We have a challenge to make: does anyone here venture to explain the human mind? Difficult this mission, is not it? Mind is something that all of us, without exception, have. It’s also something we all use every moment. And yet, we know almost nothing about it, its functioning, and all matters connected with it. Not even the greatest experts and scholars of the subject know our part so completely mysterious.
This was Torrego’s talk this week in #EInsights with psychoanalyst Diana Dahre. It begins by explaining that our mind is composed of three parts: conscious, preconscious and unconscious. And the unconscious is the object of study of psychoanalysis.
But of course the three parts are linked. It’s like an iceberg, she explains. The here and now is like an iceberg, our mind is aware of what is happening, but that is just the tip, it has much more hidden down there.
Although it knows by what parts the human mind is composed, it is impossible to know the size of it, after all, no x-ray could capture. But one thing is known: 95% of it is ruled by the unconscious. “It’s like the wifi in a house, you do not see it, but you know it’s there,” she explains to Diana.
It is all very abstract and intangible, so here we have a more didactic explanation that helps to understand each one of them better.
Imagine that the mind is a house.
The place where you are, in the room for example, is the here and now. You know what’s going on, what you’re doing. This is the conscious.
Now imagine you are in a conversation, start telling the story of a trip from years ago and want to show a photo. You know there is this photo and that it is stored somewhere, so you look in the bookcase and find it. This is the preconscious, it is when you have access to the “files”. They are not available, sometimes they have to do a little kick, but they are within reach.
But this picture may be in the basement, well guarded, and in this basement has a guard at the door that does not let in so easily. This guardian is the superego, who comes into action at this time and, if he has any chance of this being dangerous or does not do you good, he bar your entry there. This is the unconscious, it is what we do not see, but it has passed through our lives.
Inside the analysis
Whoever deals with all this is the psychoanalyst. And when we talk about it, we soon think of Freud, who is called the father of psychoanalysis. Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist and discovered the unconscious in 1890. Since then, the world has changed a lot, but his discoveries, studies and methods continue to be a reference and applied throughout the world.
In his own words, psychoanalysis is “a profession of lay people who heal souls, without necessarily being doctors or priests”. That is, you do not have to be a doctor or psychologist to be a psychoanalyst. This is a specific training that comes from free courses.
It all started when the neurologist detected some patterns in the symptoms of his neurotic and hysterical patients. During consultations, he realized that most of their problems stemmed from cultural conflicts and, in response to these traumas, repressed their unconscious desires and sexual fantasies.
Psychoanalysis is a very rich subject, full of details that it would not be possible to put here, although in a summary form. However, we can simplify the subject a little by telling which concepts developed by Freud are linked and support their research and ideas. From the insights we have already mentioned above. Besides him, there is the ego, the superego, the Id, the drive, the dreams, and the oedipus complex.
In psychoanalysis, everything is taken into account: dreams, desires, fantasies, recent and ancient memories … (remember the description of the basement?). The person talks while the psychoanalyst listens attentively, making only small comments or interventions that help to awaken perceptions in the patient. The idea is to lead to self-knowledge and, if you know better, you know the other better and relate better to everyone: with yourself, with the other, and with the world. Still in Freud’s words, “The more I listen to Peter, the more I know John.” That is, when you talk about the other, you are talking about yourself, about your interpretation. And that is why those who do analysis interpret the world with a different look, because you know each other more and understand the other.
And it is worth remembering that the psychoanalyst has no opinions, he is neutral, without right or wrong.
Freud would already say
We select here some sentences that are attributed to Freud, that make stop to think and help a little in this process of self-knowledge.
“Before diagnosing yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, surrounded by idiots.”
“We are made of flesh, but we must live as if we were of iron”
“Thought is the rehearsal of action.”
“If you want to be able to bear life, be ready to accept death”
“No human being is capable of hiding a secret. If the mouth is silent, speak the tips of the fingers. ”
“We can defend ourselves from an attack, but we are defenseless to a compliment”
“I was a lucky man; in life nothing has been easy for me ”
“Look inward, into your depths, learn first to know yourself.”
“Only the experience itself is able to make the human being wise”
“The character of a man is formed by the people he chose to live with”
“One day, when you look back, you will see that the most beautiful days were those in which you fought”
“Never be sure of anything because wisdom begins with doubt”
“We could be so much better if we did not want to be so good”
“There are two ways to be happy in this life, one is to make a fool and the other is to be”
“To be entirely honest with yourself is a good exercise.”