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A Fine Line between Normality and Abnormality

  1. Aug 26, 2008 #1
    A Fine Line between Normality and Abnormality

    Aristotle said that all men seek happiness. Freud said that the goal of the pleasure-principle is happiness. Man’s desire for happiness sets at odds to the reality-principle. It is the reality-principle that propels the world into tomorrow. Humans naturally seek what they wish but “reality imposes on human beings the necessity of renunciation of pleasures”.

    Freud says that the whole edifice of psychoanalysis is constructed on the theory of repression—the essence of society is the repression of the individual--the essence of the individual is repression of him or her self—Freud’s theory is that the phenomena dreams, neurotic symptoms, and errors are caused—i.e. the principle of psychic determinism—they are meaningful because this means there is purpose or intention—“since the purport of these purposive expressions is generally unknown to the person whose purpose they express, Freud is driven to embrace the paradox that there are in a human being purposes of which he knows nothing, involuntary purpose”—i.e. unconscious ideas.

    Freud discovered the importance of repression when he discovered the meaning of the “mad” symptoms of the mentally deranged, plus the meaning of dreams, and thirdly the everyday happenings regarded as slips of the tongue, errors, and random thoughts. He concludes that dreams, mental derangements, and common every day errors (Freudian slips) have meaningful causes that can be explained. Meaningful is the key word here.

    The rejection of an idea which is one’s very own and remains so is repression. The essence of repression is in the fact that the individual refuses to recognize this reality of her very own nature. This nature becomes evident when it erupts into consciousness only in dreams or neurotic symptoms or by slips of the tongue.

    The unconscious is illuminated only when it is being repressed by the conscious mind. It is a process of psychic conflict. “We obtain our theory of the unconscious from the theory of repression.” Freud’s hypothesis of the repressed unconscious results from the conclusion that it is common to all humans. This is a phenomenon of everyday life; neurosis is common to all humans.

    Dreams are normal phenomena and being that the structure of dreams is common to neurotics and normal people the dream is also neurotic. “Between “normality” and “abnormality” there is no qualitative but only quantitative difference, based largely on the practical question of whether our neurosis is serious enough to incapacitate us for work…the doctrine of the universal neurosis of mankind is the psychoanalytical analogue of the theological doctrine of original sin.”

    Quotes from “Life against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History” Norman O. Brown
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 26, 2008 #2
    AHHHH---what a fine line between normal and abnormal-----I see many behaviors/attitudes even on this forum (and many other places) that I would consider both normal and abnormal----so the question is where on the Bell shaped curve do you put the vertical lines to divide---and from whose experience and judgment do you go by?

    (and do you consider this a rhetorical question?)
  4. Aug 27, 2008 #3

    We are all neurotic. The dividing line is a practical one. If I can function at my job I am normal if not I am abnormal.
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