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2 minutes reading

The conscious appears, then disappears, without us being able to control or even reproduce it.

The conscious appears, then disappears, without us being able to control or even reproduce it. The conscious appears, then disappears, without us being able to control or even reproduce it.
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The Undiscovered Self
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The Undiscovered Self
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As to the alleged boldness of the hypothesis that an unconscious psyche exists, I must emphasize that a more modest formulation could hardly be imagined. It is so simple that it amounts to a tautology: [...] the thought (or whatever it was) has become unconscious, or is cut off from consciousness, so that it cannot even be remembered. Or else it may happen that we have an inkling or hunch of something which is about to break into consciousness: “something is in the air,” “we smell a rat,” and so on. To speak under these conditions of latent or unconscious contents is hardly a daring hypothesis.

When something vanishes from consciousness it does not dissolve into thin air or cease to exist, any more than a car disappearing round a corner becomes non-existent. It is simply out of sight, and, as we may meet the car again, so we may come across a thought again which was previously lost [...]

The unconscious, therefore, consists in the first place of a multitude of temporarily eclipsed contents which, as experience shows, continue to influence the conscious processes. A man in a distracted state of mind goes to a certain place in his room, obviously to fetch something. Then he suddenly stops perplexed: he has forgotten why he got up and what he was after. He gropes absent-mindedly among a whole collection of objects, completely at sea as to what he wants to find. Suddenly he wakes up, having discovered the thing he wants. He behaves like a man walking in his sleep oblivious of his original purpose, yet unconsciously guided by it. If you observe the behaviour of a neurotic, you can see him performing apparently conscious and purposeful acts yet, when you ask him about them, you discover to your surprise that he is either unconscious of them or has something quite different in mind. He hears and does not hear, he sees yet is blind, he knows and does not know at the same time. Thousands of such observations have convinced the specialist that unconscious contents behave as if they were conscious, and that you can never be sure whether thought, speech, or action is conscious or not. Something so obvious to yourself that you cannot imagine it to be invisible to anybody can be as good as nonexistent to your fellows, and yet they behave as if they were just as conscious of it as you are yourself.

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