Students must decide for self on Freud
February 28, 2015
Filed under Opinion
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It was sixth period, and Mrs. Foster pulled down the projector screen with the help of her high heels. Sigmund Freud has come up in almost every one of our AP Psychology units, but this time, we were going to discuss his theories in depth.
A picture of a glacier, only a quarter of which was above water was projected on the side of the vibrant classroom. Its sections were labeled— the top of the glacier the ego, the midsection, the superego, and the base, the id. These are familiar terms, each describing traits that make up Sigmund Freud’s psychodynamic personality theory. Freud places great importance on the role of the subconscious, a part of our brain we cannot control, that influences our thoughts and actions.
However, as we dove deeper into the icy waters of Freud’s ideas (and the the slides of Mrs. Fosters meticulous slideshow), I began to question the validity of his statements. There is a part of your body you can’t control? It sounded like a horror movie.
My distaste for his theories were amplified by a second projection on the every-evolving wall of the classroom— a video interpreting the Dr. Suess book A Cat in the Hat with Freud’s theories. You would have thought Thing One and Thing Two had entered the classroom while watching the students react to the clip. The narrator explained the incestuous relationship that was supposedly taunting the children, and how a tree outside their window was a phallic symbol. With a fish acting as a Christ symbol, The cat as the Id, and Thing One and Thing Two the super ego and ego, I began to wonder if I was going to be asked about such absurdity on the exam in May— What was Mrs. Foster teaching us?!
I understand that this is a narrow and far-fetched interpretation of Freud’s views, and that Mrs. Foster was not intending for us to take these radical ideas seriously, but why are they such an important part of psychology? Freud would tell me that my hesitancy to admire his work is a defense mechanism, that I am too afraid to admit I believe his twisted theories. However, The renown psychologist is wrong in this and maybe many other assumptions.
The school system doesn’t want us showing our shoulders, swearing, and doesn’t give us sexual education, yet they are willing to offer us a credit for learning about Freud’s anal stage and how it would effect our behavior as we grow up.
All ideas should be heard but we as students have a responsibility to decide what we do and do not believe. I now understand Mrs. Foster was not implacing Freud’s ideas upon us, but allowing us to make our own opinions about such beliefs. The art of psychology is not just learning about psychologists and understanding how and why people behave and think they way they do—its about learning about your own brain—what do you believe?