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The last post concerning this book may be found here:

In the last section of the chapter In Defense of the Analytic Attitude, Rieff comes to the questions of Freud’s “children,” those who followed after him. This question of Freud’s descendants will comprise the majority of the remaining book. At this point, Rieff looks generally at psychoanalysts, with some mention of Adler and Jung. Jung will also get an entire chapter of consideration.

Rieff notes some basic elements of a system. There is a canon, or a source of authority: “Every science has its established body of authoritative makers of opinion.” (69) There is also a system of conveying that knowledge through education. Rieff notes the poor quality of the education, which rather than delivery intellectually inquisitive analysts who can quarrel with their “father,” “Those post-Freudian analysts who remain orthodox never have had that healthy bout of rebelling which sharpens orthodoxy.” (84)

He lays a great deal of the trouble to analysis being made a branch of medicine. The discipline thus took on a non-productive empiricism and reductionism which was counterproductive to the process of analysis.

There is also the tendency to fall away from Freud’s anti-commitment. In the Freudian there are simply powerful psychic forces which seek for place in the functioning of the human being; there are also countervailing forces which seek to limit the demands of the id. There is then a negotiated peace of the ego.

Freud’s work was to merely lay bare the process of these competing forces: one welling up in the individual; the other pressing down from the outside, mediated by an internalization in the individual. To maintain an objective distance, and to prevent the patient from being brought into a more intimate relationship with the therapist, there is the necessity of the fee. The fee acts to “guarantee the essential impersonality behind the ostensibly intensely personal character of the psychoanalytic relationship.” (87)

But the pressure will always be present to select a new system of symbolic commitment to make such a competition of forces and the resolution of such forces into a meaningful whole. 

Freud’s goal was to make men “free”: you could do what you wanted with your own forces welling up and forcing tapping down. There was a need for strength to understand these forces and to not succumb to any system which would soften the blow and make the resolutions on its own terms. 

But the power of such knowledge proves too much, oftentimes, “For inevitably, at a certain point of societal power, knowledge seeks to transform itself into faith.” (83)

Jung did this by means of a “God [] rendered completely interior. The ‘Thou’ term becomes a function of ‘I.’” (83) But since Jung will receive a chapter, he is presented briefly. 

Here Rieff directs some attention to Adler’s political theory of analysis. Rather than deal with the ambiguity of a multiplicity of forces and turns in the individual life, Adler however sought a single master narrative, an explanation which gathered up all the individual examples into a single force and competition. 

Adler’s theory of an “inferiority complex.” Rieff explains Adler in terms of Adler’s socialism and class war. The feeling of “organ inferiority.” The North American Soceity of Adlerian Pyschology summarizes it thus:

Adler photo
Alfred Adler

“In his youth, Adler was a sickly child, which caused him embarrassment and pain. These early experiences with illnesses and accidents probably account for his theory of organ inferiority and were the foundation for his theories on inferiority feelings. According to Adler, each individual has a weak area in his or her body–organ inferiority, which tends to be the area where illness occurs, such as the stomach, head, heart, back, lungs, etc. Adler said that to some degree every emotion finds expression in the body. From his understanding of organ inferiority, Adler began to see each individual as having a feeling of inferiority.”

Rieff explains this in terms of Adler’s transformation of psychoanalysis into politics.

“Viewed thus, Alder’s psychology reveals the quality of his socialism; it was, said Freud, characterized by (1) protest and (2) self-assertion, the aggrandizement of personality. Here is a sudden swoop down into the very bowels of the socialist dynamic, with its inevitable cult of personality wherever it triumphs.” (81)

Rieff quotes Freud further on Adler’s system, “The view of life which is reflected in the Adlerian system is founded exclusively on the aggressive impulse; there is no room in it for love. It might surprise one that such a cheerless view of life should meet with any attention at all.” (82)