Friday, May 25, 2007

Dr. Otto Gross – The One Truly Committed Psychoanalyst

A bit about Otto Gross:

OTTO GROSS : Nietzschean Psychoanalyst, Love Guru, Pagan Anarchist

Wikipedia article

Who was Otto Gross?

What made Dr. Otto Gross so dangerous a threat to the establishment?

The BBC documentary series "
The Century of the Self", to be found on You Tube, proposes convincingly that Sigmund Freud, and more so his daughter Anna, intended psychoanalysis to be a most power and indispensable tool of population control and manipulation.

Society was held up as the unquestionable standard of normalcy and any aberrant, rebellious or non-normative behavior demonstrated by any individual was considered pathological on the part of the individual. That pathology was to be corrected with psychoanalysis.

In contradistinction, Otto Gross wrote the following, which is excerpted from the small amount of his work that has been translated. Evidently, the psychiatric community would rather keep him in obscurity. You will see why presently.

"…I must assume that knowledge of the Freudian method and its important results is already widespread. Since Freud we understand all that is inappropriate and inadequate in our mental life to be the results of inner experiences whose emotional content excited intense conflict in us. At the time of those experiences – especially in early childhood – the conflict seemed insoluble, and they were excluded from the continuity of the inner life as it is known to the conscious ego. Since then they have continued to motivate us from the unconscious in an uncontrollably destructive and oppositional way. I believe that what is really decisive for the occurrence of repression is to be found in the inner conflict…rather than in relation to the sexual impulse. Sexuality is the universal motive for the infinite number if internal conflicts, though not in itself but as the object of a sexual morality which stands in insoluble conflict with everything that is of value and belongs to willing and reality.

It appears that at the deepest level the real nature of these conflicts may always be traced back to one comprehensive principle, to the conflict between that which belongs to oneself and that which belongs to the other, between that which is innately individual and that which has been suggested to us, i.e., that which is educated or otherwise forced into us.

This conflict of individuality with an authority that has penetrated into our own innermost self belongs more to the period of childhood than to any other time.

The tragedy is correspondingly greater as a person's individuality is more richly endowed, is stronger in its own particular nature. The earlier and the more intensely that the capacity to withstand suggestion and interference begins its protective function, the earlier and the more intensely will the self-divisive conflict be deepened and exacerbated. The only natures to be spared are those in whom the predisposition towards individuality is so weakly developed and is so little capable of resistance that under the pressure of suggestion from social surroundings, and the influence of education, it succumbs, in a manner of speaking, to atrophy and disappears altogether - natures whose guiding motives are at last composed entirely of alien, handed-down standards of evaluation and habits of reaction,. In such second-rate characters a certain apparent health can sustain itself, i.e., a peaceful and harmonious functioning of the whole of the soul or, more accurately, of what remains of the soul. On the other hand, each individual who stands in any way higher than this normal contemporary state of things is not, in existing, conditions, in a position to escape pathogenic conflict and to attain his individual health i.e., the full harmonious development of the highest possibilities of his innate individual character.

It is understood from all this that such characters hitherto, no matter in what outward form they manifest themselves – whether they are opposed to laws and morality, or lead us positively beyond the average, or collapse internally and become ill – have been perceived with either disgust, veneration or pity as disturbing exceptions whom people try to eliminate. It will come to be understood that, already today, there exists the demand to approve these people as the healthy, the warriors, the progressives, and to learn from and through them.

Not one of the revolutions in recorded history has succeeded in establishing freedom for individuality…Only now can it be recognized that the root of all authority lies in the family, that the combination of sexuality and authority, as it shows itself in the patriarchal family still prevailing today, claps every individuality in chains…" – "
Overcoming Cultural Crisis", originally published in Die Aktion in April 1913, translated by Dr. John Turner of the University of Wales, Swansea, courtesy of Gottfried Heueer and the International Otto Gross Society, reprinted in ANARCHISM – A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, Volume One: From Anarchy to Anarchism (300CE to 1939), pp. 282-3, Robert Graham, editor, copyright 2005 Black Rose Books.

We can see from the passage above, in which he eerily presaged his own "elimination", why Dr. Otto Gross was considered so very dangerous by the psychoanalytic establishment.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel

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