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The Unconscious
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once more arise The obvious answer to this is that a latent memory is on the contrary an. unquestionable residuum of a psychical process But it is more important to realize clearly that this. objection is based on the equation not it is true explicitly stated but taken as axiomatic of what. is conscious with what is mental This equation is either a petitio principii which begs the question. whether everything that is psychical is also necessarily conscious or else it is a matter of convention. of nomenclature In this latter case it is of course like any other convention not open to refutation. The question remains however whether the convention is so expedient that we are bound to adopt it. To this we may reply that the conventional equation of the psychical with the conscious is totally. PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 265. inexpedient It disrupts psychical continuities plunges us into the insoluble difficulties of psycho. physical parallelism 1 is open to the reproach that for no obvious reason it over estimates the part. played by consciousness and that it forces us prematurely to abandon the field of psychological. research without being able to offer us any compensation from other fields. It is clear in any case that this question whether the latent states of mental life whose existence is. undeniable are to be conceived of as conscious mental states or as physical ones threatens to resolve. itself into a verbal dispute We shall therefore be better advised to focus our attention on what we know. with certainty of the nature of these debatable states As far as their physical characteristics are. concerned they are totally inaccessible to us no physiological concept or chemical process can give us. any notion of their nature On the other hand we know for certain that they have abundant points of. contact with conscious mental processes with the help of a certain amount of work they can be. transformed into or replaced by conscious mental processes and all the categories which we employ. to describe consciousmental acts such as ideas purposes resolutions and so on can be applied to. them Indeed we are obliged to say of some of these latent states that the only respect in which they. differ from conscious ones is precisely in the absence of consciousness Thus we shall not hesitate to. treat them as objects of psychological research and to deal with them in the most intimate connection. with conscious mental acts, The stubborn denial of a psychical character to latent mental acts is accounted for by the. circumstance that most of the phenomena concerned have not been the subject of study outside psycho. analysis Anyone who is ignorant of pathological facts who regards the parapraxes of normal people as. accidental and who is content with the old saw that dreams are froth Tr ume sind Sch ume 2 has. only to ignore a few more problems of the psychology of consciousness in order to spare himself any. need to assume an unconscious mental activity Incidentally even before the time of psycho analysis. hypnotic experiments and especially post hypnotic suggestion had tangibly demonstrated. PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 266. 1 Freud seems himself at one time to have been inclined to accept this theory as is suggested by a passage in his. book on aphasia 1891b 56 ff This will be found translated below in Appendix B p 206. 2 Cf The Interpretation of Dreams 1900a Standard Ed 4 133. the existence and mode of operation of the mental unconscious 1. The assumption of an unconscious is moreover a perfectly legitimate one inasmuch as in. postulating it we are not departing a single step from our customary and generally accepted mode. of thinking Consciousness makes each of us aware only of his own states of mind that other people. too possess a consciousness is an inference which we draw by analogy from their observable. utterances and actions in order to make this behaviour of theirs intelligible to us It would no doubt be. psychologically more correct to put it in this way that without any special reflection we attribute to. everyone else our own constitution and therefore our consciousnessas well and that. this identification is a sine qua non of our understanding This inference or this identification was. formerly extended by the ego to other human beings to animals plants inanimate objects and to the. world at large and proved serviceable so long as their similarity to the individual ego was. overwhelmingly great but it became more untrustworthy in proportion as the difference between the. ego and these others widened To day our critical judgement is already in doubt on the question. of consciousness in animals we refuse to admit it in plants and we regard the assumption of. its existence in inanimate matter as mysticism But even where the original inclination. to identification has withstood criticism that is when the others are our fellow men the. assumption of a consciousness in them rests upon an inference and cannot share the immediate. certainty which we have of our own consciousness, Psycho analysis demands nothing more than that we should apply this process of inference to. ourselves also a proceeding to which it is true we are not constitutionally inclined If we do this we. must say all the acts and manifestations which I notice in myself and do not know how to link up with. the rest of my mental life must be judged as if they belonged to someone else they are to be explained. by a mental life ascribed to this other person Furthermore experience shows that we understand very. well how to interpret in other people that is how to fit into their chain of mental events the same acts. PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 267. 1 In his very last discussion of the subject in the unfinished fragment Some Elementary Lessons in Psycho. Analysis 1940b Freud entered at some length into the evidence afforded by post hypnotic suggestion. refuse to acknowledge as being mental in ourselves Here some special hindrance evidently deflects our. investigations from our own self and prevents our obtaining a trueknowledge of it. This process of inference when applied to oneself in spite of internal opposition does not. however lead to the disclosure of an unconscious it leads logically to the assumption of another. second consciousness which is united in one s self with the consciousness one knows But at this point. certain criticisms may fairly be made In the first place a consciousness of which its own possessor. knows nothing is something very different from a consciousness belonging to another person and it is. questionable whether such a consciousness lacking as it does its most important characteristic. deserves any discussion at all Those who have resisted the assumption of an unconscious psychical are. not likely to be ready to exchange it for an unconscious consciousness In the second. place analysis shows that the different latent mental processes inferred by us enjoy a high degree of. mutual independence as though they had no connection with one another and knew nothing of one. another We must be prepared if so to assume the existence in us not only of a second consciousness. but of a third fourth perhaps of an unlimited number of states ofconsciousness all unknown to us and. to one another In the third place and this is the most weighty argument of all we have to take into. account the fact that analytic investigation reveals some of these latent processes as having. characteristics and peculiarities which seem alien to us or even incredible and which run directly. counter to the attributes of consciousness with which we are familiar Thus we have grounds for. modifying our inference about ourselves and saying that what is proved is not theexistence of a. second consciousness in us but the existence of psychical acts which lack consciousness We shall also. be right in rejecting the term sub consciousness as incorrect and misleading 1 The well known cases. of double conscience 2 splitting of consciousness prove. PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 268. 1 In some of his very early writings Freud himself used the term subconscious e g in his French paper on. hysterical paralyses 1893c and in Studies on Hysteria 1895 Standard Ed 2 69 n But he disrecommends the. term as early as in The Interpretation of Dreams 1900a Standard Ed 5 615 He alludes to the point again in. Lecture XIX of the Introductory Lectures 1916 17 and argues it a little more fully near the end of Chapter II. of The Question of Lay Analysis 1926e,2 The French term for dual consciousness. nothing against our view We may most aptly describe them as cases of a splitting of the mental. activities into two groups and say that the same consciousness turns to one or the other of. these groups alternately, In psycho analysis there is no choice for us but to assert that mental processes are in. themselves unconscious and to liken the perception of them by means ofconsciousness to. the perception of the external world by means of the sense organs 1 We can even hope. to gain fresh knowledge from the comparison The psycho analytic assumption. of unconscious mental activity appears to us on the one hand as a further expansion of the primitive. animism which caused us to see copies of our own consciousness all around us and on the other hand. as an extension of the corrections undertaken by Kant of our views on external perception Just as Kant. warned us not to overlook the fact that our perceptions are subjectively conditioned and must not be. regarded as identical with what is perceived though unknowable so psycho analysis warns us not to. equate perceptions by means of consciousness with the unconscious mental processes which are their. object Like the physical the psychical is not necessarily in reality what it appears to us to be We shall. be glad to learn however that the correction of internal perception will turn out not to offer such great. difficulties as the correction of external perception that internal objects are less unknowable than. the external world, PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 269.
1 This idea had already been dealt with at some length in Chapter VII F of The Interpretation of. Dreams 1900a Standard Ed 5 615 17, II Various Meanings of The Unconscious The Topographical Point of. Before going any further let us state the important though inconvenient fact that the attribute. of being unconscious is only one feature that is found in the psychical and is by no means sufficient. fully to characterize it There are psychical acts of very varying value which yet agree in possessing the. characteristic of being unconscious The unconscious comprises on the one hand acts which are. merely latent temporarily unconscious but which differ in no other respect from conscious ones and. on theother hand processes such as repressed ones which if they were to become conscious would be. bound to stand out in the crudest contrast to the rest of the consciousprocesses It would put an end to. all misunderstandings if from now on in describing the various kinds of psychical acts we were to. disregard the question of whether they were conscious or unconscious and were to classify and. correlate them only according to their relation to instincts and aims according to their composition and. according to which of the hierarchy of psychical systems they belong to This however is for various. reasons impracticable so that we cannot escape the ambiguity of using the words conscious and. unconscious sometimes in a descriptive and sometimes in a systematic sense in which latter they. signify inclusion in particular systems and possession of certain characteristics We might attempt to. avoid confusion by giving the psychical systems which we have distinguished certain arbitrarily chosen. names which have no reference to the attribute of being conscious Only we should first have to specify. what the grounds are on which we distinguish the systems and in doing this we should not be able to. evade the attribute of being conscious seeing that it forms the point of departure for all our. investigations 1 Perhaps we may look for some assistance from the proposal to employ at any rate. in writing the abbreviation Cs for consciousness and Ucs for what is unconscious when we are using. the two words in the systematic sense 2, Proceeding now to an account of the positive findings of. PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 270. 1 Freud recurs to this below on p 192, 2 Freud had already introduced these abbreviations in The Interpretation of Dreams 1900a Standard. Ed 5 540 ff, psycho analysis we may say that in general a psychical act goes through two phases as regards its. state between which is interposed a kind of testing censorship In the first phase the psychical act. is unconscious and belongs to the system Ucs if on testing it is rejected by the censorship it is not. allowed to pass into the secondphase it is then said to be repressed and must remain unconscious If. however it passes this testing it enters the second phase and thenceforth belongs to the second system. which we will call the system Cs But the fact that it belongs to that system does not yet unequivocally. determine its relation to consciousness It is not yetconscious but it is certainly capable of becoming. conscious to use Breuer s expression 1 that is it can now given certain conditions become an object. ofconsciousness without any special resistance In consideration of this capacity for. becoming conscious we also call the system Cs the preconscious If it should turn out that a. certain censorship also plays a part in determining whether the preconscious becomes conscious we. shall discriminate more sharply between the systems Pcs and Cs Cf p 191 f For the present let it. suffice us to bear in mind that the system Pcs shares the characteristics of the system Cs and that the. rigorous censorshipexercises its office at the point of transition from the Ucs to the Pcs or Cs. By accepting the existence of these two or three psychical systems psycho analysis has departed. a step further from the descriptive psychology ofconsciousness and has raised new problems and. acquired a new content Up till now it has differed from that psychology mainly by reason of. its dynamic view of mentalprocesses now in addition it seems to take account of. psychical topography as well and to indicate in respect of any given mental act within what system or. between what systems it takes place On account of this attempt too it has been given the name of. depth psychology 2 We shall hear that it can be further enriched by taking yet another point of view. into account Cf p 181, If we are to take the topography of mental acts seriously we must direct our interest to a doubt.
which arises at this point, PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 271. 1 See Studies on Hysteria Breuer and Freud 1895 Standard Ed 2 225. 2 By Bleuler 1914 See the History of the Psycho Analytic Movement 1914d above p 41. When a psychical act let us confine ourselves here to one which is in the nature of an idea1 is. transposed from the system Ucs into the system Cs or Pcs are we to suppose that this transposition. involves a fresh record as it were a second registration of the idea in question which may thus be. situated as well in a fresh psychical locality and alongside of which the. original unconscious registration continues to exist 2 Or are we rather to believe that the transposition. consists in a change in the state of the idea a change involving the same material and occurring in the. same locality This question may appear abstruse but it must be raised if we wish to form a more. definite conception of psychical topography of the dimension of depth in the mind It is a difficult one. because it goes beyond pure psychology and touches on the relations of the mental apparatus to. anatomy We know that in the very roughest sense such relations exist Research has given irrefutable. proof that mental activity is bound up with the function of the brain as it is with no other organ We are. taken a step further we do not know how much by the discovery of the unequal importance of the. different parts of the brain and their special relations to particular parts of the body and to particular. mental activities But every attempt to go on from there to discover a localization of mental processes. every endeavour to think of ideas as stored up in nerve cells and of excitations as travelling along. nerve fibres has miscarried completely 3 The same fate would await any theory which attempted to. recognize let us say the anatomical position of the system Cs conscious mental activity asbeing in. the cortex and to localize the unconscious processes in the sub cortical parts of the brain 4 There is a. hiatus here which at present cannot be filled nor is it one of the tasks of psychology. PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 272. 1 The German word here is Vorstellung which covers the English terms idea image and presentation. 2 The conception of an idea being present in the mind in more than one registration was first put forward by. Freud in a letter to Fliess of December 6 1896 Freud 1950a Letter 52 It is used in connection with the theory. of memory in Chapter VII Section B of The Interpretation of Dreams 1900a Standard Ed 5 539 and it is. alluded to again in Section F of the same chapter 1900a Standard Ed 5 610 in an argument which. foreshadows the present one, 3 Freud had himself been much concerned with the question of the localization of cerebral functions in his work. on aphasia 1891b, 4 Freud had insisted on this as early as in his preface to his translation of Bernheim s De la suggestion Freud. to fill it Our psychical topography has for the present nothing to do with anatomy it has reference not. to anatomical localities but to regions in the mental apparatus wherever they may be situated in. In this respect then our work is untrammelled and may proceed according to its own. requirements It will however be useful to remind ourselves that as things stand our hypotheses set out. to be no more than graphic illustrations The first of the two possibilities which we considered. namely that the Cs phase of an idea implies a fresh registration of it which is situated in another. place is doubtless the cruder but also the more convenient The second hypothesis that of a. merely functionalchange of state is a priori more probable but it is less plastic less easy to. manipulate With the first or topographical hypothesis is bound up that of a topographicalseparation of. the systems Ucs and Cs and also the possibility that an idea may exist simultaneously in two places in. the mental apparatus indeed that if it is not inhibited by the censorship it regularly advances from. the one position to the other possibly without losing its first location or registration. This view may seem odd but it can be supported by observations from psycho analytic practice If. we communicate to a patient some idea which he has at one time repressed but which we have. discovered in him our telling him makes at first no change in his mental condition Above all it does. not remove the repression nor undo its effects as might perhaps be expected from the fact that the. previously unconscious idea has now become conscious On the contrary all that we shall achieve at. first will be a fresh rejection of the repressed idea But now the patient has in actual fact the. same idea in two forms in different places in his mental apparatus first he has. theconscious memory of the auditory trace of the idea conveyed in what we told him and secondly he. also has as we know for certain the unconscious memory of his experience as it was in its earlier. form 1 Actually there is no lifting of the repression until the conscious idea after the resistances have. been overcome has, PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 273. 1 The topographical picture of the distinction between conscious and unconscious ideas is presented in Freud s. discussion of the case of Little Hans 1909b Standard Ed 10 120 f and at greater length in the closing. paragraphs of his technical paper On Beginning the Treatment 1913c. entered into connection with the unconscious memory trace It is only through the making conscious of. the latter itself that success is achieved On superficial consideration this would seem to show. that conscious and unconscious ideas are distinct registrations topographically separated of the same. content But a moment s reflection shows that the identity of the information given to the patient with. his repressed memory is only apparent To have heard something and to have experienced something. are in their psychological nature two quite different things even though the content of both is the same. So for the moment we are not in a position to decide between the two possibilities that we have. discussed Perhaps later on we shall come upon factors which may turn the balance in favour of one or. the other Perhaps we shall make the discovery that our question was inadequately framed and that the. difference between anunconscious and a conscious idea has to be defined in quite another way 1. PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 275. 1 This argument is taken up again on p 201,III Unconscious Feelings.
We have limited the foregoing discussion to ideas we may now raise a new question the answer. to which is bound to contribute to the elucidation of our theoretical views We have said that there. are conscious and unconscious ideas but are there also unconscious instinctual impulses emotions and. feelings or is it in this instance meaningless to form combinations of the kind. I am in fact of the opinion that the antithesis of conscious and unconscious is not applicable. to instincts An instinct can never become an object of consciousness only the idea that represents. the instinct can Even in the unconscious moreover an instinct cannot be represented otherwise than. by an idea If the instinct did not attach itself to an idea or manifest itself as an affective state we could. know nothing about it When we nevertheless speak of an unconscious instinctual impulse or of a. repressed instinctual impulse the looseness of phraseology is a harmless one We can only mean an. instinctual impulse the ideational representative of which isunconscious for nothing else comes into. consideration 1, We should expect the answer to the question about unconscious feelings emotions and affects to. be just as easily given It is surely of the essence of an emotion that we should be aware of it i e that it. should become known to consciousness Thus the possibility of the attribute of unconsciousness would. be completely excluded as far as emotions feelings and affects are concerned But in psycho analytic. practice we are accustomed to speak of unconscious love hate anger etc and find it impossible to. avoid even the strange conjunction unconscious consciousness of guilt 2 or a paradoxical. unconscious anxiety Is there more meaning in the use of these terms than there is in speaking of. unconscious instincts, The two cases are in fact not on all fours In the first place it may happen that an affective or. emotional impulse is perceived but misconstrued Owing to therepression of its proper representative it. has been forced to become connected with another, PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 275. 1 Cf the Editor s Note to Instincts and their Vicissitudes p 111 ff above. 2 German Schuldbewusstsein a common equivalent for Schuldgef hl sense of guilt. idea and is now regarded by consciousness as the manifestation of that idea If we restore the true. connection we call the original affective impulse an unconscious one Yet its affect was. never unconscious all that had happened was that its idea had undergone repression In general the. use of the terms unconscious affect and unconscious emotion has reference to the vicissitudes. undergone in consequence of repression by the quantitative factor in the instinctual impulse We know. that three such vicissitudes are possible 1 either the affect remains wholly or in part as it is or it is. transformed into a qualitatively different quota of affect above all intoanxiety or it is suppressed i e it. is prevented from developing at all These possibilities may perhaps be studied even more easily in. the dream work than in neuroses 2 We know too that to suppress the development of affect is the true. aim of repression and that its work is incomplete if this aim is not achieved In every instance. whererepression has succeeded in inhibiting the development of affects we term those affects which. we restore when we undo the work of repression unconscious Thus it cannot be denied that the use. of the terms in question is consistent but in comparison with unconscious ideas there is the important. difference that unconscious ideas continue to exist after repression as actual structures in the. system Ucs whereas all that corresponds in that system to unconscious affects is a potential beginning. which is prevented from developing Strictly speaking then and although no fault can be found with. the linguistic usage there are no unconscious affects as there areunconscious ideas But there may very. well be in the system Ucs affective structures which like others become conscious The whole. difference arises from the fact that ideas are cathexes basically of memory traces whilst affects and. feelings correspond to processes of discharge the final manifestations of which are perceived as. sensations In the present state of our knowledge of affects and feelings we cannot express this. difference more clearly 3, It is of especial interest to us to have established the fact that repression can succeed in inhibiting. an instinctual impulse from, PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 276.
1 Cf the preceding paper on Repression p 153, 2 The main discussion of affects in The Interpretation of Dreams 1900a will be found in Section H of Chapter. VI Standard Ed 5 460 87, 3 This question is discussed again in Chapter II of The Ego and the Id 1923b The nature of affects is more. clearly discussed in Lecture XXV of the Introductory Lectures 1916 17 Standard Edition 16 395 6 and also in. Chapter VII of Inhibitions Symptoms and Anxiety 1926d ibid 20 132 3. being turned into a manifestation of affect This shows us that the system Cs normally controls. affectivity as well as access to motility and it enhances the importance ofrepression since it shows. that repression results not only in withholding things from consciousness but also in preventing. the development of affect and the setting off of muscular activity Conversely too we may say that as. long as the system Cs controls affectivity and motility the mental condition of the person in question. is spoken of as normal Nevertheless there is an unmistakable difference in the relation of the. controlling system to the two contiguous processes of discharge 1 Whereas the control by the Cs over. voluntary motility is firmly rooted regularly withstands the onslaught of neurosis and only breaks. down in psychosis control by the Cs over thedevelopment of affects is less secure Even within the. limits of normal life we can recognize that a constant struggle for primacy over affectivity goes on. between the two systems Cs and Ucs that certain spheres of influence are marked off from one. another and that intermixtures between the operative forces occur. The importance of the system Cs Pcs 2 as regards access to the release of affect and. to action enables us also to understand the part played by substitutive ideas in determining the form. taken by illness It is possible for the development of affect to proceed directly from the system Ucs in. that case the affect always has the characterof anxiety for which all repressed affects are exchanged. Often however the instinctual impulse has to wait until it has found a substitutive idea in the. system Cs Thedevelopment of affect can then proceed from this conscious substitute and the nature of. that substitute determines the qualitative character of the affect We have asserted p 152 that. in repression a severance takes place between the affect and the idea to which it belongs and that each. then undergoes its separate vicissitudes Descriptively this is incontrovertible in actuality however. the affect does not as a rule arise till the break through to a new representation in the system Cs has. been successfully achieved, PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 277. 1 Affectivity manifests itself essentially in motor secretory and vaso motor discharge resulting in an internal. alteration of the subject s own body without reference to the external world motility in actions designed to effect. changes in the external world,2 In the 1915 edition only Pcs does not occur. IV Topography and Dynamics of Repression, We have arrived at the conclusion that repression is essentially a process affecting ideas on the.
border between the systems Ucs and Pcs Cs and we can now make a fresh attempt to describe the. process in greater detail, It must be a matter of a withdrawal of cathexis but the question is in which system does the. withdrawal take place and to which system does the cathexis that is withdrawn belong The. repressed idea remains capable of action in the Ucs and it must therefore have retained its cathexis. What has been withdrawn must be something else Cf p 202 below Let us take the case. of repression proper after pressure p 148 as it affects an idea which is preconscious or even. actually conscious Hererepression can only consist in withdrawing from the idea the. pre conscious cathexis which belongs to the system Pcs The idea then either remains uncathected or. receives cathexis from the Ucs or retains the Ucs cathexis which it already had Thus there is a. withdrawal of the preconscious cathexis retention of the unconsciouscathexis or replacement of. the preconscious cathexis by an unconscious one We notice moreover that we have based these. reflections as it were without meaning to on the assumption that the transition from the. system Ucs to the system next to it is not effected through the making of a new registration but. through a change in its state an alteration in its cathexis The functional hypothesis has here easily. defeated the topographical one See above pp 174 5, But this process of withdrawal of libido1 is not adequate to make another characteristic. of repression comprehensible to us It is not clear why the idea which has remained cathected or has. received cathexis from the Ucs should not in virtue of its cathexis renew the attempt to penetrate into. the system Pcs If it could do so the withdrawal of libido from it would have to be repeated and the. same performance would go on endlessly but the outcome would not be repression So too when it. comes to describing primal repression the mechanism just discussed of withdrawal. of preconscious cathexis would fail to meet the case. PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 279. 1 For the use of libido here see four paragraphs lower down. for here we are dealing with an unconscious idea which has as yet received no cathexis from. the Pcs and therefore cannot have that cathexis withdrawn from it. What we require therefore is another process which maintains the repression in the first case i e. the case of after pressure and in the second i e that of primal repression ensures. its being established as well as continued This other process can only be found in the assumption of. an anticathexis by means of which the systemPcs protects itself from the pressure upon it of the. unconscious idea We shall see from clinical examples how such an anticathexis operating in the. system Pcs manifests itself It is this which represents the permanent expenditure of energy of a. primal repression and which also guarantees the permanence of that repression Anticathexisis the sole. mechanism of primal repression in the case of repression proper after pressure there is in addition. withdrawal of the Pcs cathexis It is very possible that it is precisely the cathexis which is withdrawn. from the idea that is used for anticathexis, We see how we have gradually been led into adopting a third point of view in our account of. psychical phenomena Besides the dynamic and the topographical points of view p 173 we have. adopted the economic one This endeavours to follow out the vicissitudes of amounts of excitation and. to arrive at least at some relativeestimate of their magnitude. It will not be unreasonable to give a special name to this whole way of regarding our subject. matter for it is the consummation of psycho analytic research I propose that when we have succeeded. in describing a psychical process in its dynamic topographical and economic aspects we should speak. of it as a metapsychological1presentation We must say at once that in the present state of. our knowledge there are only a few points at which we shall succeed in this. Let us make a tentative effort to give a metapsychological description of the process. of repression in the three transference neuroses which are familiar to us Here we may replace. PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 280. 1 Freud had first used this term some twenty years earlier in a letter to Fliess of February 13 1896 Freud. 1950a Letter 41 He had only used it once before in his published works in the Psychopathology of Everyday. Life 1901b Chapter XII C, cathexis by libido 1 because as we know it is the vicissitudes of sexual impulses with which we. shall be dealing, In anxiety hysteria a first phase of the process is frequently overlooked and may perhaps be in fact.
missed out on careful observation however it can be clearly discerned It consists. in anxiety appearing without the subject knowing what he is afraid of We must suppose that there was. present in the Ucs some love impulsedemanding to be transposed into the system Pcs but. the cathexis directed to it from the latter system has drawn back from the impulse as though in an. attempt at flight and the unconscious libidinal cathexis of the rejected idea has been discharged in the. form of anxiety, On the occasion of a repetition if there should be one of this process a first step is taken in the. direction of mastering the unwelcome development of anxiety 2 The Pcs cathexis that has taken. flight attaches itself to a substitutive idea which on the one hand is connected by association with. the rejected idea and on the other has escaped repression by reason of its remoteness from that idea. This substitutive idea a substitute by displacement p 155 permits the still. uninhibitabledevelopment of anxiety to be rationalized It now plays the part of an anticathexis for the. system Cs Pcs 3 by securing it against an emergence in the Cs of the repressedidea On. the other hand it is or acts as if it were the point of departure for the release of the anxiety affect. which has now really become quite uninhibitable Clinical observation shows for instance that. a child suffering from an animal phobia experiences anxiety under two kinds of conditions in the first. place when his repressed love impulse becomes intensified and in the second when he perceives the. animal he is afraid of The substitutive idea acts in the one instance as a point at which there is a. passage across from the system Ucs to the system Cs and in the other instance as a self sufficing. source for the release of anxiety The extending dominance of the system Cs usually manifests itself in. the fact that the first of these two modes of excitation of the substitutive idea gives place more and. more to the second The childmay perhaps end by behaving as though he had no predilection whatever. towards his father but had, PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 281. 1 Freud had already done this four paragraphs earlier. 2 This is the second phase of the process,3 In the 1915 edition only Pcs does not occur. become quite free from him and as though his fear of the animal was a real fear except that this fear. of the animal fed as such a fear is from an unconscious instinctual source proves obdurate and. exaggerated in the face of all influences brought to bear from the system Cs and thereby betrays its. derivation from the system Ucs In the second phase of anxiety hysteria therefore. the anticathexis from the system Cs has led to substitute formation. Soon the same mechanism finds a fresh application The process of repression as we know is not. yet completed and it finds a further aim in the task of inhibiting thedevelopment of the anxiety which. arises from the substitute 1 This is achieved by the whole of the associated environment of the. substitutive idea being cathected with special intensity so that it can display a high degree of. sensibility to excitation Excitation of any point in this outer structure must inevitably on account of its. connection with the substitutive idea give rise to a slight development of anxiety and this is now used. as a signal to inhibit by means of a fresh flight on the part of the Pcs cathexis the further progress of. the development of anxiety 2 The further away the sensitive and vigilant anticathexes are situated from. the feared substitute the more precisely can the mechanism function which is designed to isolate the. substitutive idea and to protect it from fresh excitations These precautions naturally only guard against. excitations which approach the substitutive idea from outside through perception they never guard. against instinctual excitation which reaches the substitutiveidea from the direction of its link with the. repressed idea Thus the precautions do not begin to operate till the substitute has satisfactorily taken. over representation of the repressed and they can never operate with complete reliability With each. increase of instinctual excitation the protecting rampart round the substitutive idea must be shifted a. little further outwards The whole construction which is set up in an analogous way in. the other neuroses is termed a phobia The flight from a conscious. PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 282. 1 The third phase, 2 The notion of a small release of unpleasure acting as a signal to prevent a much larger release is already to be. found in Freud s 1895 Project 1950a Part II Section 6 and in The Interpretation of Dreams 1900a Standard. Ed 5 602 The idea is of course developed much further in Inhibitions Symptoms and Anxiety 1926d e g in. Chapter XI Section A b, cathexis of the substitutive idea is manifested in the avoidances renunciations and prohibitions by.
which we recognize anxiety hysteria, Surveying the whole process we may say that the third phase repeats the work of the second on an. ampler scale The system Cs now protects itself against the activation of the substitutive idea by. an anticathexis of its environment just as previously it had secured itself against the emergence of the. repressed idea by a cathexis of the substitutive idea In this way the formation of substitutes. by displacement has been further continued We must also add that the system Cs had earlier only one. small area at which the repressed instinctual impulse could break through namely the. substitutive idea but that ultimately this enclave of unconscious influence extends to the whole phobic. outer structure Further we may lay stress on the interesting consideration that by means of the whole. defensive mechanism thus set in action a projectionoutward of the instinctual danger has been. achieved The ego behaves as if the danger of a development of anxiety threatened it not from the. direction of an instinctual impulse but from the direction of a perception and it is thus enabled to react. against this external danger with the attempts at flight represented by phobic avoidances In this. process repression is successful in one particular the release of anxiety can to some extent be dammed. up but only at a heavy sacrifice of personal freedom Attempts at flight from the demands. of instinct are however in general useless and in spite of everything the result of phobic flight. remains unsatisfactory, A great deal of what we have found in anxiety hysteria also holds good for the other two neuroses. so that we can confine our discussion to their points of difference and to the part played. by anticathexis In conversion hysteria the instinctual cathexis of the repressed idea is changed into. the innervation of the symptom How far and in what circumstances the unconscious idea is drained. empty by this discharge into innervation so that it can relinquish its pressure upon the system Cs. these and similar questions had better be reserved for a special investigation of hysteria 1 In conversion. hysteria the part played by the, PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 283. 1 Probably a reference to the missing metapsychological paper on conversion hysteria See Editor s Introduction. p 106 Freud had already touched on the question in Studies on Hysteria 1895d Standard Ed 2 166 7. anticathexis proceeding from the system Cs Pcs 1 is clear and becomes manifest in the formation of. the symptom It is the anticathexis that decides upon what portion of the instinctual representative the. whole cathexis of the latter is able to be concentrated The portion thus selected to be a symptom fulfils. the condition of expressing the wishful aim of the instinctual impulse no less than the defensive or. punitive efforts of the system Cs thus it becomes hypercathected and it is maintained from both. directions like the substitutive idea in anxiety hysteria From this circumstance we may conclude. without hesitation that the amount of energy expended by the system Cs on repression need not be so. great as the cathectic energy of the symptom for the strength of the repression is measured by the. amount of anticathexis expended whereas the symptom is supported not only by this anticathexis but. also by the instinctual cathexis from the system Ucs which is condensed in the symptom. As regards obsessional neurosis we need only add to the observations brought forward in the. preceding paper p 156 f that it is here that the anticathexis from the system Cs comes most. noticeably into the foreground It is this which organized as a reaction formation brings about the. first repression and which is later the point at which the repressed idea breaks through We may. venture the supposition that it is because of the predominance of the anticathexis and. the absence of discharge that the work of repression seems far less successful in anxiety hysteria and in. obsessional neurosis than in conversion hysteria 1. PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 284. 1 In the 1915 edition only Pcs does not occur, 1 The topics in the present section were reconsidered by Freud in Inhibitions Symptoms and Anxiety 1926d See. especially Standard Edition 20 126 ff 142 n and 145 6. V The Special Characteristics of the System Ucs, The distinction we have made between the two psychical systems receives fresh significance when.
we observe that processes in the one system the Ucs show characteristics which are not met with. again in the system immediately above it, The nucleus of the Ucs consists of instinctual representatives which seek. to discharge their cathexis that is to say it consists of wishful impulses These instinctual impulses are. co ordinate with one another exist side by side without being influenced by one another and are. exempt from mutual contradiction When two wishful impulses whose aims must appear to us. incompatible become simultaneously active the two impulses do not diminish each other or cancel. each other out but combine to form an intermediate aim a compromise. There are in this system no negation no doubt no degrees of certainty all this is only introduced. by the work of the censorship between the Ucs and the Pcs Negation is a substitute at a higher level. for repression 1 In the Ucs there are only contents cathected with greater or lesser strength. The cathectic intensities in the Ucs are much more mobile By the process. of displacement one idea may surrender to another its whole quota of cathexis by the process. of condensation it may appropriate the whole cathexis of several other ideas I have proposed to regard. these two processes as distinguishing marks of the so called primary psychical process In the. system Pcs the secondary process2 is dominant When a primary process is allowed to take its course. in connection with elements belonging to the system Pcs it appears comic and excites laughter 3. PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 285. 1 This had already been asserted by Freud in Chapter VI of his book on jokes 1905c Cf however Freud s later. discussion of negation 1925h, 2 Cf the discussion in Chapter VII of The Interpretation of Dreams 1900a Section E Standard Ed 5 588 ff. based on ideas developed by Breuer in Studies on Hysteria Breuer and Freud 1895 A comment on Freud s. attribution of these hypotheses to Breuer will be found in the Editor s Introduction to the latter work Standard. Ed 2 xxvii and in a footnote to the same volume Standard Ed 194. 3 Freud had expressed this idea in very similar words in Chapter VII E of The Interpretation of. Dreams 1900a Standard Ed 5 605 The point is dealt with more fully in his book on jokes 1905c especially. in the second and third Sections of Chapter VII, The processes of the system Ucs are timeless i e they are not ordered temporally are not altered. by the passage of time they have no reference to time at all Reference to time is bound up once again. with the work of the system Cs 1, The Ucs processes pay just as little regard to reality They are subject to the pleasure principle. their fate depends only on how strong they are and on whether they fulfil the demands of the pleasure. unpleasure regulation 2, To sum up exemption from mutual contradiction primary process mobility of.
cathexes timelessness and replacement of external by psychical reality these are the characteristics. which we may expect to find in processes belonging to the system Ucs 3. Unconscious processes only become cognizable by us under the conditions of dreaming and. of neurosis that is to say when processes of the higher Pcs system are set back to an. earlier stage by being lowered by regression In themselves they cannot be cognized indeed are even. incapable of carrying on their existence for the system Ucs is at a very early moment overlaid by. the Pcs which has taken over access to consciousness and to motility Discharge from the. system Ucs passes into somatic, PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 286. 1 In the 1915 edition only this read Pcs Mentions of the timelessness of the unconscious will be found. scattered throughout Freud s writings The earliest is perhaps a sentence dating from 1897 Freud 1950a Draft. M in which he declares that disregard of the characteristic of time is no doubt an essential distinction. between activity in the pre conscious andunconscious See also a hint in The Aetiology of. Hysteria 1896c Standard Edition 3 218 19 The point is indirectly alluded to in The Interpretation of. Dreams 1900a Standard Ed 5 577 8 but the first explicit published mention of it seems to have been in a. footnote added in 1907 to The Psychopathology of Everyday Life 1901b near the end of the last chapter Another. passing allusion occurs in a footnote to the paper on narcissism above p 96 Freud returned to the question more. than once in his later writings particularly in Beyond the Pleasure Principle 1920g Standard Ed 18 28 and in. Lecture XXXI of the New Introductory Lectures 1933a A discussion on the subject took place at a meeting of. the Vienna Psycho Analytical Society on November 8 1911 and the published minutes Zbl psychoan 2 476 7. give a very short summary of some remarks made by Freud on the occasion. 2 Cf Section 8 of The Two Principles of Mental Functioning 1911b Reality testing is dealt with at some. length in the next paper p 231 ff below, 3 We are reserving for a different context the mention of another notable privilege of the Ucs In a letter to. Groddeck of June 5 1917 Freud writes In my essay on the Ucs which you mention you will find an. inconspicuous note We are reserving for a different context the mention of another notable privilege of the Ucs. I will divulge to you what this note refers to the assertion that the Ucs exerts on somatic processes an influence of. far greater plastic power than the conscious act ever can Freud 1960a. innervation that leads to development of affect but even this path of discharge is as we have seen. p 178 f contested by the Pcs By itself the system Ucs would not in normal conditions be able to. bring about any expedient muscular acts with the exception of those already organized as reflexes. The full significance of the characteristics of the system Ucs described above could only be. appreciated by us if we were to contrast and compare them with those of the system Pcs But this. would take us so far afield that I propose that we should once more call a halt and not undertake the. comparison of the two till we can do so in connection with our discussion of the higher system 1 Only. the most pressing points of all will be mentioned at this stage. The processes of the system Pcs display no matter whether they are already conscious or only. capable of becoming conscious an inhibition of the tendency of cathected ideas towards discharge. When a process passes from one idea to another the first idea retains a part of its cathexis and only a. small portion undergoesdisplacement Displacements and condensations such as happen in the primary. process are excluded or very much restricted This circumstance caused Breuer to assume. the existence of two different states of cathectic energy in mental life one in which the energy is. tonically bound and the other in which it is freely mobile and presses towards discharge 2 In my. opinion this distinction represents the deepest insight we have gained up to the present into the nature. of nervous energy and I do not see how we can avoid making it A metapsychological presentation. would most urgently call for further discussion at this point though perhaps that would be too daring. an undertaking as yet, Further it devolves upon the system Pcs to make communication possible between the different. ideational contents so that they can influence one another to give them an order in time 3 and to set up. a censorship or several censorships reality testing too and the reality principle are in its. province Conscious memory moreover seems to depend wholly on the Pcs 4. PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 286. 1 A probable reference to the lost paper on consciousness. 2 Cf footnote 2 on p 186, 3 There is a hint at the mechanism by which the Pcs effects this in the penultimate paragraph of Freud s paper on. the Mystic Writing Pad 1925a, 4 Cf above p 96 n In the 1915 edition only this read Cs.
This should be clearly distinguished from the memory traces in which the experiences of the Ucs are. fixed and probably corresponds to a special registration such as we proposed but later rejected to. account for the relation of conscious to unconscious ideas p 174 ff In this connection also we shall. find means for putting an end to our oscillations in regard to the naming of the higher system which. we have hitherto spoken of indifferently sometimes as the Pcs and sometimes as the Cs. Nor will it be out of place here to utter a warning against any over hasty generalization of what we. have brought to light concerning the distribution of the various mental functions between the two. systems We are describing the state of affairs as it appears in the adult human being in whom the. system Ucs operates strictly speaking only as a preliminary stage of the higher organization The. question of what the content and connections of that system are during the development of the. individual and of what significance it possesses in animals these are points on which no conclusion. can be deduced from our description they must be investigated independently 1 Moreover in human. beings we must be prepared to find possible pathological conditions under which the two systems alter. or even exchange both their content and their characteristics. PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 288. 1 One of the very few remarks made by Freud on the metapsychology of animals will be found at the end of. Chapter I of his Outline of Psycho Analysis 1940a,VI Communication Between the Two Systems. It would nevertheless be wrong to imagine that the Ucs remains at rest while the whole work of. the mind is performed by the Pcs that the Ucs is something finished with a vestigial organ a. residuum from the process of development It is wrong also to suppose that communication between. the two systems is confined to the act ofrepression with the Pcs casting everything that seems. disturbing to it into the abyss of the Ucs On the contrary the Ucs is alive and capable. of development and maintains a number of other relations with the Pcs amongst them that of co. operation In brief it must be said that the Ucs is continued into what are known as derivatives 1 that it. is accessible to the impressions of life that it constantly influences the Pcs and is even for its part. subjected to influences from the Pcs, Study of the derivatives of the Ucs will completely disappoint our expectations of a schematically. clear cut distinction between the two psychical systems This will no doubt give rise to dissatisfaction. with our results and will probably be used to cast doubts on the value of the way in which we have. divided up the psychicalprocesses Our answer is however that we have no other aim but that of. translating into theory the results of observation and we deny that there is any obligation on us to. achieve at our first attempt a well rounded theory which will commend itself by its simplicity We shall. defend the complications of our theory so long as we find that they meet the results of observation and. we shall not abandon our expectations of being led in the end by those very complications to the. discovery of a state of affairs which while simple in itself can account for all the complications. of reality, Among the derivatives of the Ucs instinctual impulses of the sort we have described there are. some which unite in themselves characters of an opposite kind On the one hand they are highly. organized free from self contradiction have made use of every acquisition of the system Cs and. would hardly be distinguished in ourjudgement from the formations of that system On the other hand. they are unconscious and are incapable of, PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 288. 1 See Repression p 149, becoming conscious Thus qualitatively they belong to the system Pcs but factually to the Ucs Their.
origin is what decides their fate We may compare them with individuals of mixed race who taken all. round resemble white men but who betray their coloured descent by some striking feature or other. and on that account are excluded from society and enjoy none of the privileges of white people Of. such a nature are those phantasies of normal people as well as of neurotics which we have recognized. as preliminary stages in the formation both of dreams and of symptoms and which in spite of their high. degree of organization remain repressed and therefore cannot become conscious 1 They draw near. to consciousness and remain undisturbed so long as they do not have an intense cathexis but as soon as. they exceed a certain height of cathexis they are thrust back Substitutive formations too are highly. organized derivatives of the Ucs of this kind but these succeed in breaking through. into consciousness when circumstances are favourable for example if they happen to join forces. with an anticathexis from the Pcs, When elsewhere 2 we come to examine more closely the preconditions for becoming conscious. we shall be able to find a solution of some of the difficulties that arise at this juncture Here it seems a. good plan to look at things from the angle of consciousness in contrast to our previous approach. which was upwards from the Ucs Toconsciousness the whole sum of psychical processes presents. itself as the realm of the preconscious A very great part of this preconscious originates in the. unconscious has the character of its derivatives and is subjected to a censorship before it can. become conscious Another part of the Pcs is capable of becomingconscious without any censorship. Here we come upon a contradiction of an earlier assumption In discussing the subject of repression we. were obliged to place thecensorship which is decisive for becoming conscious between the. systems Ucs and Pcs p 173 Now it becomes probable that there is a censorship between. the Pcs and the Cs 3 Nevertheless, PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 289. 1 This question is elaborated in a footnote added in 1920 to Section 5 of the third of Freud s Three. Essays 1905d Standard Ed 7 226 n, 2 Another probable reference to the lost paper on consciousness. 3 See p 173 The point had already been raised by Freud in Chapter VII F of The Interpretation of. Dreams 1900a Standard Ed 5 615 and 617 18 It is discussed at greater length below p 193 f. we shall do well not to regard this complication as a difficulty but to assume that to every transition. from one system to that immediately above it that is every advance to a higher stage of psychical. organization there corresponds a new censorship This it may be remarked does away with the. assumption of a continuous laying down of new registrations p 174. The reason for all these difficulties is to be found in the circumstance that the attribute. of being conscious which is the only characteristic of psychical processes that is directly presented to. us is in no way suited to serve as a criterion for the differentiation of systems Cf p 172 above. Apart from the fact that the conscious is not always conscious but also at times latent observation has. shown that much that shares the characteristics of the system Pcs does not become conscious and we. learn in addition that the act of becoming conscious is dependent on the attention of. the Pcs being turned in certain directions 1 Hence consciousness stands in no simplerelation either to. the different systems or to repression The truth is that it is not only the psychically repressed that. remains alien to consciousness but also some of the impulses which dominate our. PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 290. 1 Literally we learn in addition that becoming conscious is restricted by certain directions of its attention The. its almost certainly refers to the Pcs This rather obscure sentence would probably be clearer if we possessed the. lost paper on consciousness The gap here is particularly tantalizing as it seems likely that the reference is to a. discussion of the function of attention a subject on which Freud s later writings throw very little light There are. two or three passages in The Interpretation of Dreams 1900a which seem relevant in this connection The. excitatory processes occurring in the preconscious can enter consciousness without further impediment provided. that certain other conditions are fulfilled for instance that the function which can only be described. as attention is distributed in a particular way 1900a Standard Ed 5 541 Becoming conscious is. connected with the application of a particular psychical function that of attention 1900a Standard. Ed 5 593 The system Pcs not merely bars access to consciousness it also has at its disposal for distribution. a mobile cathectic energy a part of which is familiar to us in the form of attention 1900a Standard. Ed 5 615 In contrast to the paucity of allusions to the subject in Freud s later writings the Project of 1895. treats of attention at great length and regards it as one of the principal forces at work in the mental apparatus. Freud 1950a especially Section 1 of Part III He there as well as in his paper on The Two Principles of. Mental Functioning 1911b relates it in particular to the function of reality testing See the Editor s Note to A. Metapsychological Supplement to the Theory of Dreams below p 220 where the relation of attention to the. system Pcpt is considered, ego something therefore that forms the strongest functional antithesis to the repressed The more we. seek to win our way to a metapsychological view of mental life the more we must learn to emancipate. ourselves from the importance of the symptom of being conscious 1. So long as we still cling to this belief we see our generalizations regularly broken through by. exceptions On the one hand we find that derivatives of the Ucs 2 becomeconscious as sub stitutive. formations and symptoms generally it is true after having undergone great distortion as compared. with the unconscious though often retaining many characteristics which call for repression On. the other hand we find that many preconscious formations remain unconscious though we should have. expected that from their nature they might very well have become conscious Probably in the latter. case the stronger attraction of the Ucs is asserting itself We are led tolook for the more important. distinction as lying not between the conscious and the preconscious but between the preconscious and. the unconscious The Ucs is turned back on the frontier of the Pcs by the censorship but derivatives. of the Ucs can circumvent this censorship achieve a high degree of organization and reach a certain. intensity of cathexis in the Pcs When however this intensity is exceeded and they try to force. themselves into consciousness they are recognized as derivatives of theUcs and are repressed afresh at. the new frontier of censorship between the Pcs and the Cs Thus the first of these censorships is. exercised against the Ucs itself and the second against its Pcs derivatives One might suppose that in. the course of individual development the censorship had taken a step forward. In psycho analytic treatment the existence of the second censorship located between the. systems Pcs and Cs is proved beyond question We require the patient to form numerous derivatives. of the Ucs we make him pledge himself to overcome the objections of the censorship to. these preconscious formations becoming conscious and by overthrowing this censorship we. PEP This page can be read in German in GESAMMELTE WERKE Vol 10 Page 291.

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