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Freud and Metaphor

Freud and Metaphor Abstract I. That Freud made liberal use of metaphor in discussing his ideas is evident from even a casual inspection of his writings. Freud was wont to note resemblances between events in the lives of his patients and already familiar events from other domains of his experience. These comparisons, when not explicit, are revealed by Freud's metaphorical language.*Freud's frequent resort to metaphor indicates, at the very least, that he appreciated the value of figurative constructions in the rapid delivery of ideas. But close examination of Freud's ideas and their manner of presentation strongly suggests the further conclusion that Freud not only illustrated by metaphor, he also conceived in metaphor; moreover, that he suffered like the rest of us from lapses of metaphor; and finally, that his concepts are most often lucid when his images are consistent, whereas his ideas stand in need of correction or further References 1. Though Freud made frequent use of some metaphors, space limitations permit citation of but a few representative references. 2. Freud's fluid-flow imagery was actually more complex than is indicated above, libido at times being treated as if it were highly mobile, at other times as if it were viscous and slow-moving, like the pseudopod of an amoeba. 3. An exception to this generalization is Freud's sublimation metaphor,4 which suggests that the "elevation" of a base impulse (sharply deflected from a primitive aim to one of higher order) resembles the direct transformation of a substance from solid to gaseous state, without liquefaction. Though the physical image is clear and striking, the metaphor of sublimation remained undeveloped, as points of correspondence between psychological and physical processes were not indicated. Esteemed as one of the more significant of Freud's contributions, sublimation is nonetheless among the vaguest of his concepts. 4. Freud, S.: A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis , New York, Boni and Liveright, 1920. 5. Freud, S.: New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis , New York, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1933. 6. Freud, S.: The Interpretation of Dreams , in The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud , New York, Modern Library, 1938. 7. Freud, S.; Leonardo da Vinci: A Study in Psychosexuality , New York, Random House, Inc., 1947. 8. Freud, S.: Beyond the Pleasure Principle , London, Hogarth Press, Ltd., 1948. 9. Freud, S.: On Narcissism: An Introduction , in Collected Papers , Vol. 4, London, Hogarth Press, Ltd., 1948. 10. Freud, S.: The Unconscious , in Collected Papers , Vol. 4, London, Hogarth Press, Ltd., 1948. 11. Freud, S.: An Outline of Psychoanalysis , New York, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1949. 12. Freud, S.: The Ego and the Id , London, Hogarth Press, Ltd., 1949. 13. Freud, S.: On Aphasia , New York, International Universities Press, Inc., 1953. 14. Freud, S.: The Question of Lay Analysis , Standard Edition of [His] Complete Psychological Works , Vol. 20, London, Hogarth Press, Ltd., 1953. 15. Hartmann, H.; Kris, E., and Loewenstein, R.: Comments on the Formation of Psychic Structure , Psychoanal. Study Child 2:11-38, 1946. 16. Lewin, K.: Principles of Topological Psychology , New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1936. 17. McDougall, W.: Energies of Men: A Study of the Fundamentals of Dynamic Psychology , New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1932. 18. McDougall, W.: An Introduction to Social Psychology Ed. 29 , London, Methuen & Co., Ltd., 1948. 19. Nash, H.: The Behavioral World , J. Psychol. 47:277-288, 1959.Crossref http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Archives of General Psychiatry American Medical Association

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Publisher
American Medical Association
Copyright
Copyright © 1962 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.
ISSN
0003-990X
eISSN
1598-3636
DOI
10.1001/archpsyc.1962.01720010027004
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract I. That Freud made liberal use of metaphor in discussing his ideas is evident from even a casual inspection of his writings. Freud was wont to note resemblances between events in the lives of his patients and already familiar events from other domains of his experience. These comparisons, when not explicit, are revealed by Freud's metaphorical language.*Freud's frequent resort to metaphor indicates, at the very least, that he appreciated the value of figurative constructions in the rapid delivery of ideas. But close examination of Freud's ideas and their manner of presentation strongly suggests the further conclusion that Freud not only illustrated by metaphor, he also conceived in metaphor; moreover, that he suffered like the rest of us from lapses of metaphor; and finally, that his concepts are most often lucid when his images are consistent, whereas his ideas stand in need of correction or further References 1. Though Freud made frequent use of some metaphors, space limitations permit citation of but a few representative references. 2. Freud's fluid-flow imagery was actually more complex than is indicated above, libido at times being treated as if it were highly mobile, at other times as if it were viscous and slow-moving, like the pseudopod of an amoeba. 3. An exception to this generalization is Freud's sublimation metaphor,4 which suggests that the "elevation" of a base impulse (sharply deflected from a primitive aim to one of higher order) resembles the direct transformation of a substance from solid to gaseous state, without liquefaction. Though the physical image is clear and striking, the metaphor of sublimation remained undeveloped, as points of correspondence between psychological and physical processes were not indicated. Esteemed as one of the more significant of Freud's contributions, sublimation is nonetheless among the vaguest of his concepts. 4. Freud, S.: A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis , New York, Boni and Liveright, 1920. 5. Freud, S.: New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis , New York, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1933. 6. Freud, S.: The Interpretation of Dreams , in The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud , New York, Modern Library, 1938. 7. Freud, S.; Leonardo da Vinci: A Study in Psychosexuality , New York, Random House, Inc., 1947. 8. Freud, S.: Beyond the Pleasure Principle , London, Hogarth Press, Ltd., 1948. 9. Freud, S.: On Narcissism: An Introduction , in Collected Papers , Vol. 4, London, Hogarth Press, Ltd., 1948. 10. Freud, S.: The Unconscious , in Collected Papers , Vol. 4, London, Hogarth Press, Ltd., 1948. 11. Freud, S.: An Outline of Psychoanalysis , New York, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1949. 12. Freud, S.: The Ego and the Id , London, Hogarth Press, Ltd., 1949. 13. Freud, S.: On Aphasia , New York, International Universities Press, Inc., 1953. 14. Freud, S.: The Question of Lay Analysis , Standard Edition of [His] Complete Psychological Works , Vol. 20, London, Hogarth Press, Ltd., 1953. 15. Hartmann, H.; Kris, E., and Loewenstein, R.: Comments on the Formation of Psychic Structure , Psychoanal. Study Child 2:11-38, 1946. 16. Lewin, K.: Principles of Topological Psychology , New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1936. 17. McDougall, W.: Energies of Men: A Study of the Fundamentals of Dynamic Psychology , New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1932. 18. McDougall, W.: An Introduction to Social Psychology Ed. 29 , London, Methuen & Co., Ltd., 1948. 19. Nash, H.: The Behavioral World , J. Psychol. 47:277-288, 1959.Crossref

Journal

Archives of General PsychiatryAmerican Medical Association

Published: Jul 1, 1962

References