(ORDO NEWS) — How can cocaine (a lot of cocaine!), three dozen cancer surgeries, zoology, 32 Nobel Prize nominations, and death by a doctor be connected?
Everything becomes clear when it comes to the founding father of psychoanalysis, whose views on human nature were so innovative that they did not stop resonating and criticizing the scientific community throughout his life.
Yes, yes, this is all the old Sigmund Freud, little-known facts about whose life and death we have collected in this material.
A psychoanalyst suffering from a whole range of addictions? Oh yes, Freud was a difficult person.
Sigmund Freud (Sigismund Schlomo Freud) was an Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis who created a completely new approach to understanding the human personality. He is considered one of the most influential – and controversial – minds of the 20th century.
But if you think about it, how much do we know about the eminent psychiatrist, known for his work on psychoanalysis? Here are the most interesting facts about Sigmund Freud that you probably didn’t know.
The future guru of psychoanalysis planned to become a lawyer
Having entered the gymnasium at the age of nine, a year ahead of schedule, Freud graduated from it, as they say, “excellently”.
The future scientist already stood out among his peers with a passion for learning everything new, and his parents fully encouraged him and tried to create an atmosphere that contributed to his son’s successful studies.
Sigmund was the eldest of eight children, and he was a favorite: he was given a separate room and a kerosene lamp for study, while his brothers and sisters did not have such preferences – they all studied together and by candlelight.
Still young and without the legendary beard “Golden Ziggy”, as his parents called him, along with his mother
After graduating from high school, Freud doubted for a long time about his future profession. Due to his social status and the then prevailing anti-Semitic sentiments, the choice was limited to commerce, industry, law and medicine.
At first, Freud decided to become a lawyer, and he never had the slightest interest in medicine at all, which he later repeatedly wrote about.
But the fact is that in 1873 Freud entered the University of Vienna and began to study medicine. After graduation, he worked at the Vienna General Hospital.
In the first years of study at the University of Vienna, where he entered, having passed the exams with the same fives, Freud studied zoology and dissected frogs. And his first scientific work was devoted to the sexual differences of river eels.
As part of his work, Freud collaborated with Josef Breuer, with whom he treated hysteria by recalling painful experiences under hypnosis. In 1885 Freud traveled to Paris as a student of the neurologist Jean Charcot.
Over 16 years, he underwent more than 30 operations
One of Freud’s serious addictions was tobacco, to which he became addicted in his twenties. After the scientist switched to cigarettes, he often smoked more than 20 pieces a day. Despite the warnings of doctors about the dangers of smoking, Freud was sure that this habit increases his productivity and creativity.
After the discovery of a cancerous tumor in Freud’s mouth in 1923, doctors removed most of his jaw. Although over the next 16 years he had 33 more surgeries and a large, inconvenient prosthesis, Freud never gave up smoking.
Freud can be considered one of the first drug dealers
In the 1880s, Freud became interested in a then little-known legal drug that a German military doctor used as a stimulant for emaciated soldiers. It’s about cocaine. As a result of his experiments with the drug, Freud found that his digestion, mood and general condition improved significantly after taking cocaine.
Sigmund Freud, together with his only wife Martha, with whom the scientist lived for more than half a century
He distributed doses to his friends, prescribed cocaine to patients and even gave it to his future wife Martha, plus he actively advertised the therapeutic properties of the “drug” in his articles and lectures.
However, when Freud gave cocaine to his patient and close friend Ernst Fleischl von Marxow, who at that time was being treated for morphine addiction, the poor fellow, like other drug addicts, developed a new addiction – cocaine.
By the beginning of 1887, science had finally debunked the last myths about cocaine, it was publicly condemned as one of the scourges of mankind, along with opium and alcohol.
Freud stopped promoting the medicinal benefits of the drug, but continued to use it occasionally for personal purposes for migraines, the common cold, and depression well into the mid-1890s.
The Nazis expelled the scientist from Austria and burned his books
After Germany annexed Austria, the Nazis raided Freud’s apartment and the Gestapo detained and interrogated his daughter Anna.
Although the psychoanalyst himself was an atheist, he was born into a Jewish family and became a special target of the Nazis when they came to power. Only thanks to his friends – Franklin Roosevelt and Princess Marie Bonaparte, Napoleon’s granddaughter – Freud managed to escape to Paris and then to London with his wife and daughter.
Freud’s four sisters were far less fortunate. The Germans did not let them out of the country, and later killed them in the Theresienstadt and Treblinka concentration camps.
Freud once joked: “What progress we have made! In the Middle Ages they would have burned me; today they are content to burn my books.” Jokes aside, but his life could have gone according to a completely different scenario.
Freud’s legendary book The Interpretation of Dreams failed miserably
The book, which Freud considered his most significant work and which he worked on from 1897 to 1899, failed miserably in sales. In the first six years, the publishing house sold only 351 copies of The Interpretation of Dreams, the second edition was not published for ten years.
However, Sigmund Freud’s life was full of neo-psychoanalysis’s rise in popularity coincided with one of the most productive periods in Freud’s life. His books are being published: “The Psychopathology of Everyday Life”, which deals with one of the important aspects of the theory of psychoanalysis, namely reservations, “Wit and its relation to the unconscious” and “Three essays on the theory of sexuality”.
Freud’s popularity as a scientist and medical practitioner grew steadily. The private practice of a psychoanalyst took up the entire working week. Moreover, very few of his patients were residents of Vienna.
Interesting fact. Sigmund Freud was nominated for the Nobel Prize 32 times, but never won it.
However, the most famous fact about Sigmund Freud is that it was he who developed the theory that people have an unconscious in which sexual and aggressive impulses are in constant conflict for dominance over our behavior.
Freud didn’t like to look his patients in the eye
Prior to the development of psychoanalysis, Freud actively used hypnosis to treat his patients. Quite quickly, the scientist realized that it was easier to put patients into a trance if they were lying on the couch.
When he abandoned hypnosis, began to practice psychoanalysis and conversation with the patient, he still continued to put his patients on the couch.
It is believed that the psychoanalyst simply did not want to look them in the eye, so he sat on a chair at the head of the patient out of sight. By that time, the couch had already been covered with an expensive Persian carpet, which was presented to him by one of his patients, Madame Benvenisti.
The same famous couch on which Freud received patients
Freud was helped to die by his friend
By the summer of 1939, Freud was tormented by an incurable form of oral cancer. On the evening of September 21, 1939, the 83-year-old psychoanalyst grabbed the hand of his friend and doctor Max Schur and reminded him of his promise “not to torment unnecessarily and help to die.”
“Now this is pure torture, and it is meaningless,” added Freud. With the permission of Freud’s daughter, Anna, Schur administered a dose of morphine sufficient to stop the heart of the weakened old man. Perhaps this is the saddest fact in the life of the great Sigmund Freud.
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