26 February 2007

Favorite Freud Quote

I'm not a big fan of Doctor Freud - not by a long shot. Frankly, I think he was a bit of a nut and I don't imagine I would have enjoyed having lunch with him. Still, he obviously made a pretty huge contribution to our understanding of psychology, and I don't mean to downplay that. He's just not on my personal list of heroes. Give me Teddy Roosevelt or G.K. Chesterton or Orville Wright any day.

However, I came across a quote (possibly apocryphal) that shows really powerful insight and uncharacteristic humility. In our psycho-babble drenched society, where ulterior motives and subconscious influences are read into every nuance, statement and error, I think it's important to remember what Herr Freud said:

"Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

I just don't have a lot of patience for amateur psychologists who can't recognize that sometimes, a thing is what it is. Yes, actions often have hidden motives, and objects are symbols of other things. But sometimes a cigar is really and truly just a cigar.

(and by the way, this is just an idea I had, based on something I read recently. There's no hidden agenda behind this blog post... or this defense of the post... or this defense of the defense... see what I mean?)


Mark said...

Very interesting that you chose a picture of a Freud bobblehead to accompany this post. I'm sure a photo of the actual person was just as easily available, but your subconcious drove you toward the one that presents a more absurd caricature. You must have some deep seated issues. Tell me about your childhood. Did you feel grossly inadequate compared to, say, a younger brother?

Dan said...

Ah, you got me, little brother... :)

Passante said...

I have a friend who is a psychiatric social worker. On one of those special birthdays (the ones that end in "0"), I made a hamper of gag gifts for her: a box of Kleenex marked "For professional use only," a bar of chocolate marked "Use in emergencies," and so on. One of the gifts was a pack of flash cards for use in case of laryngitis. They included things like "How did that make you feel?" and "Tell me more about that," and "I'm sorry, our time is up." My favorite and hers was the one with a picture of Sigmund and the legend, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

Dad said...

Hi Dan: good job on the blog on "Herr Freud"...... I've never been a big fan either, but I saw a documentary on tv a couple of yrs ago about: 'Freud: his early yrs'..... and I actually felt sorry for him. I learned to at least understand why and how he became the pessemistic, lonely, isolated, unhappy, depressed man, distrustful of people and human nature in general, theory X (refer to Tom Peters' theory)'guru' that he became.... and you're right... a cigar is most of the time just a cigar and nothing else.....good job!....Dad