Page:Freud - The history of the psychoanalytic movement.djvu/20

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
14
HISTORY OF THE PSYCHOANALYTIC MOVEMENT

neuroses. In this way I gained a number of experiences which definitely confirmed my conviction of the practical significance of the sexual factor. Without any apprehension, I appeared as speaker at the Vienna Neurological Society, then under the presidency of Krafft-Ebing, expecting to be compensated, by the interest and recognition of my colleagues, for my own voluntary sacrifices. I treated my discoveries as indifferent contributions to science and hoped that others would treat them in the same way. Only the silence that followed my lectures, the space that formed about my person, and the insinuations directed towards me caused me to realize, gradually, that statements about the part played by sexuality in the etiology of the neuroses cannot hope to be treated like other communications. I realized that from then on I would belong to those who, according to Hebbel's expression, "have disturbed the world's sleep," and that I could not count upon being treated objectively and with toleration. But as my conviction of the average correctness of my observations and the conclusions grew greater and greater, and as my faith in my own judgment was not small, any more than was my moral courage, there could be no doubt as to the issue of this situation. I decided to believe that it fell to my lot to discover particularly significant associations, and felt prepared to bear the fate which sometimes accompanies such discoveries.

This fate I pictured to myself in the following manner. I would probably succeed in sustaining myself through the therapeutic successes of the new treatment, but science would take no notice of me in my lifetime. Some decades later, another would surely stumble upon the same, now untimely things, compel their recognition and thus bring me to honor as a necessarily unfortunate forerunner. Meantime I arrayed myself as comfortably as possible à la Robinson Crusoe upon my lonely island. When I look back to those lonely years, from the perplexities and vexatiousness of the present, it seems to me it was a beautiful and heroic time. The "splendid isolation" did not lack its privileges and charms. I did not need to read any literature nor to listen to badly informed opponents. I was subject to no influences, and no pressure was brought to bear