Consideration of Early Hypotheses
Too Long; Didn't ReadIt is not an easy task to speak about psychoanalysis in these days. I am not thinking, when I say this, of the fact that psychoanalysis in general—it is my earnest conviction—is among the most difficult scientific problems of the day. But even when we put this cardinal fact aside, we find many serious difficulties which interfere with the clear interpretation of the matter. I am not capable of giving you a complete doctrine elaborated both from the theoretical and the empirical standpoint. Psychoanalysis has not yet reached such a point of development, although a great amount of labor has been expended upon it. Neither can I give you a description of its growth ab ovo, for you already have in your country, with its great regard for all the progress of civilization, a considerable literature on the subject. This literature has already spread a general knowledge of psychoanalysis among those who have a scientific interest in it.
You have had the opportunity of listening to Freud, the real explorer and founder of this method, who has spoken in your own country about this theory. As for myself, I have already had the honor of speaking about this work in America. I have discussed the experimental foundation of the theory of complexes and the application of psychoanalysis to pedagogy.
It can be easily understood that under these circumstances I fear to repeat what has already been said, or published in many scientific journals in this country. A further difficulty lies in the fact that in very many quarters there are already prevailing quite extraordinary conceptions of our theory, conceptions which are often absolutely wrong, and unfortunately wrong just in that which touches the very essence of psychoanalysis. At times it seems nearly impossible to grasp even the meaning of these errors, and I am constantly astonished to find any one with a scientific education ever arriving at ideas so divorced from all foundations in fact. Obviously it would be of no importance to cite examples 5of these curiosities, and it will be more valuable to discuss here those questions and problems of psychoanalysis which really might provoke misunderstanding.