Freud and Rabbi Sholom Dovber the fifth Chabad Rebbe and perhaps one of the greatest Jewish mystics of all time, spoke to each for many long hours.
Initially, Rabbi Sholom Dovber came to see Freud – in my interpretation, for this mystic, who literally saw from one of the world to the other, and more precisely time-wise (from the beginning to the end of history, as he predicted the future unerringly accurately,) went to see Freud, as the foundation for human psychology should be accurate.
For those who study both realms, the overlap – particularly Freud’s overlap of principles of Jewish mysticism are too perfect than to be anything but understanding, and analyzing, and regurgitating the principles of Jewish mysticism as they apply to psychology.
Dr Josef Berke www.jhberke.com has written a book Centers of Power: The Convergence of Psychoanalysis and Kaballah (go to his website to order) in which the details of this convergence are explained.
But fundamentally, the story that I wish to share, is one in which perhaps both worldviews are almost succinctly described.
Freud asked Rabbi Sholom Dovber “What do you teach?”
“What kind of a study is that?”
Rebbe: “Whereby the heart is controlled by the mind!”
“Are they not two continents divided by an ocean?!”
“The goal is to cross the divide by laying a bridge spanning the two, or at least sow electrical wires underneath the sea.”
In other words, all philosophies (and I heave read Plato, Aristotle, Freud, others, as well as practically all mystical philosophies,) agree, that the divide in man is between body and soul, mind and heart, but the question of course is, what can be done about it?
Freud came up with theories, statistically proven not to work; while Chassidus statistically has worked wonders!
But what all theories agree, is that man, is divided between his desires and his opinions.
You would think the two should be one!!!
But as we all know, men whom are admired are precisely admired; for most other men lack the ability to become men who are admired.
Universally, Nelson Mandela is not admired for being a terrorist – which he was – rather his ability to forgive and pave a peaceful future, as opposed to Mugabe who also was a terrorist and remained one in power as well.
The power to have the mind, control the emotions; is of course, the millennia goal of all civilized men.
All children are born like wild animals and give unrestricted vent to their emotions – it is only through discipline and identification with disciplined role-models that their behavior becomes both refined and disciplined.
But deep in the shadows lurk the demons.
No better method to understanding the truth of this, is, the anonymity offered by the internet; for it did not form human instincts, merely offered the venue for their outlet.
Of course this is where Chassidus and psychology diverge, for in psychology you are the epicenter of your universe.
If it feels good, do it! is the primary motto of the nations born out of Freud’s worldview, and it is precisely the opposite, If it is good do it! that Chassidus comes to inspire us to do.