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Zilboorg, G. (1956). Freud's One Hundredth Anniversary. Psychoanal Q., 25:139-146.

(1956). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 25:139-146

Freud's One Hundredth Anniversary

Gregory Zilboorg, M.D.

One of the most frequently heard newer truisms is that the world 'has become so much smaller that it is frightening'. Perhaps a good number of the people on this earth stand in wonder and ill-concealed self-delight before this new 'shrinking' of the world; a great number, however, seem anxious about the phenomenon.

The 'shrinking' of the world refers, of course, to the conquest of distances by planes and guided or nonguided missiles. It is a matter of common experience to see in the morning paper a picture of a dignitary leaving New York or London, and in the afternoon paper a picture of the same dignitary reviewing a guard of honor in London, New York, or Rio de Janeiro, upon his arrival at the respective airport. The smallness of the earth begins to be judged by the great distances we have learned to cover in a given time.

One wonders whether the pace of learning has also been accelerated, to some extent at least. Perhaps, and yet, perhaps not. We publish books much faster and in much greater numbers; we disseminate knowledge more rapidly. 'Communications', as the word goes, have increased in number and pace. The question is, have we learned to learn more in the course of the last century than in the previous one?

Judging by the pride we have in our own achievements, we seem to have learned little. The generation of the Grande Encyclopédie was not very different in this respect from the generation of the Encyclopedia Britannica. And the generation of Robespierre was not less proud of its achievement than the generation of the Red Terror of the twenties of our own century. In other words, the subjective reactions of the chief actors of history remain what they always have been: intensely narcissistic and rather myopic.

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