Freud: Within and Beyond Culture

“Freud: Within and Beyond Culture.” First delivered as “Freud and the Crisis of our Culture” for the Freud Anniversary Lecture in the New York Psychoanalytical Society and the New York Psychoanalytical Institute, May 1955. Subsequently published as Freud and the Crisis of our Culture (Boston: Beacon Press, 1955).


And in the degree that society was personalized by the concept of culture, the individual was seen to be far more deeply implicated in society than ever before. This is not an idea which is confined to the historian or to the social scientist: it is an idea which is at work in the mind of every literate and conscious person as he thinks of his life and estimates the chances of his living well in the world. At some point in the history of the West—let us say, for convenience, at the time of Rousseau—men began to think of their fates as being lived out in relation not to God, or to the individual persons who are their neighbors, or to material circumstances, but to the ideas and assumptions and manners of a large social totality.