August 4, 2013

Henry Geiger - The Chains Of Prometheus (1959)


Henry Geiger (1908?-15 February 1989) was the editor, publisher, and chief writer of MANAS Journal which published from 1948-1988. Abraham Maslow called him “the only small ‘p’ philosopher America has produced in this century.”
Below is an excerpt from, "The Chains Of Prometheus" by Henry Geiger. Source: MANAS Journal, Volume XII, No. 17. April 29, 1959.
It was the role of Dr. Sigmund Freud to awaken Western man to the idea that he is a chained Prometheus. Freud did not put the matter this way, but it seems reasonable to do so, since Freud began in the tradition of science a process of self-discovery which modern man could not abandon, even if he wanted to. Freud showed that human behavior is largely determined by the way in which people feel about themselves, and he provided an initial topography of the inner psychological terrain of human beings

Freud's method was empirical. That is, his intention was to base his theories on clinical experience. Ostensibly, at least, he had no preconceptions. While current writers may be able to show that a background of Jewish mysticism affected Freud in his thinking about the role of therapy, he formed his explicit premises about the nature of man from what seemed to him the data gained from personal observation.

The drama of man's thinking about himself has been radically altered as a result of Freud's work. Fifty or sixty years ago, scientific thinking about man was primarily biological. There was a long overlap, of course, between biological thinking and psychological thinking, but it now seems clear that the influence of biological thinking has for the most part lost its ascendancy. That is, the tendency to think of man as an organism has been replaced by the tendency to think of him as a psyche. This change in emphasis seems due mostly to Freud. There may have been other factors at work—even, possibly, evolutionary factors of which we are unaware—but Freud's influence is major and unmistakable.