Neurotic Pessimism

Monday, April 17, 1950

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Distinguished Neurotic Pessimism from Rational Pessimism.

Neurotic pessimism is distinguished by pervasive and indiscriminate negativity. It is dramatized and destructive. Preoccupied with past times, viewing them "with rose colored glasses" and disinterest in present and future.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 69372
Municipal archives id: LT659

Hosted by:

Harold Kelman


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About Psychoanalysis and Everyday Living

This series of academic lectures revolves around family issues, particularly child rearing and sex and love lives of adults.

The series (1949-1950) is based on the work of Dr. Karen Horney (horn-AY), a German psychoanalyst whose views both relied on and questioned those of Sigmund Freud. Speakers are members of the Association for the Advancement for Psychoanalysis who have taken up Dr. Horney's work after her 1952 death.

Four major problems are addressed are: the problems of childhood and the beginnings of neurosis, the role of sex in the life of man, the general problems that every human being must face, and the specific personality problems that beset humanity.

The series ends with a lecture for those who are considering psychoanalysis and addresses the "general" and "specific" problems of sadism and frigidity. 

In the age when families gathered around the radio for entertainment and news, Psychoanalysis and Everyday Living may have provided good reason to avoid making eye contact with other people in the room.  These talks expand well beyond the somewhat awkward subject of your sex life into humiliation, sibling rivalry, competition, narcissism, and neurosis.  The show, and psychoanalysis as a field, dispenses with the fluff and gets right to the point.


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