Monday, 24 October 2011

A quote from Jon Haidt on Freudian notions of a perverse unconscious mind

From Jon Haidt's The Happiness Hypothesis: "Freud based much of his theory of psychoanalysis on such mental intrusions and free associations, and he found they often have sexual or aggressive content. But Wegner's research [Wegner, 1994] offers a simpler and more innocent explanation: Automatic processes generate thousands of thoughts and images everyday, often through random association. The ones that get stuck are the ones that particularly shock us, the ones we try to suppress or deny. The reason we suppress them is not that we know, deep down, that they're true (although some may be), but that they are scary or shameful. Yet once we have tried and failed to suppress them, they can become the sorts of obsessive thoughts that make us believe in Freudian notions of a dark and evil unconscious mind."

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