chapter  4
12 Pages

The Choice of a Path

WithHelen Walker Puner, Erich Fromm, Paul Roazen, S. P. Puner

At the Sperl Gymnasium, Sigmund Freud sat as “primus” on the first bench for eight years. His memory was prodigious. It was easy for him to repeat verbatim the page of a book he had read, and in his ‘teens to write down word for word practically the entire content of scientific lectures once he had heard them. Young Freud, who was moved by the spirit of the age, but moved more compellingly, if not so obviously, by an age-old spirit, chose to investigate the mysteries of nature via the path of science. Even then, however, the boy was clear in his mind. It was human nature, not physical objects, that he wanted to study. For three years Freud floundered at the University, going from department to department in the natural sciences, seeking the one branch which would best help him to find the answers to the questions which gave him no rest.