And what are your thoughts on the theory that the unconscious has its own
distinct existence shared by every one, andto which one has access in some
----- Original Message -----
From: "Carrol Cox" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2007 9:28 AM
Subject: Memory, was Stetson Passage in TWL
> Perhaps we can get a start on what I mean by "The Unconscious" by going
> back to Freud's _original_ purpose in positing such an entity -- before
> he began to proliferate oedipus complexes, egos, ids, & other mythology.
> The problem was to explain _memory_. The reader of this post is probably
> not thinking of the capitol of Japan at this moment, and perhaps hasn't
> given it a thought for hours, days, even months. But every reader now
> has Tokyo in mind. Where did that knowledge hide during all that time
> when it was not in your conscious thought? Freud's answer, there was an
> entity, a _place_ as it were, a _storeroom_, where all that knowledge is
> hidden away until the conscious mind has a reason to retrieve it. It was
> a brilliant suggestion in a way, a definite move forward in
> But it was _wrong_; nothing is stable in memory. All that knowledge has
> to be endlessly recreated micro-second by micro-second -- and in fact
> much of it comes to be false memory. (In fact, the more vivid one of
> your childhood memories is, to some extent the more apt it is to be
> _totally_ false. Stephen Gould in one of his essays describes such talse
> memories from his own childhood, falsified by photographs which showed
> that the memories were inconsistent with the physical facts.) So our
> brain is an incredibly busy place, 'keeping' all that information alive
> by constantly recreating (inventing) it so it will be on tap when we
> need it.
> Memory reached by hypnosis, "recovered memory," undue trust in eye
> witnesses in criminal trials are all grounded in the concept of passive
> memory storage. (The computer is _not_ a good analogue for the brain,
> but the contrast between ram & a hard disk is illustrative of the
> contrast between memories constantly recreated in the brain and memories
> "stored" in the unconscious as in a warehouse.)
> A sprinkling of works which in one way or another touch on this:
> Israel Rosenfield, _The Invention of Memory: A New View of the Brain_,
> New York: Basic Books, 1988.
> Antonio Damasio, Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human
> Brain_, New York: Quill, 2000. (Orig. 1994).
> Michaels Roth, ed., _Freud: Conflict & Culture_, New York: Knopf, 1998.
> Frederick Crews, ed., _Unauthorized Freud: Scholars Confront a Legend_,
> New York: Penguin, 1998.
> Sebastiano Timpanaro, _The Freudian Slip: Psychoanalysis & Textual
> Criticism_ (tr. Kate Soper), London: Verso, 1985. (First Published 1974
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