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Freud Returns

Where there is understanding there is strength. No understanding equals a breeding ground for judgment and self doubt. More food for thought about identifying and meeting your Unmet Needs so that you can focus on your Values, Vision, Business Plan, Marketing Plan, Niche, Brand and more.

The following are excerpts from the April/May edition of “Scientific American Mind”.

Freud Returns

The founder of psychoanalysis was born 150 years ago, and in 2006 his theories are enjoying a rebirth. New life in-deed, because not too long ago his ideas were considered dead. For the first half of the 1900s, Sigmund Freud’s explanations dominated views of how the human mind works.

His basic proposition was that our motivations remain largely hidden in our unconscious minds. Moreover, they are actively withheld from consciousness by a repressive force. The executive apparatus of the mind (the ego) rejects any unconscious drives (the id) that might prompt behavior that would be incompatible with our civilized conception of ourselves. This repression is necessary because the drives express themselves in unconstrained passions, childish fantasies, and sexual and aggressive urges.

Mental illness, Freud said until his death in 1939, results when repression fails. Phobias, panic attacks and obsessions are caused by intrusions of the hidden drives into voluntary behavior. The aim of psychotherapy, then, was to trace neurotic symptoms back to their unconscious roots and expose these roots to mature, rational judgment, thereby depriving them of their compulsive power.

Neuroscientists have also identified unconscious memory systems that mediate emotional learning. In 1996 at New York University, LeDoux demonstrated the existence under the conscious cortex of a neuronal pathway that connects perceptual information with the primitive brain structures responsible for generating fear responses. Because this pathway bypasses the hippocampus “which generates conscious memories”, “current events routinely trigger unconscious remembrances of emotionally important past events, causing conscious feelings that seem irrational, such as “Men with beards make me uneasy.”

They are the “seeking” or “reward” system (which motivates the pursuit of pleasure); the “anger-rage” system (which governs angry aggression but not predatory aggression); the “fear-anxiety” system; and the “panic” system (which includes complex instincts such as those that govern social bonding).

Now it has returned. Neuroscientists such as Donald W. Pfaff of the Rockefeller University and Panksepp of Bowling Green State University believe that the instinctual mechanisms that govern human motivation are even more primitive than Freud imagined. We share basic emotional-control systems with our primate relatives and with all mammals. At the deep level of mental organization that Freud called the id, the functional anatomy and chemistry of our brains is not much different from that of our favorite barnyard animals and house hold pets.

For the complete story you can Click Here to Scientific American Mind.