repression

27 Oct 2022 08:33 - 13 Aug 2023 03:16
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    • A central concept of Freudian theory. I have this nagging suspicion that I don't really understand what it means or how it works, not at the proper level of depth.
    • Freud is not saying merely that there are some memories we hide from ourselves, he is saying that our entire mental apparatus is organized around avoiding certain kinds of forbidden thoughts. This process of avoidance is crucial to the very construction of the self – it's how we grow from infants (driven by naked primitive desires) to mature, somewhat rational adults.
    • The ego is the result of this process – a version of the self that we can live with because all the antisocial parts have been repressed. The ego is a machine that tries to placate the superego by keeping the id down.
    • Freud is not very popular these days among science-oriented types, but I think that is a mistake. All of his details may be wrong, but in the basics he addressed some of the fundamental problems of how a biological machine could produce the human mind. Minsky at least had a big debt to Freud, which he regularly acknowledged.