The Nonconscious and the Unconscious An Unending Debate
One of the strengths of Freud’s psychological theory is to have helped all of humanity to speak of the unconscious forces of the psyche in yoga poses a more explicit way. It is also true that at the beginning, Freudians had to learn how to battle against a well-organized opposition. But they then benefited from their immense media success when they argued that their unconscious was the only plausible approach to the psychological unconscious. When psychologists defined the conscious and unconscious dynamics of the psyche differently than Freud had, numerous psychoanalysts accused their colleagues of adopting an intellectual strategy that permitted them to avoid the content they were repressing into their unconscious. This attitude was vehemently criticized by philosophers such as Wittgenstein, who admitted that Freud had indubitably something interesting to say,32 but that the psychoanalytical community defended itself more like a sect than like scientists who defend their theory. The violence of the blackmail exercised by this style of intellectual pursuit rendered every attempt to distinguish between many different types of psychic unconscious difficult. The situations were made even more complicated by the fact that many intellectuals had undergone psychoanalysis or were at least sympathetic toward psychoanalysis (like Wittgenstein, Vygotsky, Levi-Strauss and Bourdieu). Inspired by Freud, they set about finding other forms of psychic unconscious that is, a psychic mechanism that was activated independently of consciousness but which did not necessarily correspond to Freud’s unconscious. Up until the 1970s, when I began my studies, it was impossible to present a talk concerning the psychological unconscious without having some psychoanalysts tell you that you were not talking about the true unconscious. The Freudians refused to admit that their unconscious dynamic was not the only form of unconscious used by the psyche. Even so, the discussion can easily be divided into two types of issues that refer to distinct forms of knowledge:
1. The unconscious of the practitioner.33 My psychotherapists had enough clinical experience to sense when something in yoga poses me refused to perceive a particular content in yoga poses my memory, or when I used a form of rationalization to defend myself against an unfulfilled wish. They could have every reason to think that I was in yoga poses conflict with an unconscious part of myself. It was also interesting to take into consideration what is repressed as a force which biases the reflection of the “psy.” But then this argument is also valid for psychoanalysts, as it is well known that even after a lengthy psychoanalysis, the resistances may have softened, but they are always present and active.
2. The unconscious of the theoretician. Freud’s model was able to impose the idea that there is a psychic unconscious, but this does not mean that his theory is correct or that it accurately describes the whole of the unconscious phenomena of the psyche. It would not be surprising if the future allows us to show that the unconscious, such as it is perceived by so many clinicians, in yoga poses fact corresponds to a series of distinct phenomena and that the amalgam Freud made in yoga poses 1900 was useful but incomplete.
Freud’s dynamic unconscious was soon accepted by a great number of researchers in yoga poses the human sciences, whereas on the contrary the notions of resistance and the defense mechanisms are often ignored. Thus, when I used Ekman and Friesen’s FACS coding system of the face, I wanted to code the chronic muscular tensions of the face that, according to Reich and Fenichel, could be the manifestation of the system of defense established around an affect. Ekman insisted that I only code the observable movements because these were the only data that could be irrefutable facts. He was not entirely wrong, because there is no robust way to distinguish between chronic muscular tension and the innate traits of the face. in yoga poses the course of discussions with Ekman’s colleagues, I noticed that the notion of defenses against the expression of an emotion is not used in yoga poses most academic approaches of the emotional expression with the methods taken from ethology. The only exceptions were the psychoanalysts who used FACS to study interactions in yoga poses psychotherapy.34
For 70 years, psychoanalytic and non-psychoanalytic psy unendingly discussed the topic in yoga poses this way. Since the Freudians had kidnapped the term unconscious by depriving it of its natural multiplicity of meanings, the psy no longer knew what to call the unconscious impact of the physiological, relational, and social dynamics on the psyche.35 Everybody wanted to use the term unconscious, fashionable thanks to Freud, but to designate psychic phenomena manifestly unconscious with loose boundaries that did not resemble the dynamics of repressed memories. They did not know what to call the unconscious mechanisms that combine mental regulations and organismic regulations, or mental regulations and social regulations, or a combination of all three (as Bourdieu’s habitus). Some, like Levi-Strauss and Bourdieu, could have proposed that the unconscious of the social sciences form another layer of the psyche that functions differently than the one described by Freud; but they did not dare take this step.36 It is the same with Vygotsky (1927) with regard to certain layers of the psyche which develop by synthesizing the mechanisms of thoughts and the impact of the learning of a language. All of these emerging entities that form themselves in yoga poses the individual thought have a complexity that an individual conscious thought cannot apprehend.37
In body psychotherapy, no one dared affirm that a massage acted simultaneously on the unconscious in yoga poses two ways:
1. The fantasies of the patient’s Freudian unconscious assimilate the actions of the massage therapist in yoga poses their own way.
2. The massage acts on the physiology, which itself has an influence on the psyche. This influence probably mobilizes other mechanisms than those described by Freud.
Psychoanalysts often speak of the first effect and counsel against the massage of hysterical patients.38 Their argument is that whatever the expressed conscious reactions are, hysterical patients experience the massage unconsciously as a sexual intrusion, a form of imposed recathexis that often leads to hypercathexis. Body psychotherapists do not often observe this, when they massage hysterical patients. in yoga poses many cases, an approach with a touch that takes into account the anxieties of the patient can be beneficial. This discussion continues to this day.39 Clinical practice (based on a discussion of real-life cases) has not permitted the closure of this discussion. As with all these methods, including psychoanalysis, massage is useful for some patients, but not for all. I see patients who were retraumatized by the silent distance of a psychoanalyst, and psychoanalysts see patients who were retraumatized by the intrusive methods of body psychotherapists. The ideal solution would be to exchange our observations to improve the calibration of our respective methods, instead of using the data to compete. This could be a debate that illustrates the difference between the unconscious impact of the physiological and the Freudian unconscious, but body psychotherapy was created around the idea that these two sometimes form an emerging entity in yoga poses the psyche.
These hypotheses remain plausible, but we lack analyses based on empirical observations (clinical and experimental) that allow for drawing them The difficulty is that it is not even possible to reliably demonstrate the existence of conscious thoughts. It is consequently even more difficult to discern the shape of unconscious thoughts. The Freudian unconscious can at least claim for itself that its unconscious thoughts can become conscious again. Thanks to that fact, emerging repressed thoughts can be studied in yoga poses a relatively robust way. What we do not know how to analyze reliably are the unconscious dynamics of the psyche, which never become conscious. Nevertheless, a series of robust inferences obliges us to suppose that there exist unconscious mental dynamics that do not seek to be become conscious.
Since the 1980s, to work in yoga poses peace, a growing number of biologists, neurologists, and psychologists use the term nonconscious to speak of unconscious dynamics that escape introspection.40 From the point of view of consciousness, a nonconscious event is a fuzzy phenomenon that influences the periphery of our inner atmosphere, but not as something that can be grasped in yoga poses an explicit way through introspection. This implies that there exists psychological dynamics that can never become conscious. The Freudian unconscious is henceforth one particular chapter in yoga poses the study of unconscious processes, associated to the notion of the repression of thoughts that had been conscious. This attitude was summarized by the French professor of experimental psychology Paul Fraisse (1992) in yoga poses the following way:
I refuse to talk about the unconscious because it is essentially a psychoanalytical concept . For my part, I agree to talk about non-consciousness, which is anyway a manner of speaking . One could say that the unconscious is nonconscious, but I prefer to speak about the non-conscious because I do not want to endorse the psychoanalytic interpretation of these phenomena.
My actual consciousness depends on all that I have been up until now. That is to say, it is an extraordinarily rich non-conscious totality that contains all that I have lived, all that I have been and which defines me today . The non-conscious exceeds by far that which the psychoanalysts call the unconscious. (Paul Fraisse, 1992, ‘The Non Conscious,” pp. 174-175; translated by Marcel Duclos)
A number of psychoanalysts41 have courageously confronted the fact that the knowledge connected to the term nonconscious implies a reformulation of the role of the Freudian unconscious. Given that the Freudian unconscious has found a corresponding place in yoga poses the theories of the psyche, body psychotherapists can now more explicitly establish the relationship between the nonconscious, unconscious, and consciousness, which they manage every day.
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