Unconscious distinction between the preconscious and the unconscious.

Unconscious

In one of
Freud’s work “The Ego and the Id, 1923” he made the distinction between the
preconscious and the unconscious. He discussed the preconscious as memories and
ideas which an individual can bring to consciousness at their own will. He
calls the unconscious the ability to provide a chain of reconstruction. The
unconscious is not a fact, it’s very liquid meaning it is a hypothesis. The
hypothesis does not make the unconscious conscious, instead it gives one a
series of conscious mental constructions, which if they existed would produce
the same effects. In Freud’s famous book “The Interpretation of dreams” (610),
He states that the conscious thoughts are written in place on a specific spot
in the mind and unconscious in another place. Unconscious thoughts: not easily brought
to consciousness because of its trauma. Unconscious thoughts can still manage
to indirectly shift behavior in one’s self. One issue with dealing with the unconscious
is finding its true meaning, and how it became unconscious in the first place.
If a traumatic experience caused it to be repressed, then there may be a higher
resistance for a patient to willfully express what happened. Freud’s way of
digging deep into the unconscious was Dreams. When a subject falls a sleep,
they relax their mind and body, and how Freud calls it the rational
reality-testing processes of the mind become relaxed. The separation from
unconscious and conscious thoughts becomes more transparent. Freud believed
that dreams represented ones’ wishful desires, and sometimes the wish is
portrayed directly on the dream, but sometimes one must dig a little deeper to
find the true meaning. In adults the dreams could often represent repressed experiences
from childhood. The Interpretation of
Dreams (1900).

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Repression

 

Freud believed that the very moment one
stepped into civilized society, repression censored all of one’s non-socially
acceptable desires. In an essay written by Freud he states,

 

“What is repressed cannot, it is true, as a
rule make its way into memory without more ado; but it retains a capacity for
effective action, and, under the influence of some external event, it may one
day bring about psychical consequences which can be regarded as products of a
modification of the forgotten memory and as derivatives of it and which remain
unintelligible unless we take this view of them. (Delusions and Dreams in
Jensen’s Gravida, 1907).”

 

It is important to understand this because although
it doesn’t give us an exact definition, it gives us an understanding of its
working. Repression can be a hard topic to define in fully, but in Freud’s Introductory
Lessons on Psychoanalysis, (1916-1917) he defines it as “the process by
which an act which is admissible to consciousness, therefore, which belongs to
the system Pcs., is made unconscious – is pushed back, therefore, into the
system Ucs. And we equally speak of repression if the unconscious mental act is
altogether forbidden access to the neighboring preconscious system and is
turned back at the threshold by the censorship.” Relating this to the pleasure
principle earlier spoken about when a repressed pleasurable emotion arises,
called return of the repressed, one’s Ego refuses the satisfaction because it
recognizes the emotion as dangerous, or non-socially acceptable: Furthermore, censoring
non-socially acceptable desires.  Freud
also stated, “the vicissitude of repression consists in it’s not being allowed
by the watchman to pass from the system of the unconscious into that of the
pre-conscious.” (1916-17) It is essential to understand this statement from
Freud because it allows us to better understand not only repression itself, but
it gets an aspect of what Freud called Sublimation.

 

 

Sublimation

 

        Freud
defined this as the ability to put our primitive egoistic destructive energies
to good use. Some of our unconscious thoughts could be very outrageous and threatening,
sublimation allows us to use all that negative energy to other purposeful uses
in our daily lives. What repression does for us is simply censor out these
unconscious emotions, but with sublimation, it allows one to use these emotions
for things in our lives. When an individual gets an unconscious emotion (return
of the repressed), and they are doing something non-related to the emotion,
they are sublimating that emotion with the activity they are taking pat of.

 

Case

 

Society
believes the death of Trayvon Martin was racially motivated. The death of
Trayvon had an affect on the Africans Americans and how they perceived authoritative
figures. The death of Treyvon had an impact on the provision of racial socialization
and de centered the whites. Trayvon Martin’s death was a form of racial profiling and that young
Black men needed to be protected. After the shooting parents feared for their
own children from this happening to them. Parents
who attempted to explain this to children involved discussing the presence of racism, framing it
as an individual violent incident, as well as engaging in emotional processing
with their children. Finally, parents also provided
suggestions on what their children should do if they were placed in a similar
situation. These included obtaining help, getting away from the perpetrator,
being respectful to the perpetrator, and engaging in self-defense. All
of this helps us understand Freud’s theory at its finest. Receiving information
at an early age of such a traumatic event can cause serious damage. Taking in
information about a 17-year-old that was murdered to the color of his skin can
quickly make its way into the unconscious mind of a child. When receiving the information,
the child might get scared but quickly forget about it, but a couple years down
the line those emotions could slip into the conscious thoughts, causing
discomfort and anxiety. If the child identifies as black, he could have a
return of the repressed just because he’s walking with a hoodie on: sublimating
the emotions they feel just by wearing a hoodie.

The field of psychoanalysis has tremendous
ability to explore deeper into the theoretical and unethical implications regarding
the relationship between the identity development and racial politics, as well
as how oppression gets portrayed and acted out through culture.  We have an
opportunity to provide society with the information to think more deeply about
the etiology of our negative unconscious internalizations related to race.

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