Last Updated on July 25, 2019
If you’ve ever been interested in human psychology, you’ve probably already come across the name Sigmund Freud. You may have even heard someone quote him in casual conversation. Who is he and how did he make a name for himself? Let’s find out more about him and his works.
Who is Sigmund Freud?
A merchant’s son, Freud was born on May 6, 1856 in Freiberg, Moravia, which is now known to us as Príbor, Czech Republic. He originally had the first name, Sigismund.
When his family moved to Vienna and settled there, Freud was given the chance to study. He earned his degree in Medicine from the University of Vienna in 1881. After he graduated, he had the opportunity to work at the Vienna General Hospital, where he met his colleague Josef Breuer.
After setting up a private practice, he began studying and treating brain disorders, especially focusing on neuroses that stemmed from a person’s sexual fantasies. Due to the nature of his studies, most of his theories and works were considered controversial during his time.
Sigmund Freud’s first work was on treating hysteria. He did this with the help of Josef Breuer. Years later, he decided to study neurology in Paris. When he got back, he specialized in the same field and focused on studying the brain and its illnesses.
Freud is recognized as one of the most influential people of the 20th century. He is best known for founding the field of psychoanalysis, the method of psychological treatment that identifies a person’s internal conflicts based on their dreams and fantasies.
Freud published a number of books explaining his theories. In Studies in Hysteria, which he formulated with Breuer, the two explained how a patient could be treated by digging into past traumatic experiences.
Meanwhile, in The Interpretation of Dreams, which was published in 1900, he discussed how analyzing dreams could help unfold the thoughts in a person’s subconscious mind. It is recorded as Freud’s most notable work and has been a topic of controversy up until now.
Another one of Freud’s theories was published in The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, where the term “Freudian slip” was coined. According to this theory, the things that slip out of our mouth aren’t exactly random, but psychological in nature. In other words, what we say by chance stems from our inner desires, fantasies, and aspirations.
Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory
The main idea behind psychoanalysis is bringing forth a person’s hidden consciousness. You know how we sometimes experience something so unpleasant that we attempt to erase it from our memory?
In Freud’s theory, the idea is to fight that urge to forget. Instead of forgetting about the unpleasant experience, Freud asks us to recall and confront it instead. Freud believed that doing so would help us manage our feelings better.
The Austrian neurologist also introduced the idea that our personalities are divided into three parts: the superego, ego, and id.
According to Freud, the id is the part of our personality that is responsible for our impulsive and irrational actions, concerned only about what we desire and long for. Meanwhile, ego is the identity that we show the people around us—the part that makes all the decisions for us. Lastly, the superego is what acts as our conscience, and is the part of our mind responsible for feelings of guilt or anxiety.
Later on, experts learned how similar Freud’s works are to other theories that existed in his era. For instance, Charles Darwin’s belief that humans are progressive led to Freud’s idea that the human psyche progresses as well.
The scientist Hermann Holtz’s theory that energies in the physical mind are constant also led Freud to study the brain more and question it.
Freud’s Personal Life
Freud married Martha Bernays and had six children with her. One of the six, Anna Freud, was inspired by her father’s studies and also made a name for herself in the field of psychoanalysis.
During the Nazi occupation, Freud and his family fled Vienna and moved to England. He was then battling oral cancer. He took his own life through a huge amount of morphine in the year 1939. He was 83 years old.
Though he had his fair share of controversies and not everyone agreed with his ideas, indeed, Sigmund Freud lived a life of great discoveries.
There is no doubt about his drive to treat psychological disorders, and even with his “unorthodox” way of thinking, he is still regarded as one of the greatest scientists who have ever lived.
Here are some of the most thought-provoking Sigmund Freud quotes to inspire your mind:
Sigmund Freud Quotes
“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” – Sigmund Freud
“Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.” – Sigmund Freud
“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.” – Sigmund Freud
“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.” – Sigmund Freud
“We are never so defenseless against suffering as when we love.” – Sigmund Freud
“Out of your vulnerabilities will become your strength.” – Sigmund Freud
“He that has eyes to see and ears to hear may convince himself that no mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore.” – Sigmund Freud
“Where does a thought go when it’s forgotten?” – Sigmund Freud
“Religious doctrines…are all illusions, they do not admit of proof, and no one can be compelled to consider them as true or to believe in them.” – Sigmund Freud
“A woman should soften but not weaken a man.” – Sigmund Freud
“In the depths of my heart I can’t help being convinced that my dear fellow-men, with a few exceptions, are worthless.” – Sigmund Freud
“Everywhere I go I find a poet has been there before me.” – Sigmund Freud
“Immorality, no less than morality, has at all times found support in religion.” – Sigmund Freud
“Whoever loves becomes humble. Those who love have, so to speak, pawned a part of their narcissism.” – Sigmund Freud
“No, our science is no illusion. But an illusion it would be to suppose that what science cannot give us we can get elsewhere.” – Sigmund Freud
“The madman is a dreamer awake.” – Sigmund Freud
“Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires.” – Sigmund Freud
“Where the questions of religion are concerned people are guilty of every possible kind of insincerity and intellectual misdemeanor.” – Sigmund Freud
“The virtuous man contents himself with dreaming that which the wicked man does in actual life.” – Sigmund Freud
“He does not believe that does not live according to his belief.” – Sigmund Freud
“Dreams are never concerned with trivia.” – Sigmund Freud
“The behavior of a human being in sexual matters is often a prototype for the whole of his other modes of reaction in life.” – Sigmund Freud
“Beauty has no obvious use; nor is there any clear cultural necessity for it. Yet civilization could not do without it.” – Sigmund Freud
“The intention that man should be happy is not in the plan of Creation.” – Sigmund Freud
“My love is something valuable to me which I ought not to throw away without reflection.” – Sigmund Freud
“Men are more moral than they think and far more immoral than they can imagine.” – Sigmund Freud
“Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.” – Sigmund Freud
“The creative writer does the same as the child at play; he creates a world of fantasy which he takes very seriously.” – Sigmund Freud
“The more the fruits of knowledge become accessible to men, the more widespread is the decline of religious belief.” – Sigmund Freud
“What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages they would have burned me. Now they are content with burning my books.” – Sigmund Freud
“Where id is, there shall ego be.” – Sigmund Freud
“Loneliness and darkness have just robbed me of my valuables.” – Sigmund Freud
“A man should not strive to eliminate his complexes but to get into accord with them: they are legitimately what directs his conduct in the world.” – Sigmund Freud
“Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious.” – Sigmund Freud
“Poets are masters of us ordinary men, in knowledge of the mind, because they drink at streams which we have not yet made accessible to science.” – Sigmund Freud
“The ego is not master in its own house.” – Sigmund Freud
“Men are strong so long as they represent a strong idea, they become powerless when they oppose it.” – Sigmund Freud
“Neurosis is the inability to tolerate ambiguity.” – Sigmund Freud
“Public self is a conditioned construct of the inner psychological self.” – Sigmund Freud
“There are no mistakes.” – Sigmund Freud
“I had thought about cocaine in a kind of day-dream.” – Sigmund Freud
“You wanted to kill your father in order to be your father yourself. Now you are your father, but a dead father.” – Sigmund Freud
“Love in the form of longing and deprivation lowers the self-regard.” – Sigmund Freud
“How bold one gets when one is sure of being loved.” – Sigmund Freud
“It is a predisposition of human nature to consider an unpleasant idea untrue, and then it is easy to find arguments against it.” – Sigmund Freud
“How bold one gets when one is sure of being loved.” – Sigmund Freud
“No neurotic harbors thoughts of suicide which are not murderous impulses against others redirected upon himself.” – Sigmund Freud
“The liberty of the individual is no gift of civilization. It was greatest before there was any civilization.” – Sigmund Freud
“We are so constituted that we can gain intense pleasure only from the contrast, and only very little from the condition itself.” – Sigmund Freud
“The dream is the liberation of the spirit from the pressure of external nature, a detachment of the soul from the fetters of matter.” – Sigmund Freud
“Conservatism, however, is too often a welcome excuse for lazy minds, loath to adapt themselves to fast changing conditions.”- Sigmund Freud
“In mourning it is the world which has become poor and empty; in melancholia it is the ego itself.”- Sigmund Freud
“America is the most grandiose experiment the world has seen, but, I am afraid, it is not going to be a success.”- Sigmund Freud
“Words and magic were in the beginning one and the same thing, and even today words retain much of their magical power.”- Sigmund Freud
“Civilized society is perpetually menaced with disintegration through this primary hostility of men towards one another.”- Sigmund Freud
“A religion, even if it calls itself a religion of love, must be hard and unloving to those who do not belong to it.” – Sigmund Freud
“Anatomy is destiny.” – Sigmund Freud
“Smoking is indispensable if one has nothing to kiss.” – Sigmund Freud
“The more perfect a person is on the outside, the more demons they have on the inside.” – Sigmund Freud
“Where such men love they have no desire and where they desire they cannot love.” – Sigmund Freud
“I never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me as a member.” – Sigmund Freud
“He who knows how to wait need make no concessions.” – Sigmund Freud
“The unconscious of one human being can react upon that of another without passing through the conscious.” – Sigmund Freud
“Dream is the dreamer’s own psychical act.” – Sigmund Freud
“Our memory has no guarantees at all, and yet we bow more often than is objectively justified to the compulsion to believe what it says.” – Sigmund Freud
“If children could, if adults knew.” – Sigmund Freud
“Only a rebuke that ‘has something in it’ will sting, will have the power to stir our feelings, not the other sort, as we know.” – Sigmund Freud
“When one does not have what one wants, one must want what one has.” – Sigmund Freud
“I do not in the least underestimate bisexuality…I expect it to provide all further enlightenment.”- Sigmund Freud
“Everyone owes nature a death.”- Sigmund Freud
“Neurosis is no excuse for bad manners.”- Sigmund Freud
“The motive forces of phantasies are unsatisfied wishes, and every single phantasy is the fulfilment of a wish, a correction of unsatisfying reality.”- Sigmund Freud
“All neurotics, and many others besides, take exception to the fact that ‘inter urinas et faeces nascimur.”- Sigmund Freud
“The distortion of a text resembles a murder: the difficulty is not in perpetrating the deed, but in getting rid of its traces.”- Sigmund Freud
“In matters of sexuality we are at present, every one of us, ill or well, nothing but hypocrites.”- Sigmund Freud
“The weakness of my position does not imply a strengthening of yours.”- Sigmund Freud
“For there is a way back from imagination to reality and that is—art.”- Sigmund Freud
“Nothing that is mentally our own can ever be lost.”- Sigmund Freud
“Human life should not be considered as the proper material for wild experiments.”- Sigmund Freud
“Places are often treated like persons.”- Sigmund Freud