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Thread: A Fine Line between Normality and Abnormality

  1. #1 A Fine Line between Normality and Abnormality 
    Forum Ph.D.
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    A Fine Line between Normality and Abnormality

    Aristotle said that all men seek happiness. Freud said that the goal of the pleasure-principle is happiness. Man’s desire for happiness sets at odds to the reality-principle. It is the reality-principle that propels the world into tomorrow. Humans naturally seek what they wish but “reality imposes on human beings the necessity of renunciation of pleasures”.

    Freud says that the whole edifice of psychoanalysis is constructed on the theory of repression—the essence of society is the repression of the individual--the essence of the individual is repression of him or her self—Freud’s theory is that the phenomena dreams, neurotic symptoms, and errors are caused—i.e. the principle of psychic determinism—they are meaningful because this means there is purpose or intention—“since the purport of these purposive expressions is generally unknown to the person whose purpose they express, Freud is driven to embrace the paradox that there are in a human being purposes of which he knows nothing, involuntary purpose”—i.e. unconscious ideas.

    Norman Brown tells us that to comprehend Freud one must understand “repression”. “In the new Freudian perspective, the essence of society is repression of the individual, the essence of the individual is repression of the self.”

    Freud discovered the importance of repression when he discovered the meaning of the “mad” symptoms of the mentally deranged, plus the meaning of dreams, and thirdly the everyday happenings regarded as slips of the tongue, errors, and random thoughts. He concludes that dreams, mental derangements, and common every day errors (Freudian slips) have meaningful causes that can be explained. Meaningful is the key word here.

    The rejection of an idea which is one’s very own and remains so is repression. The essence of repression is in the fact that the individual refuses to recognize this reality of her very own nature. This nature becomes evident when it erupts into consciousness only in dreams or neurotic symptoms or by slips of the tongue.

    The unconscious is illuminated only when it is being repressed by the conscious mind. It is a process of psychic conflict. “We obtain our theory of the unconscious from the theory of repression.” Freud’s hypothesis of the repressed unconscious results from the conclusion that it is common to all humans. This is a phenomenon of everyday life; neurosis is common to all humans.

    Dreams are normal phenomena and being that the structure of dreams is common to neurotics and normal people the dream is also neurotic. “Between “normality” and “abnormality” there is no qualitative but only quantitative difference, based largely on the practical question of whether our neurosis is serious enough to incapacitate us for work…the doctrine of the universal neurosis of mankind is the psychoanalytical analogue of the theological doctrine of original sin.”

    Quotes from “Life against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History” Norman O. Brown


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