Thursday, December 20, 2012

The First Five Years Of Childhood Exert A Decisive Influence On Our Life

It has long since become common knowledge that the experience of the first five years of childhood exert a decisive influence on our life, one which later events oppose in vain. Much could be said about how these early  experiences resist all efforts of more mature years to modify them, but this would not be relevant. It may not be so well known, however,
that the strongest obsessive influence derives from those experiences which the child undergoes at a time when we have reason to believe his psychical apparatus to be incompletely fitted for accepting them. The fact itself cannot be doubted, but it seems so strange that we might try to make it easier to understand by a simile; the process may be compared to a photograph, which can be developed and made into a picture after a short or long interval. Here I may point out, however, that an imaginative writer, with the boldness permitted to such writers, made this disconcerting discovery before me. E. T. A. Hoffmann[1] used to explain the wealth of imaginative figures that offered themselves to him for his stories by the quickly changing pictures and impressions he had received during a journey in a post-chaise[2], lasting for several weeks, while he was still a babe at his mother's breast. What a child has experienced and not understood by the time he has reached the age of two he may never again remember, except in his dreams.
Only through psychoanalytic treatment will he become aware of those events. At anytime in later years, however, they may break into his life with obsessive impulsiveness, direct his actions, force him to like or dislike people and often decide the choice of his love-object by a preference that so often cannot be Rationally defended. The two points that touch on our problem are unmistakable.
They are, first, the remoteness of time, 1which is considered here as the really decisive factor, as, for instance, in the special state of memory that in these childhood experiences we class as "unconscious.” In this feature we expect to find an analogy with the state of mind that we ascribe to tradition when it is active in the mental emotional life of a people. It was not easy, it is true, to introduce the conception of the unconscious into mass psychology.
Contributions to the phenomena we are looking for are regularly made by the mechanisms that lead to a neurosis. Here also the decisive experiences in early childhood exert a lasting influence, yet in this case the stress falls not on the time, but on the process opposing that event, the reaction against it. Schematically expressed it is so. As a consequence of a certain experience there arises an instinctual demand which claims satisfaction. The Ego forgoes this satisfaction, either because it is paralyzed by the excessiveness of the demand or because it recognizes in it a danger. The first of these reasons is the origin alone; both end in the avoidance of a dangerous situation. The Ego guards against this danger by repression. The excitation becomes inhibited in one way or other; the incitement, with the observations and perceptions belonging to it, is forgotten. This, however, does not bring the process to an end; either the instinct has kept its strength, or it will regain it or it is reawakened by a new situation. It renews its claim and since the way to normal satisfaction is barred by what we may call the scar tissue of repression it gains at some weak point new access to a so-called substitutive satisfaction which now appears as a symptom, without the acquiescence and also without the comprehension of the ego. All phenomena of symptom-formation can be fairly described as "the return of the repressed." The distinctive character of them however, lies in the extensive distortion the returning elements have undergone, compared with their original form.
 [1]Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann (1776 – 1822), better known by his pen name E. T. A. Hoffmann (Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann), was a German Romantic author of fantasy and horror, a jurist, composer, music critic, draftsman and caricaturist
Hoffmann's stories were very influential during the 19th century, and he is one of the major authors of the Romantic movement. Romanticism (or the Romantic era/Period) was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1840.
 [2] post chaise, four-wheeled, closed carriage, containing one seat for two or three passengers, that was popular in 18th-century England. The body was of the coupé type, appearing as if the front had been cut away. Because the driver rode one of the horses, it was possible to have windows in front as well as at the sides. At the post chaise’s front end, in place of the coach box, was a luggage platform. The carriage was built for long-distance travel, and so horses were changed at intervals at posts (stations).
 In England, public post chaises were painted yellow and could be hired, along with the driver and two horses, for about a shilling a mile. The post chaise is descended from the 17th-century two-wheeled French chaise.

  • A closed, four-wheeled, horse-drawn carriage, formerly used to transport mail and passengers.
  • A closed four-wheeled horse-drawn coach used as a rapid means for transporting mail and passengers in the 18th and 19th centuries

par·a·prax·is: A minor error, such as a slip of the tongue, thought to reveal a repressed motive.

A Freudian slip, also called parapraxis, is an error in speech, memory, or physical action that is interpreted as occurring due to the interference of some unconscious ("dynamically repressed") subdued wish, conflict, or train of thought. The concept is thus part of classical psychoanalysis.

Slips of the tongue and the pen are the classical parapraxes, but psychoanalytic theory also embraces such phenomena as misreadings, mishearings, temporary forgettings, and the mislaying and losing of objects.

The Freudian slip is named after Sigmund Freud, who, in his 1901 book The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, described and analyzed a large number of seemingly trivial, bizarre, or nonsensical errors and slips.

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