Page:Freud - The history of the psychoanalytic movement.djvu/37

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31
HISTORY OF THE PSYCHOANALYTIC MOVEMENT

understood, perhaps I have been considered as good-natured or so intimidated that it was supposed no further consideration need be shown me.

This is a mistake. I can revile and rave as well as any other, but I am not able to render into literary form the expressions of the underlying affects and therefore I prefer to abstain entirely.

Perhaps in many respects it might have been better had I permitted free vent to my own passions and to those about me. We have all heard the interesting attempt at an explanation of the origin of psychoanalysis from its Viennese milieu. Janet did not scorn to make use of it as late as 1913, although, no doubt, he is proud of being a Parisian. This aperçu says that psychoanalysis, especially the assertion that the neuroses can be traced back to disturbances in the sexual life, could only have originated in a city like Vienna, in an atmosphere of sensuality and immorality not to be found in other cities, and that it thus represents only a reflection, the theoretical projection as it were, of these particular Viennese conditions. Well, I certainly am no local patriot, but this theory has always seemed to be especially nonsensical, so nonsensical that sometimes I was inclined to assume that the reproaching of the Vienna spirit was only a euphemistic substitution for another one which one did not care to bring up publicly. If the assumptions had been of the opposite kind, we might be inclined to listen. But even if we assume that there might be a city whose inhabitants have imposed upon themselves special sexual restrictions and at the same time show a peculiar tendency to severe neurotic maladies, then such a town might well furnish the soil on which some observer might get the idea of connecting these two facts and of deducting the one from the other. But neither assumption fits Vienna. The Viennese are neither more abstemious nor yet more nervous than dwellers in any other metropolis. Sex matters are a little freer, prudishness is less than in the cities of western and northern Europe that are so proud of their chastity. Our supposed observer would, more likely, be led astray by the particular conditions prevailing in Vienna than be enlightened as to the cause of the neuroses.