The Viennese physician and psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud moved from hypnotizing his patients to interpreting their dreams and discovered thereby the hitherto unexplored dimension of the unconscious mind. Each of us, argued Freud, has hidden wishes, desires, and drives which influence our actions below the level of our awareness. A great role is played here, already from childhood on, by sexual desire and pleasure. The nursing infant still lives entirely by the “pleasure principle”, taking everything into his mouth, crying when he wants something, and laughing when he is satisfied. But he must soon learn to obey the rules set by his parents, teachers and society in general. The infantile “pleasure principle” is brutally superseded by the “reality principle”. This is an experience we all must undergo. But it is also one which sometimes leads to grievances and traumatization, as do other aspects of the development of our sexuality and of our relationships. Freud was a doctor and practiced a revolutionary method of treatment: psychoanalysis. He was the first to discover that the way people experience their own lives is often to be traced back to experiences which cannot, indeed, be altered but can be emotionally re-evaluated. Furthermore, Freud impressively explains how our “psychical apparatus” functions day to day and how we process in every second, with lightning speed, our drives, thoughts and perceptions. It was with good reason that the readers of the New York Times voted Freud the most important thinker of the 20th Century. The small book Freud in 60 Minutes explains Freud’s new and revolutionary perspective on human life step by step, by means of many examples and over forty quotes from Freud’s own works. Because all the key components of his theory – from the “oral stage”, the Oedipus Complex, the conflict of the drives, sublimation, repression, resistance, symptom-formation, transference, right on to the therapy itself – interlock with one another. In the second part of the book it is asked: “Of what use is Freud’s discovery to us today?” It is astounding how important and helpful his insights can be for forming and directing our own lives, provided they are applied rightly. The book forms part of the popular series Great Thinkers in 60 Minutes.
“This book on Freud presents to the reader, in a clear and comprehensible way and with a skilful choice of key passages from Freud’s works, the acute and profound theories developed by the great psychoanalyst.” Andrea Beetz
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