The development of how man defined himself as an individual got a new impulse by Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939).
Hobbes saw the individual person driven by self-interest. Locke made him more friendly. Descartes shifted the focus to individual consciousness.
Kierkegaard added the suffering and Nietzsche gave him the will to power as his driving force.
With Darwin the individual person lost his soul and became a fully integrated part of nature. And there comes Sigmund Freud.
He gave the individual person a psyche and most important he gave us the Unconscious. The individual mind became an object of scientific study.
An important influence on Freud came from the field of physics. The second fifty years of the nineteenth century saw monumental advances in contemporary physics,
which were largely initiated by the formulation of the principle of the conservation of energy by Helmholz. .
This principle states, in effect, that the total amount of energy in any given physical system is always constant,
that energy quanta can be changed but not annihilated, and that consequently when energy is moved from one part of the system, it must reappear in another part.
Freud was the first to define the individual person as a system of energy, "psychic energy," and he assumed, that the human personality is also an energy-system,
and that it is the function of psychology to investigate the modifications, transmissions and conversions of psychic energy
within the personality which shape and determine it. This latter conception is the very cornerstone of Freud’s psychoanalytic theory.
Again it is interesting to notice, that such a way of thinking about the person only developed in Western culture.
The behaviour of the individual person is no longer only a subject of ethical debates, but now has become an object of scientific research.
Psychology as a science has developed in many directions since Freud, but he was the one who gave the individual person his psyche, made a scientific object of the mind .
These days, however, the scientific status of Freud’s theory of psycho-analysis is seriously questioned.
On the question of what makes a theory a genuinely scientific one, Karl Popper’s criterion of demarcation, as it is called, has now gained very general acceptance:
namely, that every genuine scientific theory must be testable, and therefore falsifiable, at least in principle.
One of Freud’s inspirational sources was the causal world of physics. However, his theory offers little with respect to falsifiability.
The difficulty with Freud’s theory is that it offers us entities, for example repressed unconscious conflicts which are said to be the unobservable causes of certain forms of behavior
But there are no correspondence rules for these alleged causes. They cannot be identified except by reference to the behavior which they are said to cause,
that is, the psycho-analyst does not demonstratively assert: "This is the unconscious cause, and that is its behavioral effect;"
rather he asserts: "This is the behavior, therefore its unconscious cause must exist", and this does raise serious doubts as to whether Freud’s theory offers us genuine causal explanations at all.
Nevertheless his theory had great impact on our culture and on the way we think about the individual.
Thank you….if you have any questions or remarks, the floor is yours.
[13:33] MT Mimulus: I'm reminded of one defence of religion that if there is a creation, there must be a creator.
[13:33] herman Bergson: YEs but who concluded that there IS a creation?
[13:34] MT Mimulus: Freud seems to be saying an effect must have a cause, and then creates causes on that basis.
[13:34] MT Mimulus: That's the question :-)
[13:34] herman Bergson: Exactly...
[13:35] herman Bergson: Many don't regard the theory of psycho-analysis as scientific nowadays
[13:35] herman Bergson: however....
[13:35] herman Bergson: a lot of people are treated according to that theory...
[13:35] herman Bergson: and here we have an issue....
[13:35] CB Axel: But do they get better?
[13:36] CB Axel: Are their lives improved?
[13:36] herman Bergson: there is a difference between the truth of a theory and the utility of a theory
[13:36] MT Mimulus: Yes
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:36] MT Mimulus: Some would get better because they have someone to talk to.
[13:36] MT Mimulus: But maybe that's an oversimplification.
[13:36] CB Axel: That's my theory, MT.
[13:37] herman Bergson: That is what I am inclined to think too MT...
[13:37] herman Bergson: I call it the vitamin A effect.... A = attention :-)
[13:37] CB Axel: If we would all just listen to each other maybe we wouldn't need psychoanalysis.
[13:37] MT Mimulus: I think that's right CB
[13:38] CB Axel: I'm sorry. What did you say? I wasn't listening. LOL
[13:38] MT Mimulus: haha
[13:38] herman Bergson: No CB...we just need attention....
[13:38] herman Bergson: although there are psychic disorders....real psychoses...
[13:38] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): and a compliment, now and than
[13:38] MT Mimulus: Yes, definitely.
[13:38] CB Axel: Yes, but are they problems with personality or chemical disorders?
[13:39] herman Bergson: We can not ignore psychic diseases....like depression for instance...
[13:39] MT Mimulus: Medication seems to be used more now.
[13:39] CB Axel: I tend to believe they are chemical disorders.
[13:39] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): I feel the same CB
[13:39] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Not all but yes
[13:39] herman Bergson: yes CB I agree....a malfunctioning of the brain...
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: true
[13:40] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): or the lack of something
[13:40] herman Bergson: Freud's ideas are obsolete....
[13:40] herman Bergson: to some extend he was right...
[13:40] herman Bergson: we carry traumas from our past into the future which reflect in our behaviour...
[13:40] herman Bergson: I guess that is true...
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:41] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): I am sure it is... as does dna
[13:41] herman Bergson: but present neurobiology explains the functioning of the brain much better
[13:41] MT Mimulus: There is still a great deal to learn, I think.
[13:41] CB Axel: But do the traumas from our past change our brain chemistry, or does our chemistry affect the way we react to trauma?
[13:42] herman Bergson: oh yes MT....
[13:42] herman Bergson: No CB....traumas create behavioral patterns....
[13:42] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): I wish they would have been more careful with Einstein's brain... until we would have more knowledge. Like archaeologists nowadays do... keep it for the future professionals and technology
[13:42] MT Mimulus: There are many things to consider beside genetics - diet, environmental poisons and so on
[13:42] herman Bergson: I don’t think it has anything to do with brain chemistry...
[13:44] herman Bergson: but the main point today is that Freud made us even more individual....
[13:44] MT Mimulus: We take being a unique individual for granted - its difficult to imagine thinking another way.
[13:45] herman Bergson: That is the main theme of this project MT....
[13:45] herman Bergson: This idea of individualism is a typical Western thing....
[13:46] herman Bergson: due to this individualism we developed from the Renaissance into what we are now...
[13:46] herman Bergson: and this process you do not see in other cultures on this earth....
[13:47] herman Bergson: to me that is an astonishing observation....
[13:47] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Does it have to do with evolution, you think?
[13:47] MT Mimulus: It is.
[13:47] herman Bergson: is this evolution?
[13:47] herman Bergson: are we wrong
[13:47] herman Bergson: are they wrong?
[13:47] herman Bergson: name it..
[13:47] MT Mimulus: Is there a right and wrong?
[13:47] herman Bergson: what is best for mankind?
[13:48] herman Bergson: Well we have to look at it from a Darwinian point of view...
[13:48] herman Bergson: are the individualists the fittest to survive on this globe?
[13:48] MT Mimulus: Yes, from that point of view, our way is successful.
[13:48] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): They are not
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: interesting question indeed
[13:49] herman Bergson: That is what concerns me all the time in this project...
[13:50] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Unless they became capable of working together without looking for differences but rather work with similarities
[13:50] CB Axel: I don't think North Koreans see themselves as individuals but as parts of the North Korean machine. Are they more successful? I don't think so.
[13:50] MT Mimulus: Its a difficult question - I don't know the purpose of life to begin with, if there is one.
[13:50] MT Mimulus: Aside from survival.
[13:50] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): I don't think so either, CB :(
[13:50] herman Bergson: Indeed CB...that is my point too
[13:51] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Everything in life is about balance, I think
[13:51] herman Bergson: Well MT putting energy in survival isnt that bad :-))
[13:51] MT Mimulus: True :-)
[13:51] MT Mimulus: But just surviving isn't enough.
[13:52] herman Bergson: MT....you arent busy with only surviving every day are you...
[13:52] herman Bergson: I hope you to o have some fun :-))
[13:52] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Lots of people are
[13:52] MT Mimulus: No, in fact many have habits that are against survival.
[13:53] herman Bergson: Are you referring to my pipe MT?????
[13:53] MT Mimulus: haha, no.
[13:53] CB Axel: LOL
[13:53] MT Mimulus: I was thinking more of gun cultures, poor diets, even warfare.
[13:53] herman Bergson: That no saved you an F, MT !
[13:53] MT Mimulus: Phew
[13:54] herman Bergson grins
[13:54] herman Bergson: It is always the same story.....
[13:54] Chantal (nymf.hathaway): Thanks everyone, for a great last one of 2015! Jumps to bed ㋡
[13:54] herman Bergson: Darwin showed us the reality of evolution....
[13:54] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): truste Chantal
[13:54] MT Mimulus: Yes
[13:55] herman Bergson: oh dear..sweet dreams Chantal
[13:55] MT Mimulus: Getting late in the Netherlands.
[13:55] herman Bergson: but evolution thinks in terms of 10.000th of years regarding changes....
[13:55] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes, I have to go too, it's bedtime
[13:55] CB Axel: Good night, Beertje.
[13:55] MT Mimulus: Yes, that's true. I hope we survive another 10,000
[13:56] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): goodnight every one
[13:56] herman Bergson: our handicap is that we are too much inclined to think in some years regarding changes....
[13:56] MT Mimulus: Bye Beertje
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: bye beertje
[13:56] MT Mimulus: Our own lifetime is short.
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: indeed evolution takes an eternity almost
[13:56] herman Bergson: yes
[13:57] CB Axel: I would be most curious to see what mankind looks like in 10,000 years.
[13:57] MT Mimulus: Me too
[13:57] herman Bergson: We should meet again in ...say ...10.000 years and then see what mankind is like :-)
[13:57] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:57] CB Axel: Let's invent a time machine.
[13:57] MT Mimulus: Good idea, but we may be insects.
[13:57] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:57] herman Bergson: ahh you had the same thought CB
[13:57] CB Axel: Bejiita, you're the physicist. I leave that up to you. °͜°
[13:57] Bejiita Imako: Ill ask CERN if they can turn LHC into one or build something similar
[13:58] Bejiita Imako: would be cool traveling in time
[13:58] CB Axel nods
[13:58] MT Mimulus: It really would
[13:58] herman Bergson: very serious philosophical problem Bejiita...lots of paradoxes there
[13:58] MT Mimulus: Yes, but great science fiction.
[13:58] herman Bergson: Oh I love it MT :-))
[13:59] MT Mimulus: :-)
[13:59] herman Bergson: Well....
[13:59] herman Bergson: time for me to wish you all a happy new year :-)
[13:59] MT Mimulus: And to you too.
[13:59] herman Bergson: for I wont see you untillit is 2016 :-)
[13:59] CB Axel: Yes!
[13:59] herman Bergson: Class dismissed :-)
[13:59] CB Axel: I can't believe 2015 is almost over.
[14:00] MT Mimulus: Thank you for your patience - I know little about philosophy or psychology.
[14:00] Bejiita Imako: this was nice again,
[14:00] herman Bergson: Big things still to happen to me in 2015 CB :-)
[14:00] CB Axel: Have a carefree and safe move, Herman. I'll see you all in January.
[14:00] Bejiita Imako: YAY! (yay!)
[14:00] Bejiita Imako: cu thn, happy moving now herman
[14:00] herman Bergson: You don’t need to MT...
[14:00] MT Mimulus: Bye all and good night :-)
[14:00] CB Axel: MT, that's why we're here.
[14:01] CB Axel: Good bye, fellahs. °͜°
[14:01] herman Bergson: True CB:-)
[14:01] Bejiita Imako: cu in 2016 then
[14:01] Bejiita Imako: and some of you maybee sooner
[14:01] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[14:01] herman Bergson: Yes Bejiita:-)
[14:02] Bejiita Imako: good luck now Herman ㋡
[14:02] herman Bergson: I'll stay online yet....
[14:02] Bejiita Imako: ok
[14:02] herman Bergson: but I can not concentrate on preparing lectures :-)
[14:02] Bejiita Imako: aa it takes a while i guess
[14:02] herman Bergson: to much to arrange....organize...pack...
[14:02] Bejiita Imako: moving is lot of work
[14:02] Bejiita Imako: is
[14:03] herman Bergson: yes it is :-)
[14:03] Bejiita Imako: got to head out now but cu
[14:03] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[14:03] herman Bergson: ok...be well:-)
[14:03] Bejiita Imako: you too