“The Unconscious” must go

I am deadly sick of Freudianism, or at least Freudianism  as generally understood by the educated public — that  vulgar Freudianism that animates public discourse, not only at the level of jargon and doctrine, but at the wordless faith-level … that faith which guides our attention, that accentuates relevant details or filters out irrelevant ones, links or severs associations between experiences and which categorizes phenomena into realms of real, unreal, objective and subjective even before we have started to process our experience with language.

Vulgar Freudians stuff everything extralingual — most of all faith — into a big woo-woo catch-all category “unconscious” and pretend this is scientific. But the Unconscious is the furthest thing from scientific. The Unconscious functions as a quarantine space — or maybe an asylum — that sequesters anything that might lead a person beyond our narrow, bloodless “secular” mentality. It rounds up all these various intuitive hunches, promptings and impulses and corrals them into a single undifferentiated, anonymous mass of mysterious irrationality.

The Unconscious may be assigned honorifics and spoken of as an infinite reservoir of potential and possibility, but in actuality, the Unconscious functions as a sewer into which anything with the potential  to disrupt the smooth mechanism of public mental processing may be flushed.

Oh, but the Unconscious is the wellspring of art and mysticism! We value it! Worship it, even! But look what happens to art and spirituality in this culture. Any art or mysticism that cannot be “utilized” to turns the wheels of commerce, either as a commodity to buy or sell, or as “commercial art” ends up in the same sewer, far, far away from public life where it can shuffle about harmlessly and not lead the sheep from the flock.

We worship (and fear) the Unconscious as an ocean of chaotic unknowable mental forces instead of allowing each of the variegated forces that constitute it to find a place in our existing order, and through its practical participation change the very nature of its order.



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