Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Tag on a book

I'm back with the longpending recent tag from Deepa. It is recent, because, I do have longpending old tags from Priya and Vishesh, probably saved for some future post. I'm sure, they will pardon me.

The tag requires me to share the 5th paragraph in the 123rd page of the book I am presently reading - A simple and an interesting tag!

Rules to be followed -
1. Tell us who tagged you... dont forget to give us his/her link
2. Present the 5th para in the 123rd page of the book you are presently reading
3. If the book doesnot have 123rd page ( and/or) the 5th paragraph.. you may present the last paragraph in the last page
4. You may either type the content - or - scan the page and highlight the paragrah
5. Tag 5 more people

The book I have been reading for the past 2 months is "Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality" by Sigmund Freud. First published in 1905, it is considered as one of the most momentous and original contributions to human knowledge. Though there are only 109 pages in the book, the significant time it is consuming can be attributed to my intermittent reading coupled by contemplation and to the vastness of its investigation into the key aspect human behaviour right from chlildhood. There is always a pain associated with such books delaing with human psych, as we would start relating ourselves and the people around to the behavioural patterns and the symptoms discussed in them. The benefit of being associated with such literature right from my formative years, helps me read them in a dettached manner.

Here is the gist of the book:

In his first essay, "Sexual Abberations", Freud deals with the numerous deviations from the sexual object and the sexual aim. These deviations in sexual instinct result in aspects like inversion, degeneracy, animals as sexual objects, sadism, masochism, perversion etc.

Ideas developed in the first essay led logically to the second, which focused on sexuality in infancy and childhood. Every adult was once a child and should in principle be able to recall childhood in more than a fragmentary way, but most do not. Freud states two important observations. First, infantile amnesia affects everything concerning sexuality in childhood. Second, the strong moral condemnation that impacts all manifestations of sexuality leads to repression or gratification through sublimation. Freud explicitly states that oral gratification is a prototype for every sexual gratification, is pleasurable in itself, and is autoerotic inasmuch as it does not require any other object than the infant itself. He writes that the infant seems to be saying, "'It's a pity I can't kiss myself'" (p.48). Thumb-sucking is an example of manifestations of infantile sexuality. I was amused to note that, often infants self-impose constipation to result in abundant mass discharge of stool, resulting in stimulation of the anal zone, an example of manifestations of infantile sexuality.

The final essay, " The Transformation of Puberty", discusses the final stage of genital primacy, the various inhibitions, fixations and deviations, the forepleasure principle and the libido theory. It also includes the concepts of penis envy, castration anxiety, and the Oedipus complex.

Here is the tag -

I was tagged by Deepa :
A person of profound insight - My Perceptions
A great poet and a motivator- Appreciating Poetry

As there is no 123rd page in the book, here is the last paragraph of the last page -

"The unsatisfactory conclusions which have resulted from this investigation of the disturbances of the sexual life is due to the fact that we as yet know too little concerning the biological processes in which the nature of sexuality consists to form from our isolated examinations a satisfactory theory for the explanation of either the normal or the pathological."

A disappointing conclusion, causing further itch to discover more through the later works of Sigi or through the recent developments on the subject.

Friends Tagged:


Deepa said...

Glad to see you back in action
Thank you for all the appreciation. With Accolades such as this..I am going to have a hard time keeping up..
Thanks a lot

Shirsha said...

Welcome back Shiva, nice to read your post after so long!

Btw, interesting that bit abt constipation! Oh so thats the reason...! :)

pria said...

Hmm Someone is back in the blogtown again!!!
If you plan to escape again... do let us know in your post buddy:)

Thanks for the link and we all can peep thru' for more info'.

Jeeves said...

How am I tagged. I dont remember the 5th para of the book I read last. Sad!!!!!! Though I remember three books I am juggling nowadays

1. Summertime moonshine- Must read hilarious book of P G Woodhouse.
2. Painted Veil- Yet another classic of Somerset Maugham
3. Blink- Well decisions are taken in a second, thats was Malcom Galdwell feels. Good read

pria said...

Jeeves: I dont remember the 5th para of the book I read last

- Don't worry coz I am ther too like u!!!

mystic rose said...

Freud was probably one of thsoe people who never touched the purer part of his soul and emotions as a child. And becos of those times(the beginning of accepted promiscuity in intellectual circles all over Europe and the madness that was going on) and his influence, he gained a vast popularity that would otherwise not have been possible. What he says contradicts all commonsense as we know it and perosnal experience, esp as Indians.. where traditonal values and ideas are still embedded in our genes. The fact that someone has gained popularity does not mean he is right, everything every new idea has to be appraoached from the whole of our experience.. ,its true, perhaps a child sucking thumb(infantile thumb sucking is the insitnct to suck, to feed.. the first instinct of survival) has perhaps not been fully satisfied in terms of emotional needs. So you massage the child, it helps in terms of growth, mentally and physically.. in fact in studies it is proved, and even more so with prematurely born babies.. touch, gentle and warm can be very satisfying, esp from a mother. but to bring it down to the sensual shows where he was coming from. There is a diffrence in the feelings evoked. You know that, within yourself.

What makes it right for some does not make it right for everyone else.

Jung was far closer to the truth, of human psyche.

mystic rose said...

If you read Janaeshwari, or any of the other deeply spiritual books, you will know the differnce in terms of the truth yourself, becos those books bring you closer to 'yourself' and from there reading freud, you realise how outrageous his ideas are.

Shiva said...

Deepa, you are welcome. I know you will keep contributing with ease.

Shiva said...

Thanks Shirsha. That was funny though:)

Shiva said...

Thanks Priya. I never escaped. I was up to date on my blogzone, except that I was not able to post. I hope, I'll be regular in posting too.

Shiva said...

Looks like a great escape Jeeves. That's a good set of books. Will try them sometime.

Shiva said...


Freud has always been under the fire of criticism and your comment is one of the best criticism I have read. However, to this day, his works remains as the foundation on which various psychoanlytical findings are based, either through agreement or disagreement.

Freud's approach was entirely western and hence, was more of external enquiry. He saw human psyche only as a guinea pig, while Jung's approach was influenced by eastern philosphy and hence was considerate. I agree with you, that he was closer to the human psyche.

Thanks Mystic, for taking time and providing a detailed comment.

Shiva said...

Yes Mystic. As you said, I have always felt closer to the self, when occupied with spiritual thoughts. However, I don't get offended when I read Freud or Nietzsche (Thus Spake Zarathustra is a treasure). May be, they are differnt streams of varied forms and taste, flowing towards the same ocean, that is truth. Thanks for introducing Janaeshwari. Will try at once.

mystic rose said...

consideringhte prevalence of Freud's thoughts till now, in the western mind, and not just among those who are intellectuals or psychoanalysts, one would think that if it had any truth in it, it owuld have already solved a lot of psychologicla problems here. But things seem tohave only agravated. Antyhing that had the truth in it would heal.. would help people lead a more happy and balanced life.

Its just now being proved how much freudian thought has damaged the psyche. he has single handedly dimnished man to a sex point. Everyhting has its place in biology.. for survival.. but as we grew to a more complex and thinking species.. and then on to a spiritually evolving path, I think, at the same time some thinkers have branced off to other paths, not necessarily one that ends in truth. And we can see that, one that doesnt do so will eventually destroy either an individual's psyche or a collective one if that thinking is followed.

Kumar said...

That's a good discussion going on. Though I have heard of Freud, I am really getting to know the topic better here. Thanks :)

Kavi said...

Welcome back ! Lovely to have you back here. Interesting read..! I have been reading about Freud and his works quite a bit that this gives me more context !!

Thanks for the tag ! Will write. Surely !

Jeeves said...

Shiva- I guess more than escape, I cant remember the 5th para of the book Iam reading. Well infact I did try yest, but then realised I cant probably do it.

Pria- Well, happy to know someone is like me.

Kumar said...

Shiva - From the comments of others it is clear that you are quite good. It shows in the writing! Very nice posts.

Thanks for the tag but the problem is I am quite new around here & frankly am trying to figure out how to go about the tag!

Will write on getting to know how to respond :(

Shiva said...

Yeah Mystic. Freud has not given a solution for any psychological problem. Like how, gravity existed even before it was discovered by Newton, Freud has only identified various behavioral pattern and the possible causes. However, they are not universal like gravity, but relative to the individual. Such observations were seen even in Indian spiritual literature many centuries before Freud postulated his theories. To quote an example, here is a translation of a poem by one of the Great Shaivite, Thiruvenkadar -

"When the greatest temple of god and god himself is within us,
We have always been looking for the physical self;
The foolish heart always longs for the place of birth,
While the eyes always yearns for the place that fed"

This poem clearly, depicts how sexuality gets extended right from infancy.

There is no specific cure for any psychological malady and administration of any medicine, was only to effect a temporary relief and the permanent cure would require effort and cooperation on the part of the patient in getting involved in counseling, discourses etc.
This is where, eastern way of living, because of its abundant spiritual techniques, protects people from getting hysteric easily. Another difference can be attributed to the fact, the western mind lives in time (there is only one life, with a maximum span of 100 years), while eastern mind lives in eternity (the soul lives for ever, while the body is shed). Hence, Freud cannot be held responsible any collective damage to the human psyche.

"dimnished man to a sex point" - The question of man getting diminished to a point of sex arises, because, inspite of sex being the creative force, society has always wrapped a connotation of disgust and undesirability around sex. Else, we would be saying that, "elevated man to a sex point".

I'm just reminded of a story:

A kid asks her mother, " Mom, what is sex?"

The mom really got worried and explained delicately about sex for a couple of hours.

The kid with puts up a surprised look and says “Is it so much? I'm really surprised Mom. My teacher asked me to fill in this application, and it only has field called sex with options as M and F".

Given due importance and awareness, sex would never be a cause for any psychological disorder.

As you are well aware of, Truths is well beyond the scope all these theories, postulates, findings etc. Hence, I don't think we should look for truth in Freud's theory. They are to be seen as findings that are relatively right. The passion he had for the subject always deserves appreciation ( "Passions of the Mind" - A biography of Sigmund Freud by Irving Stone, who also authored the biography of Vincent Van Gogh and Michelangelo)

Thanks Again Mystic, for such a thought stimulating comment. As always, I enjoyed every word of it.

Shiva said...

Kumar, glad that you enjoyed the discussion. Thanks!

Shiva said...

That was so warm Kavi. Thanks a lot.

Shiva said...

Jeeves - No Problem. Thanks.

Priya is trying to be humble. I have seen a similar tag in her
blog. Am I right Priya?

Shiva said...

Kumar, thanks for all your appreciation. Just wondering, if I deserve them. More than me, my blogzone friends are good and that obviously makes the blog look good. Glad to have you too as one.

Blog tag is just like a game, which requies you to exactly publish a post, like how the person who tagged you had published in the post in which you got tagged. In this case, you are expected to publish a post that will share the 5th para in the 123 rd page of the book you are currently reading, following the same rules specified in the post. Deepa Tagged me in and hence, I published this post. Let me know if you have further questions.

Kumar said...

Shiva- You are right that most people visiting your blog are good. Last week, I have been quite busy visiting their blogs. Fantastic talent, and you are one of them. I have been always fascinated by the power of written words and blogs are so spontaneous and free...I am thoroughly enjoying the visits.

Thanks for clarifying on Tags. I understood as much but was not clear about its distinction from the tag of Technorati :) Serves me right for reading too much meaning into simple sentence.

tulipspeaks said...

whoa! the books sounds.. hmm.. a bit complicated for me (being a child i am) :P


pria said...

I have seen a similar tag in her
blog. Am I right Priya?

Oh ho!!! Ofcourse I did the tag buddy. Well.. well when I am in good records from an intellectual side, why change it huh???

Thanks !!!

Deepa said...

Shiva,..thats a beautiful piece ( i refrain from calling that a comment) u have written at seema's post ( rolling tears..)..the lines
***So wills her fate.
Well! She is ready.
is very much an inspiration/confidence..than it appears to be.


Seema said...

Shiva - Thanks for your visit to the clouds! Many thanks for the compliments am glad you liked it there!
You words on pain are so much true and real….thanx for putting them …they corelate so well to the tears of pain !

BTW a well done tag !

Princess said...

how are you friend?

long time no C :(

Shiva said...


Nice to see you after a long time. Thanks

Shiva said...


That was an overstatement though. Thanks anyways

Shiva said...

Welcome Seema. Your blog was amazing and I enjoyed the poems in there. Thanks

Shiva said...

Princess. I'm doing great. Thanks for asking. BTW, your recent post on falling was amazing.

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