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Freud's religious unbeliefs are too easily dismissed as the standard scientific rationalism of the twentieth-century intellectual, yet he scorned the high-minded humanism of his contemporaries. In Mass Psychology and Analysis of the 'I' he explores the notion of 'mass-psychology' - his findings would prove all too prophetic in the years that followed. Writings such as A Re Freud's religious unbeliefs are too easily dismissed as the standard scientific rationalism of the twentieth-century intellectual, yet he scorned the high-minded humanism of his contemporaries. In Mass Psychology and Analysis of the 'I' he explores the notion of 'mass-psychology' - his findings would prove all too prophetic in the years that followed. Writings such as A Religious Experience and The Future of an Illusion continue earlier work on the essential savagery of the civilized mind, and Moses the Man and Monotheistic Religion excavates the roots of religion and racism, which he concludes are inextricably intertwined. This remarkable collection reveals Freud not only at his most radically pessimistic, but also at his most personally courageous - engaging with his own adherences, his own antecedents, his own identity.


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Freud's religious unbeliefs are too easily dismissed as the standard scientific rationalism of the twentieth-century intellectual, yet he scorned the high-minded humanism of his contemporaries. In Mass Psychology and Analysis of the 'I' he explores the notion of 'mass-psychology' - his findings would prove all too prophetic in the years that followed. Writings such as A Re Freud's religious unbeliefs are too easily dismissed as the standard scientific rationalism of the twentieth-century intellectual, yet he scorned the high-minded humanism of his contemporaries. In Mass Psychology and Analysis of the 'I' he explores the notion of 'mass-psychology' - his findings would prove all too prophetic in the years that followed. Writings such as A Religious Experience and The Future of an Illusion continue earlier work on the essential savagery of the civilized mind, and Moses the Man and Monotheistic Religion excavates the roots of religion and racism, which he concludes are inextricably intertwined. This remarkable collection reveals Freud not only at his most radically pessimistic, but also at his most personally courageous - engaging with his own adherences, his own antecedents, his own identity.

30 review for Mass Psychology (Modern Classics Translated Texts)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dee Arr

    Over the last few years, I have pondered the dynamics of group psychology. We see events on TV and the Internet, yet sometimes the underlying evil which appears to be present is difficult to assign to the individuals participating. In other words, the group actions may be unthinkable to an individual; nevertheless, the event happened when they all participated as a group. Curious about the possibilities, I ventured into Freud’s “Group Psychology.” This is a short book, but I would not classify it Over the last few years, I have pondered the dynamics of group psychology. We see events on TV and the Internet, yet sometimes the underlying evil which appears to be present is difficult to assign to the individuals participating. In other words, the group actions may be unthinkable to an individual; nevertheless, the event happened when they all participated as a group. Curious about the possibilities, I ventured into Freud’s “Group Psychology.” This is a short book, but I would not classify it as a quick read. Sometimes it is the translation, other times it is the subject, but a little perseverance makes it all readable and understandable. Some of it seems to be common sense knowledge that appears to be already known by the reader, but sound reasoning is also present and the resultant knowledge gained on the psychology of crowds can be enlightening as well as unnerving. Interesting reading for the curious. Four stars.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ken Doggett

    This book is in the public domain and I downloaded it for free. As with all of these public domain works of Freud's that I've read so far the translation leaves a lot to be desired. I'm certain that Freud's message was clear and lucid in the original German, but here it's obscured by unnecessarily complicated sentence structure that often requires re-reading before it can be fully understood. Here is an example of one of the shorter sentences: "Contagion is a phenomenon of which it is easy to est This book is in the public domain and I downloaded it for free. As with all of these public domain works of Freud's that I've read so far the translation leaves a lot to be desired. I'm certain that Freud's message was clear and lucid in the original German, but here it's obscured by unnecessarily complicated sentence structure that often requires re-reading before it can be fully understood. Here is an example of one of the shorter sentences: "Contagion is a phenomenon of which it is easy to establish the presence, but that it is not easy to explain." To say that a sentence like this requires editing is an understatement. This might be one way to improve it: "The presence of Contagion is easy to identify, but not so easy to explain." I could have given much worse, and far longer, examples, but the point of it all is that the readibility of the entire book could be better. On the other hand, Freud gives a good description of group-think, and identifies the problems associated with groups. This is one insight (and I won't attempt to edit these examples): "...the individual forming part of a group acquires solely from numerical considerations, a sentiment of invincible power which allows him to yield to instincts which, had he been alone, he would perforce have kept under restraint." I think that it's worthy to note here that this shows that even otherwise reasonable persons can form up into unruly, destructive mobs. The reasoning power of a mob usually devolves to the lowest level of the members within the mob. "He possesses the spontaneity, the violence, the ferocity, and also the enthusiasm and heroism of primitive beings...then dwells especially upon the lowering in intellectual ability which an individual experiences when he becomes merged in a group." "...goes directly to extremes; if a suspicion is expressed, it is instantly changed into an incontrovertible certainty; a trace of antipathy is turned into furious hatred." I think we can easily see how this applies to wide ranging events, whatever the place or time. Freud also illustrates how group-think also extends to politics and religion, often combining the two: "If another group tie takes the place of the religious one—and the socialistic tie seems to be succeeding in doing so—then there will be the same intolerance toward outsiders as in the age of the Wars of Religion." And to social networking: "We have only to think of the troop of women and girls, all of them in love in an enthusiastically sentimental way, who crowd round a singer or pianist after his performance." Keep in mind that this book was written in 1921, but indentifies group behavior that would accurately apply today. To Freud's insight, logic, and clarity of thought I would of course give five out of five stars. To the translated version, four stars only. I still recommend it to anyone who would like to get some insight into groups and group behavior.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alain Dib

    Group psychology and analysis of the ego turned out to be such a valuable book. It turned out to be everything the title says it is and much more. In fact, I purchased this book some months ago and left it on my shelf because, I was missing the energy to start it. Having gone through the effort it was a pleasant surprise because once in a while I pick a book without specific knowledge, giving it the benefit of the doubt in case just because it caught my attention on the library. The highest point of Group psychology and analysis of the ego turned out to be such a valuable book. It turned out to be everything the title says it is and much more. In fact, I purchased this book some months ago and left it on my shelf because, I was missing the energy to start it. Having gone through the effort it was a pleasant surprise because once in a while I pick a book without specific knowledge, giving it the benefit of the doubt in case just because it caught my attention on the library. The highest point of this book(for me)comically isn’t about Freud itself. It resembles some sort of argumentation and analysis Freud conducted on the work of Gustave Le Bon Titled”Group psychology”. When picking the book I didn’t realize that it featured inside of it the entire book of Le Bon which contains very high value,is intriguing and is in itself a good introduction to social psychology. It is easy to read and I would advise curious people who are ready to make the effort to read it, I mean the book of Le Bon at least because the analysis of Freud just adds some more little notions of his and tries to tie it with his theory of the psychoanalysis. It’s not a bad move on itself but the more detailed text is that of the author I just discovered by accident: Le Bon. Although, Freud did a pretty good job by adding notions in a way I found concise and precise. I preferred the Le Bon part because I read this work in french so it is the original language which made the reading claire and lucid in comparaison with the writing of Freud which I find myself liking considerably less because of the translation which in my opinion doesn’t always convey his ideas in the way he meant it and adds unnecessary complexity to some sentences. But in order to read the original works of Freud I would have to learn german which would certainly be a possibility if I ever get reincarnated and have another life to waste or something. In the meantime I will stick with the 3-4 languages I know and will still recommend this book for specific people because I think that on one hand the informations are valuable but on the other not everyone is interested in them and it demands effort to get through the book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cooper Cooper

    During his long career Freud focused almost entirely on the psychology of the individual, but he did make this one foray into the psychology of the group (which, not unexpectedly, he promptly reduced to the psychology of the individual). He starts his investigation by reviewing the work of Gustave LeBon (The Psychology of Crowds), William McDougall (The Group Mind) and William Trotter (Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War), praising their (especially LeBon’s) keen observation of crowd behavio During his long career Freud focused almost entirely on the psychology of the individual, but he did make this one foray into the psychology of the group (which, not unexpectedly, he promptly reduced to the psychology of the individual). He starts his investigation by reviewing the work of Gustave LeBon (The Psychology of Crowds), William McDougall (The Group Mind) and William Trotter (Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War), praising their (especially LeBon’s) keen observation of crowd behavior but finding their explanations wanting. Some of the characteristics of crowd behavior: dwindling of the conscious personality; focusing of thoughts and feelings in a common direction; predominance of feelings over thought; predominance of the unconscious over the conscious; and a tendency to act on impulse—to take immediate action. Pretty good description, said Freud, but the causes adduced, “hypnotism” or “psychological contagion” or “heightened suggestibility” or “the herd instinct,” explained absolutely nothing. To find out what is really going on, insisted Freud, we must enter the mind of an individual in the crowd—what is happening inside his psyche? Freud slowly works his way to the answer, en route analyzing several states related to “herd intoxication,” including hypnosis and “being in love.” Here’s some background without which none of Freud’s theorizing will make sense. *Libido. Freud calls the psyche’s energy the libido. What the sex-based libido attaches to (“cathects”), glows with life. Normally, in an autonomous adult, most libido is narcissistically invested in his own ego—self-love. However, within the overall psyche the ego has a hard-nosed companion—the superego (often thought of as “the conscience”—moral values introjected from the culture, usually by way of the parents). One vital component of the superego is the “ego ideal.” The ego ideal represents a sort of ideal self, one that meets the most demanding standards of the culture—standards that are, in fact, too demanding—impossibly so. In effect, the ego ideal is always beating on the ego to be and/or do better. So the psyche’s energy, its libido, is split internally between two elements: the ego and the ego ideal. *Inhibited Aim. Enter the object. Since the libido’s source is the sexual instinct, it is always ready to attach itself to (“cathect”) objects. The first objects so cathected are the parents. The child wants to possess one of the parents sexually—invests some percentage of its libido in the desired parent. But the child soon learns that this is hazardous because it recognizes the other parent as a rival and fears retaliation. Therefore, the child “represses” the sexual desire (it becomes unconscious)—that is, “inhibits the libido’s aim” of achieving direct sexual satisfaction. Some percentage of the repressed libido is then “sublimated” into more acceptable (to the conscious mind) emotions like affection—in fact, according to Freud this is precisely the origin of affection, as well as of other non-sexual (i.e., sublimated) emotions such as brotherly love. Now we have laid the groundwork for Freud’s analysis of “being in love,” hypnosis, and the psychology of crowds. *“Being in Love.” When I am in love, I combine libido that has directly sexual aims with libido that is inhibited in its aims—in other words, I want to possess the woman (“object”) sexually, but also feel toward her tenderness, affection and other aim-inhibited emotions. Further, I tend to become irrational (indeed, sometimes ridiculous) and overvalue my love object because I transfer to her the libido that I normally reserve for my own ego (i.e., my self-love). *Hypnosis. When I am hypnotized, my libido has no direct sexual aim, the aim is fully inhibited, but what happens is that I put the object (in this case the hypnotist) in place of my ego ideal—the image of the perfect me which I can never attain. Thus I cathect and place myself under the spell of this object that substitutes for the perfect me, while the realizable me, my real ego, is de-cathected, devalued and subordinated. *The Group. When I am in a group, I treat its leader like the hypnotist, replacing my ego ideal with him, so that I am “somebody” only insofar as I am connected with him; in addition, through the psychological mechanism of “identification,” I invest some libido also in other members of the group, since they are so like me in their relationship to the leader (Freud also ties this members-of-the-group connection to the relationship between early man’s “primal father” and his intimidated but finally murderous sons—but we won’t go into that). And what of the leader himself? “[The leader’s:] ego had few libidinal ties; he loved no one but himself, or other people only insofar as they served his needs. To objects his ego gave way no more than was barely necessary…he may be of a masterful nature, absolutely narcissistic, self-confident and independent. We know that love puts a check on narcissism, and it would be possible to show how, by operating in this way, it became a factor of civilization.” Are all of these Freudianisms plausible? Do they really explain anything? I would say, “sort of.” Within his scheme, they make sense. And one of Freud’s strengths—perhaps his greatest strength—was that he presented his scheme very well and very persuasively. But as far as group psychology is concerned, he more or less ignored the existential aspect—many seem to join groups not so much to escape the pressures of hyper-demanding superegos as to find some kind of meaning in their lives, of the sort that was once furnished by religions (a criticism of Freud’s theory long ago made by, among others, C.G. Jung). Today, perhaps more common than the hyper-demanding superego is the hypo-demanding superego—many folks seem to lack sufficient internal guidance and to possess ego ideals modeled on loose bozo celebrities. Do I recommend this book? Only if you’ve read some basic Freud (such as General Introduction to Psychoanalysis), or a good independent description of Freudian theory (such as Calvin Hall’s Primer of Freudian Psychology).

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jimmy Ele

    I tried getting into this book, I really did. I thought it was going to help me see the idiocy of crowds in a more enlightening way. All it did was confirm what I already knew. That people in crowds are a lot less rational. Of course there's a whole bunch of sexual stuff having to do with Oedipus and wanting to kill your father and have sex with your mother, weird, ancient greek myth type stuff, and all that, but why don't I just spare you the pain. Freud believed most if not every psychological I tried getting into this book, I really did. I thought it was going to help me see the idiocy of crowds in a more enlightening way. All it did was confirm what I already knew. That people in crowds are a lot less rational. Of course there's a whole bunch of sexual stuff having to do with Oedipus and wanting to kill your father and have sex with your mother, weird, ancient greek myth type stuff, and all that, but why don't I just spare you the pain. Freud believed most if not every psychological problem stemmed from repressed sexuality. Uhh, okay Freud, that would be fine if Ernest Becker hadn't come out of your camp and proved much more eloquently in "The Denial of Death" that it is not repressed sexuality which gives rise to all of our psychological problems, but rather the denial of death, as the title of that book implies. Anyways, lovers of Freud are going to hate me for this review, but who cares they'll probably just chalk it up to me not being able to have sex with my mother.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Satyajeet

    A detailed yet a comprehensive read. Freud discusses his views on religious faith, and the army, and how these social drivers can cause human kind to commit acts of atrocities. It discusses a few aspects of Freud’s interest in the human mind, and how social drivers drive us to behave. This might feel a little similar to Crowds and Power by Elias Canetti, but unlike Canetti, Freud's work is more balanced i.e Scientific = Literary. A good read, but this book can be a difficult read without the prior A detailed yet a comprehensive read. Freud discusses his views on religious faith, and the army, and how these social drivers can cause human kind to commit acts of atrocities. It discusses a few aspects of Freud’s interest in the human mind, and how social drivers drive us to behave. This might feel a little similar to Crowds and Power by Elias Canetti, but unlike Canetti, Freud's work is more balanced i.e Scientific = Literary. A good read, but this book can be a difficult read without the prior understanding of Freud’s concepts and notions of the dynamics of the human mind. One must be familiar with Freud's writing (Psychoanalysis) before picking this.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Polansky

    Usually there’s a point in Freud’s essays where he’ll fiat some flatly incorrect premise, and then rush past in hopes you won’t notice. Here it comes in identifying a ‘leader’ as an essential pre-condition of the ‘group/herd’, which brings us back to his father-as-first-sacrifice thesis which he articulates in Moses and Monotheism, but sidesteps the most fascinating aspect of group psychology; namely, that it often operates without any such patriarch, but as a faceless, blameless mass, giving v Usually there’s a point in Freud’s essays where he’ll fiat some flatly incorrect premise, and then rush past in hopes you won’t notice. Here it comes in identifying a ‘leader’ as an essential pre-condition of the ‘group/herd’, which brings us back to his father-as-first-sacrifice thesis which he articulates in Moses and Monotheism, but sidesteps the most fascinating aspect of group psychology; namely, that it often operates without any such patriarch, but as a faceless, blameless mass, giving vent to the sublimated desires of each individual. Whatever, there are still some fun brain teasers in here.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    An excellent synthesis of the ideas that Freud had about social psychology. "MOses and Monotheism", "Totem and Taboo", "Civilization and Its Discontents" are all recapped and metabolized in this book. Plus, it's charmingly literary (with fantastic footnotes!*). * Here's one, where Freud rewrites schopenhauer: "A company of porcupines crowded themselves very close together one cold winter’s day so as to profit by one another’s warmth and so save themselves from being frozen to death. But soon they An excellent synthesis of the ideas that Freud had about social psychology. "MOses and Monotheism", "Totem and Taboo", "Civilization and Its Discontents" are all recapped and metabolized in this book. Plus, it's charmingly literary (with fantastic footnotes!*). * Here's one, where Freud rewrites schopenhauer: "A company of porcupines crowded themselves very close together one cold winter’s day so as to profit by one another’s warmth and so save themselves from being frozen to death. But soon they felt one another’s quills, which induced them to separate again. And now, when the need for warmth brought them nearer together again, the second evil arose once more. So that they were driven backwards and forwards from one trouble to the other, until they had discovered a mean distance at which they could most tolerably exist”

  9. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    Horrifying.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Marwa Assem Salama

    The Silly questions easily find its way to haunting my mind for days. And I used to manage this mental situation by asking almost everyone around me for a convincing answer which I don’t interested in as much I do to drifting my mind away from the question itself. The last week’s question was: if any project was losing all possible success characters but kept only one of them that obliged you to still call it “successful” , what would it be??. And away from crippling jokes, there was a clear con The Silly questions easily find its way to haunting my mind for days. And I used to manage this mental situation by asking almost everyone around me for a convincing answer which I don’t interested in as much I do to drifting my mind away from the question itself. The last week’s question was: if any project was losing all possible success characters but kept only one of them that obliged you to still call it “successful” , what would it be??. And away from crippling jokes, there was a clear consensus about the answer which was “ the continuance”. The only different part was, the example that each one gave to support his idea. So, while someone talked about the marriage, others explained the financial companies. And after she uttered furiously: “ this shit place we work for “, he was smoking merrily , saying: “I don’t mind if you consider me as an example”. But affected by news, my beloved colleague said desperately : “ of course the (Muslim Brotherhood), all this stupidity was there since 1928, could you imagine that?? How could any group successes to be futile along all these years??”. And because she bestowed me a new question, I think I owe her an answer too!!. The writing style was formal and academic. That’s why you will find (Freud) has kept referring to the other psychological scientists’ sayings in a way that makes the script much like a thesis more than a book. Firstly, In order to make a correct judgement upon the mentality of a group, you must take into consideration some facts which Freud explained plentifully & I tried to collect them in the following points: - “Whoever be the individuals that compose the group, however their occupations, their character or their intelligence , the fact that they have been transformed into a group puts them in possession of a sort of collective mind will make them feel , think, and act in a manner quite different from that in which each individual of them would do in a state of isolation”. - “The particular acquirements of individuals become obliterated in a group, and that in this way their distinctiveness vanishes. The racial unconscious emerges; what is heterogeneous is submerged in what homogeneous. So, the mental superstructure, the development of which in individual shows such dissimilarities, is removed. In this way, individuals in a group would come to show an average character”. - “The individual in a group is no longer conscious of his act. As in a case of hypnotized subjects, at the same time that certain faculties are destroyed, others may bring to a high degree of exaltation. So he has become an automaton who has ceased to be guided by his will”. - He referred also to a concept that he called (Contagion phenomenon), which reminds me of this old video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSnu9B... - And the fact that said: “ a man forms part of an organized group, a man descends several rungs in the ladder of civilization. Isolated, he may be a cultivated individual; in a crowd, he is a barbarian, a creature acting by instinct. So all the cruel, brutal and destructive instincts , which lie dormant in individual, are stirred up to find free gratification”. - “While with isolated individual's personal interest is almost the only motive force, with groups it is very rarely prominent”. - And to find your way to control such mentality, bear in your mind the following points: - “The feelings of a group are always very simple and very exaggerated. So that a group knows neither doubt nor uncertainty. It goes directly to extremes; if suspicion is expressed, it is instantly changed into an incontrovertible certainty; a trace of antipathy is turned into furious hatred”. - It thinks and stimulated by images. So to produce an effect upon it; you must paint in most forcible colors, you must exaggerate, and repeat the same thing again and again. - “It respects force and can only be slightly influenced by kindness. What it demands of its heroes is strength or even violence. It wants to be ruled and oppressed and to fear its master”. - “ It is possible to speak of an individual having his moral standards raised by a group. Whereas the intellectual capacity of a group is always far below that of an individual, its ethical conduct may rise as high above his as it may sink deep below it”. - “ Groups have never thirsted after truth. They demand illusions, and cannot do without them. They constantly give what is unreal precedence over what is real. And have a tendency not to distinguish between the two”. According to Freud’s study, the results could be summarized in these following characters: - “The individual loses his power of criticism. - He replaces the whole society with the group he belongs to, so in obedience to the new authority, he may put his former ‘conscience’ out of action and so surrender to the attraction of the increased pleasure that is certainly obtained from removal of inhibitions. “Therefore, it is not remarkable to see individual in a group doing or approving things which he would have avoided in the normal conditions of life.” - McDougall sums up the psychological behavior in the following features : “ excessively emotional impulsive, violent, fickle, inconsistent, irresolute and extreme in action, displaying only the coarser emotions and less refined sentiments; Careless in deliberation, hasty in judgement, incapable of any but the simplest and imperfect forms of reasoning ; easily swayed & led, lacking in self- consciousness, devoid of self -respect and responsibility” While reading the book, I kept thinking of the (Muslim Brotherhood) as a perfect example of these characters. While Freud’s examples were (the church and the army). He revealed clearly all the possible similarities between the previous theories and them. And may you would realize that it is easy to prove how much the individual forming part of a group differs from the isolated individual , but it is less easy to discover the causes of this difference. But because Freud is deeply believed in the notion that “ The greater part of our daily actions are the result of hidden motives which escape our observation” . And because he always tends to interpret the actions of human beings through their (sexual desires), you would find he exhausted himself along complete three chapters, trying to convince you that the more the isolated man is sexually satisfied, the less he would be involved in such group and the less his tendency to be led by others & the vice versa. After he repeated in many different ways that the men with restrained sexual instincts are in continuous need for a role model to identify their masculinity through him, and after explaining it in both the church & the army, he may compel you to think that in order to end the awful circumstances in this country, we have to arrange for (sex parties)!! Anyway, as this book failed to give a sufficient treatment for those psychologically diseased groups, at least it made me- psychologically as well- more understanding & compassionate to the mentality of their individuals.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Shyam

    As regards intellectual achievement, it is true that the great decisions of mental endeavour, the discoveries and solutions that truly matter are possibly only for the individual working in isolation. —Mass Psychology and Analysis of the ‘I’ __________ Only a few individuals are capable of commanding an overview of human activity in al its ramifications. Most people have found it necessary to concentrate on one or a small number of fields . . .—The Future of an Illusion __________ The genesis of mal As regards intellectual achievement, it is true that the great decisions of mental endeavour, the discoveries and solutions that truly matter are possibly only for the individual working in isolation. —Mass Psychology and Analysis of the ‘I’ __________ Only a few individuals are capable of commanding an overview of human activity in al its ramifications. Most people have found it necessary to concentrate on one or a small number of fields . . .—The Future of an Illusion __________ The genesis of male homosexuality is in a great many instances as follows. The young man has been fixated on his mother in terms of the Oedipus complex for an unusually long time and with unusual intensity. Finally, with puberty at last complete,. The time comes to exchange the mother for a different sex-object. Here an abrupt reversal occurs: instead of leaving his mother, the youth identifies with her, transforming himself into her and henceforth seeking objects capable of taking the place of his ‘I’ for him, objects that he can love and care for in the way he has learned to do from his mother. This is a frequent occurrence; it can be confirmed any number of times . . . Occasionally, this kind of occurrence can be observed directly in the young child. Just such an observation was recently published in the International Journal of Psychoanalysis, where a child, unhappy at the loss of a kitten, announced straight out that he was now the kitten himself and accordingly walked on all fours, refused to sit up at table, etc. —Mass Psychology and Analysis of the ‘I’

  12. 4 out of 5

    Santiago Soria

    While I enjoyed reading this book due to all the detailed explanations of how humans behave In groups , j would have preferred that Freud toned down a bit his usual “humans are driven by their sexual desires”. But generally speaking, this book is very helpful to understand how behavior changes when people merge together into an individual mentality free of any sort of prejudice among its members, Freud also cites various authors to give us different approaches to the masses (Gustave le bon, most While I enjoyed reading this book due to all the detailed explanations of how humans behave In groups , j would have preferred that Freud toned down a bit his usual “humans are driven by their sexual desires”. But generally speaking, this book is very helpful to understand how behavior changes when people merge together into an individual mentality free of any sort of prejudice among its members, Freud also cites various authors to give us different approaches to the masses (Gustave le bon, most noticeably) ... if you’re getting started into psychoanalysis you’ll really enjoy this book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Anuraag Sharma

    Can help a lot in explaining/analysing the current political affairs.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Armanbyek Khumirzakh

    a simple and interesting way of explaining human psychology.Sometimes his thoughts are edgy but still makes a lot of good points.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Preston

    Most if not everyone has at least a vague idea who Sigmund Freud is. He is a brilliant and sometimes over-analytic researcher of the human mind. His thoughts, theories, and ideas of the ego, superego, and the id are still cornerstones of modern psychology. This book (understandably) is mostly a collection of his ideas and that of various studies of the time. If you were looking forward to a fantasy-adventure or a hilarious page-turner you will be sadly disappointed. Though if you are going into Most if not everyone has at least a vague idea who Sigmund Freud is. He is a brilliant and sometimes over-analytic researcher of the human mind. His thoughts, theories, and ideas of the ego, superego, and the id are still cornerstones of modern psychology. This book (understandably) is mostly a collection of his ideas and that of various studies of the time. If you were looking forward to a fantasy-adventure or a hilarious page-turner you will be sadly disappointed. Though if you are going into a book by Freud with those expectations...there is probably something "off" about you. The reason i bring this up is because this book doesn't need dragon fighting or comedic jokes to be interesting and stimulating. Its deep and sophisticated theories of the human condition are entertaining by themselves. Now then for the negatives and reasons for its 3-star rating. It can at times be a very tough read. The language is dry and complicated. Quite a bit i had to re-read certain parts to try to retain what i just read. Sometimes i would just chug through knowing i just wouldn't have a chance to fully grasp the concepts and principles. Though once again this is going to happen when you are reading something by Freud. It was created to be academic and textbook-like. One of my favorite quotes kind explains exactly why this book can be so hard to follow and understand. “If our brains were simple enough for us to understand them, we'd be so simple that we couldn't.”-Ian Stewart. However this shouldn't deter you from reading and learning more about what makes you..."you."

  16. 4 out of 5

    TEELOCK Mithilesh

    In this monograph, Freud describes psychological mechanisms at work within mass movements. A mass, according to Freud, is a "temporary entity, consisting of heterogeneous elements that have joined together for a moment." He refers heavily to the writings of sociologist and psychologist Gustave Le Bon (1841-1931), summarizing his work at the beginning of the book in the chapter Le Bons Schilderung der Massenseele ("Le Bon's description of the group mind"). Like Le Bon, Freud says that as part of In this monograph, Freud describes psychological mechanisms at work within mass movements. A mass, according to Freud, is a "temporary entity, consisting of heterogeneous elements that have joined together for a moment." He refers heavily to the writings of sociologist and psychologist Gustave Le Bon (1841-1931), summarizing his work at the beginning of the book in the chapter Le Bons Schilderung der Massenseele ("Le Bon's description of the group mind"). Like Le Bon, Freud says that as part of the mass, the individual acquires a sense of infinite power which allows him to act on impulses that he would otherwise have to curb as an isolated individual. These feelings of power and security allow the individual not only to act as part of the mass but also to feel safety in numbers. This is accompanied, however, by a loss of conscious personality and a tendency of the individual to be infected by any emotion within the mass, and to amplify the emotion, in turn, by "mutual induction". Overall, the mass is "impulsive, changeable, and irritable. It is controlled almost exclusively by the unconscious."

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kirk Johnson

    Freud's early style has lost its usual magic in this book especially, and what came across as quaintly charming balderdash in Totem and Taboo seems tiresomely absurd here. Perhaps what particularly helped Totem and Taboo along were the copious passages from Frazier's The Golden Bough, whereas this book uses up its scintillating quotes (from Le Bon's The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind), in the second chapter, leaving Freud to carry on for the rest of the book in dessicated fashion, meandering Freud's early style has lost its usual magic in this book especially, and what came across as quaintly charming balderdash in Totem and Taboo seems tiresomely absurd here. Perhaps what particularly helped Totem and Taboo along were the copious passages from Frazier's The Golden Bough, whereas this book uses up its scintillating quotes (from Le Bon's The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind), in the second chapter, leaving Freud to carry on for the rest of the book in dessicated fashion, meandering through his used toolbox of metapsychology. I had the painful sense that at this point he had really drawn himself into a box, and I found much of his variations on a theme on this occasion, even when interesting, stale.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Onur

    It was very interesting, Freud shows the mass of the psychology very well with all constituent parts such as ego, ideal ego, suggestion and libido, love and identification and also mob mentality. For sure a bit dense but any how highly recommended.

  19. 5 out of 5

    John H.

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Psychology

  20. 4 out of 5

    Augusto Bernardi

    An fascinating and eye opening first chapter that actually breaks down what is group psychology and what are the differences between individual psychology and the differences between the group and the individual. Very interesting because this analysis of the group as a whole in all sorts of aspects makes it seem like the group is a character of its own with a own personality and rational to make decisions that apply right across the board to any sort of group at any particular time(A group will An fascinating and eye opening first chapter that actually breaks down what is group psychology and what are the differences between individual psychology and the differences between the group and the individual. Very interesting because this analysis of the group as a whole in all sorts of aspects makes it seem like the group is a character of its own with a own personality and rational to make decisions that apply right across the board to any sort of group at any particular time(A group will show an individuals true or instinctive mind like a barbarian. A group in naturally more conservative as opposed to progressive. There is no such thing as a radical decision by a group. Although an individuals intellect can far surpass that of the group's intellect, a group can far surpass the individuals morals or ethics for better or worse. Groups are easily influences and instinctively search for a leader to guide them that shares the same beliefs they do.) Although the book never traps about a specific example when these are applicable in history, I constantly kept thinking of the potential scenarios for the future which makes this book all the more exciting. The book continued about the different types of groups like a short lived group that's also a disorganised group, a crowd, that is by nature far more characteristic to a beast or naughty toddler. Examples are mobs and revolutions.Then he explains the lasting groups which are organised and have more specific purpose. Examples are governments and businesses. He emphasizes how the group acts differently from the individuals of the group and gains momentum with its influence. Next he talks about how groups gain more individuals, which one of course is for self preservation but he focuses primarily on suggestion. And one of the primarily factors to suggestion is libido or in other words, love. I liked in this chapter how you got to see some of Freud's personality and controversy on how he insists on addressing terms or concepts as plainly and bluntly as possible without sugarcoating it. Following chapter briefly goes into how organised groups fall apart. Main examples being the church and army. The army breaks down in panic when the leader fails and everyone thinks individually. The church is harder to break down and mainly involves the idea itself to be broken which often results in anger and violence lashing out. It becomes a little rushed next and I had to turn back several times just to know what he's talking about. The chapter was mainly about how all long term relationships have some form of love and hated in them and this applies for groups as well, like North Germans and South Germans etc. This flows into the next chapter about identification which is first seen between son wanting to become father or daughter with the mother. From what I understood that eventually becomes a relationship between of wanting to replace. That's sort of an "contagious" feeling as others can want to feel that exact feeling from others (gave the jealous school girls example). The book can become hard to follow for people who aren't very familiar with some is his terms or concepts to then relate them back to group psychology. I also wonder whether some of his views are outdated, like the ones about homosexuality in boys. I honestly don't know. Freud then compared arguments between groups being influenced by a leader and groups influences by the members themselves, like a heard. One thing that there me of a lot and interrupted the flow of the book were the constant references or reminders that the subject of this book is talked in further detail in ANOTHER one of his books. Multiple other interesting topics are raised towards the end of the book like group psychology in early humans(the hoard vs the leader) and how that ties into suggestion and hypnosis. Then it somehow gets into the differences of mania and melancholia which makes you think: "wait, how the hell did I get to this point?" After stepping back to get a different perspective so many times, I really often felt lost on how this relates to the original subject.

  21. 4 out of 5

    C A

    living beings are gathered together in certain numbers, no matter whether they are a herd of animals or a collection of hu man beings, they place themselves instinctively under the authority of a chief. A group is an obedient herd, which could never live without a master. It has such a thirst for obedience that it submits instinctively to anyone who appoints himself its master. Behind the avowed causes of our acts there undoubtedly lie secret causes that we do not avow, but behind these secret cau living beings are gathered together in certain numbers, no matter whether they are a herd of animals or a collection of hu man beings, they place themselves instinctively under the authority of a chief. A group is an obedient herd, which could never live without a master. It has such a thirst for obedience that it submits instinctively to anyone who appoints himself its master. Behind the avowed causes of our acts there undoubtedly lie secret causes that we do not avow, but behind these secret causes there are many others more secret still, of which we ourselves are ignorant. The greater part of our daily actions are the result of hidden motives which escape our observation. by the mere fact that he forms part of an organised group, a man descends several rungs in the ladder of civilisation. Isolated, he may be a cultivated individual; in a crowd, he is a barbarian—that is, a creature acting by instinct. He possesses the spontaneity, the violence, the ferocity, and also the enthusiasm and heroism of primitive beings. A group is impulsive, changeable and irritable. It is led almost exclusively by the unconscious. A group is extraordinarily credulous and open to influence, it has no critical faculty, and the improbable does not exist for it. groups have never thirsted after truth. They demand illusions, and cannot do without them. They constantly give what is unreal precedence over what is real; they are almost as strongly influenced by what is untrue as by what is true. They have an evident tendency not to distinguish between the two. a group 'is excessively emotional, impulsive, violent, fickle, inconsistent, irresolute and extreme in action, displaying only the coarser emotions and the less refined sentiments; extremely suggestible, careless in deliberation, hasty in judgment, incapable of any but the simpler and imperfect forms of reasoning; easily swayed and led, lacking in self-consciousness, devoid of self-respect and of sense of responsibility, and apt to be carried away by the consciousness of its own force, so that it tends to produce all the manifestations we have learnt to expect of any irresponsible and absolute power. its behaviour is like that of an unruly child or an untutored passionate savage in a strange situa tion, rather than like that of its average member; and in the worst cases it is like that of a wild beast, rather than like that of human beings. men give evidence of a readiness for hatred, an aggressiveness, the source of which is unknown, and to which one is tempted to ascribe an elementary character. The individual feels 'incomplete' if he is alone. The dread shown by small children would seem already to be an expression of this herd instinct. Opposition to the herd is as good as separation from it, and is therefore anxiously avoided. Trotter gives as the list of instincts which he considers as primary those of self-preservation, of nutrition, of sex, and of the herd. man is a herd animal and assert that he is rather a horde animal, an individual creature in a horde led by a chief. Just as primitive man virtually survives in every individual, so the primal horde may arise once more out of any random crowd. being in love means greatly exaggerating the difference between one woman and another. The psycho-analytic investigation of the psycho-neuroses has taught us that their symptoms are to be traced back to directly sexual tendencies which are repressed but still remain active. Even those who do not regret the disappearance of religious illusions from the civilized world of to-day will admit that so long as they were in force they offered those who were bound by them the most powerful protec tion against the danger of neurosis.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    From the very first individual psychology... is at the same time social psychology as well. Like many other Marxists, my interests in psychoanalysis stem from the sociological implications of the unconscious. For this reason, this book, given its focus on the group, has been on my to-read list for quite a while. However, I was sorely disappointed because of my wrongly made assumptions. Unlike Civilization and its Discontents where Freud’s claims are undoubtedly directly sociological, this text is From the very first individual psychology... is at the same time social psychology as well. Like many other Marxists, my interests in psychoanalysis stem from the sociological implications of the unconscious. For this reason, this book, given its focus on the group, has been on my to-read list for quite a while. However, I was sorely disappointed because of my wrongly made assumptions. Unlike Civilization and its Discontents where Freud’s claims are undoubtedly directly sociological, this text is, as the title says, a group psychology. In other words, it does not conceive of the group as a united whole that has to be analyzed as having a unitary unconscious, but rather looks into the inner psychologies of the individual when she becomes a member of a group. From this, he investigates the composition of groups as a collection of the libidinal drives of the group’s members - more specifically, the way in which they are directed toward each other and toward the leader of the group, the libidinal Urvater that acts as their guiding Ego-Ideal. This fine but crucial distinction is part of the reason that this text is not a particularly major work in Freud’s larger oeuvre. Aside from the fact that the text is already very brief, a significant portion of the text is made up of glosses of two other psychologists, Le Bon and McDougall. The vast majority of the rest of the text is taken up by a summary of the now much more developed system of psychoanalysis that had been reached by 1921. Because so much of this work is a summary of other works, the room for original material is rather limited. But despite the fact that so much of this book is citations of other texts, this does not mean that these citations are unfruitful. The most interesting of these citations here is undoubtedly Totem and Taboo. Freud enters his discussion of this text when he wants to unveil the of the “Suggestion,” the command of the leader that directs the group and the grounding fact (Grundtatsache) of human mental life (menschliches Seelenleben). This etiology leads Freud to the anthropology of Totem and Taboo. In that text, Freud explains how the original father (der Urvater) initially restrained the sexual desires of his sons and through this restraint, created a community and group psychology in which the sons developed ties (Gefühlsbindungen) with each other and the Urvater. When the Urvater died, a new son had to take this place. It is at this anthropological moment that Freud comes to the conclusion that every mass wants a leader, i.e. an Urvater to act as a dominating authority and an ideal for the mass (Massenideal). All this being said, this text is fundamentally an application of psychoanalysis’ insights to gain an understanding of group psychology. While this application is undoubtedly a contribution to the greater psychoanalytic project, it is certainly not ground-breaking and should probably be relatively low on one’s Freud to-read list.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bora

    I've read freud's book "group psychology and the analysis of the ego" I read the le bons work a year ago and this book has just expanded my spectrum about social formations as well.freud says that the members of a group which has an aim or a religion,a group of people who believes in the same moral opinions are connected to each other with what freud calls "libidinal ties".and the every member is ready to sacrifice their personal interests and aims for the good of the group as le bon has beautifu I've read freud's book "group psychology and the analysis of the ego" I read the le bons work a year ago and this book has just expanded my spectrum about social formations as well.freud says that the members of a group which has an aim or a religion,a group of people who believes in the same moral opinions are connected to each other with what freud calls "libidinal ties".and the every member is ready to sacrifice their personal interests and aims for the good of the group as le bon has beautifully written. from freud's view,every group has a father figure, whose love for every member for the group is equal.for catholic church it's the god,for army it's the general.freud described the leader,the alpha male as someone who doesn't need that libidinal ties with others but has a narcissistic way of loving and caring for the group.the leader is the engine for the morals of the group,what he believes and his thinking approaches are the A plan for the others to execute.and it's a dangerous reality.(my opinion is that this kind of leadership concept is arising all above the world in the 21st century.please watch fitzcarraldo,it's a great historical fiction movie about the ideal 'horde' and the despair he brings.) freud's further writings in this book are about the ego,ideal ego and love triangle.his anlysises about idealisation and object love in this book are classic freud.he used his theories(oedipus complex, idealisation,object love and inhibited desires etc.)to explain how and why a group act like a primitive force. i think it is a beneficial book to read.rip mister freud.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sam Klemens

    Cared very little for this. An obvious significant problem is that I just didn't understand a good bit of stuff. I am perhaps more versed in psychology than the average guy on the street but plenty of this was straight whoosh, over my head. Next was the stuff I did understand but a good chunk of this I already knew! However, here's where it gets interesting. Perhaps... It is that these facts are part of our common knowledge *because* of Freud and when he proposed this stuff it was bleeding edge. Cared very little for this. An obvious significant problem is that I just didn't understand a good bit of stuff. I am perhaps more versed in psychology than the average guy on the street but plenty of this was straight whoosh, over my head. Next was the stuff I did understand but a good chunk of this I already knew! However, here's where it gets interesting. Perhaps... It is that these facts are part of our common knowledge *because* of Freud and when he proposed this stuff it was bleeding edge. That could be possible, I don't know, I don't care enough to try and find out. Then there were one or two interesting insights that I wasn't familiar with. Overall though I found this book to be difficult to read, dated and not at all worth the time I put into it. I finished it because it seems like a person who reads a lot ought to take in at least one book by Freud but having done that I don't know that I would ever go back to him. I've also read one book by Jung and that I found insightful, comprehensible and extremely enjoyable. In the battle of the Austrians vs. Swiss I know which camp I favor.

  25. 4 out of 5

    G

    I read this after reading Ernest Becker's 'The Denial of Death,' in an attempt to look more closely into the group formation dynamics Becker invokes in his account of the average individual, able to deny death through group participation. I've got to say, I think the exploration of regression, ego-ideal identification, and collectivizing object-orientation in this book are spot on. But the perennial Freudian problem is evident throughout. There's just too much discussion of libido, basically, and I read this after reading Ernest Becker's 'The Denial of Death,' in an attempt to look more closely into the group formation dynamics Becker invokes in his account of the average individual, able to deny death through group participation. I've got to say, I think the exploration of regression, ego-ideal identification, and collectivizing object-orientation in this book are spot on. But the perennial Freudian problem is evident throughout. There's just too much discussion of libido, basically, and the primal horde, while serving as a fine explanation of group formation processes, just tends to be a bit much to believe. That being said, very interesting supplement to Becker, if you're into that sort of thing.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Varad

    Freud offers some interesting observations about group psychology and a decent summary of the research up to his time, but undermines it by trying to explain it all according to his theory of the libido, which at times seems like a decent explanation, but at others gives way to hammer-and-nail syndrome (when all you have is a hammer . . .). It was a mistake by the editors to render "foule" as "group" in their translations of passages of Gustave Le Bon when "crowd" is more accurate. Indeed, it's Freud offers some interesting observations about group psychology and a decent summary of the research up to his time, but undermines it by trying to explain it all according to his theory of the libido, which at times seems like a decent explanation, but at others gives way to hammer-and-nail syndrome (when all you have is a hammer . . .). It was a mistake by the editors to render "foule" as "group" in their translations of passages of Gustave Le Bon when "crowd" is more accurate. Indeed, it's rather misleading. Tuesday 1/15/19

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Cott

    "A group is extraordinarily credulous and open to influence. It has no critical faculty and the improbable does not exist for it. It thinks in images which call one another up by association just as they arise within the individual in states of free imagination, and whose agreement with reality is never checked by any reasonable function . The feelings of a group are always very simple and very exaggerated so that a group knows neither doubt nor uncertainty" Me reading this in 2015: "pfffffft." M "A group is extraordinarily credulous and open to influence. It has no critical faculty and the improbable does not exist for it. It thinks in images which call one another up by association just as they arise within the individual in states of free imagination, and whose agreement with reality is never checked by any reasonable function . The feelings of a group are always very simple and very exaggerated so that a group knows neither doubt nor uncertainty" Me reading this in 2015: "pfffffft." Me reading this in 2021: "OhGodButItHurtsSoMuch!!!"

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jaiden

    Read this for class, and was surprised about how much I enjoyed this/how engaging it was. Presented some great thinking points about the formation of groups, and got my mind working about how these underlying psychological factors can create the extremist groups that are now seemingly rampant (as it should- since that is the topic of the class!). My first Freud book, and now I am no longer intimidated next time one is assigned!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mohammed

    One of Freuds most introducing contributions to the study of psychology, this work explores group solidarity and behavior through the lens of psychoanalysisWhile Freud helps to illuminate some of the nuances of group psychology this work provokes many questions as to what makes peopleand groups think and behave as they do.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    Did he get it all right? No, but his ideas are pioneering and radical in his time. Sometimes dead on; sometimes the seeds of further warranted discourse that ultimately drive thought forward. Freud has no qualms tackling the most taboo topics, all of which have relevance to human behavior.

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