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Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (Norton Library) Paperback – September 17, 1990
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About the Author
Peter Gay (1923―2015) was the author of more than twenty-five books, including the National Book Award winner The Enlightenment, the best-selling Weimar Culture, and the widely translated Freud: A Life for Our Time.
Top Customer Reviews
In the beginning, Freud makes a couple statements that are pretty fascinating: that almost no one has written about group psychology and that perhaps there is no such thing as individual psychology.
And you could argue that Group Psych is even more important today than when Freud wrote this in the 1920s.
Finally, Freud is one of those writers who is rarely read, but often (mis)characterized by other writers. If you have never read an original Freud work, this is a great place to start. You'll be surprised.
Here is an example of one of the shorter sentences: "Contagion is a phenomenom 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 f 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...Read more ›
Here are some representative quotations from the book:
"(I)n a group the individual is brought under conditions which allow him to throw off the repressions of his unconscious instinctual impulses. The apparently new characteristics when he then displays are in fact the manifestations of this unconscious..."
"Since a group is in no doubt as to what constitutes truth or error, and is conscious, moreover, of its own great strength, it is as intolerant as it is obedient to authority. It respects force and can only be slightly influenced by kindness, which it regards merely as a form of weakness."
"But we do not separate ... one the one hand, self-love, and on the other, love for parents and children, friendship and love for humanity in general, and also devotion to concrete objects and to abstract ideas. Our justification lies in the fact that psychoanalytic research has taught us that all these tendencies are an expression of the same instinctual impulses; in relation between the sexes these impulses force their way toward sexual union, but in other circumstances they are diverted from this aim..."
"From being in love to hypnosis is evidently only a short step. The respects in which the two agree are obvious."
"The group ... agrees with hypnosis in the nature of the instincts which hold it together, and in the nature of the replacement of the ego ideal with other individuals, which was perhaps originally made possible by their having the same relation to the object."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book's condition was great but the actual book was terrible because it's Freud.Published 6 months ago by Nessa B.
Excellent product and excellent seller, a real asset for AmazonPublished 9 months ago by Carlos Alvarado-Valdes
I had previously read Gustav Le Bon’s excellent book ‘The Crowd’, and so developed the impression that Freud’s work was a continuation of Le Bon’s masterful volume. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Wulfgar