Speech on his seventieth birthday. May 6, 1926

 Right Honorable Grand President, honorable President, dear Brothers:
 Thank you for the honor you have done me today. You know why I cannot answer in my own voice. You have heard one of my friends and followers speak of my sdentific work-but the verdict on these things is difficult to pronounce and perhaps will not be pronounced with any certainty for a long time to come. Permit me to add something to the remark of the other speaker, who is also my friend as well as my solidtous physidan. I would like to tell you briefly how I became one of the B'nai B'rith, and what I sought among you.

 In the years following 1895 two strong impressions were made upon me that combined to leave the same effect. On the one hand, I had won my first insight into the depth of the instinctive life of a human being, had seen much that was sobering and even frightening. On the other hand, the communication of my unpleasant discoveries resulted in the loss of what were then the greatest part of my personal relationships. It seemed to me that I was like a man outlawed, shunned by everyone. In my isolation, the longing arose in me for a drcle of chosen, high-minded men who, regardless of the audadty of what I had done, would receive me with friendliness. Your society was pointed out to me as the place where such men were to be found.

 That you were Jews only suited me the more, for I myself was a Jew, and it always seemed to me to be not only shameful but downright senseless to deny it. That which bound me to Judaism-I am obliged to admit it-V(as not my faith, nor was it national pride; for I was always an unbeliever, raised without religion, although not without respect for the so-called "ethical" demands of human dvilization. And I always tried to suppress nationalistic ardor, whenever I felt any inclination thereto, as something pernidous and unjust, frightened as I was by the warning example of the peoples among whom we Jews live. But there remained enough other things to make the attraction of Judaism and Jews irresistible -many dark emotional forces, all the more potent for being so hard to grasp in words, as well as the clear consdousness of an inner identity, the intimacy that comes from the same psychic structure .

  And to that was soon added the insight that it was my Jewish nature alone that I had to thank for two characteristics that proved indispensable to me in my life's difficult course. Because I was a Jew I found myself free from many prejudices that hampered others in the use of their intellects; and as a Jew I was prepared to take my place on the side of the opposition and renounce being on good terms with the "compact majority." And therefore I became one of you, took part in your humanitarian and national interests, made friends among you, and persuaded the few friends remaining to me to join our sodety. There was no question whatsoever of convindng you of my theories, but at a time when no one in Europe listened to me and I had not a single follower even in Vienna you granted me your benevolent attention. You were my first audience.

 For some two thirds of the long period of time since my admission I came to you conscientiously, gaining recreation and stimulation from my intercourse with you. Today you were kind enough not to reproach me for having stayed away from you the last third of this time. My work piled up over my head; the demands connected with it mounted; my day could not be prolonged enough to permit me to attend your sessions; my body soon after could no longer endure the delayed mealtime. And finally there came years of illness, the illness that today too prevents me from putting in an appearance among you. you conscientiously, gaining recreation and stimulation from my intercourse with you. Today you were kind enough not to reproach me for having stayed away from you the last third of this time. My work piled up over my head; the demands connected with it mounted; my day could not be prolonged enough to permit me to attend your sessions; my body soon after could no longer endure the delayed mealtime. And finally there came years of illness, the illness that today too prevents me from putting in an appearance among you.

 I do not know whether I was a regular B'nai B'rith in your sense. I am almost ready to doubt it; too many special conditions came up in my case. But I can assure you that you meant much to me and did much for me during the years I belonged to you. And so accept my warmest thanks for the past, as well as for the present.
Freud,Sigmund (May 6, 1856 September 23, 1939) .
Read more about Sigmund Freud on wikipedia





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