-------- Original Message --------
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Making Conscious the Unconscious
To: [log in to unmask]
The basic principle of psychoanalysis is that there are no such
things as "accidents." This is the principle of psychic determinism.
If human beings are responsible for their dreams, slips-of-the
tongues and symptoms, if these express unconscious desires, then we also
are responsible for behavior that is played out on the stage of
"cultural reality." That which we create as society and history
represents the expression of our wishes and fantasies.
We are responsible for the entire panoply of destructive events
that are played out on the stage on the "external world," in the form of
war, genocide, terrorism, etc. These events "do something" for us. We
"get off" on them. It there was not some gratification that some (large
numbers) of human beings obtained from these behaviors, they would not
recur. We create culture and history in order to externalize or project
who we are.
That is us. That which is occurs, human beings have created. We
Human being act out their fantasies in the domains of culture and
history, which function to express, articulate or play out the human
neurosis (or psychosis). Culture and history are the domains in which
unconscious fantasies are made visible.
We are complicit in the perpetuation of destructive social
institutions to the extent that we deny that the outer (the cultural
form) has a relationship to the inner (the psyche). We imagine that
events such as war and terrorism happen on their own--at a distance from
the self, "out there," separate from us.
The next phase in "making conscious the unconscious" is
recognition that we are the source of what is occurring "out there."
Human beings are responsible, not only for specific acts of bombing that
kill persons, but for the very idea of war, bombs, murdering large
numbers of persons, etc.
We have created bombs as a response to our paranoid anxieties, to
defend ourselves against terror. We bomb in order to kill and destroy.
Symbolic structures in society contain and express human desire.
They exist and continue to exist to the extent that they are able to
articulate human wishes--to help us to repress or contain anxiety.
The psychoanalytic task is to reveal the nature of the desires
that are expressed through particular modes or forms of societal
behavior. What is the nature of the pleasure that is obtained by blowing
up human beings? Why do we wish to smash and destroy the artifacts of
It is not a question of "this war" or "that war." There are always
reasons. When Freud spoke about repression and the unconscious, he was
saying that human beings do not know the real reasons why they do things.
Psychoanalysis is not like other sciences in which inevitably
"progress" seems to occur. Since the psyche is shaped through the
mechanisms of repression and denial, therefore civilization is always
producing new editions of the human neurosis. About many things (such as
sex), we know more than we once did. Resistances have been over come.
In other domains, however, we continue to remain entirely unconscious.
There are "reasons" for every single war, but the reasons do not
tell us about the unconscious fantasies and desires that are being
Human beings live within a dream that they call "reality." They
are so bound to this reality, so tied to their own "symbolic systems"
that they cannot perceive the pathology contained within these systems.
The first step in the psychoanalysis of culture and history,
therefore, is a systematic effort to DISIDENTIFY with phenomena that
previously we had accepted as "normative." We must begin to imagine that
we live in the midst of a collective psychosis, a dream that many
persons are having at once.
The objective of psychoanalysis as a mode of activity within
civilization is to begin the process of "awakening from the nightmare of
Richard A. Koenigsberg, Ph. D.
Richard A. Koenigsberg, Ph. D.