Tue. Jul 16th, 2019

Robert Louis Stevenson and modern psychology | Science

Robert Louis Stevenson and modern psychology | Science


In the year 1886 Robert Louis Stevenson's novel entitled The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. When the English writer delivered his story to the picture, England was immersed in profound social changes. The traditional Victorian values ​​were part of an ancient world that was not extinguished.

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The Puritan repression was still beating, albeit covertly, against an emerging liberalism that was part of the political imaginary of a new social class, the bourgeoisie, which had been enriched by the Industrial Revolution. Somehow, Stevenson's story anticipated the approach of the Viennese neurologist Sigmund Freud with respect to the repression and satisfaction of the individual's desires and, by extension, the desires of a society where good and evil will no longer be matters biblical, to become scientific topics. With the story of Stevenson, the dark side of the human being reached beyond the mythology applied to serve what was later baptized in Freudian terms as "theory of drives", as well as the three agents of our personality that they identify with the three categories of the human psyche: the id, the self and the superego.

According to Freud, the id is identified with our subconscious, which is where our most savage and irrational instincts live; the superego represents the other side, that is, the rational side, while the ego behaves as a mediator between the category of the id and the category of the superego. Due to the organizational structure of the Self and the nature of the tensions against which every subject wishes to protect himself, differences arise between human beings. One of the mechanisms of defense is "sublimation", a positive means by which we alleviate tensions, diverting aggressiveness towards higher ends, that is, with activities, be they artistic, intellectual, scientific or social work.

Portrait of Sigmund Freud.rn
Portrait of Sigmund Freud.

This theory caused much scandal at the time, since, according to what he says, the office of surgeon is a sublimation of sadistic aggressiveness. With these things, many surgeons would have been criminal if they did not become surgeons, but, thanks to the performance of their profession, they have managed to channel the sublimated energy of their sadism.

Returning to Stevenson's story related to the Freudian theory of the drives, we can establish that the internal conflict that two opposing people maintain, but that they inhabit within the same body, symbolizes the struggle between good and evil, or what is the same, the eternal dualism by which the libido, life drive or Eros, is related and fed back with its drive of opposite direction, that is, the death drive or Thanatos. In this way, Eros and Thánatos will be the equal forces that condition the personality of the human being, as well as the social structures in which the human being unfolds.

There is a work that there is no need to recommend around this matter. This is the book of Professor Sonu Shamdasani dedicated to Carl Jung (Atalanta) and where it tells, in a didactic way, the history of the main schools of modern psychology, originated long after Robert Louis Stevenson gave to the press his anticipatory story that concerns us here; the story of Dr. Henry Jekyll, a scientist who transforms his personality completely with the help of potions and concoctions. With the story of Stevenson, good and evil were shown as an issue that had more science than religion, taking the pulse of new world that emerged at that time, while the old world was becoming more and more behind, overwhelmed by the steam engine that had brought the impulse of a kind of idle nature, the bourgeoisie, with enough free time, not only to read, but also to pry into the life of others and their behavior.

The stone ax It's a section where Montero Glez, with a desire for prose, exercises its particular siege on scientific reality to show that science and art are complementary forms of knowledge.

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