubts about the correctness of Meghnagi’s suppositions.
On the one hand, some of the pieces of evidence deserve being considered credible: “This interplay of biblical references is brought out clearly by Freud: It will be noticed that the name Joseph plays a great part in my dreams” (Meghnagi, 2011, 676), since it is taken from Freud’s correspondence.
O n the other hand, the paper contains such unsupported claims as the ones that make assumptions concerning Freud’s change of mood, which does not seem legitimate for a scientific research. In the given passage, the above-mentioned comes especially clearly:
This had filled Freud with pleasure but, fearing to be disappointed, he had resigned himself to the possibility of not seeing his aspirations fulfilled, since many other more senior and equally deserving scholars had waited in vain for such an acknowledgement. (Meghnagi, 2011, 675)
Therefore, it is obvious that Meghnagi’s reports on Freud’s responses towards certain events in his live should be taken with a grain of salt. While the author offers a range of interesting ideas, he does not account for every single theory that he produces, which means that the article might not represent the facts in the uncompromising light of the reality.
Recommendations and Suggestion: What Can be Improved
When thinking of what can be done to make the research more solid, one might think of adding more social context into it, while explaining every single factor that could have influenced Freud’s theoretical findings from a standpoint of a certain psychological theory, namely, the theory of social identity (Tajfel, 2010). Since at present, the article lacks theoretical basis, it could use more social theory contexts.
When Politics and Science Collides: About the Controversy
It cannot be denied that Meghnagi offers an interesting theory to consider. Like any other people, Freud was driven by the social factors that made the environment in which the psychologist lived, which means that he was influenced by the moods in the society greatly.
However, Meghnagi’s interpretation of Freud’s letters, as well as rethinking Freud’s theories through the prism of the social events of the Freud’s epoch, still needs more research. The article is clearly controversial; however, when it comes to pinning down the exact point at which Meghnagi’s ideas start rubbing the readers the wrong way is quite hard.
The problem of the article is that Meghnagi mixes the spheres that seldom collide, i.e., politics and science (Price, 1965). Hence the controversy about the paper and the uncertainty of the conclusions comes.
Conclusion: The Time Has Come to Reconsider Freudian Theories
Although Meghnagi’s article has problems, not in its logical structure or the veracity of the facts that the researcher introduces, but in the angle at which he looks at Freud’s theory, it still has to be admitted that logical theory is rather viable.
The idea that Freud was subconsciously guided by his own attempt to find his national identity and understand what his place under the sun was becomes even more logical given the fact that Meghnagi’s idea is based on Freud’s theory as well.
Hence, it can be considered that Meghnagi’s arguments are worth taking a closer look at. Even though it is hardly believable that Freud was intentionally forcing his concepts of national identity of the Jewish people into his papers, the idea that subconsciously, Freud included some elements of critique of society into his works.
Blum, D. W. (2007). National identity and globalization: Youth, state, and society in post-Soviet Eurasia. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Herzog, H. H., Herzog, T. & Lapp, B. (2008). Jewish identity and Jewish writing in Germany and Austria today. New York, NY: Berghahn Books.
Keitlen, S. (2003). The Oedipus complex: A philosophical study. College Station, TX: Virtual Book Publishing.
Lieberman, E. J. & Kramer, R. (2012). The letters of Sigmund Freud and Otto rank: Inside psychoanalysis. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Meghnagi, D. (2011). From the dreams of a generation to the theory of dreams: Freud’s Roman dreams. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 92, 675-696.
Price, D. K. (1865). The scientific estate. Harvard, MA: Harvard University Press.
Stets, J. E. & Burke, P. J. (2000). Identity theory and social identity theory. Social Psychology Quarterly, 63(3), 224-237.
Tajfel, H. (2010). Social identity and intergroup relations. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.