Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 17.djvu/639

This page needs to be proofread.


the action is beld together are due to the the Unconscious repression of which psychoanalysis

absence of reason in our dream life. The un- makes so much. The conscious repression de-

conscious is devoid of logic. It is blind and im- manded by the moral law will prevent the formar

puJsive. Dr. Ernest Jones writes: "Dream mak- tion of hidden complexes and will exercise deliber-

mg proceeds by methods quite foreign to our wak- ate control over evil impulses and tendencies,

ing mental life; it ignores obvious contradictions, Habits of virtue, moreover, will not only repress

makes use of highly strained analogies, and brings the wicked inclinations into the unconscious, but

together widely different ideas by means of the will drain them of all their energy and gradually

most superficial associations." This illogical char- supplant them entirely. The important point over-

acter of the dream processes accentuates the dif- looked by the psychoanalysts is this that disorders

ficulties of dream interpretation. of the mental Ufe are not so much caused by ef-

According to Freud, dreams never deal with triv- fectually suppressed desires as by insufficiently sup-

ialities, but always with vital concerns of the in- pressed desires which are allowed to lurk in the

dividual. They revert with special predilection to mind. The Christian law forbidding evil thoughts

childhood, in which the instinctive life was as yet prevents such insincerity that may avenge itself in

unrepressed, and rehearse experiences of a strong psychic disturbances.

sensational or emotional emphasis. The dream also Psychoanalysis contains elements of truth, but

is made to throw light upon certain race processes: they are distorted beyond recognition on account

for the situation of humanity with rcgara to social of the fantastic and pseudo-scientific terminology

repression is analogous to that of the individual, affected by the apostles of the new theory. Many

Humanity also has its dreams by which it wishes of its heralded discoveries are common-sense truths

to escape the restraint imposed by civilization, expressed in a mysterious jargon calculated to im-

And in these dreams it likewise uses a symbolism pose upon the uneducated. That men act from

intended to dissemble the real meaning. "Fairy mixed motives and that at times they disguise the

tales, legends and religions/' says Dr. A. Tridon, real reasons that prompt their actions has long

"are the dreams of the human race, expressing as since been recognized by the teachers of the spirit-

they do the fulfillment of mankind's desire for ual life, one of their staples being to warn the

happiness, and i}ower or compensating mankind for striver after virtue against this subtle self-decep-

the many restrictions imposed upon it by man's tion. Sublimation is equally familiar to them, since

own biological status." These phenomena, then, they do not teach the annihilation of passions, but

according to Freud are properly understood if a redirection of them into spiritual channels. In

interpreted along the line of dream symbolism, this and in many other items Catholic asceticism has

Some have applied this method to the beliefs and long anticipated what is useful in psychoanalysis,

traditions of mankind and have made havoc of which has not even clarified the matters in ques-

its most precious spiritual possessions. Psycho- tion, but has only caused confusion and bewilder-

analysis in this respect has proved a great solvent ment by its pretentious vocabulary,

and destroyer. As an interpretation of life and a basis of con-

Criticism. — If we take psychoanalysis in its duct, psychoanalysis must be rejected without restricted sense as a therapeutic method we reserve. Its personifiication of the unconscious have no fundamental objections against it, but psychic processes, upon which it rests its astonish- only warn against its exaggerations and coun- mg claims, is unscientific and not borne out by sel extreme caution in its application. The facts. The imconscious is neither dynamic nor as mind is a delicate mechanism and unskilled omnipresent as the psychoanalyst would make it tampering with its working is liable to produce out. Freud has entirely inverted psychology, mak- much harm. When the treatment of the patient ing the unconscious the dominant factor in our is under the supervision of an experienced and psychic life and exalting the instinctive life above reliable physician and if it is surrounded by the the rational. In reality this would make an end safeguarqs made necessary by the intimate nature of psychology as an independent science and reduce of the disclosures, there is nothing to be said it to a branch of biology. On this point psycho- against it from a moral point of view. In view of analysis is in accord with the general drift of ugly possibilities, however, these provisos must be modem evolutionary psychology, insisted upon in the same way as they are urged For freedom there is no room jn the psycho- in the practice of hypnotism. We are not prepared anal3rtical system; the will is nothing but the pup- to admit that all psychic disturbances have their pet of the unconscious forces. Thus writes Dr. origin in unfulfilled desires, especially if these de- A. A. Brill, the authentic exponent of the Freudian sires are supposed to be of the sexual sort. More- psycholo^: "For it is known that all our actions over, psychoanalysis can hardly be said to be the are physically determined by unconscious motives, cure of the neurosis, for after the disturbing ele- that there is no psychic activity which does not ment in the psychic life has been discovered, a follow definite paths formed in the individual since complete re-education of the patient frequently his childhood." Far from being known, this is con- becomes necessary. Psychoanalysis promises more trary to observation and utterly at variance with than it can perform. The fashionable cult of psy- well-established facts. For Freud man is only a choanalysis as practised in some circles lacking both bundle of conflicting impulses, each one of which knowledge and experience cannot be condemned is striving for the master)^ whilst the mind is the too severely, because it may lead to most disastrous passive onlooker. The animal life is not only the results. Pyschoanalysis is a dangerous toy. substratum, but the actual source of the rational

From the admissions of psychoanalysts strong and the spiritual. It is impossible to erect on such arguments may be drawn in favor of well known a basis an anthropology that will do justice to the Catholic practises such as confession and asceticism, dignity of man. Without exaggeration it may be A sincere confession will purge the mind of much asserted that at present psychoanalysis is the great- perilous stuff which otherwise might begin to rankle est enemy to a right understanding and a just esti- and poison the soul. The resistance which the peni- mate of man's place in the universe. It degrades tent experiences in disclosing his weakness also has him as few systems of philosophy have ever done, a great curative value. Christian asceticism is by It obliterates the boundary lines between sanity far more effective in repressing evil tendencies than and insanity ; it explains the normal manifestations