Sigmund Freud grew up in a typical Austrian household. His father would start out the day reading to him stories by Sophocles, then he would put down Oedipus Rex, pick up a knife, and tell him, “Run to your mother before I cut off your testicles!” Then his father would proceed to chase him until Freud would just barely make it to his mother’s room. Freud was always forced to run into his mother’s room at awkward times, like when his mom just got out of the bath. Unfortunately for Freud, his mom was the hottest woman in all of Austria. Even worse were Freud’s male cousins who would always comment on how hot his mother was. These factors always led to Freud being very tempted to love his mother and fear his father. But against the odds, Freud learned to only masturbate to pictures of women who merely resembled his mother.
He also learned to respect his father and would often involve himself in back-alley knife fights with his dear ol’ dad. Once Freud finally cut off one of his dad’s testicles, he earned the love and respect of his father. His father then said, “Son, you’ve passed the test, it’s time for you to go to medical school.” Freud’s natural fear of castration taught him an important lesson–that you can only trust men at arm’s length because, if you trust them too much, they’ll cut your testicles off.
Freud enjoyed medical school and became a well-respected neural scientist. But as time went on Freud got tired of prying people’s heads open to study their brains. He wanted to make a name for himself so he decided to attack religion and offer a scientific replacement for it. So he wrote a book called The Future of an Illusion. In The Future of an Illusion, he psychoanalyzes religion as the human mind’s attempt to deal with its helplessness in the face of a chaotic nature by creating an illusion of a higher power that protects it. This part was so boringly true that unfortunately for Freud, The Future of an Illusion wasn’t well received by Austrian intellectuals, due to its dry and accurate attacks on religion. Freud was told to go back to the drawing board and come up with more interesting theories that were far more dubious and unfalsifiable.
Freud became penniless and homeless because, like an idiot, he quit being a wealthy physician. So he thought back to his youth and decided that psychology was the place where he could deal with his earlier traumas and transformations. Freud became a big success in psychology because behaviorism was such a boring field that treated humans like systems, and Freud offered intellectuals a more fascinating, organic account of the mind that involved an awesome battle between the Id, Ego, and Superego. Seriously, intellectuals get tired of the same ol’ “everything is a system” mentality. Doesn’t anyone want action and awesomeness in their metaphysical accounts of reality? So, Freud created a branch of psychology that was far more entertaining and unfalsifiable.
This new psychology relied heavily on symbolism. For example, if you liked to eat bananas, it was symbolic of your desire to perform oral sex on a man. If you liked rockets, it was symbolic of your desire to have sex with men. If you enjoyed the taste of strawberries, it meant you wanted to be on the receiving end of anal sex, etc. Exceptions to this were rare, but Freud did say, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar,” to justify his love of smoking long and hard cigars. Also, “Sometimes a penis is just a penis,” to justify his love of having erect penises in his mouth which was totally is not gay, even a little.
Unbelievable Fact! Philosopher Karl Popper once said that Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis was unfalsifiable, but that sounds like something someone with late potty training would say, doesn’t it?