An Austrian in Rome

June 25, 2010

by Mario Rizzo

I am not sure how the following fits into the broader scheme of ThinkMarkets. However, it does reflect more or less what I have felt in visiting Rome.

…[Sigmund] Freud actually entered the Eternal City in 1901, nearly five years after his father’s death, not “to take vengeance on the Romans,” but as intellectual pilgrim and psycho-archeologist, in the footsteps of Wickelmann. He wrote, “It was an overwhelming experience for me, and, as you know, the fulfillment of a long-cherished wish. It was [also] slightly disappointing.” Freud described his varied reactions to three Romes: the third, modern, was “hopeful and likeable”; the second, Catholic Rome, with its “lie of salvation,” was “disturbing,” making him “incapable of putting out of my mind my own misery and all the other misery which I know to exist.” Onlyn the Rome of antiquity moved him to deep enthusiasm: “I could have worshipped the humble and mutilated remnant of the Temple of Minerva.”

(Note: The temple is to Minerva, Medica [the Doctor]. She was the virgin goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, magic, and the inventor of music.)

From: Carl E. Schorske, Fin-De-Siecle Vienna: Politics and Culture (New York: Vantage Books, 1961), p. 202

8 Responses to “An Austrian in Rome”

  1. Bob Murphy Says:

    We don’t think you’re miserable, Mario. Cheer up.

  2. Richard Ebeling Says:

    Some times thoughts from the past have meaning to us today:

    Here are the words of Cicero about Caesar having entered Rome:

    “I see no reason for … being alarmed except the fact that, once departure has been made from the law, everything is uncertain; and nothing can be guaranteed as to the future which depends upon another man’s will, not to say caprice. When Caesar declared himself dictator for life, his action was in direct violation of the principals of a constitutional republic.”

    Richard Ebeling

  3. Glen Says:

    My favorite quotation in reference to the Romans comes from Frank H. Knight:

    “I have been increasingly moved to wonder whether my job is a job or a racket, whether economists, and particularly economic theorists, may not be in the position that Cicero, citing Cato, ascribed to the augurs of Rome — that they should cover their faces or burst into laughter when they met on the street.”

    My only disagreement is the suggestion that the theorists are worse the econometricians in this regard.


  4. James Buchanan, a Knight student, titled his memoirs: Better Than Plowing.

  5. Troy Camplin Says:

    I find/found all three exciting.

  6. Pietro M. Says:

    There’s something too common for me in Rome. I’ve seen it for 31 years in a row, i.e., since my birthday…🙂

    I hope San Diego (26-31/7) and New York (2-8/8) will be more wierd for my habits. Like seen nothing older than 80 years.🙂

  7. Bogdan Enache Says:

    What could a Nietzschean have said?

  8. Troy Camplin Says:

    I just told you.🙂


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