Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 5

Freud, S. (1883).

Letter from Sigmund Freud to Martha Bernays,


August 29, 1883. Letters of Sigmund Freud 1873-1939, 50-52
Letter from Sigmund Freud to Martha Bernays, August 29, 1883

Sigmund Freud
Vienna, Wednesday evening
August 29, 1883
My beloved Martha
Your charming, intelligent letter and your excellent description of the
Wandsbek Fair gave me great pleasure and suited my continuous
improvement-if there weren't still some catarrh I could say my well-being.
You think almost like Wagner in Faust during that beautiful walk and I ought
to answer with gentle indulgence in the manner of Dr. Faust: “Here I am Man-
dare man to be!” But no, beloved, you are quite right, it is neither pleasant nor
edifying to watch the masses amusing themselves; we at least don't have much
taste for it any more and our anticipated or already enjoyed pleasures, an
hour's chat nestling close to one's love, the reading of a book that lays before
us in tangible clarity what we think and feel, the knowledge of having
achieved something during the day, the relief of having solved a problem-all
these gratifications are so different that it would be affectation to pretend that
one really enjoys the kind of spectacle you describe.
But now please forgive me if I quote myself; I remember something that
occurred to me while watching a performance of Carmen: the mob gives vent
to its appetites, and we deprive ourselves. We deprive ourselves in order to
maintain our integrity, we economize in our health, our capacity for
enjoyment, our emotions; we save ourselves for something, not knowing for
what. And this habit of constant suppression of natural instincts gives us the
quality of refinement. We also feel more deeply and so dare not demand much
of ourselves. Why don't we get drunk? Because the discomfort and disgrace of
the after-effects gives us more “unpleasure” than the pleasure we derived
from getting drunk. Why don't we fall in love with a different person every
month? Because at each separation a part of our heart would be torn away.
Why don't we make a friend of everyone? Because the loss of him or any
misfortune befalling him would affect us deeply. Thus we strive more toward
avoiding pain than seeking pleasure. And the extreme cases are people like
ourselves who chain themselves together for

- 50 -

Copyrighted Material. For use only by UniParisDiderot. Reproduction prohibited. Usage subject to PEP terms & conditions (see terms.pep-web.org).
life and death, who deprive themselves and pine for years so as to remain
faithful, and who probably wouldn't survive a catastrophe that robbed them of
their beloved. In short, people like the Asra1 who could love only once. Our
whole conduct of life presupposes that we are protected from the direst
poverty and that the possibility exists of being able to free ourselves
increasingly from social ills. The poor people, the masses, could not survive
without their thick skins and their easygoing ways. Why should they take their
relationships seriously when all the misfortune nature and society have in
store threatens those they love? Why should they scorn the pleasure of the
moment when no other awaits them? The poor are too helpless, too exposed,
to behave like us. When I see the people indulging themselves, disregarding
all sense of moderation, I invariably think that this is their compensation for
being a helpless target for all the taxes, epidemics, sicknesses, and evils of
social institutions. I am not going to pursue this thought any further, but it
would be easy to demonstrate how “the people” judge, think, hope, and work
in a manner utterly different from ourselves. There is a psychology of the
common man which differs considerably from ours. They also have more
community spirit than we have; only for them is it natural that one man
continues the life of the other, whereas for each of us the world comes to an
end with our death.
My dearest girl, if you dislike this kind of talk, just tell me to stop. You
don't realize the extent of your influence over me and you must not conclude
from the harsh way I deal with certain things connected with the basic
conditions and experiences of our relationship that I am generally intolerant. I
am quite prepared to be completely ruled by my princess. One willingly lets
oneself be dominated by the person one loves; if only we had got as far as
that, Marty!
The girl in whose fate I took such an interest lost the moving effect she had
on me after a few days. There were too many complications involved which
did not correspond to our own relationship, and too many faults on her side.
Being a physician certainly doesn't make one immune to human suffering, nor
should it, but one does become less vulnerable if there is happiness in one's
own life….
I find myself in continuous professional friction with Pfungen,

- 51 -

Copyrighted Material. For use only by UniParisDiderot. Reproduction prohibited. Usage subject to PEP terms & conditions (see terms.pep-web.org).
and have now got to the point where I contradict him in front of Meynert; he of
course backs me up, because Pfungen is full of delusions and eccentric ideas.
But I must admit to myself that I do have a tyrannical streak in my nature and
that I find it terribly difficult to subordinate myself. I am sure you know this
already, but if you love me in spite of it I shall manage to be happy all the
same.
I am spending every free hour of the day on my paper, the beginning of
which is not unsatisfactory. I don't think, Marty, that I react to success and
failure quite as excessively as you make out. I am not yet quite clear about my
method; it works, but I am not always in control of it, it does not always
produce the same results.
Goodnight, my sweet darling, my precious princess, you. Your letters
cheer me up tremendously.
Go on being fond of
Your
Sigmund
Notes to "Letter from Sigmund Freud to Martha Bernays, August
29, 1883"
Ernst L. Freud
1 From a poem by Heinrich Heine (1796-1856).

- 52 -

Copyrighted Material. For use only by UniParisDiderot. Reproduction prohibited. Usage subject to PEP terms & conditions (see terms.pep-web.org).
Article Citation [Who Cited This?]
Freud, S. (1883). Letter from Sigmund Freud to Martha Bernays, August 29,
1883. Letters of Sigmund Freud 1873-1939, 50-52

Copyrighted Material. For use only by UniParisDiderot. Reproduction prohibited. Usage subject to PEP terms & conditions (see terms.pep-web.org).
PEP-Web Copyright
Copyright. The PEP-Web Archive is protected by United States
copyright laws and international treaty provisions.
1. All copyright (electronic and other) of the text, images, and
photographs of the publications appearing on PEP-Web is retained
by the original publishers of the Journals, Books, and Videos.
Saving the exceptions noted below, no portion of any of the text,
images, photographs, or videos may be reproduced or stored in
any form without prior permission of the Copyright owners.
2. Authorized Uses. Authorized Users may make all use of the
Licensed Materials as is consistent with the Fair Use Provisions of
United States and international law. Nothing in this Agreement is
intended to limit in any way whatsoever any Authorized User’s rights
under the Fair Use provisions of United States or international law
to use the Licensed Materials.
3. During the term of any subscription the Licensed Materials may be
used for purposes of research, education or other non-commercial
use as follows:
a. Digitally Copy. Authorized Users may download and digitally copy
a reasonable portion of the Licensed Materials for their own use
only.
b. Print Copy. Authorized Users may print (one copy per user)
reasonable potions of the Licensed Materials for their own use
only.
Copyright Warranty. Licensor warrants that it has the right to license
the rights granted under this Agreement to use Licensed Materials,
that it has obtained any and all necessary permissions from third
parties to license the Licensed Materials, and that use of the Licensed
Materials by Authorized Users in accordance with the terms of this
Agreement shall not infringe the copyright of any third party. The
Licensor shall indemnify and hold Licensee and Authorized Users
harmless for any losses, claims, damages, awards, penalties, or
injuries incurred, including reasonable attorney's fees, which arise
from any claim by any third party of an alleged infringement of
copyright or any other property right arising out of the use of the
Licensed Materials by the Licensee or any Authorized User in
accordance with the terms of this Agreement. This indemnity shall
survive the termination of this agreement. NO LIMITATION OF
LIABILITY SET FORTH ELSEWHERE IN THIS AGREEMENT IS
APPLICABLE TO THIS INDEMNIFICATION.
Commercial reproduction. No purchaser or user shall use any
portion of the contents of PEP-Web in any form of commercial
exploitation, including, but not limited to, commercial print or broadcast
media, and no purchaser or user shall reproduce it as its own any
material contained herein.

Copyrighted Material. For use only by UniParisDiderot. Reproduction prohibited. Usage subject to PEP terms & conditions (see terms.pep-web.org).