RE: Is Freud contagious?

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Fri 27 Feb 2004 - 00:31:28 GMT

  • Next message: Francesca S. Alcorn: "Re: Between groups."

    At 11:46 AM 26/02/04 -0600, you wrote:
    >Freud is a wonderful poet but a horrible scientist. I think there
    >is an article in Atlantic Monthly about how off-base and even
    >dishonest Freud was.

    I think Freud is fascinating from a meta viewpoint. *What* he said is not so interesting since it was pre-scientific bs, but the fact he started his own cult is.

    A few days ago there was a thread on this very subject:

    From: (Keith Henson) Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology Subject: Re: Neutral but worried party Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2004 01:13:32 GMT

    On 23 Feb 2004 11:47:30 -0800, ladayla <> wrote:

    >In article <>, Keith Henson says...>
    >snip snip
    >>It helps understand the problem (though it has not led to solutions)
    >>to consider scientology as a drug cartel. What cult involvement does
    >>is provide the members with intense attention. The attention causes
    >>the release of chemicals in the brain that are highly rewarding--to an
    >>overwhelming degree in some people.
    >>People in a cult situation will spend massive sums, dump families and
    >>ignore medical problems. The effect is much like drug addiction, and
    >>it is no wonder since the same brain reward circuits are being fired.
    >>Unfortunately, I don't know where to take this line of thought.
    >It is one helluva interesting theory. I have given it some thought since you
    >first presented it here, and I have scanned the many scn'ists that I have
    >and audited. There are several who unquestionably fit the desciption of
    >'auditing junkie'. Allen Kapuler comes to mind. We did a Dianetics course
    >together in @ 1958 and we were friends thru the years until his death @ 4 yrs
    >ago. Allen would do anything to get auditing. He was audited up thru NOTs
    in the
    >church. At the same time, I was auditing him on NOTs in my little field
    >practice. He just couldn't get enough.

    Attention/reward theory certainly explains 'auditing junkies' and is consistent with a lot of otherwise mysterious facts. Consider psychoanalysis. People swear by it just like they do scientology auditing. Just like auditing, no controlled study of psychoanalysis has found it to have objective effects. (Other than emptying your wallet.) So why did psychoanalysis become a substantial part of medicine?

    Attention/reward theory accounts for it. Psychoanalysis has no
    *objective* support, but (like auditing) the subjective rewards to patients are high enough for them to pay plenty and most think it is worth the money. Of course the *money* rewards to the psychoanalysts is enough to warp *their* emotional opinions about the effectiveness of the "Freud cult" methods.

    (Psychoanalysis is a far less important aspect of medical practice than it was 50 years ago. In the face of persistent lack of evidence, the popularity of the "treatment" and the willingness of insurance companies to pay for it has been declining for decades.)

    The theory is also consistent with an "evolutionary psychology" approach. If you grant that primitive hominids had social systems with common features of primitive tribes and chimpanzee bands, then there was a good reason for attention (like you get in auditing or psychoanalysis) to be highly rewarding. Namely that attention is an indicator of higher status and higher status translated
    (statistically) into more offspring for males and better survival of offspring for females.

    Of course none of them, psychoanalysis, auditing, or addictive drugs is likely get you either improved access to women or more surviving children in the modern world. It must be noted that we didn't evolve in the modern world. You can't expect human psychology to be well fitted to the modern world. Evolution is slow and there has not been enough time for it to change our evolved psychological underpinnings.

    >( I turned his field folders in to the
    >cos after I had enuff of auditing him, and thought that he should be
    >for his own case and audit himself. He was a Cl 6 or 8 auditor. I was
    very proud
    >of the work that I had done with him, and wanted cos to see that their
    >tech' was being delivered standardly in the field). That's when i gave a damn
    >what they thought.
    >I think that the theory of endorphins in scn has merit, and would make for an
    >interesting study. I don't know where to take this line of thought
    either, but
    >it's worthy of pursuing.

    Your observation of the "auditing junkies" might be enough to do a reviewed paper on the subject. We should consider it, especially if you can think of a few other cases.

    Keith Henson

    =============================================================== This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing) see:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri 27 Feb 2004 - 00:34:54 GMT