[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
November 1967

Freudian Man Vs Existential Man: The Spirit of the Age in the Formulation of the Concept of Man in Modern Psychiatry

Author Affiliations

New York
From Bellevue Medical Center, New York University, New York.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;17(5):598-607. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730290086011

MAN, since his appearance into the world, projected his transient profile of being on a self-conceived cultural horizon, which in turn has become his historical background for a progressively deeper scientific and philosophic understanding of himself. In his quest for harmony with the universe he has constantly changed and rechanged his philosophical perspective and spiritual outlook according to the social historical moment of conflicting forces which required a new and meaningful approach to life.

A striking example of this change which marked a total reorientation of human understanding of himself was created by the replacement of the stoic concept of man with a Judeo-Christian one. From the absolute independence of stoic man, who relied on his powers of self-questioning and reasoning, to the medieval Christian man, who found his meaning in divine revelation and visions of God, the difference is dramatic. St. Augustine dethroned human reason and