The Omnipotent Sex-God in the Inner Realm
Sigmund Freud has special merits to psychology. He is to be thanked for stressing the importance of the unconscious, sexual drive and sexual frustration. He invented psychological repression[i] that became central to his psychoanalysis and introduced psychological defence mechanisms.[ii]
Freudian psychology is based on a grand simplification. Freud ignored the incomprehensible to him but still concrete datum for the inborn psychological traits of individuals including their sexual inclinations. Instead of trying to investigate the congenital characteristics he attributed them entirely to experience, inheritable group dispositions and fears. In this way he oversimplified the psychological patterns participating in the formation of personality. Freudian psychology replaced individual psychological traits with a universal sex-drive that merely individual experience and collective practice modified. In effect, by ascribing personal qualities to an essential biological drive it depersonalized personality.
Such a simplification of the psychic material was unrealistic. The problem was resolved by hiding it from view. For that purpose Freud treated the unconscious as a fathomless hiding place for libidinal desires. The boundary of the conscious and the unconscious minds, however, is hazy both in physiological and psychological senses.[iii] The concept of an almost all-embracing unconscious is quite abstract and proves to be an oversimplification too. One generalization has led to another.
The unconscious is where the most important mental processes take place. Psychoanalysis uses the unconscious as an abstract container for impulses and desires. The formlessness of the container enables it to hold whatever the psychologist needs. The plasticity of container makes it a very convenient tool for justifying any psychological theory. The comatose state of an undefined part of the mind conveniently allows the desires to come in and out of repression at the will of the psychoanalyst. Freudian repression is only seemingly a concrete psychological mechanism as it subdues idealized and hyperbolized foes and operates in an invisible world.
The oversimplification of psychological drives facilitated their popularization while the elusiveness of the unconscious made them omnipotent. The simplified psychological portrait and the vagueness of the unconscious are fundamental problems of Freudian psychoanalysis.[iv] In practice, however, these abstractions turn out to be quite advantageous to psychoanalysis.
Psychological repression is one of the defence strategies of the unconscious for subduing undesirable desires by excluding them from consciousness. In practical psychoanalysis repression operates as a method of suppressing the patients’ actual motivation that the therapist is unwilling or unable to recognise. It helps maintain psychoanalytic views and project them on patients. The indefinability of the unconscious is one of the greatest conveniences that psychoanalysis offers to therapists as it allows them to indoctrinate their ideology.
Freudian psychology not only depersonalizes personality. It also offers simple abstract building blocks and a secret place for its theoretical re-creation. The rebuilt personality is, of course, more or less synthetic because its reconstruction is preceded by utter destruction.
The unconscious is said to contain invisible psychic material inaccessible to his owner. Thus, a psychoanalyst is like a magician who pulls things out of people’s heads. He is also a shaman who mediates between visible and spiritual worlds, communicates with the invisible almighty and cures with magic words. He is able to foresee the future as he reads people’s hidden desires. He is a priest who is authorized by the invisible one to give the right advice. He is also in the position to project into the layperson his views and to ascribe to them whatever drive he wants to.[v] An educated psychologist feels surer of what is in one’s head than its owner does because he convincingly projects his program. If the psychologist suffers a chronic disaffection his patient is likely to be infected with it. The psychological projection of the psychologist operating with abstract general notions is inevitable.
Freudian views may help patients suffering from severe psychological effects of the ubiquitous sexual suppression because they acknowledge the vitality of sexuality. They may reduce the burden of the Original Sin with which patients are indoctrinated. Their psychological projection, however, tends to create another simple stance in the patients. The converts in the new faith may feel alleviation as the old one totally renounced sexuality and strangled them too much. But the new almighty is also invisible and sexually reprobating. The new faith rationalizes the Original Sin in new terms. It adds logic to the Abrahamics’ guilt of sexuality. It also enforces confession of sexual intentions but to a sex psychologist.
The psychological projection may have a certain therapeutic value of its own, because as any communication it enforces interaction which helps break up the patents’ mental stance. Certainly, the psychological projection on the part of psychologists is one of the reasons for the parallel existence of such a large variety of psychological schools.