Tuesday , May 17 2022

In Paris, where Freud meets, art and religion


Sigmund Freud was born in a Jewish family but, from an early age, he was not only an atheist, he also wanted to separate his Jewish ancestors from his psychoanalytic science. If one was a scientist, he believed, one could not also practice religion. And yet, at the age of 81, two years before his death, he published "Moses and Monotheism," in which he basically attempted to psychoanalyze the death of Moses and called him the "tribal familias" of Judaism. Freud pronounced the Old Testament death of Moses, who originally stated that at the top of the mountain and overlooking the promised land of Israel, Moses simply died at the age of 120 years. Freud, however, said that Moses' followers had murdered him in frustrated rebellion, and that is the guilt inherited by the Jews for thousands of years, which is further focused on religion to gain spiritual comfort and do some kind of historical repentance.

"When Freud always kept out of religion, at the end of his life he published" Moses and monotheism, "in which he returns to his Jewish background," says Philippe Comar, a multimedia French artist and "scientific adviser" Freud's exhibition at the Museum of Jewish Art and History in Paris.

But it is not true that Freud always held religion. Judaism has previously mixed into his psychoanalysis. In the earlier book, "Civilization and its Discontent," Freud claimed that religion created a final conflict within the people because, as a preaching against violence, it was contrary to the natural human impulse to seek power and sex in any way. In a particular Freudian footnote "Phobia Analysis of a Five-Year-Old Boy," a case study, Freud suggested that due to caste's anxiety, the Jewish tradition of circumcision was "the deepest unconscious root of anti-Semitism." It all brings it to a person who tries to avoid the spiritual aspects of the religion in which he was raised, seemingly applied his tenants and historical consequences relatively often.

Until February 10, 2019, "Sigmund Freud: From Looking to Listening" is also a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Museum of Jewish Art and History and an attempt to gain insights into the Jewish perspective of Freud. There are more than two hundred drawings, books and scientific instruments from Freud, but also from Gustav Courbet, Gustav Klimt, René Magritte and Mark Rothko. Produced by Gerard Regier, an art historian and member of the Academie francaise, under the pseudonym "Jean Clair", loans are also included, such as the drawings of Egon Schiele and Klimt from the Leopold Museum in Vienna and the famous "The Origin of the World" by Courbet from the Orsay Museum Seine.

The unexpected exhibition in Paris begins at the Salpetriere hospital in Paris, where the 29-year-old Freud worked with a physician and professor, Jean Martin Charcot, whose hysterics talks helped establish Freud's concept of psychoanalysis. Freud had worked for Charcot for only four months – he was on a brief friendship – but the exhibition is constantly focused on Charcot's research on hypnosis and hysteria in an effort to emphasize Freud's cultural Frenchness – his scientific curiosity apparently more French than the Austrian feature. However, it is true that Freud found a particularly audacious audience in parlors where the West European literary community generally accepted its developing psychoanalytic theory more than the scientific community of that time.

But this show, rather than proving that the French bona fides is Freud, is interested in his Jewry. His father's family was Hasidic Jews, and, as he admitted in his "Autobiographical Study," his own latent Jewish identity inspired both non-conformism as a scientist and a form of morality in which sexual desire would always have been some form of legal or religious system. This, perhaps more than anything else, helps explain most of his psychosexual theories, which "underline the listening well".

Indeed, the deep submarine of Freud's psychoanalysis does not quite try to be Jewish, but the surface is scratched. And it seems deep. Even Freud himself was surprised at the extent to which his Jewry continued to work. In a letter from 1931, his friend David Feuchtwang, the doctor, admitted that his religious identity increasingly influenced his age. "At some point in my soul, in a very hidden corner, I'm a fanatical Jew," Freud wrote as a 75-year-old. "I am very surprised to have appeared as such in spite of all my efforts to be unprecedented and impartial. What can I do against him at my age?"

"Sigmund Freud: From Looking to Listening" is on the view of the Museum of Jewish Art and History, Paris, by 10 February 2019. Further information: www.mahj.org/en

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