Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud quotes

Quotes by and about Sigmund Freud

(Continued from his main entry on the site.)

Carl Jung: "Freud is a very neurotic character. ... This makes it hard to determine his type."

Freud: "All my life I have had to tell people truths that were difficult to swallow."

Freud: "[I hear that many people have] a feeling of an indissoluble bond, of being one with the [universe]. From my own experience [I do not have] such a feeling. ... There is nothing of which [I am] more certain than the feeling of [my] self, of [my] ego."

Freud: "[My public presentations are] crude stuff meant for the masses."

Freud: "By nature I lack a talent for philosophy."

Freud: "Philosophy with its abstract nature is unpleasant to me."

Freud: "[Unlike Jung and Adler] I so rarely feel the need for synthesis. The unity of this world seems to me something self-understood, something unworthy of emphasis."

Freud: "[Maybe I] have taken too serious and profound a view of details."

Freud: "I know that [my personality] is very favorable for slow succes."

Freud: "My thought ... seems precious to me because they are the result of my own efforts."

Freud: "I cannot imagine life without work as at all comfortable."

Freud: "I am not a great man [and] not a great spirit."

Freud: "I present [my thought] dogmatically as if they were a finished doctrinal edifice. But don't suppose that it immediately came into being that way like a philosophical system. [I] have developed it very slowly, wrestled for a long time for every little piece, [and] modified it continually in constant touch with observation."

Freud: "I certainly have a disposition towards tyranny."

Sigmund Freud

Freud: "[My] growing resentment towards the ... world was no doubt intensified by the necessity of having to be kind and tolerant every day."

Freud: "I am not one who intuitively 'gets' people."

Freud: "[I found that] the personal emotional relation between doctor and patient ... escaped every effort at control."

Freud: "I think I can say in my defence that an intolerant man, dominated by an arrogant belief in his own infallibility, would never have been able to maintain his hold upon so large a number of intelligent people, especially if he had at his command as few practical attractions as I had."

Freud [in a personal letter to a friend:] "You really should know about me that I have always been dissatisfied with my mental endowments and I can give myself a precise account of my deficiencies."


Freud and Socialism

Freud: "Socialism ... is a modern idealistic misjudgment of human nature."

Freud: "Marxism is a baseless illusion."

Paul Roazen: "[On] Communism, Freud ... was enough of a skeptic to be confident that a shortage of bread would not be resolved by a mutual sharing of a scarcity."


[When confronted with Goethe's collected works at Weimar:]
Freud: "To think he wrote all of that in order not to show himself."

Sigmund Freud

Carl Jung: "[When I met Freud I found him] extremely shrewd, intelligent and altogether remarkable. [But] I could not quite make him out."

Carl Jung: "Freud was always a bit impatient. He always hoped to find some shortcut."

Carl Jung: "[Freud's attitude] always seemed to say: 'If they don't understand me, they must be stamped into Hell.'"

Carl Jung: "I met Freud when he was already a man in his fifties. His general way of living was a genuinely introverted style."

Carl Jung: "I would think [Freud] was extraverted."

Carl Jung: "[Freud's theory] is strictly limited to empirical facts [and] accords the greatest role to sensation."

Carl Jung: "When Freud says that the unconscious is 'only able to wish', this observation contains a large measure of truth for the unconscious of the extraverted type."

Carl Jung: "[In] the Extraverted Rational [i.e. E-J] types ... The judgment [of external objects] would take as its basis the observer's own individual psychology, which would be forcibly imposed upon the observed objects. To my mind, this is the case in the psychologies both of Freud and of Adler."

Carl Jung: "Freud's view is essentially extraverted, Adler's introverted. ... Freud and Adler are equally one-sided as representatives of one type."

Carl Jung: "Freud was not much of a philosopher, he was strictly a man trained in medicine."

Carl Jung: "I always recognized Freud's greatness and genius, but he was extremely headstrong. ... Once he said to me: 'We have to turn the theory of the unconscious into a dogma to make it immovable.'"

Carl Jung: "Freudian explanations are so pseudo-correct that they never fail to have an effect."

Michael Schabad: "To underscore Freud's great superiority to Adler, Jung made a sweeping gesture: 'Adler had only one idea. It was a good idea, but he did not get beyond schoolmaster psychology.'"

Irvin Yalom: "Freud took no pains to conceal his enthusiasm for intellectual solutions. More than one of his former patients have described his habit of reaching for his box of 'Victory cigars' to celebrate a particularly incisive interpretation."

Sigmund Freud

Carl Jung: [Freud] really belonged to the category of a Nietzschean mind."

New York Times: "[Lou Salome describes Freud] as a supremely rational man, blessed with clarity of thought and a wry, self-deprecating humor."

Max Scharnberg: "[Freud] had a markedly deficient awareness of his own ... emotions."

Max Scharnberg: "Freud has a lack of empathy and little self-knowledge."

Anthony Storr: "[Freud's collection of statues] crowd the shelves so closely that not one can be appreciated ... in its own right. [His] interest is in accumulation rather than beauty."

Marilyn Nagy: "Jung openly labels Freud an extravert. ... Jung had Freud in mind when he described the typology of the tough-minded man ... [who] is 'sensationalistic,' giving more value to the senses than to reflection."

Paul Roazen : "[Recalling his meeting with Freud, Henry A. Murray] was still astounded that the first thing that Freud had brought up was: 'Why did Jung, and not me, get an honorary degree at the Harvard Tercentenary' in 1936? (It seemed to me characteristic of Freud, though a frail old man of eighty then, to have been still in need of outside recognition, and also continuing the war with Jung.)"

Paul Roazen: "Murray saw Freud in [his] consulting room. [A room] that Murray described ... as 'sepulchral.' Erik H. Erikson told me essentially the same thing about the feeling tone of the room, filled with antiquities, where Freud worked."

Paul Roazen: "Freud had been offended by the characteristic American 'ageism' [i.e. the tendency to regard youth as everything] on his one trip to America in 1909."

Freud: "Moby Dick is my favourite American novel."

Freud: "[Art] has little meaning."

Freud and Jung in group photo

Paul Roazen: "Freud would never have discussed psychoanalysis 'at the dinner table,' and ... Freud's wife would not [even] have known what the word 'repression' meant."

Paul Roazen: "Jung's behavior during a meal [was so that] he never made the slightest attempt to make polite conversation [but] pursued the debate which had been interrupted by the call to dinner."

Paul Roazen: "Allport had also seen Freud in Vienna; Allport, who was personally very fastidious, somehow found himself, in talking with Freud, remarking on a small tidy boy he had seen on a streetcar in Vienna. 'And you are the small boy?' Freud inquired. Murray thought the story very funny because Allport always told it as a sign of Freud's capacity for being irrelevant; 'Allport still did not get Freud's point.' Murray thought that Freud had succeeded in being remarkably astute about Allport."

Henry A. Murray: "[Having met] Adler, Rank, and Jung ... none of them [had] as good [a] humor as Freud."


The Freudian Wit

Freud [in a personal letter to his wife:] "If one of us should die, then I shall move to Paris."

Freud: "A wife is like an umbrella - sooner or later one takes a cab."

Freud: "I invented psychoanalysis because there was no preexisting literature that I would have to review."

Freud [in a personal letter to Lou Salome:] "At the moment you possess two pictures of me and I not one of you. Is this right? Naturally I do not envisage my redress to consist in your sending me one of the two you possess. Sincerely yours, Freud."

Paul Boehm: "When Freud fled Austria after the Nazi takeover, the Nazis would not let Freud board the train to Paris unless he provided a statement that absolved them of any blame. 'I can heartily recommend the Gestapo to anyone,' Freud wrote. The Nazis did not see the irony."


American Journal of Psychology: "[Freud was both] the creator and dictator of psychoanalysis."

Henry A. Murray: "Freud knew that he had conquered [early in his career and] innocent of the dread of being wrong, [later in his career] he did not hesitate to publish the most far-fetched conceits of speculation. ... If Freud had been more of a scientist he would have pressed no claims to be one. Dogmatism is anti-scientific; and there are reasons to distrust a 'truth' that forms a sect."

Henry A. Murray: "Freud had been sensitive about his height, and ... in one group photograph Freud was 'standing on a box' next to Jung so as to loom out as the leader of the psychoanalytic movement."

Freud and Jung in group photo

Paul Roazen: "Freud [was] insecurely neurotic with regard to his physical stature. ... When one knows the real heights of the people involved, it is obvious that [in the Weimar photo] Freud was on an extra elevation and that Jung was loyally leaning forward in order to disguise his real size."

Henry A. Murray: "[I am] impressed with how kindly Freud [can] be, [though I know] he was also a great hater; they are not really incompatible traits."

Henry A. Murray: "As far as I could tell, the sexual aspect of Freud's relationship to his wife ended rather early. If it had not been so, maybe Freud would not have needed to make so much of it. Freud needed to tear sex down, by reducing everything about it to the infantile, which is [why he erroneously related] the anus to sexuality."

V. Walter Odajnyk: "[Freud] complained about the American tendency to de-emphasize theory and proceed as quickly as possible to its practical application."

Freud: "I was not cut out for inductive investigation. ... My whole make-up is intuitive, and ... in setting out to establish the purely empirical science of [psychoanalysis] I [have] subjected myself to an extraordinary discipline."

V. Walter Odajnyk: "[Freud] was a Physis type, an Aristotelian."

V. Walter Odajnyk: "Freud was an unabashed elitist who considered the majority of mankind 'trash.'"

[Upon reading Jung's 'Psychological Types':]
Freud: "There [can] be no [variance in] 'objective truth' in psychology because of personal differences in the observer's constitution."

V. Walter Odajnyk: "[As a boy, Freud] did not dream of becoming a writer, a physician, or a scientist. ... He fantasized about becoming a military commander and liked calling himself 'conquistador.'"

Freud's antiquities

V. Walter Odajnyk: "[His] antiquities provided Freud with a sensuous connection to civilizations thousands of years in the past: For him, merely reading about them was too abstract. ... [His] pleasure [in the objects] ... was both sensual and aesthetic."

Peter Gay: "Freud's antique objects gave him sheer visual and tactile pleasure; Freud ... fondled them as he sat as his desk."

Peter Gay: "[Freud possessed] a commanding air ... an air of power disciplined. Even Freud's mustache and pointed beard were subdued to order by a barber's daily attention."

Peter Gay: "[Freud's] heroic effort at self-mastery in the service of concentrated work [made him chain] himself to a ... timetable."

Walter Kaufmann: "[Freud] saw four or five patients in a row from 8 or 9 a.m. till 1 p.m., day after day, and then several more in the afternoon until he had a late supper, and two nights a week he lectured at the university, while Wednesday evenings were reserved for the Psychoanalytic Society. He had no secretarial help, wrote all of his many letters by hand, and [also] wrote a large number of seminal books and essays."

V. Walter Odajnyk: "Freud's daily schedule, leisure time and summer vacations were carefully organized and predictable."

Rome

Freud: "I am not in a state to do anything else, except study the topography of Rome, my longing for which becomes more and more acute."

Andreas Mayer: "Freud [had a] lifelong fascination with the city of Rome and its multi-layered history."

Philip Kuberski: "Jung and Freud dreamed of Rome as [a] guardian and archive of the unconscious."


Freud's Admiration for the Histrionic Personality

Leonard Shengold: "[Freud's confidante] Fleiss was a very charming and vivacious man and Freud had a need and a terrible weakness for that kind of glamorous person. When Jung came along, he became that person again for Freud. Both Fleiss and Jung were charlatans in some ways, but very bright, very beguiling ones."

Walter Kauffman: "[With] Freud's and Jung's friendship and break ... one may be pardoned for sometimes feeling that the friendship is harder to explain than the break."

Bertrand Russell: "[Empedocles was a] mixture of philosopher, prophet, man of science, and charlatan."

John Palmer: "[Empedocles] was Freud's favorite Pre-Socratic philosopher."

Freud Museum London: "Amongst Freud's private collection of prints there is a portrait of Empedocles [made by] Luca Signorelli [in the] late 15th century."

Freud: "[Empedocles] is one of the grandest and most remarkable figures in the history of Greek civilization. ... His mind seems to have united the sharpest contrasts. He was exact and sober in his physical and physiological researches, yet he did not shrink from the obscurities of mysticism, and built up cosmic speculations of astonishingly imaginative boldness."

Paul Roazen: "[Ruth Brunswick] was charming and explosive, very intelligent as well as vivacious, and Freud liked her a great deal."

Paul Roazen: "Freud's 'chief favorite' in those days ... was Ruth Brunswick. ... She had a 'courageous' mind; she was free in a sense to think whatever she wanted. She was not 'restricted' the way most people were. ... She would change her mind tomorrow, but today she could think. She had the courage to behave that way with Freud because she could trust him not to take anything she said as final. Few people brought that same 'freedom' to him. ... It was 'pure pleasure on both sides.'"

Paul Roazen: "It has long been known how Freud admired Mark Twain."


Jeffrey Masson: "When Freud first came across the mystic writing pad, which is also called a magic slate, he found it a good example of the mental apparatus: It illustrates the fact that impressions made on us do not disappear but are indelibly inscribed into the wax, though they have disappeared from the surface."

Paul Roazen: "Freud had been offended by the characteristic American 'ageism' [i.e. the tendency to regard youth as everything] on his one trip to America in 1909."

Sigmund Freud

Freud: "Most of humanity is, according to my experiences, rabble."

Freud: "[In my work] even when I have moved away from observation, I have carefully avoided any contact with philosophy proper."

Freud: "[I have not] found the reading of philosophical authors to be to my taste."

Freud: "I read Schopenhauer [only] very late in my life."


Freud and Nietzsche

Freud [in his published 'Autobiographical Study':] "I have denied myself the very great pleasure of reading the work of Nietzsche, with the deliberate object of not being hampered in working out the impressions received in psycho-analysis by any sort of anticipatory ideas."

Freud [in his published 'Autobiographical Study':] "[Nietzsche's] guesses and intuitions often agree in the most astonishing way with the labourious findings of [my work]."

Freud [in a private letter, dated 1900:] "I have just acquired Nietzsche in whom I hope to find words for much that remains mute in me."

British Journal of Psychiatry: "Freud repeatedly stated that he had never read Nietzsche. Evidence contradicting this are his references to Nietzsche and his quotations and paraphrases of him, in casual conversation and his now published personal correspondence."

British Journal of Psychiatry: "Ernest Jones, a close friend and dedicated follower of Freud, recalls that Freud told him in conversation about that time [i.e. 1908] that Nietzsche was one of the 'authentically great men of all time' and that 'Nietzsche developed a more penetrating knowledge of himself than any other man who ever lived.'"

Walter Kaufmann: "Freud had read Nietzsche's 'Ecce Homo' as soon as it had appeared in 1908."

Freud: "In my youth [Nietzsche] signified for me a nobility I could not attain."

Walter Kaufmann: "Freud's prose was much more ... patient than Nietzsche's."

Walter Kaufmann: "Nietzsche's wit was unruly and refused to stay in harness, while Freud was always able to [dedicate himself] to his purpose."

Walter Kaufmann: "Nietzsche's knowledge of John Stuart Mill is actually based ... on Freud's translation [of Mill], which he owned."

Steven Beller: "Freud [always] denied having had any direct acquaintance with Nietzsche's work before he had formulated his psychoanalyic discoveries. Sometimes this denial was made with extremely abstruse reasoning."

Steven Beller: "[Nietzsche] was so central to the interests of students [where Freud studied] that Freud's claims of ignorance about him are simply untenable."

Steven Beller: "Freud had put Nietzsche's playful, contradictory, and 'dancing' ideas before the screen of a strictly described reality, and given them an element of plausibility that they do not have in their original form."

Steven Beller: "[Freud] subjected the basic theories of [Nietzsche's] 'psychology' to ... experimental research."

Paul Roazen: "He wanted people to be something 'higher' or better - a superman, in Nietzsche's sense."


John Kerr: "Quite possibly ... the important step that Jung took [when he introduced introversion/extraversion into psychology] had occurred to him while reading Freud's paper 'Types of Onset of Neurosis.'"

Robert Steele: "Freud saw himself as the lone explorer discovering truth emprically through his observations and their refinement. He sifted through vast amounts of experience in order to extract [the] causal core elements."

Robert Steele: "Freud reduced myriads of material to an interwoven nexus of findings which constitute the central theses of psychoanalysis."

Walter Kaufmann: "That Freud loved Goethe and was steeped in his writings should be obvious to all who study Freud. Goethe is cited and quoted constantly [whereas] Kant, Goethe's great antipode, and Newton ... meant nothing to Freud."

Walter Kaufmann: "[What] Freud associated with academic philosophy and disliked [was] its abstractness. ... Freud had no mind to stray that far from real life."

Walter Kaufmann: "Freud stayed far closer to the problems of human existance than any of the major existentialists."

Moses by Michelangelo

Freud: "Michelangelo's Moses ... no statue has ever made a stronger impression on me than this."

Freud: "[With his Moses] Michelangelo has created, not a historical figure, but a character-type, embodying an inexhaustible inner force which tames the recalcitrant world."

Horace Gray: "I submit that the superior function is sensation, not intuition, in Michelangelo ... particularly in his Moses which so fascinated Freud."

Martin Buber: "He had a calm ... soul. ... A great tranquil resoluteness and superiority." [Upon meeting Freud around 1903.]

Walter Kaufmann: "Freud ... found peace through his work."

Walter Kaufmann: "Freud ... sets standards [before us] that we can hardly hope to satisfy. ... Jung makes no demands on us. He provides diversions and escapes. ... People prefer stories and fairy tales - soothing diversions - to austere challenges."

Walter Kaufmann: "A cartoon once showed a patient lying on a couch, who says: 'I am Napoleon.' The analyst sitting behind him replies: 'I am Freud.'"

Walter Kaufmann: "Far from being able to identify with Freud, many people feel threatened by him. ... He is a quintessential father figure. ... Many people see themselves as rebels against authority and ... tend to identify with the people who rebelled against him."

Walter Kaufmann: "Freud ... considered Shakespeare a being of a higher order."

Freud [in a personal letter to his wife:] "Do you know what Breuer said to me one evening? ... He said that he had found out that there was concealed in me under the shroud of shyness an immeasurably bold and fearless human being. I have always believed this myself and never dared to tell anybody. ... But I could not give expression to my ardent passions ... so I have always suppressed myself, and that, I think, must show. Such stupid confession I make to you, sweet treasure, really for no good reason, unless it is the cocaine that makes me talk."

Freud sitting for his bust

Freud: "Let us hasten to add that [my work] did not take the first step. Famous philosophers can be cited as predecessors. ... [My work] has gone only a step further."

Walter Kaufmann: "[In praising his predecessors] Freud is rather too generous. ... [He] softens the blow [of his thought] by insisting that some writers who are already admired and respected have really said much the same thing before."

John Beebe: "[To Freud] our libidinal energies are like a migrating people, who, having once occupied a place, not only never entirely leave it, but also return to that place if they find they need to."

Hanns Sachs [in 1944:] "Freud was not dazed by the brilliant gift of intuitive understanding of the products of the unconscious."

Freud: "I learned to restrain speculative tendencies and ... looked at the same things again and again until the things themselves began to talk to me."

Freud: "[Jung is far from] my intellectual constitution. ... He comes to me only against great inner resistances."


Paul Roazen's Collected Eyewitness Accounts on Freud

As featured in his book, 'How Freud Worked'.

Account from Patient Mark Brunswick

Roazen: "To Mark, Freud seemed 'often quite naive.' For example, one night ... [Freud's] dog, was clearly having a dream, and Ruth pointed it out. Freud then simply commented: 'I've told them they are giving her too much to eat!' Instead of Freud being fascinated by an animal's dreaming, he [was concerned with being] an authority in the home."

Roazen: "Mark thought that Freud was 'very moralistic.' Mark once purchased for $14 a beautiful book on Rome, and showed it to Freud. Freud, who loved Rome ... said, 'See that you [work to] deserve it!'"

Account from Patient Albert Hirst

Roazen: "[According to Hirst] Freud was 'rigid' about analytic hours; you paid for his time, from nine until ten for example; it was nine sharp and ten sharp. ... In one period, Hirst was always fifteen minutes late. ... Freud for his part never kept him waiting."

Roazen: "I asked whether he had ever found it frustrating that everything with Freud had to be so exact. Hirst [recalled] how the collection of antique figures on Freud's desk were always in the same order."

Account from Patient Edith Jackson

Roazen: "From Freud's point of view, work and the enjoyment associated with it was the most important thing."

Roazen: "He was intolerant ... his whole outlook ... was wrapped in intolerance."

Account from Patient Robert Jokl

[In regards to Freud's falling-out with Otto Rank over Rank wanting to make psychoanalysis more theoretical:]
Roazen: "Freud [reportedly] said to Rank, 'You make the whole question more complicated and more superficial.'"

Roazen: "Jokl stood back from the way he thought Freud had of 'defending men' in his theorizing. Women should not be looked on as 'a second kind of human being,' lower to men. In Freud's conviction man was the 'dominant' figure, and the female the dependent one."

Account from Patient Kata Levy

Roazen: "She told me that Freud spent a month with them that summer in Budapest. She recalled Freud's interest in wild strawberries and mushroom-hunting."

Roazen: "He had maintained that Dostoevsky was a master novelist, and that the book [The Brothers Karamazov] itself was the most beautiful in all world literature."

Roazen: "During her analysis Freud had once lent Levy a book. ... When Freud had loaned her the book, he looked at her as if to say, 'Every book is so precious.' She had reassured him about her commitment to returning it to him."

Roazen: "Freud was 'a very respectable old gentleman.' Freud had liked 'tidiness,' and there was nobody 'Bohemian' in the immediate family."

Account from Patient Irmarita Putnam

Roazen: "Thinking back on her contact with both Jung and Freud, Dr. Putnam thought that 'one could not have imagined any two people more different.'"

Roazen: "She felt Freud was very attentive, as if she were his 'first patient.' While she was in treatment with Jung, he had wanted to talk primarily about what he was interested in, and with Jung she had wondered where she herself fitted in with all his ideas. (Others confirmed how, in contrast to Freud, Jung could be clinically self-involved.) Freud was 'different.'"

Roazen: "Freud had the unique pride of the solitary person who is reluctant to give of himself ... and yet he could permit himself to ask people to be his emissaries."

Roazen: "Clinically ... Freud thought that he had just to analyze a patient's problems through rational insight ... and then leave the patient to resolve them on his own. But ... the patient cannot do on his own what Freud expected ... which is why Jung emphasized the necessary help the analyst had to give in lending a synthesizing hand to the patient."

Roazen: "He did not talk like he wrote; he was never as elaborate as in his writings."

Roazen: "Dr. Putnam was ... impressed with how self-critical [Freud] could be."

Roazen: "When I mentioned all the notable controversies in the history of psychoanalysis, such as those with Adler, Jung, and Rank, Dr. Putnam agreed that Freud could indeed be 'cruel.' That aspect of him had to be acknowledged. But she thought he was not easily aroused to anger. (Jung, on the other hand, was reported by others to have been quick to explode, and easier than Freud to get over it.)"

Roazen: "While Jung had spent 'a great deal' of time criticizing Freud, Freud himself did not bother with Jung."

Roazen: "Freud thought that Adler had played up one aspect of psychoanalysis, the concept of inferiority, which Freud thought was too much of a simplification."

Account from Patient Eva Rosenfeld

Roazen: "He did not think there were such deep feelings so 'unkillable' that they must have a meaning."

Roazen: "He said ... that his study of Leonardo was his 'favorite' book."

Roazen: "His sense of disappointment with people could be so strong."

Roazen: "Freud's old-world tact should not be mistaken for what his real underlying feelings were. ... Freud could sound cautious when he was most certain."

Roazen: "Yet as all-important as his work was to him, within the Freud household one could not hear the word psychoanalysis. There was never a vulgar joke ... in the family."

Roazen: "[He] never made fun of something [he] believed in."

Roazen: "In his personal life there were many taboos, or things 'not done.'"

Roazen: "He loved stories about unfaithful women; what a 'bore' it would be for them to be straight. But he would not have 'allowed' such conduct in his own family."

Roazen: "Freud never played with technical words or used the professional jargon at home."

Roazen: "Freud would never have interfered with [his son's] extramarital affairs. Talking with him would have done 'no good.' He was 'a scoundrel,' and Freud could not 'govern' him."

Roazen: "Freud's ... position on religion ... [was] that he believed only in something 'tangible.'"

Roazen: "In general, Freud resented what he could not understand. That attitude helps explain his approach to music - Freud found it essentially 'unfathomable,' and he did not like feelings that were not rationally explicable. Part of his objection to religion came from the same sort of reasoning."

Roazen: "He had ... hoped to win the Nobel Prize; his failure to do so was a 'disappointment' to him."

Roazen: "Freud did not want to go further than he could solve. 'In limiting your aims,' he would say, 'that's masterly.'"

Roazen: "Freud had complicated emotions toward his patients and pupils, and I wondered why he had never written more on counter-transference. ... For Freud transference meant 'an error,' or at least erroneous feelings. Hence the essence of being a psychoanalyst was identified as being not in error, so there would not (or could not) be such a phenomenon as counter-transference."

Roazen: "Freud's moralism was such that worthless could be 'a great word' for him. The people who could be helped by psychoanalysis were those who truly were somebody. Analysis was 'a moral medal'. ... One had 'deserved' to be healed by psychanalysis; it was not [just] a medical affair in Freud's eyes."

Roazen: "[Melanie Klein] was more 'narcissistic' than Freud ever could have been."

Roazen: "He was 'a simple man with a great subject.'"

Roazen: "In writing to Einstein he did not want to play the role of the 'wizard' or the magic man."

Roazen: "He adopted a certain hardness about himself ... and people who wanted to worship him."

Account from Patients James and Alix Strachey

Roazen: "Freud viewed [Elizabeth I] as 'a bad queen.' When Alix protested Freud's assessment, Freud only budged to the extent of denouncing her further: 'Anyway, she was a bad woman.'"

Roazen: "I asked whether Freud had ever changed, and James chuckled a bit and said no, as if Freud would have been the last person ever to do so."

Roazen: "Freud was not 'at all' as severe as in his pictures; he supposedly 'hated' to be photographed. And when artists drew Freud, they felt they had to make him look stern."

Roazen: "[Freud] took an 'old-fashioned' attitude toward women. He thought they belonged 'at home.' ... He believed they were 'weaker' and needed 'protection.'"


Paul Roazen: "Despite how hardworking he was ... and the importance he attached to good practical results, it is all too easy for people nowadays to think of Freud as a closet philosopher thinking up his ideas independently of concrete, practical pressures."

Paul Roazen: "Freud admitted being angry about how mankind as a whole failed to live up to the most elementary standards of decency that he thought should be reasonably expected of people."

Paul Roazen: "[To Freud] phony spiritualism was no sort of reliable help, and just misled the unwary about what could be expected in life."

Paul Roazen: "Inevitably Freud tended to universalize insights that were in fact personal. All of psychoanalytic theory can be seen as Freud's autobiography writ large."

Freud on the cover of Time Magazine

Paul Roazen: "A remarkable strain of consistency runs through all Freud's thinking, and there never was a time, at least when anyone I encountered knew him, when Freud was not working from a well-thought out system of ideas. It is not as if ... [he was] fumbling around in the dark."

Paul Roazen: "One sometimes thinks that all Freud's cautiousness can get swamped in the idealism that he bequeathed to his professional descendants."

Paul Roazen: "Whatever Freud may have sometimes made it sound like, practical results did matter to him."

Paul Roazen: "As a therapist ... Freud could be giving with one hand while taking away with the other; he offered the ideal of autonomy and self-determination at the same time as he was laying down [rigid] rules for the procedure of psychoanalysis."

Paul Roazen: "[He had a] most genuinely humble spirit."


Freud Speaking to the BBC in 1938

Listen to the recording
.

Freud: "I started my professional activity as a neurologist, trying to bring relief to my neurotic patients. Under the influence of an old friend, and by my own efforts, I discovered some important new facts about the unconscious in psychic life, the role of instinctual urges, and so on. Out of these findings grew a new science, psychoanalysis, a part of psychology, and a new method of treatment of the neurosis. I had to pay heavily for this bit of good luck. People did not believe in my facts and thought my theories unsavory. Resistance was strong and unrelenting. In the end, I succeeded in acquiring pupils and building up an international psychoanalytic association. But the struggle is not yet over. Sigmund Freud."


Bob Fancher: "[Strangely, reading up on Freud's life] offers no sense of the genuinely awe-inspiring intellect that radiates from the pages of most of Freud's work."

Sharon Heller: "[To Freud] clothes were basic to self-respect, and he insisted that his children be well-dressed. He once commented: 'The good opinion of my tailor matters to me as much as that of my professor.'"

Sharon Heller: "[Freud had a] sharp memory ... [and was like] a master detective."

Freud: "[I] accept life with cheerful humility."

[Asked if he did not wish to be immortal:]
Freud: "I do not rebel against the universal order."


Freud's Compulsive Traits

Paul Roazen: "Once, when the Freuds were staying at a summer house, it was found that the bookshelves were too small for his books; they had to be removed 'immediately.' Freud's 'obsessionality' was expressed in all his being. He needed that immense amount of self-control and discipline."

Paul Roazen: "One of his 'obsessions' was that anything out of the ordinary, unexpected, and not 'guarded against' roused anxiety and discomfort."


Don McGowan: "Freudians are notorious for saying that if we have a dream that does not fulfill a wish, that dream fulfills the wish of having a dream that does not fulfill a wish."

Freud: "Jung was again magnificent and did me a lot of good. I poured out my heart about many things. ... I am convinced more than ever that he is the man of the future." [Upon meeting Jung in 1910.]

Christopher Badcock: "[Freud's letters] show a humane, forbearing and profoundly decent person who was a loyal and responsive friend to colleagues who ... did not always treat him with the consideration and care that he had for them."

Freud: "Only with great difficulty can I, myself, take a position with respect to the question of the value of my works and their influence on the shape of future science. Sometimes I believe in it, sometimes I doubt it."

[Asked if he was a pessimist:]
Freud: "I am not. I permit no philosophic reflection to spoil my enjoyment of the simple things in life."

[When asked why he had not broken with Jung earlier:]
Freud: "I was a sentimental donkey."


Jung's Rescue Attempt

Frank McLynn: "On 12 March 1938 came the news that the Nazis had invaded Austria. ... Even though [Jung] had praised National Socialism and denigrated Freud ... [Jung] knew well enough the dubious mercies Austrian Jews could expect of the Gestapo. He and Franz Rilkin therefore collected $10,000 from well-wishers and their own funds and sent Rilkin's son ... to Vienna ... to rescue Freud. ... [In Vienna] Freud waved him away irascibly: 'I refuse to be beholden to my enemies.'"


J.H. van der Hoop: "[Compared to Jung] Freud's standpoint seems to me to be more cautious and more thorough."

Ernest Jones: "Jung sweeps over the canvas like a Rubens, [Freud] draws with the accuracy and close feeling of a Del Sarto."

Sigmund Freud