Parallels in the story of Adam and Eve, and the genesis of neurosis in Freudian psychoanalysis
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 11:28 authored by Anthony P. Winning
Christianity has proven to be one of the most influential phenomena in human history, playing an important role in Western society and culture for centuries. While psychoanalysis, as espoused by Sigmund Freud, is only a comparatively recent development, many of its ideas have become part of the wider cultural fabric, and of mainstream psychology in the Western world. Central to both Western Christianity and Freudian psychoanalysis is the perceived fabric of human nature. In turn, each framework offers an account for the genesis of dysfunction in the human condition, that is, why human beings are unable to be fully at peace with both themselves and life. Given that both of these systems have become so ingrained in Western society, an exploration of the similarities in the conceptualisation of human dysfunction may offer some illumination on the nature of human consciousness and the human condition. Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to explore areas of overlap in theological doctrine and psychoanalytic theory, and in turn to derive an account for why human beings experience discord in life. Specifically, this thesis will argue that the story of Adam and Eve tells through symbols and images the trajectory for psychical development envisaged by Freud, and that both accounts posit the same core reason for human dysfunction. Thus, instead of being a revelation, Freud merely rediscovered through science what religion knew all along.