Comments on Freud

19 Oct

Psychoanalysis is one of those topics of evergreen interest, and seeing as I recently took a course on the subject, I thought I would share my thoughts with you. So here is an excerpt from my learning diary written in regard to our lesson on another of those perennial favourites – Freud.



Gary Larson – The Far Side


Jeremy Tambling’s excerpt from Literature and Psychoanalysis and Freud’s essay Creative Writers and Day-Dreaming put a lot of focus on fantasy –or ‘phantasy’ as they spell it, a word which is described by Tambling as “where the concept of fantasy is used in a strictly psychoanalytic, technical sense”. Freud’s piece, while fairly easily followed, gave very little attention to creative writing and was almost entirely focused on various forms of day-dreaming.

An interesting point came up in regards to the similarities between child’s play and an adult’s phantasising. Children play in order to discover their world and work through new things they are learning. It is fun to play as a child because you are never quite sure what is going to happen. A child might for instance, after watching Beetlejuice, draw a small chalk door on a brick surface, part of them expecting it to open when they knock three times. While part of the child’s mind is aware that nothing will happen, a small part is still unsure and suspects that perhaps a door into the underworld will open after all.

An adult is much more close-minded. Having life experience makes an adult believe they are already aware of all possible outcomes, thus making the game rather less intriguing. Freud points out that although we abandon child’s play, we are unable to give up the pleasure gained from playing and thus we simply shift it to something else – phantasising. Although an adult may not get out the dollies and the tea set, adult phantasising is not that far removed from child’s play, often consisting of running through different possible scenarios of a situation for which they are not sure what the outcome will be, possibly focusing on outcomes that are highly unlikely to ever take place.

Freud comments on the fact that children are open, as they have no need to conceal their desire to become adults and to explore the world through play. Adults on the other hand are expected to know things, or at least act as if they do and thus have reason to conceal their phantasies, which Freud broke down as falling into two groups – erotic and ambitious.

Freud’s distinction between the uncanny of reality and of literature is made by the claim that the occurrence of something uncanny in real life is formed by much more simplistic circumstances and happens much less frequently. The class this week seemed to be in somewhat unanimous agreement of this, pointing out that in literature we are much more open to and even expectant of the uncanny. There is a broad range of literature that requires very much a full ‘suspension of disbelief’, as stories take place in entirely different worlds.

It is true that it doesn’t really require a complexly woven situation for a real life event to become uncanny. People that behave in a manner outside the accepted social norms, for whatever reason, instantly awaken a kind of sinister discomfort, such as when one day somebody close to you suddenly no longer recognises you. It is unsettling and perhaps even frightening, causing you to question yourself to be sure that this is really happening.

Freud also explains the experience of the uncanny as related to repetition-compulsion, the reliving of some traumatic event through seeking out situations in which it is likely to be repeated, a Groundhog Day existence of sorts.

The collision of the literary uncanny and ‘real’ uncanny is also a possibility. Hailing from the town that briefly yet officially took the name ‘The Middle of Middle-earth’, the author of this diary has noticed that the line is easily blurred. Community spirit is a wonderful thing. When a small and relatively isolated place is keen to make its mark on the world, they become highly suggestive. When a city is physically transformed to resemble something else, the eager community is quick to absorb the new identity, clouding the distinction between ‘real’ and ‘pretend’. When a whole community is heavily involved and invested in ‘pretending’, the effect can only be described as uncanny. On occasion one might wonder whether these people have truly come to believe that they now live in Middle-earth. There is certainly a lot of tangible evidence to support their belief.




Sunrise, Sunset…

5 Aug



It’s Not My Problem

18 Jul

Image credit: wallcaptureHD


“Some people thought Ukraine didn’t have anything to do with them. They are now discovering their error,” one senior US official said, adding that this could shatter the view in some European capitals that the conflict was largely contained.” (Stuff)


I am curious as to which European capitals felt that this conflict was largely contained? Which people think the Ukraine has nothing to do with them? Though it is understandable that there are many conflicting and difficult issues at hand in this situation, and this may sway one to employ the head-in-the-sand method, surely no one really thinks that this will all just get swept under the rug as long as we avert our eyes? In the words of Blam Blam Blam’s There is No Depression in New Zealand;


“Oh but everybody’s talking about World War Three,

Yes everybody’s talking about World War Three,

But we’re as safe as safe can be, there’s no unrest in this country”


And yes, there has been some ‘international pressure’ applied to this delicate situation, but perhaps it’s time to look at something more than the proverbial ‘you’re not coming to my birthday party, so there’. I do not advocate for violence in any way, but there is certainly a wide variety of other methods that can be applied. For example, let’s take a look at something that truly draws in eyes the world over, the FIFA World Cup;


“FIFA raises awareness of the need to abolish racism and other forms of discrimination worldwide”

“FIFA promotes the positive benefits of playing by the rules”


Some of you may recall that the host of the 2018 World Cup host will be Russia. FIFA is an international federation that claims social responsibility as a guiding principle, stands strong against discrimination and pushes for fair play. Is not hosting the next World Cup exactly the kind of privilege that should be removed from a country that will not play by the rules?

And not to dismiss the broad issue of discrimination, do people still recall that Russia has something referred to in English as the ‘Russian LGBT Propaganda Law‘? It was designed “for the purpose of protecting children from information advocating for a denial of traditional family values”.


Conflict of interest anyone?

Or just TL:DR?


Name that Song

24 Jun

A doodle I made whilst listening to a popular song that was released in the early noughties by an American band, the video of which features (in addition to the themes expressed in my doodle) a person from another popular and very well-known American band. 10 points if you can name that song.

Fiona, Fruit of My Procrastination

4 Feb

Funny how whenever there’s a pressing deadline for some essay, article or thesis, things like doing the dishes suddenly become pressing, enticing and critically urgent. I never get so much everything done as when I’m supposed to be doing something else.

Unfortunately for this drawing of Fiona, I already met my deadlines, so it’s back in the box for her. If you wish to see some sketches of Fiona Apple that have achieved completion, feel free to visit this post.

Beginners Graffiti

2 Feb

A little while ago I posted about the snow graffiti that seems to have sprung up around town. One day walking home I decided to add my own contribution to a small wall that was as yet untouched. A couple of days later, I went to see if someone had wiped it off yet…

Surprisingly, it was still there, and appears to have collected some friends – contributions of peace, love and smilies. And they say it’s not a good neighbourhood.

Drop It Like It’s Hot

30 Jan

It’s no secret that the sun doesn’t get too high in the sky during winter in the Nordic regions, but just how low it really hangs can be surprising. I captured a quick snap of my shadow in the height of the midday sun to illustrate. As long as it’s light outside, the height of the sun doesn’t usually warrant much attention, unless of course you’re driving.

That bright, flaming ball sitting low, low, low and hitting the frosty fog straight on may not be the most conducive to your ride. If you’re on foot however, you’ll be more inclined to enjoy the glint of those horizontal rays bouncing off the crisp, white snow.


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