I first became acquainted with psychoanalytic theory in undergraduate school.
After graduation, I received a stipend to participate in the study, “Freud’s theory of society,” conducted by Professor João Gabriel Teixeira, PhD in Sociology from the University of Sussex, United Kingdom, and professor at the University of Brasilia, Brazil. It was during that period that I mainly studied the anthropological works of Freud, including Moses and Monotheism, Totem and Taboo, Civilization and its Discontents and The Future of an Illusion, among other works of the founder of psychoanalysis. Likewise, my interest led me to read certain texts by other authors, especially Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav Jung, along with Otto Rank. With regard to Jung, I devoted my attention to the books by his student Marie-Louise von Franz, which seemed to me to employ clearer language than that of her teacher.
The first book by Otto Rank that I read was Beyond Psychology (1958 edition), which was in the social psychology section of the University of Brasilia library. My interest in Rank grew rapidly, due to what I saw as the great relevance of his books, in terms of respect for human dignity.
I observed this when Rank spoke of the different cultures and mentioned the diverse religions and symbolic systems of the peoples, never criticizing them or having recourse to irony. When Rank talked about culture, whether Western or of completely different traditions, he never once discredited them, like somebody who compares them with what he considers to be modern Western rationality (which Freud would have considered obligatory).
Equally important for me was the study of culture. I read Mircea Eliade and Gilbert Durand on this subject. When I saw how much Rank mentioned the different cultures and religions and the diverse symbolic systems of the different peoples, never discrediting them or employing irony, I perceived how much Rank’s work is in harmony with that of Eliade and Durand. Similarly, when I later read Paul Ricouer, I felt that Rank would be even closer to his idea of the “hermeneutics of confidence.”
Continuing with my studies of Rank, I perceived the strong presence of philosophy in his work. That was not only when he mentioned Nietzsche, Kant or Schopenhauer, and, lately, I saw how much Kant’s ethics were implicit in his entire approach.