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English Literature: Critical Theory - Essay Example

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ENGLIT The idea of human beings having an essential self has been problematic since the very beginnings of history and philosophy, to say nothing of psychoanalysis. Different theorists have problematized the idea of the self in different ways over history throughout the centuries…
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English Literature: Critical Theory
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English Literature: Critical Theory

Download file to see previous pages... In works like The Interpretation of Dreams and The Mirror Stage as well as others, Freud and Lacan show interpretations of the self that continue to be relevant and influential today. Using Freudian psychoanalysis and the modality based on his work The Interpretation of Dreams, the context of defining the self is based on the individual getting to the bottom of their psychological fears through finding coherent and rational meaning in their dreams. Many of us think that dreams are often absurd and too distorted to take seriously as a manifestation of the self, but Freud took dreams very seriously, and saw them as being a sort of bridge between the conscious and unconscious selves. That is, under Freud’s essential division of the self into self-aware and non-self-aware categories, dreams represent a sort of essential self that is not available to the conscious mind. The idea would be to get an individual’s self to function more normally by an understanding of this connection. Freud defined normal behavior as being the result of a balance between the unconscious and the conscious selves. So from this modality’s perspective, the essential self of the individual behaves according to these mental forces, in a way of communicating with each other that could be seen as either balanced and rational, as determined by consciousness. Lacan was a disciple of Freud, but he also took many of Freud’s ideas about the self and added to them. Like Freud, he liked to concentrate on like the Oedipus complex, or the individual and their selfish narcissism and drivers. Selfish narcissism seems to be at the heart of many of the problems that individuals may display in the counseling session. Self concept is the organization of the self that changes over time during stages, and self-esteem is how positively or negatively a person views themselves in terms of their abilities and identity. From Lacan’s perspective, the self also develops emotionally and is more able to have this sort of perspective, and the individual self is also affected by morals as the individual moves from the morals that they were raised with to forming their own moral codes (authentic self). Throughout these processes, as in Freud, in Lacan, dreams can be seen to be codes to wish fulfillment and suppressed fears (the essential, but unknown, self). “We are considering not only with the problem: How can painful and terrifying dreams be the fulfillments of wishes? But we may add to this a second problem: Why do not the dreams that show an indifferent content, and yet turn out to be, reveal their meaning without disguise” (Lacan, 2006). Overall, from a Lacanian perspective, the individual’s motivations are not seen from a biological impetus, but rather were reshaped through the use of mind theory. Lacan’s theories are quite complicated relating to the unconscious self and how it displays itself in motivations. Moral yearning could be seen through the viewpoint of wish fulfillment as a natural psychoanalytical process, in this definition of the self. Lacan’s theories are still held to be relatively credible, as he operated in a medical community during his life. Despite his contributions to modern thought regarding the self, some commentators wonder whether or not Lacan was really investigating universal conditions or whether he was simply looking deeply into his own psyche. Whatever the answer, the applicability of his ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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