How significant was Jewish culture and religion for Freud's life and work?
Freud's parents were both Jews, but not very observant ones. Although Freud grew up to be a dedicated atheist, Jewish culture remained deeply significant to him throughout his life. He took pride in being a Jew at the same time that he rejected the religious tenets of Judaism. For most of his life, Freud was an active member of the local chapter of the Jewish social society B'nai B'rith. Many of his supporters in psychoanalysis–especially in his early days in Vienna–were Jewish. Freud regarded it as a great triumph when the first non-Jewish psychiatrists–Eugen Bleuler, C. G. Jung, and their colleagues in Zurich–started practicing psychoanalysis in the early 1900s. Anti- Semitism limited Freud's opportunities for advancement and forced him to struggle for recognition and security. In the 1930s, anti-Semitism waxed in barbaric fashion with the ascendancy of National Socialism in Germany and Austria. This had a direct effect on Freud's life and work: it led to the flight of many psychoanalysts, including Freud, from Central Europe; the destruction of the publishing house and various psychoanalytic associations and clinics that had sprung up in Vienna, Berlin, Budapest, and elsewhere; and the resultant shift of psychoanalysis' center of gravity from Europe to the United States. Freud's last completed work, Moses and Monotheism (1938), explored Moses, the central figure of the Jewish tradition.
What were the basic elements of Freud's theory of the mind? Briefly describe the distinctions between the id, ego, and the superego, their relation to the conscious and the unconscious, and the meaning of the terms "neurosis," "libido," "cathexis," and "Oedipus complex."
The id is entirely unconscious; it obeys the "pleasure principle" and wants to act on impulses and instincts. The ego is mostly conscious and partly unconscious; it obeys the "reality principle," interposing between the person and...