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James Roberts

Doug Powers
Comparative Hermeneutics II
11 February 2014
Nietzsche and Freud have so much in common in their ideas of freedom that
the distinctions between them are subtle and very interesting. Both thinkers base
personal freedom in the potential for individuals to know themselves. For Freud this
freedom is actualized by the ego function bringing the contents of the unconscious
into consciousness through the process of psychotherapy. Because Freud views this
process scientifically, the process is objectified. Freud often speaks of this process in
scientific language, of the hypotheses, observations, and theories developed through
the careful process of psychological research. For his subjects, hidden psychological
structures are hidden inherently in the unconscious as part of its substance. and are
therefore not accessible to these subjects, who need the help of a scientifically trained
expert to uncover their darker tendencies and gain the freedom of knowledge.
For Nietzsche, the hiding away of self-knowledge is a conscious process, a
process that appears hidden to outsiders through the lies people tell themselves.
Nietzsches approach to self-knowledge is through subjective analysis, where he
assumes that lack of knowledge, what Freud might call the unconscious, is hidden from
view because looking at it would make it difficult for us to tell a consistent story about
ourselves. Neitzsches id, if he were to use the language, would probably consist of the
parts of our story that are difficult to tell because we have trouble making sense of them.
We hide these parts of ourselves from others as part of our struggle for power. From
Nietzsche's perspective, the inaccessible aspects of personality that Freud seems to
be uncovering were always known to his psychological subjects on some level -- and
the uncovering of repression was a process of unraveling their lies. It might be better
here to say from a Nietzchean perspective rather than from Nietzches perspective
because the latter makes it sound as though Nietzche actually exercised a perspective
on these ideas of Freuds and I dont think you mean thatbut this is a quibbling
This difference in view follows directly from the implied ontological distinctions in
Freud and Nietzsche -- assuming that the self is an object leads to Freuds view of the
inherent hidden functions within the subject of the self, and woven into his anatomical
metaphors and terminology, it is often difficult to interpret the extent to which he sees
the psyche as a physical object. From a Nietzschean perspective, this objectification
removes a great agency from the individual, and creates a barrier, probably false,
between the psyche and the will. Nietzsche demands that we confront this barrier
ourselves, tear away the veil and discover what lies behind it -- the self-defeating lie of
ignorance that saps our power and gives away our freedom.
A+ Right on! Brilliant. Just these short paragraphs make Nietzche more
interesting to me and more meaningful to me than he was before. Also, not a wasted
word!I would like you to read this in class and I dont think the others would be
intimidated because you are a teacherthere are several writing lessons here they
might pick up. You also did what you didnt do in your Marx paperadd the capstone
paragraph at the end which both drives the comparison/contrast home, and raises our
understanding even a half stair more. Great job. (see note next page)
Im also reminded of this article I heard of about 8 months ago where modern
psychologists were arguing that every phenomenon Freud mentions could be explained
without resort to an unconsciousand then a more recent article which sought to
redeem Freuds ontology of mindbut without being a direct response to the other
article. (Ofcourse grade doesnt countbut if it did thats what itd be!) ernie