Freud or Reich? Psychoanalysis and Illusion


Is 'Freudo-Marxism'—the effort to amalgamate the philosophies of these two giants of modern thought—logically or practically possible? The authors of this book explore this perennially fascinating issue by examining the personality and theories of Wilhelm Reich, once acclaimed as Freud's most brilliant protégé, who split with this former mentor over Reiche's extremist political and social views.

Reich's flamboyant life and tragic end (he died in a federal penitentiary, by then almost surely psychotic) make him the perfect foil for the author's traditionally Freudian perspective.…[they] contend that the espousal of any ideology is "projective and paranoid"—an attempt to deny the intrapsychic causes of human misery and to evade the responsibility and guilt that are the hallmarks of emotional maturity. All human activities, they argue, are responses to drives to defenses against the drives.

Not everyone will agree with their essentially conservative position, but their lively presentation is certain to provoke fresh discussion of 'Freudo-Marxis' among social scientists as well as psychoanalysts.

The book includes critiques of several of the 'Freudo-Marxisms'—including those of Marcuse, Reich, and Deleuze and Guattari— based on the argument that each adopts a mistaken view of the unconscious and distorts the Freudian theory of psychoanalysis in the interests of illusion.

"This is a relatively brief and extremely well written overview of the theoretical relations and psychological implications of the dialogue between psychoanalysis and Marxism. The book contains some of the most interesting contributions to the applications of psychoanalysis to the social sciences written in recent years."
— Otto F. Kernberg

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