Credit: Shutterstock/Sigmund Freud

Insight such as this falls to one's lot but once in a lifetime

Sigmund Freud pioneered psychoanalysis, and was a hugely influential figure in psychology, philosophy, and many other disciplines. In fact, his legacy is hard to quantify due to its magnitude.

He was born in Austria in 1856, and qualified as a doctor of medicine at the University of Vienna in 1881.

Some of his best known psychological theories include the Oedipus Complex and the redefinition of sexuality. His theoretical work was based on extensive clinical experience and self-analysis, but he was not a trained scientist, and did not employ scientific methods in his testing. Because of this, his theories are the subject of debate and criticism to this day.

Freud lived in Vienna for his entire life, until the Nazi annexation of Austria forced him into exile in London. His books had been among those destroyed by Nazi supporters in ostentatious book burnings in cities across Austria and Germany.

Freud had been living with inoperable mouth cancer for a number of years and died just a year later. At the terminal stage of his illness, he requested his doctor ease his pain and assist him in suicide. He slipped into a coma after receiving strong morphine injections and never awoke.

On leaving Vienna, Freud had dryly observed: “What progress we are making...In the Middle Ages they would have burnt me; nowadays they are content with burning my books.”