Schopenhauer’s Influence on Freud
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was born in Příbor, Czech Republic and died in London. Although he originally wanted to become a lawyer, he joined the medical faculty at the University of Vienna in 1873 to study under Darwinist Karl Claus, where his theories of psychoanalysis, a method where doctors unearth unconscious conflicts buried in the person based on dreams and fantasies, and the unconscious flourished. He developed many new scientific methods, but many of his concepts were not in fact original. Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) was a German philosopher best known for his philosophy of the will and his political and social thought. Arthur Schopenhauer inspired Freud to develop his ideas of the human mind.
Freud’s concepts of the unconscious and the id represent a connection to Schopenhauer’s idea of the will. The id is the unorganized part of the “basic instincts of life and death.” It
acts accordingly with the pleasure principle. It is the unconscious. It is non-moral (Costigan 232-233). Schopenhauer’s will is the human desire to survive. It wants and demands
immediate gratification (Heller 90). If you saw a candy bar, the id would say: “Eat it now!” The will would control the human mind by directing actions of the
person. Freud took the will beyond just controlling the human mind, and expanded on it to arrive at his ego and superego, which formed the basis of his work on the unconscious. Freud wrote “On the one view, the individualism is the principal thing, sexuality is one of its activities and sexual satisfactions one of its needs; while on the other view, the individual is a temporary and transient appendage” (Young & Brook). Schopenhauer wrote “It is true that the will to live manifests itself primarily as an effort to maintain the individual; yet this is only a stage towards the effort to maintain the species” (Young & Brook). Schopenhauer’s idea of the will and its primary role in the individual is...
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