Rhetorical Analysis of Man’s Search for Meaning

During the time around World War II, psychoanalysis had set its reputation in the field of psychology. Nevertheless, new theories of interpreting psychological factors arose and got new attention from the public – logotherapy was one of them. In Man’s Search for Meaning, the author explicated on his experience in concentration camp and the lessons derived from his sufferings. These things obtained him new insights about logotherapy as he explored deeper into the psychology of human beings.

Of course, the first part of this book took a long account telling the experience, but what’s more important is the three phases of the prisoners inside the concentration camp. “When one examines the vast amount of material which has been amassed as the result of many prisoners’ observations and experiences, three phases of the inmate’s mental reactions to camp life become apparent.” (P22) As Frankl observed the prisoners’ behaviors, he generalized them into three discontinuous segments, and took separated paragraphs to illustrate several examples of these phases. Moreover, the story was not written in chronological order, but rather in the form of different episodes that included different characters’ interactions. The full book itself is in first person, but besides the introspection Frankl took about his own experience in the concentration camp, it also encompassed other people’s thoughts about their own life’s meanings, as Frankl concluded from his observations: “It can be readily understood that such a state of strain, coupled with the constant necessity of concentrating on the task of staying alive, forced the prisoner’s inner life down to a primitive level.” (P40) Obviously, the author took his voice to convey the meanings that various factors implemented inside the camp might contribute to the mental disorder of the prisoners. By contrast, therefore, the author, having blocked the negative impacts of these factors, has gained the credibility of explaining what he envisioned about logotherapy.

The second part, being more naturally theoretical, describes his own psychological theory. In this part, Frankl explored on the way his school of psychology came into maturation, including his experiences of being a psychotherapist and his patients’ diagnosis. As he proposed several basic components involved in logotherapy, he also postulated this theory as similar but different from psychoanalysis: “Logotherapy, in comparison with psychoanalysis, is a method less retrospective and less introspective. Logotherapy focuses rather on the future, that is to say, on the meanings to be fulfilled by the patient in his future.” (P104) Through this explanation, Frankl successfully arrived at a new concept for the society to be learned, that is, looking forward to the dreams people have, and the motivation they inherently possess instead of neurosis. Compared to Freud’s relatively emphatic tone in The Interpretation of Dreams, Frankl tries to be communicative with the readers to introduce this seemingly sophisticated topic, thus making them readily capable of understanding his psychological theory’s concepts.

The postscript plunges into the optimism beyond tragic situations. As he mentioned, people suffers in different degrees, they have distinct views about their lives: some people are capable of coping with stressors while others are not. This distinction had given the readers a warning sign about their own attitudes toward living. Traumatic events and daily hassles all implement on the psychological well-being of men, so “the human capacity to turn creatively turn life’s negative aspects into something positive or constructive” (P139) is rather a fundamental part of Frankl’s ideal about tragic optimism. It is easy to observe this pattern during our learning of ideals of human emotion, stress, and health. Therefore, if the previous two parts are said to be describing his own psychological theory, the postscript answers the readers’ confusion of the theory’s application through connecting concepts of logotherapy to the general knowledge in the field of psychology.

Life has a meaning. Throughout this book, this central theme almost surrounds the entire text to testify different people’s fates inside the concentration camp, as they have diverged degree of hopefulness. Frankl often quoted Nietzsche’s maxim, “He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.” (P5) This sentence emphasizes his belief that men possess the ability to choose what is meaningful in his life. There are also a lot of arguments inside the first part. For instance, love gives life meaning. As the Frankl thought about his wife in the concentration camp, he could be relieved from the hardships he experienced: He did not know about his wife’s status, but was rather empowered by taking the emotional burden he had for thinking of her. In author’s view, religion also gives life meaning, as individuals are aware of the assignments the divinity gives for them a reason to survive. What’s surprising to the readers, still, is Frankl’s idea that suffering gives life meaning. He was not frustrated with the will to meaning though he was in bad conditions. He suffered for his loss to honor something he once owned.

The intended audience, ostensibly, is those who have experienced intense stresses in any way. Just like what the author mentioned about his life in concentration camp and other patients’ accounts, they could, in some way, be connected to the powerful message of this book about dealing with those stressors. It also has certain identification with people who have other sufferings, such as oppression or persecution, though not physically implemented, could also hurt their feelings. They might find some ways to cope with the stresses through the exploration of this book. Nevertheless, even people with relatively easy lives could find ways to connect to this book. They surely have gained adequate success, and possibly possess need for achievement. However, Frankl still prompted them to find deeper levels of their lives’ meanings. We adolescents, who are susceptible to identity and role confusion, can also be enlightened by this book’s reflection on purposes of people’s life circumstances and choices.

References

Frankl, V. (1992) Man’s Search for Meaning (Fourth Edition.). Boston, MA: Beacon Press

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Thank You, My Interview

This winter break, I am not relaxed. Earlier than that, I had declined my classmates’ several invitations of a trip to Japan. From the start of the break (January 12), I was just preparing for the upcoming InitialView interview in six days, and struggled for a while to think about my own words: What I could say about myself? Is it really good to say this? Will the admission office of my dream school value my speech? Sometimes I even thought whether my TOEFL Speaking score – the unchangeable label – would put stereotype threat to my interview performance.

Obviously, I took a lot of time to draft my interview according to my past events. I picked my most dedicated extracurricular activity – mangrove forest protection – as the main topic around the interview. “Whatever the interviewer’s trick is, I am going to swerve his or her interest to this activity.” Additionally, NOVA Monthly magazine club, my violin playing, as well as my campus life, are all encompassed in the big bundle of my mind. Gradually, I also got many insights beyond these activities, making me surprised about the power of introspection.

The preparation was intense, but it worth. Everyday I stared at the mirror and warned myself to be expressive. I sat in front of my father, who was, not definitely great at English, acted as my interviewer. As he questioned me about various aspects of my life, I really had to take time to process what he intended to say despite answering his “curiosities”. Nevertheless, I found myself really fluent in speaking, and whatever question my dear papa asked about, I would provide satisfactory response that was already packed in my mind full of the materials. Of course, my seniors also cordially offer their experiences last year during the InitialView and encourage me to catch this chance and make a hit; my foreign teachers in my school, though not available for preparation, also provide tips for me to get rid of this interview.

Still, the day will come. I got into the CBD of Shenzhen and was elevated to the fourteenth floor of the Time Finance Centre. There I saw teacher who instructed me to take a writing. “How to love a person?” Well, this topic was easy, and I harnessed what I learned from psychology course. After the writing, I was sent to have an interview.

At first, the interview asked me about my plan, and I told her the truth, that I would play violin on stage. (Actually, I just finished my performance yesterday!) However, as the interview progressed, I thought the topic about violin was talked about too much, and I took a strategic turn to swerve her attention to mangrove forest protection. Fortunately, I finished the entire interview process.

Today, I received my report, and I was quite satisfied with my results. My parents took a look at my chubby face and my seniors, as well, appreciated how great my interview was. I am confident to send my interview video to my dream school’s admission office. Now, as I send my InitialView video to the admission office of my dream school, I also send a seed of hope to it.

Status

Bourgeoisie’s Anxiety

Nowadays, more and more families decide to send their children study abroad. Despite those definitely rich people who regard the tuition fee as an ignorable fraction of their income, more and more middle classes, including my family, also make this choice. What’s different, though, is that we have to make plan to use money.

No need to mention my motivation beyond studying abroad. The core question is, why would my parents overcome the challenge of great cost and support my education? From the beginning of my high school life, anything about testing, studying, and applying is tied to certain expense.

Standardized tests are necessary part for our profile. However, registering for a test is, though not that costly, still countable to my parents’ weekly salary. For rich students’ ideals, it is good to test frequently and show the greatest score to the application office. But for the relatively poor students like me, I have to decide when is the most suitable schedule for me to plan a test and guarantee that I cannot lose the chance to best behave myself at that time. You now perceive the stress. Moreover, lack of context also puts stereotype threat to me. I must to confess that rich people really experience more about the world, and they have greater insights to certain questions. It seems inevitable for me to be considered less knowledgeable.

Cram school. Yes, in this generation full of intelligent people, it is common to see many students studying in such a place. We see from a lot of institutions hosting such auxiliary classes that their advertisements are great lists of students who get high scores on specific tests, thus implicitly propagating the effectiveness of aided education. But the cost is even far higher than the standardized testing fee itself. When preparing for such an exam, rich students really put great efforts in cram school. On the contrary, I am not able to assess the class simply because I have to seriously manage my cost. Furthermore, there are many academic competitions that require exceptional skills on certain subject field, and I heard my peers taking part in the course and got big, big, big prize. Is the prize really big? Or, it is just exaggerated by those cram institutions. Well, at least my careful listening to the school class and self-study technique work for me to win prizes important for my career interest.

College application is more of a big deal, even the cost of testing and studying is relatively too cheap to be mentioned. Of course, the application fee is not expensive, but the expenditure beyond the college application could be so enormous for some students who get to… Oh, the next thing I am going to say may be sensitive. Due to incomplete statistic, the majority of the international students in my district take agencies. You might not know this, let me explain this term to you. Generally, the agency is an institution which manage registered students’ materials and give them advice about the best way to succeed during application period. Sometimes, students who get to agencies earlier in high school do extracurricular activities out of their suggestions. It seems that the applicants who do not have an agency but apply by themselves are heretics, and even my community of international applicants make a term for this – DIY applicant. I am not completely DIY, though; I just use another way to aid my application, that is to ask help from seniors and my own school’s counselors. They are totally free and are glad to solve my problems.

We bourgeoisies are really not in advantage about these matters. However, we have different mindset from those of rich students which put more emphasis on intrapersonal intelligence. To make ourselves more self-aware is to make ourselves more outstanding.

Is Don Quixote Really Insane?

(Just a homework-level response.)

Don Quixote, thought by most of the characters in Don Quixote, is really insane, because he has all the characteristics of a mad person, such as a crazy set of ideas that make him expose both himself and others to danger. However, his behaviors are actually out of consciousness, for he is involved into the chivalric fantasy illustrated in the books he read and tries to restore it by taking the actions that are, though, unacceptable for others.

Throughout most of the story, Don Quixote tries to deal with certain issues with his basic standard of loyalty, humility, and honor, besides the violence part. Definitely, he does great endeavor to protect “Dulcinea” from being debunked by other people about her beauty, showing that by taking righteous actions, he possesses faith to his love. Don Quixote also has humble and honest temperament, as he is sharing the story with the group of people he met in the mountain: “The canon stood amazed at Don Quixote’s methodical and orderly madness, in describing the adventure of the Knight of the Lake.” (1.4.23.2) The phrase “methodical and orderly” illustrates that Don Quixote has a conscious and sincere explication about the adventure he describes. In fact, because he has read so many adventure books and knows the rules so well, he has, basically, created an entire belief system that is open to rational argument. Moreover, his chivalric deeds do win some people’s admiration, though most of them just think of them as entertaining. Nevertheless, in protecting his honor, as in the moment when he is defeated by Knight of the White Moon, he does follow the conditions and decide to return back home.

Actually, Don Quixote is never too stubborn about his optimism about being a knight-errant. At part I of the fiction he shows great enthusiasm for preparing to save the world, leaving others with the impression that he is insane. However, when the story progresses, we can obviously see that his behaviors are controlled, as he thinks about the rationale behind his chivalric deeds. Near the end of the story, he returns to his true self, “I perceive nonsense and impertinence of my knight adventure books.” (2.1.74.5) What might account for the gradual change of his behaviors is the changes in others’ perspectives about Don Quixote. From the start of the novel, he is already sane, though not recognized by the characters around him. But as he grows reputation, people tend to regard him as a celebrity, therefore finding out more details about his personalities. These people put some impact on Don Quixote’s life experiences that help him regulating his actions in a more rational way.

“He is mad past recovery, but yet he has lucid intervals.” (2.1.18.4) Ostensibly, we see Don Quixote as insane because of his abnormal actions. However, looking deeper inside his motives, we should know that he is a propagator of chivalric spirits, transforming the core value of knights into real-life use.

 

Works Cited

“Don Quixote.” The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Trans. Samuel Putnam. Third ed. Vol.C. New York and London: W. W. Norton, 2012, 386-516. Print.

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Review of my 2016

A new refreshing year is awaiting. With just thousands of seconds to count down, here I would like to casually reflect back my life in 2016.

First, I want to share my personal developments. Through this year, I achieved a lot of skills, like winning a national prize, being able to play electric piano, etc.. These new things I learned were memorable, because they came from my commitment. Moreover, I also made plenty of new friends that had distinct backgrounds. Together, we could share ideas and talk about things we were interested in. I also got to know more deeply about Chinese culture. I visited a lot of great natural sceneries and their corresponding civilization. Those things make me more prepared for introducing my culture to people from other countries.

Second, I would like to discuss about school life. During this year, I gained a lot of declarative knowledge that is practical. And I got to pursue my career interests with more opportunities to broaden my vision. I did a lot of researches about chemistry and biology, which really enhanced scientific skills. What’s more, my environmental protection organization goes well, and successfully survived “the Great War of hundreds of clubs”. I honorably became a peer tutor this November, when I was already stepped into college application period. Certainly, the senior 2 (grade 11) life was so busy that I experienced great GPA downfall this year. No wonder flaws of grading and evaluation rumored around my class, I was more optimistic because I really learned a lot of things. The final exam for this semester is coming, and I am sure to fight back the downfall and save my GPA and make my dream more approachable in this senior 3 (grade 12) moment.

Third, testing. At the beginning of this year, my standardized test score was so low that I even considered quitting the international curriculum, but after months of endeavors, I am very glad to achieve such great scores in TOEFL and ACT. Moreover, I accomplished a great miracle: No mean to brag, I was the first person in Shenzhen Middle School who got a full mark in SAT Biology test. Many special occasions did happen, though. During the AP exam period, one of my dearest relatives passed away, while my parents held this as secret until I completed the last test; all the June ACT tests in Hong Kong were cancelled, compelling me to take another one in October.

Is 2016 a perfect year for me? Seriously not. Chaotic situations frequented around the society, shuffling my view of the world many times. Sadness, joy, leaving and reuniting… too many things to be listed. However, I mentally grew up much more than I expected. Instead of escaping from aversive occasions, I would like to take relatively wise actions to dispel those troubles. Looking back, I saw many twists about certain aspects, but those things generally came out to be good in the end. Of course, I will not easily give up in 2017, because I am going to boost up and catch the goals of getting into my dream university, to get involved into the competitive but enlightening education system. Still, the future is full of uncertainty, but I would live my best in the present.

Oh, there is only about half an hour left. So, with the last sincere wish for everyone, I would like to conclude with the most commonly used sentence: “Happy New Year!”

An ugly photo

Aside

How gift should be mattered?

(It’s Christmas now, I see classmates are enthusiastically exchanging gifts with each other. Surely, I got some gifts. But was I satisfied? Is it necessary for me to be regretful if I do not get any present? Here I would like to share my little thoughts about this aspect.)

In the present society, gift, or material reward, has been regarded as a manifestation for someone’s accomplishment of different goals. Basically, the larger the gift given, the prouder the receiver will feel. However, this is too a stereotypical view for me since it does not guarantee a student to have a good perception about the gift itself. What’s more important should be how the “gift” means.

I remembered a time when I had a birthday party. As usual, one of my best friends came in my house and greeted me, presenting a cheap but elegantly-made artifact. Inside this gift hid a letter with encouraging words for my later campus life. I speculated that the present would enthrall me a lot, not on the size, but on the conveyance of positive thoughts.

At the same time, I saw other students arrived and carried big toys into the room. They really looked precious and treasurable. But what’s their meanings? Even though these presents were expensive, at least in my thoughts, I did not think they could impress deep into my mind, since these toys were of not great significances but just a representation of givers’ benign toward their friends.

Therefore, it is to the gift’s own significance, not its price or size, that manifest the purest friendship. No wonder people nowadays need expensive stuffs for maintaining relations. But don’t forget the core value of gift-giving. If people truly consider about what they are supposed to present, I think the world will be filled with positive energy.

Pill of Immortality

(A short story inspired by Don Quixote, the famous work we learned in World Literature.)

Donny, a college student who was obsessed with chemistry, found it interesting to synthesize some new materials for pragmatic functions. However, he had always dreamed of being immortal in order to enjoy the fun from scientific explorations as well as his favorite Chinese literature. To get help, Donny told this idea to one of his friends called Bubbles. “Donny, are you crazy? There is nothing for people to get immortality. Remember what we just learned from the Epic of Gilgamesh?”

“Calm down, Bubbles.” said Donny, “You see, I am just like the wizards, creating a lot of fun stuffs for good use. If you help me with this, you will receive a big prize!”

“Well, what prize?”

“I will get you all the chemistry essays done. You know, those prompts are so easy for me that I just have to take several moments to finish them. By the way, you have to be an enchantress and treat me as a Taoist alchemist.”

Bubbles meditated for a while, “These essays are really distressing and I am even hard to keep up my schedule. Wow, it is kind of supernatural aid! So, deal.”

“All right. Let’s go to the mine for those metals.” said Donny. “Wait, where is the mine?” asked Bubbles. “It’s very close to us, and I will take you there.” They went out of the classrooms and sneaked into another building where the metals were presented.

Bubbles was stumbled. “Wait, you said this is a mine, but it’s just a laboratory of metallurgy.” Donny felt surprised, “Don’t you know that a Taoist is always going anywhere searching for something?” As they approached the reagent storage, Donny saw a material labeled “Hg” and picked up. “Hold on, you should know that mercury is extremely toxic.” Bubbles was shocked by Donny’s stupid action. At the same time, Donny picked up another heavy metal named “Pb” and said “Set a thief to catch a thief, this is what Chinese intellectuals tell us to do when it comes to medicine.”

After the expedition, Donny led Bubbles back to their building and went to the organic laboratory, where he created a lot of materials for his reputed successful research projects. “Now, inside the temple, I am going to grab some herbs and make these things into a pill of immortality.”

Bubbles was still obfuscated, but she began trying to appease Donny. “Yeah, this temple is filled with fairy’s blessing. Let’s get the pill started.” As Donny grabbed some leaves and mixed them with mercury and lead inside the pestle, Bubbles prepared for heating the “forge” – actually a crucible – to eliminate the impurities.

“The pill was refined, and I will to put it inside the forge. At the same moment when I eat the pill, you are going to incant for the input of supernatural power.” Donny threw the ball-shaped mixture into the crucible. About ten minutes later, he used tongs to pick up the pill, cooled it down, and slowly put the pill inside his mouth. Simultaneously, Melissa started to enchant, reciting the ancient text with gibberish English accent: “Hail to the Emperor of the Sky, I beg you to come down the mundane world for a little giving…”

Donny swallowed the pill, and started to relax: “The god and fairy’s humor began swerving around my body, making me feel like a paper in the air.” Suddenly, Donny fell down and lost his consciousness.

Two days later, Donny opened his eyes and found himself inside the hospital. “Oh, I am so worried about you,” said Bubbles.

Donny, was a little suspected, “Am I supposed to be immortal?”

“You are immortal?” Bubbles was astounded, “Those heavy metals almost killed you.” She paused for a few seconds, “Fortunately for you, I fed some egg whites and specific oxidants to eliminate those toxins inside your body after you fainted.”

“Oh, no. I remember that our chemistry essays are due today!”

Bubbles smiled, “It’s great that you retrieve some of your memories. But you don’t need to worry about essays now, I already have them done. Besides, I reported this case to our professor and he granted you a month off the campus. Maybe I need to rely on myself for these essays.” Her face was strung up again, “I feel sorry for my superstitions that make you a lot of troubles. However, I still want to remind you of those outdated ideologies. Even Chinese people themselves do not believe in the pill of immortality.”

“Don’t worry.” said Donny, “I guess I learned a lesson from you that these ideals are corrupted for us human beings, and I will never touch Chinese literature again.”

“Well, you do not have to be too absolute about this matter.” Bubbles said sincerely. “Some aspects of the culture may be too far from the present generation, but the remainders are still useful for dealing with many life issues. Keep your rational eyes on, and you will eventually extract the beneficial parts of the civilization.”

“Yeah, your saying is reasonable.” Donny accepted Bubbles’ idea with great admiration. “I will still keep loving Chinese literature again. This time, however, I am going to go deeper into the subject with objective eyesight. Farewell, pill of immortality!”

Aside

Rejected by ED – Bad News, or Good News for me?

Today, the college I applied for early decision has notified the admission results for all its applicants. At the moment I clicked the mailbox, my heart bumped so tightly, then loosely, then tightly again. This awkward sensation continued until the result was clear in front of my eye: “Dear Fan … I regret to have to let you know that we are unable to offer you admission.” Suddenly, I did feel something constraint was released, but did not feel anything sad at all. The little sentence that came out of my mind was “Well, this college is so cool that it just rejected a student who is going to shade great lights on it.”

Or, maybe not? In fact, this college is not of my first choice, but I did throw out a chance to ED it, because its fancy description of its biology majors catches my eyes. The drawback is, however, that I may not be so well behaved in the not-my-favorite, and the tuition fee is a bit high. So, I just wait until now to see the consequence.

My objectives now seem stereotypical for those “perfect” Chinese applicants, but there is a little trick with ACT test. Because when I hand in the application form to that ED college, my October ACT has not been released, so I have to fill in my April ACT score. The April score is decent, but not satisfactory in the present moment, because I truly made a progress during the half year period. Logically deducing, using my April score to apply for that college is risky, because my April result shows I am in 96th percentile of the examinees, while that college requires, presumably, 98th, or even 99th percentile. This is the gap that seems small but actually very steep, as you know about the normal distribution: The number of top 4% students is four times the top 1% students. That seems that I have only about a quarter of those top 1% students’ chance to be admitted, while not all the top 1% are eligible for admission. Unfortunately, when the satisfying October score is released, there is no time for me to send the corresponding report to my ED college.

Subjective information? It should be taken in account too. Well, I am confident that at least there is nothing fake, wrong or disappointing with personal statements.

During admission, we are not fond of geographic conditions. But it turns out that we still need a temperature range that is fit for our body conditions. Do not judge me through my slightly chubby bear-like appearance; I am really not tolerant of even below 0 degree Celsius. Glad that my ED college decided not to make me solely stand in its cold air. Otherwise, my nose would get a tough time sneezing in that chilly temperate climate. I live in Shenzhen, and been to Israel… Experiences tell me that, subtropical monsoon or Mediterranean climates might be better.

All right, enough for chit chat. There is a phrase remind me: “Good things are a long time in coming.” Certainly, my personal history has a lot of situations that are similar in their influence in my emotions. Initially I am depressed, but as I progress toward, I will twist up to the summit and enjoy the fruits of success. Just like when I was in 9th grade. At the beginning, I was only, to say, in upper middle position of my junior school, and people around me did not expect that I could even get into the top 8 high schools in my city. Many excellent students had already get enrolled into some of the famous high schools through early decision. However, as I worked hard for preparing the entrance exam, I got in Shenzhen Middle School! ACT score, too, does give me a lot of enlightenment on that. And I think it is time to boost me up to a higher level of education that I look upon to. Wish me good luck in the following months!

The Interpretation of Dreams Journal 7

In the book “The Interpretation of Dream”, Freud puts forward his theory that the dream is the fulfillment of unconscious wishes, and he elaborately introduces the process of how unconscious wishes are concealed and how they endeavor to break through the consciousness: On its way to consciousness along the path of the thought processes, the unconscious wish is always distorted by the censorship, which transfers it into a recent material, and thus appears unrecognizable to us. Its further progress is then checked by the state of sleep of the preconscious, a system protects the unconscious wish from the diminishing excitations. Therefore, the dream process of regression takes place in the sleeping state and in so doing acquires representability.

While other writers attribute the occurrence of the forgetting of dreams to the mutually alien character of the waking and sleeping states, Freud believes that it’s dream-censorship that makes people forget about some parts of dreams, a way of resistance to the penetration of the dream-thoughts into consciousness. Upon this situation, Freud suggests that we direct our attention to a single element of the dream and find out the involuntary thoughts associated with this element. After we repeatedly do the same process with different component of the dream-content, we will finally come upon the dream-thoughts from which the dream originated. In other words, we should open a new path in our waking state and, along this path, run back from the dream-elements to the dream-thoughts instead of completely focusing on the interpretation-work of nocturnal dreams.

Before the explanation of regression, it’s important to first look at Freud’s interpretation of “psychic apparatus”, which he considers as a compound instrument containing two “systems” – the initial system receives stimulus of perception but retains no memory, while the second system lied behind the initial system transforms the temporary stimulus of the first into lasting traces. According to this structure, because thought-relations are contained in the second system, where they forfeit expression in the regression to the perceptual images, all those thought-relations of the dream-thoughts either lost in the dream-work or have difficulty in achieving expression. Freud conclude this phenomenon of regression as “the structure of the dream-thoughts breaking up into its raw material.”(Chapter 7, P277) At the end of this section, Freud puts forward a much more significant theory upon the regression, saying that we can have insight not only into the phylogenetic childhood but even into the evolution of the human race because dreaming is on the whole an act of regression to the earliest childhood.

Because the nocturnal thought-process stops working during sleeping in order to let preconsciousness have some rest, Freud assumes that the sensory surface of consciousness, which is turned toward the preconscious, is far more difficult to be excited than the sensory surface turning toward the perception in the sleeping state. However, dreams have a waking effect that can stimulate parts of the quiescent energy of the preconscious. Under the influence from this energy, dreams experience “secondary elaboration”, which patches together fragments from materials that seem to be contradictory in order to further disguise the unconscious wishes, just like piecing the cine film together. The absurd dreams, so frequently mentioned by Freud, also experience this secondary elaboration.

Negating the commonly held opinion that consciousness is the general basis in the course of psychic events, Freud considers unconscious as true psychic reality, comparing the unconscious to a larger circle including the smaller circle of consciousness. In addition, although most psychologists think that there are two kinds of unconscious, Freud maintains that one of them is the “unconscious”, which can not turn to the consciousness, and another one is “preconscious”, capable of reaching consciousness after passing through the censorship. Freud also vividly describes preconscious as a screen between the consciousness and the unconscious. Based on the knowledge I learn in class and the analysis in this book, I agree with Freud’s opinion concerning the relationship and the distinction between consciousness and the unconscious. The process such as the regulation of blood pressure works without our awareness, and it must be the unconscious. But sometimes, memory accessible to consciousness only after something calls my attention. For example, I can only remember my experience during childhood until my parents mention the details. According to Freud, those memories that I can only recall with stimulus must be preconscious.

 

References

Freud, S. (1997) The Interpretation of Dreams (Wordsworth Edition.). New York, NY: Wordsworth Classics of World Literature