Otto Gross was indeed "at loggerheads" with his father. He was a neurologist and psychoanalyst. At the time of the novel, he had recently returned from South America where he had become addicted to opium and cocaine. He totally rejected the idea that Freud's "unconscious" had to be reined in or repressed in order to maintain civilization. Instead he saw any repression as psychologically harmful and encouraged his patients to lose all inhibition, particularly sexual, often apparently giving his mostly female clientele practical demonstrations. He became involved with anarchist circles. He spent increasing amounts of time in psychiatric clinics, which were paid for by his father. Hanns Gross even had Otto arrested in 1913 as a dangerous anarchist and interned in an institution in Austria. He was freed following a press campaign initiated by his friends. The promotion of opium and cocaine (as well as hashish and absinthe) as crucial "life enhancers" and his frequent sexual liaisons with patients, made Gross a figure of scandal and fascination known throughout Europe.