Date(s) - 27th January, 2019
The Weekend University
Freud and the Unconscious at the Weekend University
Few individuals have had a greater impact on our awareness of the human psyche than Sigmund Freud. After Freud, it’s much harder to ignore the fact that we are not wholly in command of ourselves, and that much of our lives is shaped by what’s unconscious. We do things that we wished we hadn’t done, and often don’t do things we wish we had.
Freud helped us understand that we don’t fully know ourselves. If you pay enough attention you quickly come to realise that the bit you feel you do know, which he called the ego, is only one part of a much fuller totality, the human psyche. Consciousness feelings and thoughts are just the tip of an iceberg.
The theories of the unconscious that Freud formulated have sparked much controversy since he first outlined the extent of his discoveries in a seminal paper published over 100 years ago. Sceptics sneer at them, assuming they’re as discreditable as penis envy. Yet the latest research suggests that far from being past their sell-by date, our understanding of what we’re not conscious can be greatly aided by Freud’s insights, as well as the substantial developments that have emerged since then.
In this talk, Dr Mark Vernon, will examine whether the mechanisms Freud ascribed to the unconscious were right. Are dreams the “royal road” to the unconscious? Do we have an unruly part of ourselves he called the id? Is the unconscious a domain that is timeless? The talk will explore various theories in light of subsequent science, ask how they stand up given what we know now, and take the story into the 21st century as it is enlightened by ongoing ideas and psychotherapeutic practice.