Thursday, May 6, 2010

These Dreams

Magnet # 235: Pop Art Sleeping Beauty

Material: Plastic

Purchased By: Me

It was on this day in 1856 that physician Sigmund Freud was born in what was then Austria-Hungary. And, soon enough, the mind and dreams would never be viewed in the same way again.

Freud was born to a father who was a wool merchant and his parents would go on to have seven more children, in addition to the pair his father had from a first marriage. But their oldest son was so intelligent that he was their favorite and they made great sacrifices to give him a good education. Fortunately, he paid them back by excelling at school. He considered pursuing law, but instead decided to join the medical faculty at the University of Vienna. It was there that he first began to formulate his beliefs on the unconscious mind. He also made the decision to specialize in neurology. Later, Freud traveled to Paris and studied with a noted neurologist who was helping patients suffering from hysteria. Upon his return to Vienna, he focused on these particular patients, developing his own beliefs on how their illnesses formed and what was the best form of treatment to help them. In the 1890's, Freud came forward, sharing his beliefs with other physicians. At first, the establishment shot down his ideas, but he persisted, slowly gaining a group of followers and becoming internationally respected by 1910. Freud continued for years with his work, but when the Nazis rose to power, as a Jew, he faced a very serious threat. But, by some twist of fate, Freud was assigned to a Nazi agent named Anton Sauerwald who was an intellect and had studied with a friend of Freud's. He secretly refused to destroy Freud's books, allowed him to keep hidden bank accounts, and finally helped him and his family flee to England. And after World War II, Freud's daughter Anna, who was to become a leader in the field of child psychoanalysis, repaid his kindness. When Sauerwald was arrested by the U.S. army, she spoke of how he helped save her family and he was freed. However, Freud's sisters weren't so fortunate - they all died in The Holocaust. Later, facing death from oral cancer brought on by many years of smoking cigars, Freud instead committed suicide. His remains were cremated and place in an ancient Greek urn that one of his patients, Princess Marie Bonaparte, had given him. And although the man himself had died, his ideas had changed the way human nature was studied and persist to this day.

There were a great deal of theories that Freud had on behavior, the mind, and treatment. He is certainly well-known for the concept of the id, the ego, and the superego, as well as the Oedipus complex, but he also changed the way we view dreams. To him, they were often the embodiment of wish-fulfillment and could be formed by whatever occurred during the day. In fact, he often used dream analysis to treat his patients. So do these beliefs hold up? For example, does the Magnet Junkie dream about magnets? Every so often, yes. I do have dreams that I'm getting very unusual or rare magnets and I'm pretty happy about that when I'm asleep. But then I wake up and realize that I didn't actually get them, which kinda stinks. Or I might be in a dream where I'm trying to get very cool magnets that I've seem , but just can't. I wonder what Freud would say about that? Probably that I'm a little obsessed with magnets, but I guess anyone could figure that out with a look at this blog. Still, his work deserves its due credit. Freud may have his detractors, but thanks to him, we have a better understanding of the mind and mentally ill patients are being treated and helped in ways no one ever thought of before. And much of the progress they make toward happiness and peace can often be traced back to his ideas. As far as legacies go, that's a pretty good one.

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