By Daniel Burston
This publication explores the lifestyles and paintings of a overlooked determine within the background of psychoanalysis, Karl Stern, who introduced Freudian thought and perform to Catholic (and Christian) audiences round the world.
Karl Stern was once a German-Jewish neurologist and psychiatrist who fled Germany in 1937 – first to London, then to Canada, the place he taught at McGill collage and the college of Ottawa, changing into leader of Psychiatry at numerous significant clinics in Ottawa and Montreal among 1952 and 1968, while he went into inner most perform. In 1951 he released The Pillar of Fire, a memoir that chronicled his youth, formative years and early maturity, his clinical and psychiatric education, his first research, and his serial flirtations with Jewish Orthodoxy, Marxism and Zionism – all in the middle of the galloping Nazification of Germany. It additionally explored the long-standing inner-conflicts that preceded Stern’s conversion to Catholicism in 1943.
The Pillar of Fire used to be a run-away most sensible vendor, and was once through a sequence of outstanding books and papers that suggest Freud (and psychoanalysis mostly) to Christian audiences, together with The 3rd Revolution (1954), The Flight from Woman (1965) and Love and Success (1975). Stern firmly believed within the compatibility of technology and religion, and was once a celeb of the Catholic lecture circuit, the place he frequently spoke in regards to the evils of anti-Semitism. His friendship and correspondence with Thomas Merton, psychiatrist/psychoanalyst Gregory Zilboorg, philosophers Jacques Maritain and Gabriel Marcel, activist Dorothy Day and novelist Graham Greene (among others) shed massive mild on Catholic highbrow existence within the chilly struggle period, and the problems dealing with Stern, whose simultaneous efforts to wrestle Christian anti-Semitism and to combine Freudian idea into the middle of Catholic philosophy met with combined effects.
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Additional info for A Forgotten Freudian: The Passion of Karl Stern
39) As music opened up new spiritual horizons, Karl started to shed his naïve egocentrism. e. at the age when for the first time the strange neighbor in the streetcar becomes a feeling human being, a person who has the same eyes, the same sense of smell, the same brain, the same sensations as myself. It is the age during which the range of sympathy suddenly extends far beyond those nearest to us, in fact it runs for some time the danger of cosmic dilution. (Stern, 1951, p. 44) “Cosmic dilution” is an odd turn of phrase, and obviously intended to convey how disquieting the suffering of others suddenly became for him.
Since there was obviously no Jonathan on the P S Y C H I AT RY, P S Y C H OA N A LY S I S , A N D P O L I T I C S 39 scene, this curious remark might also imply that Laudenheimer secretly hoped that the youthful musician—the future King David, in the Bible story—would eventually become his successor. In any event, reading between the lines, one gets the distinct impression that whatever transpired in their sessions together, Laudenheimer served as a professional role model for Stern—the most important one after Burger, Volhard, and Schultz, evidently.
Most of us got out of this with some sense of assurance and power. Sickness, insanity, begetting, dying—all seemed to be objectivated and made to conform with the cleanliness and brightness of our laboratories. (Stern, 1951, p. 138) Put differently, the hallmarks of the “classical” psychiatry Stern studied were objectivity, quantification, predictability, order, cleanliness, and for many, at least, a vague (though pervasive) sense of omniscience— one oddly at variance with the therapeutic impotence of Kraepelin’s approach.