THE WISH TO BE FREE by F. & G. M. Platt Weinstein


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The wish to be free--the wish for ""autonomy and inclusion"" (in the power structure) is the subject of this scholarly work dealing with social change. We are accustomed to political, socio-economic and even psychological interpretations of history (e.g. Erikson's study of Luther). Here the attempt is made to fuse psychology and sociology, effectively to borrow insights drawn from Freud, post-Freudian ego psychology, and the sociological views of Durkheim, Weber, and especially Talcott Parsons in the analysis of pivotal points in cultural history. The philosophes of the Enlightenment are seen as fearful and anxious when faced with the logical conclusions of their ideals of liberty for all. Their fantasy-wish fulfillments can lead to aggressive attacks on the social order diverted, for example, in terms of expressions of great sexual liberty. Activists such as Robespierre are driven by other conflicts, becoming fixed on the future and ultra-authoritarian in behavior. Freud himself is examined as a Victorian influenced by the change in family structure effected by industrial society in Which the father became a more remote authoritarian figure. Much of this is good reading with fresh insights, especially the chapters devoted to Rousseau, Freud, Kafka. Even if you are not prepared to accept the Freudian vocabulary of oedipal conflict, the exercise is intellectually stimulating and profitable.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1969
Publisher: Univ. of California