Is there anything good about Freud’s legacy?

Lately I’ve been talking about Fred Crews’s new 600-page critique of Freud, Freud: The Making of an Illusion, and you can find my take (postive) here. The book, in concert with Crews’s earlier work, and many other critics, pretty much demolishes not only the scientific pretensions of psychoanalysis, once Freud’s big gift to the world, but also the man himself, who is revealed, as he is increasingly being shown, as pretty much of a charlatan. Not just an incompetent, but someone who actually realized that he was making up stuff and consciously lying, but doing so because he had a desperate drive to be famous.

If psychoanalysis is on the way out, as it is, and Freud is pretty much known to have made up a lot of the clinical stuff he wrote, including his supposed “cures” (which weren’t), then what remains of the man? His theories of hysteria and neurosis, of the Oedipus complex and repression of early trauma, have been debunked. Even his view that we’re driven by unconscious factors was not original with him, and assumes a completely different meaning now that neuroscience is on the scene.

In a new piece in the New Yorker, which doubles as a review of Crews’s book and a chronicle of Freudianism’s downfall, staff writer Louis Menand tries desperately to find some good bits of Freud’s legacy. His article, “Why Freud survives” (subtitle, “He’s been debunked again and again—and yet we still can’t give him up”), unfortunately fails to redeem Freud’s legacy even a little bit.

By and large, Menand agrees with Crews’s conclusions: that Freud was a man corrupted by ambition, and who devised a watertight, non-refutable theory of human behavior that, in the end, led to a practice that was no better than placebo, drugs, or other talk therapy. Menand’s main criticism of Crews’s book is that it’s too critical:

That year [1998], in an interview with a Canadian philosophy professor, Todd Dufresne, Crews was asked whether he was ready to call it a day with Freud. “Absolutely,” he said. “After almost twenty years of explaining and illustrating the same basic critique, I will just refer interested parties to ‘Skeptical Engagements,’ ‘The Memory Wars,’ and ‘Unauthorized Freud.’ Anyone who is unmoved by my reasoning there isn’t going to be touched by anything further I might say.” He spoke too soon.

Crews seems to have grown worried that although Freud and Freudianism may look dead, we cannot be completely, utterly, a hundred per cent sure. Freud might be like the Commendatore in “Don Giovanni”: he gets killed in the first act and then shows up for dinner at the end, the Stone Guest. So Crews spent eleven years writing “Freud: The Making of an Illusion” (Metropolitan), just out—a six-hundred-and-sixty-page stake driven into its subject’s cold, cold heart.

The new book synthesizes fifty years of revisionist scholarship, repeating and amplifying the findings of other researchers (fully acknowledged), and tacking on a few additional charges. Crews is an attractively uncluttered stylist, and he has an amazing story to tell, but his criticism of Freud is relentless to the point of monomania. He evidently regards “balance” as a pass given to chicanery, and even readers sympathetic to the argument may find it hard to get all the way through the book. It ought to come with a bulb of garlic.

Well, unrelenting revelatons of Freud’s unsavory character and work isn’t by itself a criticism, for Freud may have been a pretty dubious character and his work largely bogus.  That is in fact the take I get from what I’ve read about Freud (including his own works: The Interpretation of Dreams is, to a scientist, a long and torturous exercise in confirmation bias).  So why strive for a nonexistent “balance” if there isn’t one? Menand also psychoanalyzes Crews’s speculation that Freud had an illicit affair with his sister-in-law Minna Bernays (not a trivial matter for a psychoanalyst who boasted that he never did anything like that, and indeed, there’s some evidence for this affair) by saying “A Freudian would suspect that there is something going on here.” He’s referring to Crews’s discussion, and this is simply an ad hominem remark, a way to diminish Crews’s criticisms by saying that they’re coming from his previous infatuation with Freud and subsequent disappointment. But scholarship is scholarship, and Menand can’t find a chink in Crews’s armor here.

Well, Menand tries to find some “balance”. But he comes up with only two good things to say about Freud’s legacy—even after admitting, with Crews, that “Freud was a lousy scientist.”  Menand mentions talk therapy, but adds that psychoanalysis is no better than placebo and that there are other talk therapies, with no evidence that psychoanalysis is superior to others. (Indeed, cognitive behavioral therapy seems to work better for many issues, and true psychoanalysis demands that the patient give up years of time and many dollars.). But there’s also the unconscious:

People also find appealing the idea that they have motives and desires they are unaware of. That kind of “depth” psychology was popularized by Freudianism, and it isn’t likely to go away. It can be useful to be made to realize that your feelings about people you love are actually ambivalent, or that you were being aggressive when you thought you were only being extremely polite. Of course, you shouldn’t have to work your way through your castration anxiety to get there.

Exactly. This contribution is pretty much independent of the whole complicated armamentarium of psychoanalysis.  So if you want to say that Freud’s legacy was, along with others, to make us aware that we’re not 100% conscious of why we do what we do, then let him have that. But realize, too, that neuroscience, combined with materialism, offers an even deeper explanation.

And then there’s this special pleading for Freud (my emphasis):

As Crews is right to believe, this Freud has long outlived psychoanalysis. For many years, even as writers were discarding the more patently absurd elements of his theory—penis envy, or the death drive—they continued to pay homage to Freud’s unblinking insight into the human condition. That persona helped Freud to evolve, in the popular imagination, from a scientist into a kind of poet of the mind. And the thing about poets is that they cannot be refuted. No one asks of “Paradise Lost”: But is it true? Freud and his concepts, now converted into metaphors, joined the legion of the undead.

Sadly, what “unblinking insights” that Freud offers into the human condition aren’t mentioned by Menand. But if Freud is turned into a “poet of the mind”, one whose insights “cannot be refuted”, then how can he give us any insight into the human condition? For surely if those insights are true, they must be shown to be true by rationality, repeatable observations, testing, and experimentation, not by poetry. And they must be capable of being refuted! Here we have the New Yorker‘s frequent claim that there are “ways of knowing beyond science.”  Yes, insofar as poets appeal to our personal love of language, and make us think about ourselves and our lives, they can’t be refuted, for they’re offering a personal and subjective experience. But they can be refuted if, it’s claimed, they tell us something about human behavior. Why doesn’t Menand see this?

Finally, Menand ends with another watery encomium towards Freud (my emphasis):

Crews’s idea that Freud’s target was Christianity appears to be a late fruit of his old undergraduate fascination with Nietzsche. Crews apparently once saw Freud as a Nietzschean critic of life-denying moralism, a heroic Antichrist dedicated to liberating human beings from subservience to idols they themselves created. Is his current renunciation a renunciation of his own radical youth? Is his castigation of Freud really a form of self-castigation? We don’t need to go there. But since humanity is not liberated from its illusions yet, if that’s what Freud was really all about, he is still undead.

Okay, so Freud helped liberate us from our illusions—and I’ll credit him with a clearsighted atheism. But what other illusions? What insights did he offer? Menand doesn’t say. Freud’s still undead the way other miscreants are undead: their bad ideas are still around. You can find them in many college humanities departments.


  1. Sastra
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    About the only good thing I can say about Freud is that he helped make atheism publicly respectable. Which, given that we now consider him a muddled and dishonest thinker, makes his legacy even there problematic.

    • Posted August 31, 2017 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      His analysis of religious belief in The Future of an Illusion was very perceptive, IMHO.

  2. Posted August 31, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    If Freud was a ‘poet of the mind’ his Paradise Lost begins ‘There was a young man from Venus…’

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 1:55 am | Permalink

      I’ve never heard that limerick but I can guess the second line from general principles.

      “Who had an enormous …”

      Does that prove that limericks are Freudian? 😉


  3. Posted August 31, 2017 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Is there anything good about Freud’s legacy? Sure.


    “I was in analysis. I was suicidal. As a matter of fact, I would have killed myself, but I was in analysis with a strict Freudian and if you kill yourself they make you pay for the sessions you miss.”


    “I worked with Freud in Vienna. We broke over the concept of penis envy. Freud felt that it should be limited to women.”

    -Woody Allen

    • Posted August 31, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      ‘Oedipus, Schmoedipus, what does it matter as long as a boy loves his mother?’

  4. busterggi
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    There’s Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure – it wouldn’t have been the same w/o Frood.

  5. Posted August 31, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    I think Alfred Hitchcock’s films would have been less interesting if he’d been influenced by behaviourism rather than Freud. Marnie running around a maze for bits of cheese or Norman Bates salivating at the sound of a ringing bell would be the wrong kind of creepy.

    • davidintoronto
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      I was going to say… There’d be a lot of film studies professors out of a job without the Freudian paradigm.


      • Posted August 31, 2017 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        Especially feminist film criticism. Laura Mulvey’s ‘male gaze’ is an entirely Freudian conception.

        Film theory based on cognitive psychology is rare: those like David Bordwell, Kristin Thompson and Noel Carroll who have criticised psychoanalysis are regarded as heretics.

        • busterggi
          Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

          Mulvey…didn’t Jerry Seinfeld go out with her on his show?

          • BJ
            Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:07 pm | Permalink


      • Posted September 1, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        This sort of influence is exactly (in the realm of written literature) where Crews got started.

        As he pointed out, however, he caught himself in a massive amount of confirmation bias for a while, because Freud of course had *read* some of the stuff (Hawthorne, Shakespeare, etc.) that supposedly he only read after the formulation of this and that hypothesis.

        Worse now is that people can create *deliberate* instances of the nonsense because they are aware of it. (As a joke or illustration, sure, but one has to know what that is.)

    • Carey Haug
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      How about Spellbound where Ingrid Bergman analyzes Gregory Pecks dream?

  6. borderline
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Michio Kaku says some good things about Freud.

    So does Paul Bloom (starts at 41:47).

    Then there are the Freudian defense mechanisms (projection, repression, displacement, identification, rationalization, etc.) which have passed into common usage.

  7. Posted August 31, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I think “psychoanalysis” (opening your heart to a sympathetic listener/counselor) might help some people.

    • Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      But analysts are notoriously unempathic; they’re supposed to sit back and listen to you free associate. Freud wasn’t empathic at all: sometimes he’d hector his patients and sometimes even fall asleep.

      I’d go with a straight experienced psychologist any day. No psychoanalysts.

      • Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        I think there’s some kind of Freud simulation where you type in things like ‘My mother didn’t love me’ and it responds ‘Ah, so you think your mother didn’t love you, do you?’

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted September 1, 2017 at 2:08 am | Permalink

          That’s not Freudian, that’s Rogerian. The original computer program was called ‘Eliza’, and I think studies showed it was as effective (in some cases) as a real therapist.

          The underlying reason, I understand, is that it helps to talk to somebody about your problems, whether it’s a therapist, a taxi driver, your doctor or a computer program. All they have to do is say ‘uh-huh’ or its equivalent at suitable untervals.


          • Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

            Indeed: Or your hair dresser or a friend or even a stranger on the subway or in a bar …

      • Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

        “analysts are notoriously unempathic”

        I did not know this. (I know little of psychoanalysis, obviously!)

        • Posted October 9, 2017 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

          If you didn’t know this, I guess you have had little personal contact with analysts.
          (I have interacted with one for an academic hour, which I find enough for 2 lives.)

    • Posted September 1, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      That’s, strictly speaking, not psychoanalysis, but (at most) another kind of talk therapy.

      This consideration is often missed. “Psychoanalysis” is now (misused, based on the original characterization) broader than what Freud meant. I try to avoid this use, as it is confusing.

  8. Posted August 31, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Some of his progeny, including Lucien Freud?

  9. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    I suspect Freud widely popularized many ideas of Nietzsche that were previously little known.

    To many in the repressed 19th century it may seem a liberating revelation just to be able to talk about unconscious sexual motivations we are in denial of, even if Freud got almost all of the details wrong.

    I repeat an earlier point I have made on WEIT that I think one of Freud’s most profound ideas is sublimation, but it’s pretty much all Nietzsche, with roots in Wordsworth and others.

    This may be a time to point out that only quite recently has it been firmly established that Sigmund Freud never said “Sometimes a cigar is not a cigar” although this has been credited to him by top biographers.

  10. Hal SCHER
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Freud’s most important lasting contribution is the concept of ego defenders mechanisms

  11. Liz
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    I really like what Frederick Crews said in the “New Book Argues Freud Merely a Master of ‘Illusion'” KQED Radio talk shared on this site yesterday.

    He said, “Freud’s scientific language is full of elements of romantic vagueness and spirituality that are kind of smuggled in and one of the reasons for Freud’s success is that he really composed a completely ambiguous science which was highly deterministic in its idiom and at the same time extremely diffuse in its actual propositions.”

    The only thing I might take away from Freud is the dream analysis. After taking a psychology class in high school, I became interested in interpreting my dreams. Initially, I used one of the dream guide books to look up what things meant. It only helped a little in the beginning to sort of gauge whether that seemed to match what I thought or not. It also helped to remember the dreams after waking up. Now, those books are completely ridiculous to me. They are complete nonsense. I am able to, though, remember most of my dreams and know why I had them. That took a long time to be able to do. It’s just sort of a self-reflective thing that comes naturally now. I don’t even think about it. The best way to start remembering dreams is to set the alarm clock 20 minutes before you actually have to wake up. That leaves extra time to go back into the dream to remember or keep going. One thing I have not been able to do is lucid dream.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 2:20 am | Permalink

      I can often remember bits of my dreams. I find they often relate to what I was thinking about the previous evening.

      I do usually know it’s a dream, so when really bad things happen (falling) I know it’s not for real. Occasionally I have been able to steer them in a different direction (‘I don’t like the way this is going, dream something else’). Or so it seems from what I recall when I wake up.

      I also find the idea that some book author could know what something in my dream symbolises for me, patently absurd.

      One disconcerting thing is, my subconscious can incorporate physical factors e.g cold feet into the dream. Which means, if I have to get up and go to the toilet in the middle of the night, I have to (in paranoid fashion) double-check that I’m really awake and not just dreaming that I’ve got up, which might well be followed by an uncomfortable, soggy and embarrassing awakening. Once is enough…


      • Liz
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        I know what you mean. I once had a dream where I was so happy and overwhelmed that I was crying happy tears. Actual tears woke me up. That was a bizarre dream. That’s interesting that you can move your dreams a bit in certain directions. That’s the lucid dreaming. I have not been able to do that and I really don’t have too much of a desire to. It’s nice dreaming and just letting them happen as they come.

        • Matt Jenkins
          Posted September 2, 2017 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

          Hmm, I once had a dream in which I stole an enormous, untrackable stealth submarine and stole away to the depths of the sea. What struck me afterwards was the utter feeling of safety I had felt in the dream, which made me wonder whether the brain does occasional systems checks in our sleep which, as different areas are stimulated, cause the appearance of dreams.

    • aljones909
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      “The only thing I might take away from Freud is the dream analysis. “. I’d take a Darwinian approach. If it was beneficial to remember our dreams we would probably not have brains set up, apparently, to forget them. In a waking state we remember, at least for a while, most of our experiences. Dreams are usually not remembered or disappear from our memory very quickly.

  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    When I was studying psychology at university four decades ago, there were three main schools of thought: there was the Behaviorism of Pavlov and Skinner and their acolytes; there was the Humanistic Psychology of Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers, of Eric Fromm and R.D. Laing and Thomas Szaz; and there was Freudian psychoanalysis.

    The faculty associated with those schools was easy to tell apart. The first group spent their time in the animal labs and occasionally taught statistics. The second comprised the younger, junior professors with whom you wouldn’t mind smoking a joint and listening to music. As far as I know, there wasn’t anyone who was a Freudian, or at least anyone who would own up to it, on the entire faculty (although the others continued to teach his theories in their introductory courses). And it appears to have gone downhill for Dr. Freud since.

    Some of Freud’s concepts — the id, the ego, and the superego; Eros and Thanatos; the narcissism of small differences; that sort of thing — remain useful, I think, solely for descriptive purposes (which is why they remain popular with the critical studies people in the humanities departments), though there is, of course, not a shred of science to them.

    • BJ
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      With regard to your last paragraph: I agree. If one wants to talk about whether Freud has any legitimate lasting legacy, you have to admit that certain concepts of psychology that remain useful today either originated or were popularized with him, and even something like talk therapy (regardless of how different it is from how he practiced it) is still something many people find useful. Borderline, in comment six above, also points out concepts like rationalization and identification, which remain useful as well.

      I think it’s very difficult to demonstrate that everything Freud said and did was useless claptrap of no lasting significance.

    • Ben Curtis
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

      I always liked the literal translation of the “it,” the “I,” and the “over I” for being more directly expressive of the concepts, although the “I” may be an illusion emerging from the operations of the “it” and the “over I”.

  13. Nicholas K.
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Would there be a single dream sequence in a film in the 20th Century without Freud? I’ve always hated dream sequences in films. Filling time with cheap Freudian imagery that would be over the top in a PSYCH 101 class is lazy writing.

    Let alone the scripts for half a dozen or more episodes of M*A*S*H, Frasier, and a load of other sitcoms.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 2:24 am | Permalink

      How’d you get on with Inception? 😉


      • Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

        I, for one, really liked it!

        (And fantasy and/or SciFi isn’t my thing.)

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

          I just re-watched it. I found I could follow the action more readily second time round. I found it quite passable though not making my top ten list.

          But, contra Nicholas K, I don’t think there was any Freudian imagery in it at all. (It would have muddied the waters if they had tried to incorporate any).

          Another ‘dream’ one I really do like is Brian de Palma’s Femme Fatale, as much for its stylish cinematography as anything, in which it’s revealed at the end that the last half hour has been a dream. But again, no Freudian imagery in the dream that I can think of.


      • Nicholas K.
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

        I did like Inception. In that, the dreams were central to the overall plot. Many films seem to use dream sequences as filler — full of useless Freudian imagery that does not really advance the story or used to reveal character aspects that could be easily done with better writing.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted September 1, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

          I actually guessed or hoped that might be the case, I agree with the distinction you made there.


    • Diane G.
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      I hate dream descriptions in fiction as well. And most dreams that people relate directly.

    • aljones909
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      What’s become common is a scene that’s played for real and has a dramatic end (murder or something). Then the character wakes up. Hack. Lazy. Other annoying psychological stuff: patients perfectly lucid after coming out of a long coma, amnesia cured by a bump to the head, multiple personalities. Then there’s the one often used as a defence in murder cases – temporary amnesia.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        “What’s become common is a scene that’s played for real and has a dramatic end (murder or something). Then the character wakes up. Hack.”

        Also known as ‘Reset button’. Retconning the last events into a dream.

        Most notably employed by ‘Dallas’ after JR got shot, or so I’ve heard.

        Though I do like Brian de Palma’s ‘Femme Fatale’ which uses exactly that trick (though he does put in some well-hidden clues that it’s a dream).


      • Diane G.
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

        Oh, yeah, those all annoy me, too! Deus ex machina, psyche-style.

  14. Ken Pidcock
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    I’m currently reading Crews’s book, and strongly recommend it. But, yes, it is relentless.

    • squidmaster
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      I’m also currently reading it and, I agree, it’s relentless. He doesn’t have anything good to say about Freud and he documents everything he says with excerpts from original sources, particularly more recently released letters. The book does not seek balance: Crews wants to document how Freud used pseudoscience to justify his own rather misogynistic beliefs (among other things) and how ambition drove his promulgation of his wacky ideas.

  15. BJ
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    As I said in the last post about Freud: without him, we would not have the lovely film (and novel on which it’s based), The Seven-Per-Cent Solution. So his legacy can be redeemed just a little bit. I don’t want top live in a world without that film and Nicol Williamson’s wonderful performance — not to mention Arkin as Freud.

    • Craw
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Seek out The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. 1970, directed by Billy Wilder.

      • BJ
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        Looks like it’s available instantly from Amazon for $0.99. I’ll check it out, thanks!

      • Posted September 1, 2017 at 5:20 am | Permalink

        While we’re doing revisionist Sherlock Holmes – you can’t miss Without a Clue (1988), with Michael Caine as – in a sort of a way – Sherlock.

        • Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

          I think Robert Downey Jr. does a superb Holmes (and Jude law does a superb Watson) in the recent films, even if I tire of the style of the movies after a while. (I could never watch two in a row.)

          Similarly, I like Daniel Craig better than any other Bond before him, including Connery. He’s edgier and, to me, move believable. Superb actor, IMO.

  16. Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    I recommend Alice Miller´s books.

  17. chrism
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    The head of psychiatry at UCH was once upon a time a wonderful guy called Heinz Wolff, who had fallen into psychiatry by accident after initially being an internist. He told stories of how, as a medical student himself, he had stood on the roof of UCH at night during the Blitz, on firewatching duty. Sigmund Freud, who had fled to England, would sometimes join him on the roof and their conversations resulted in Heinz being sympathetic to the Freudian approach for the rest of his career, even when I trained under him 35 years later. Another curious side-effect was that Heinz and his 2ic (looking at you, Dr Sturgeon!) smoked small cigars continually while interviewing patients!

  18. Posted September 1, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    No, not uniquely.

    I think there is a merit to having good examples of long-lasting nonsense – and there are still lots of psychoanalysts left. But that shouldn’t be needed.

    (A dear friend of mine spends an outrageous amount of money using one, and if only for that reason I wish she would reconsider.)

  19. Kevin
    Posted September 2, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Some of my tentative observation on Crews:

    The desire to discredit (kill) the once emulated father figure
    in order to gain recognition and adulation of readership (mother figure): narcissism, self affirmation, regression.
    Tendency to amplify the negative and totally ignore the positive (unbalanced view of reality, bias)
    Compensation for feelings of inferiority to the father due to lack of scientific training (jealousy, repressed feelings of anger, frustration and hatred, fear of castration).
    Lack of constructive contribution on own account transformed into compensatory desire to destroy constructive actions of others.
    Accentuation of defects in others which are present in oneself (self-promotion, ambition at all cost, defective self view, hypocrisy).
    Vacillation from one extreme to another (from extreme Freudian to anti): underlying self doubt and uncertainty, inconsistency.
    Tendency to relentlessly remain fixed on a single argument or extreme view: obsessional tendency, rigidity, anal retention.

    But I would have to be mistaken since Freud was ALL wrong!

    • Posted October 9, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      You have caught well the way Freud and Freudians rebut any criticism. I wish I could afford using the same style when journal referees produce unflattering reviews of my manuscripts.

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