"Freud and Karl Marx had this in common," the late psychoanalyst Erich Fromm once said: "Both were the indispensable starting points for students of their respective subject matter, although practically everything they wrote was wrong."
Fromm, who diverged from the Freudian school early on, was quoted in the introduction of "The Abstract of the Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud," a book of precis from the approximately 20 volumes of Freudian writings.
"Freud should be read sympathetically, although with caution," writes psychologist Robert Holt in the introduction. "Not swallowed whole in an act of magical identification, nor as a source of infallible wisdom, but as someone who has an enormous amount to teach about the myriad aspects of human beings, their ways of growing up, of failing to thrive, their peculiarities and above all about their secret lives."
The following are Freud's thoughts on a variety of topics: Psychoanalysis: "The division of the psychical into what is conscious and what is unconscious is the fundamental premise of psychoanalysis. It alone makes it possible for psychoanalysis to understand the pathological processes in life." Dreams: "Dreams are psychical acts of as much significance as any others. Their motive force is in every instance a wish seeking fulfillment. The fact of their not being recognized as wishes is due to the influence of the psychical censorship to which they have been subjected during the process of their formation." Anxiety: "Anxiety is not so simple a matter to understand; as a feeling it has a very marked character of unpleasure . . . anxiety is accompanied by fairly definite physical sensations which can be referred to particular organs of the body and it is a special state of unpleasure, often a reproduction of some experience." Aggression: "The fateful question for the human species seems to me to be whether and to what extent their cultural development will succeed in masking the disturbance of their communal life by the human instinct of aggression and self destruction. It may be that in this respect precisely the present time 1931 deserves a special interest. Men have gained control over the forces of nature to such an extent that with their help, they would have no difficulty in exterminating one or another to the last man. They know this, and hence comes a large part of their current unrest, their unhappiness and their mood of anxiety."