Ludwig Binswanger

The moment I heard the name Ludwig Binswanger is the moment I knew he would appear on these pages. Binswanger was a prominent psychiatrist in the early 20th century, bumping shoulders and comparing mustaches with people like Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. He frequently defeated each of them in comparisons of whose name is funnier, to their considerable annoyance.

He lost the mustache comparison contests though.

He lost the mustache comparison contests though.

Mr. Ludwig Binswanger was born in Switzerland in 1881, the year that Billy the Kid was killed, the Cincinnati Reds played their first ever game, and Kansas banned alcohol. It was generally a bad year.

But with Binswanger’s birth, the world had hope again. He was a pioneer of what is called existential psychology, a “method of therapy that operates on the belief that inner conflict within a person is due to that individual’s confrontation with the givens of existence…such as the inevitability of death…existential isolation, and finally meaninglessness.”

Since Binswanger’s time, a fine therapist by the name of Woody Allen has helped most of us deal with these issues, but  in the early 1900s it was all new, and someone in Europe with a mustache and a serious look on their face had to take care of that.

Mr. Allen boxing a kangaroo as part of his approach healing all our psychological wounds with absurdity.

Mr. Allen boxing a kangaroo as part of his approach healing all our psychological wounds with absurdity.

This is where my expertise on psychology ends (just about where it begins), so I will not attempt to go any deeper on his beliefs or theories.

For those of you who do like words of more than two syllables, I leave you with this quote from Encyclopedia Britannica about Mr. Binswanger’s life’s work.

Diagnosing certain psychic abnormalities (e.g., elation fixation, eccentricity, and mannerism) to be the effect of the patient’s distorted self-image and his inadequate relation to the world, [Binswanger] developed a form of psychoanalysis to establish the patient’s consciousness of self as a total person, uniquely existing in and communicating with the concrete world as it is.

Sounds fancy, and I’m sure it is. All I know is, Ludwig Binswanger was a great man with a wonderful name and a mustache. That’s good enough for me.


About Arto

Co-founder of the Funny Names Blog, Hawaiian shirt enthusiast, and holder of a funny name himself with too many vowels for any sensible person. Currently residing in San Diego, California, scouring through obscure documents on a hunt for more funny names.
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21 Responses to Ludwig Binswanger

  1. marksackler says:

    Oh great. Now we have to start a Blog of Awesome Mustaches?! 😛

    • Dave says:

      Haha, we already have one. It’s part of the mustache humor summation in Funny Names Theory 🙂 *

      In fact, the blog is actually a giant racketeering operation covering up the fact that we’re devoted to advancing the field of facial hair appreciation at all costs 😉

      *(Yes, I know… I have to get around to updating those theories… I’ll do so later this week, especially if you give me the text for them… it’ll be very busy between now and Wednesday for me).

    • Arto says:

      It’s amazing how many funny named people also have amazing facial hair. I think it’s a secret society thing.

  2. My grandmother’s first name was Ludwig. Small world eh?

  3. Dave says:

    Arto, my friend, you have a knack for finding out about old people with incredibly awesome names. It’s an extraordinary gift!

    • Arto says:

      Yes, and then the challenge becomes trying to say something about them without much knowledge on their life. Thank heavens for mustaches.

  4. wdydfae says:

    I just want to say that I believe this Ludwig Binswanger person really existed and was so named and that I have full faith and confidence in BoFN associates to report honestly and accurately on this and all other funny named individuals whose biographical facts appear herein either in past published posts or at any future date so help me GOD!

    This is in penance for my regrettable Urban Shocker outbursts.

    • Liz says:

      what changed for you, diddy? glad you’re now a believer.

      • wdydfae says:

        It’s a process, Liz.

        Not unlike the stages of grief.

        Denial: “Urban Shocker? You have GOT to be kidding.”

        Anger: “You have got SOME NERVE trying to pass that off as a real name, buddy!”

        Bargaining: “OK, how about Pope Urban? I’ll believe Pope Urban I, or II, or III, or whatever. But come one, Urban Shocker? Let’s just try to be reasonable, here.”

        Depression: “So . . . that’s it I guess. People can be named anything at all, it seems. And it doesn’t mean a danged thing. Everything’s just crazy. Doesn’t make any sense. What’s the point? Why even bother?”

        Acceptance: “Shocker, Schmoker, OK, fine. Just do whatever you want. Have fun. Whatever. I’m good.”

        • Liz says:

          alrighty then..the five stages of funny-name acceptance. Very very well done. I’m mixing cocktails back at foodforfun (that’s my plan for tonight anyway), so be sure to come by. Sounds like you might need a drink.

  5. amb says:

    Yay! Mentions of Woody Allen in all his neurotic glory make my morning. And a picture of him boxing a kangaroo? Makes my whole Monday. Thank you Arto 🙂

  6. Liz says:

    Anyone else see a slight resemblance between Mr. Binswanger and his follower Mr. Allen? They both have that pensive look and eyeglass thing going on. Awesome name.

    • Arto says:

      Hmmm. What would Woody Allen look like with a mustache? He could definitely get away with playing a kooky psychiatrist. Especially one named Binswanger.

  7. Saturn With Earrings says:

    Hahah! I’m a psychology student and having read this I doubt I’ll ever forget any of my information for tests again! 😀

  8. Dave says:

    Just re-read this post. A BoFN classic!

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