Thursday, 14 January 2010

Open the door to entrepreneurship (Part 1 of 3)

Despite his many innovations in the field of psychology, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) rarely spelled out the social consequences of his theories. His baseline approach was to listen to patients and analyse their mental shadows. Interpreting dreams constitutes an interesting intellectual exercise, but in terms of effectiveness, it cannot compare to vigorous rational discourse.

By the time Freud dared to present his social views in writing, he was already 74 years old. His essay Civilization and its Discontents (1930) was radically different from his previous publications. In this ground-breaking book, Freud outlines his views on human psychology from the point of view, not only of individual history, but also of interpersonal behaviour.

Although the overall tone of the essay is cautious and conservative, readers noticed Freud's underlying criticism. Reviewers of the book had no problem with Freud's listening to patients and interpreting their dreams, but his latest opinions were out of the question. The essay generated such opposition that Freud never addressed similar subjects again.

Many decades have passed, but tradition has not lost any of its force. Its tentacles feed on the weak in order to starve the independent; it silences doubts and paralyses initiative; it renders questions inaudible and self-reliance unthinkable.

On the other hand, preaching change for the sake of swimming upstream makes little sense. Being like everybody else has substantial private and professional advantages. It would be foolishly for anyone to discard a secure position simply because it offers few challenges. Before making a bold move, you should have something better in view.

To be continued in Part 2


[Image by The Talented Mr. Nimo under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]

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