22 feb. 2012

The Paradox of Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis rejects the notion that surface motivations, or intentions held consciously in the mind, are sufficient. It delves deeper down. It seems naive to accept human consciousness as self-sufficiently aware of itself.

Yet these deeper motivations are inherently less knowable than the contents of consciousness. The human mind cannot know itself consciously, but it can know even less about the unconscious, and what it can know it can only know through the conscious mind's ability to construct systems of thought.

With literary criticism, for example, we might distrust what the author says about his or her own work. It might be self-serving, a conscious lie, or simply a statement that does not reveal the real, hidden motives. But we have no way of knowing better. It seems even more naive to suppose that we can uncover the unconscious of a writer with any greater degree of certainty.

5 comentarios:

Vance Maverick dijo...

In your professional world, do you see work that treats psychoanalytic explanations as straightforwardly true? My impression in the outside world is that this style of thought is about as live as liberal Republicanism. Which is not to say that Nelson Rockefeller or, I don't know, Winnicott, are illusory, or uninteresting.

Jonathan dijo...

I still sometimes see that. Or at least work that treats those explanations as explanatory.

Clarissa dijo...

This is very uncanny because I just finished a post on psychoanalysis and then saw your post.

Truly great minds, I say. :-)

Denise Low dijo...

Donde esta !Bemsha Swing! This is the cruelest month, April, and no new posts!

Jonathan dijo...

Sorry. I have been busy with other things. More posts to come.