ABOUT THE SYMPOSIUM
On the 3rd and 4th of September 1904, Sigmund Freud went up the Acropolis hill during his first and only visit to Athens and Greece. This visit was a life’s dream for him or perhaps something he thought he would never accomplish. It is most likely due to this reason, that when he actually climbed up on the Acropolis, wearing his best shirt, he felt upset and had this strange feeling where he couldn’t believe what he was actually experiencing. He kept these thoughts to himself and did not share them even with his brother Alexander who accompanied him at the time. Nonetheless, 32 years later when Freud was already 80 years old, he described and analyzed his experience in a letter to his dear friend, French writer Romain Rolland (“A Disturbance of Memory on the Acropolis”). This letter was sent as a gift for Romain Rolland’s 70th birthday.
Most people, at some point in life, have experienced a situation that was so emotionally intense and complex that felt almost like it was not real. Most of us tend to disregard elusive thoughts and feelings that emerge incoherently in our minds, particularly when we are upset. However, Freud regarded these thoughts as valuable information for the process of analysis!
THE VALUE OF FREUD’S EXPERIENCE FOR US TODAY
It has been 115 years since Freud’s visit to Athens. The Acropolis and the Parthenon still stand in place and are considered to be universal cultural symbols. On the other hand, Psychoanalysis has run a long and significant course on the scientific field, in some cases eventful and even more eventful in Greece. Psychoanalysis, alongside Copernicus and Darwin’s theories, is regarded as one of the three great milestones in the history of human thought and Freud himself is also viewed as a symbol.
Freud's thinking today
Freud’s thinking is used as a starting point to pose questions, to reflect upon and to provoke further discussion.