Diana, do you know the work of W. H. R. Rivers? He was one of the
psychiatrists at Craiglockhart hospital for shell shocked veterans
during WWI. He accepted Freud on the talking cure, and he said that
the most important thing in Freud was the importance of remembering, not
forgetting. He did not accept Freud's etiology in infancy and/or sexual
trauma. His way of working with "shell shocked" soldiers was to get
them to talk through the hellish memories; this was in contrast with
much of the current ideas that they should forget.
His work is not easy to get I think but it is vividly described in Pat
Barker's REGENERATION. She is pretty accurate; I was able to read a lot
of Rivers's own book on a trip to Craiglockhart. He does describe some
instances of forgetting that produce horrible symptoms and that are
relieved by remembering the moments of horror.
Carrol, thanks so much for your comments on memory, a subject in which
I'm particularly interested in at the moment. I'm writing a character
who is tormented by certain memories of combat who wishes to extinguish
them, a nearly impossible task sometimes when memories seem to have a
life of their own, or some chastising force in our mind (what Freud
called "the superego" seems to want to torment us with excessive guilt.
I'll certainly read the books you list.
I think the unconscious is regarded with suspicion when it seems to be
defined as an entity. Freud, though trying to explain these mental
functions, made it sound at times as if he were explaining separate
parts or areas in the mind, but he did make statements disabusing
readers of that notion. He saw the mind as being in a continuum with the
physical. "The lowest level of the unconscious is the body," he wrote.
Although one could think of the deep unconscious as the limbic system,
the reptile brain, with its cold survival instincts. It is almost like
an organ in itself, being physically overlaid with the
higher-functioning and later-evolving cortex, which simply wrapped
around the earlier brain. Perhaps psychoanalysis allowed the pre-verbal
brain to express itself with language, in an effort to bring all parts
into harmony with each other when their desires were in conflict.
>>> Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> 06/11/07 3:24 PM >>>