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... the odious egoistic impulse that had emerged in her...

Hilde Moller Knag jumped out of bed with the bulky ring binder in her arms. She plonked it down on her writing desk, grabbed her clothes, and dashed into the bathroom. She stood under the shower for two minutes, dressed herself quickly, and ran downstairs.

"Breakfast is ready, Hilde!"

"I just have to go and row first."

"But Hilde... !"

She ran out of the house, down the garden, and out onto the little dock. She untied the boat and jumped down into it. She rowed around the bay with short angry strokes until she had calmed down.

"We are the living planet, Sophie! We are the great vessel sailing around a burning sun in the universe. But each and every of us is also a ship sailing through life with a cargo of genes. When we have carried this cargo safely to the next harbor--we have not lived in vain..."

She knew the passage by heart. It had been written for her. Not for Sophie, for her. Every word in the ring binder was written by Dad to Hilde.

She rested the oars in the oarlocks and drew them in. The boat rocked gently on the water, the ripples slapping softly against the prow.

And like the little rowboat floating on the surface in the bay at Lillesand, she herself was just a nutshell on the surface of life.

Where were Sophie and Alberto in this picture? Yes, where were Alberto and Sophie?

She could not fathom that they were no more than "electromagnetic impulses" in her father\'s brain. She could not fathom, and certainly not accept, that they were only paper and printer\'s ink from a ribbon in her father\'s portable typewriter. One might just as well say that she herself was nothing but a conglomeration of protein compounds that had suddenly come to life one day in a "hot little pool." But she was more than that. She was Hilde Moller Knag.

She had to admit that the ring binder was a fantastic present, and that her father had touched the core of something eternal in her. But she didn\'t care for the way he was dealing with Sophie and Alberto.

She would certainly teach him a lesson, even before he got home. She felt she owed it to the two of them. Hilde could already imagine her father at Kastrup Airport, in Copenhagen. She could just see him running around like mad.

Hilde was now quite herself again. She rowed the boat back to the dock, where she was careful to make it fast. After breakfast she sat at the table for a long time with her mother. It felt good to be able to talk about something as ordinary as whether the egg was a trifle too soft.

She did not start to read again until the evening. There were not many pages left now.

Once again there was a knocking on the door.

"Let\'s just put our hands over our ears," said Alberto, "and perhaps it\'ll go away."

"No, I want to see who it is."

Alberto followed her to the door.

On the step stood a naked man. He had adopted a very ceremonial posture, but the only thing he had with him was the crown on his head.

"Well?" he said. "What do you good people think of the Emperor\'s new clothes?"

Alberto and Sophie were utterly dumbfounded. This caused the naked man some consternation.

"What? You are not bowing!" he cried.

"Indeed, that is true," said Alberto, "but the Emperor is stark naked."

The naked man maintained his ceremonial posture. Alberto bent over and whispered in Sophie\'s ear:

"He thinks he is respectable."

At this, the man scowled.

"Is some kind of censorship being exercised on these premises?" he asked.

"Regrettably," said Alberto. "In here we are both alert and of sound mind in every way. In the Emperor\'s shameless condition he can therefore not cross the threshold of this house."

Sophie found the naked man\'s pomposity so absurd that she burst out laughing. As if her laughter had been a prearranged signal, the man with the crown on his head suddenly became aware that he was naked. Covering his private parts with both hands, he bounded toward the nearest clump of trees and disappeared, probably to join company with Adam and Eve, Noah, Little Red Riding-hood, and Winnie-the-Pooh.

Alberto and Sophie remained standing on the step, laughing.

At last Alberto said, "It might be a good idea if we went inside. I\'m going to tell you about Freud and his theory of the unconscious."

They seated themselves by the window again. Sophie looked at her watch and said: "It\'s already half past two and I have a lot to do before the garden party."

"So have I. We\'ll just say a few words about Sigmund Freud."

"Was he a philosopher?"

"We could describe him as a cultural philosopher, at least. Freud was born in 1 856 and he studied medicine at the University of Vienna. He lived in Vienna for the greater part of his life at a period when the cultural life of the city was flourishing. He specialized early on in neurology. Toward the close of the last century, and far into our own, he developed his \'depth psychology\' or psychoanalysis."

"You\'re going to explain this, right?"

"Psychoanalysis is a description of the human mind in general as well as a therapy for nervous and mental disorders. I do not intend to give you a complete picture either of Freud or of his work. But his theory of the unconscious is necessary to an understanding of what a human being is."

"You intrigue me. Go on."

"Freud held that there is a constant tension between man and his surroundings. In particular, a tension--or conflict--between his drives and needs and the demands of society. It is no exaggeration to say that Freud discovered human drives. This makes him an important exponent of the naturalistic currents that were so prominent toward the end of the nineteenth century."

"What do you mean by human drives?"

"Our actions are not always guided by reason. Man is not really such a rational creature as the eighteenth-century rationalists liked to think. Irrational impulses often determine what we think, what we dream, and what we do. Such irrational impulses can be an expression of basic drives or needs. The human sexual drive, for example, is just as basic as the baby\'s instinct to suckle."


"This in itself was no new discovery. But Freud showed that these basic needs can be disguised or \'sublimated,\' thereby steering our actions without our being aware of it. He also showed that infants have some sort of sexuality. The respectable middle-class Viennese reacted with abhorrence to this suggestion of the \'sexuality of the child\' and made him very unpopular."

"I\'m not surprised."

"We call it Victorianism, when everything to do with sexuality is taboo. Freud first became aware of children\'s sexuality during his practice of psychotherapy. So he had an empirical basis for his claims. He had also seen how numerous forms of neurosis or psychological disorders could be traced back to conflicts during childhood. He gradually developed a type of therapy that we could call the archeology of the soul."

"What do you mean by that?"

"An archeologist searches for traces of the distant past by digging through layers of cultural history. He may find a knife from the eighteenth century. Deeper in the ground he may find a comb from the fourteenth century--and even deeper down perhaps an urn from the fifth centuryB.C."


"In a similar way, the psychoanalyst, with the patient\'s help, can dig deep into the patient\'s mind and bring to light the experiences that have caused the patient\'s psychological disorder, since according to Freud, we store the memory of all our experiences deep inside us."

"Yes, I see."

"The analyst can perhaps discover an unhappy experience that the patient has tried to suppress for many years, but which has nevertheless lain buried, gnawing away at the patient\'s resources. By bringing a \'traumatic experience\' into the conscious mind--and holding it up to the patient, so to speak--he or she can help the patient \'be done with it,\' and get well again."

"That sounds logical."

"But I am jumping too far ahead. Let us first take a look at Freud\'s description of the human mind. Have you ever seen a newborn baby?"

"I have a cousin who is four."

"When we come into the world, we live out our physical and mental needs quite directly and unashamedly. If we do not get milk, we cry, or maybe we cry if we have a wet diaper. We also give direct expression to our desire for physical contact and body warmth. Freud called this \'pleasure principle\' in us the id. As newborn babies we are hardly anything but id."

"Go on."

"We carry the id, or pleasure principle, with us into adulthood and throughout life. But gradually we learn to regulate our desires and adjust to our surroundings. We learn to regulate the pleasure principle in relation to the \'reality principle.\' In Freud\'s terms, we develop an ego which has this regulative function. Even though we want or need something, we cannot just lie down and scream until we get what we want or need."

"No, obviously."

"We may desire something very badly that the outside world will not accept. We may repress our desires. That means we try to push them away and forget about them."

"I see."

"However, Freud proposed, and worked with, a third element in the human mind. From infancy we are constantly faced with the moral demands of our parents and of society. When we do anything wrong, our parents say \'Don\'t do that!\' or \'Naughty naughty, that\'s bad!\' Even when we are grown up, we retain the echo of such moral demands and judgments. It seems as though the world\'s moral expectations have become part of us. Freud called this the superego."

"Is that another word for conscience?"

"Conscience is a component of the superego. But Freud claimed that the superego tells us when our desires themselves are \'bad\' or \'improper/ not least in the case of erotic or sexual desire. And as I said, Freud claimed that these \'improper\' desires already manifest themselves at an early stage of childhood."


"Nowadays we know that infants like touching their sex organs. We can observe this on any beach. In Freud\'s time, this behavior could result in a slap over the fingers of the two- or three-year-old, perhaps accompanied by the mother saying, \'Naughty!\' or \'Don\'t do that!\' or \'Keep your hands on top of the covers!\'"

"How sick!"

"That\'s the beginning of guilt feelings about everything connected with the sex organs and sexuality. Because this guilt feeling remains in the superego, many people--according to Freud, most people--feel guilty about sex all their lives. At the same time he showed that sexual desires and needs are natural and vital for human beings. And thus, my dear Sophie, the stage is set for a lifelong conflict between desire and guilt."

 "Don\'t you think the conflict has died down a lot since Freud\'s time?"

"Most certainly. But many of Freud\'s patients experienced the conflict so acutely that they developed what Freud called neuroses. One of his many women patients, for example, was secretly in love with her brother-in-law. When her sister died of an illness, she thought: \'Now he is free to marry me!\' This thought was on course for a frontal collision with her superego, and was so monstrous an idea that she immediately repressed it, Freud tells us. In other words, she buried it deep in her unconscious. Freud wrote: \'The young girl was ill and displaying severe hysterical symptoms. When I began treating her it appeared that she had thoroughly forgotten about the scene at her sister\'s bedside and the odious egoistic impulse that had emerged in her. But during analysis she remembered it, and in a state of great agitation she reproduced the pathogenic moment and through this treatment became cured.\' "

"Now I better understand what you meant by an archeology of the soul."

"So we can give a general description of the human psyche. After many years of experience in treating patients, Freud concluded that the conscious constitutes only a small part of the human mind. The conscious is like the tip of the iceberg above sea level. Below sea level--or below the threshold of the conscious--is the \'subconscious,\' or the unconscious."

"So the unconscious is everything that\'s inside us that we have forgotten and don\'t remember?"

"We don\'t have all our experiences consciously present all the time. But the kinds of things we have thought or experienced, and which we can recall if we \'put our mind to it,\' Freud termed the preconscious. He reserved the term \'unconscious\' for things we have repressed. That is, the sort of thing we have made an effort to forget because it was either \'unpleasant\',\'improper,\' or \'nasty.\' If we have desires and urges that are not tolerable to the conscious, the superego shoves them downstairs. Away with them!"

"I get it."

"This mechanism is at work in all healthy people. But it can be such a tremendous strain for some people to keep the unpleasant or forbidden thoughts away from consciousness that it leads to mental illness. Whatever is repressed in this way will try of its own accord to reenter consciousness. For some people it takes a great effort to keep such impulses under the critical eye of the conscious. When Freud was in America in 1909 lecturing on psychoanalysis, he gave an example of the way this repression mechanism functions."

"I\'d like to hear that!"

"He said: \'Suppose that here in this hall and in this audience, whose exemplary stillness and attention I cannot sufficiently commend, there is an individual who is creating a disturbance, and, by his ill-bred laughing, talking, by scraping his feet, distracts my attention from my task. I explain that I cannot go on with my lecture under these conditions, and thereupon several strong men among you get up and, after a short struggle, eject the disturber of the peace from the hall. He is now repressed, and I can continue my lecture. But in order that the disturbance may not be repeated, in case the man who has just been thrown out attempts to force his way back into the room, the gentlemen who have executed my suggestion take their chairs to the door and establish themselves there as a resistance, to keep up the repression. Now, if you transfer both locations to the psyche, calling this con-sciousness, and the outside the unconscious, you have a tolerably good illustration of the process of repression.\' "

"I agree."

"But the disturber of the peace insists on reentering, Sophie. At least, that\'s the way it is with repressed thoughts and urges. We live under the constant pressure of repressed thoughts that are trying to fight their way up from the unconscious. That\'s why we often say or do things without intending to. Unconscious reactions thus prompt our feelings and actions."

"Can you give me an example?"

"Freud operates with several of these mechanisms. One is what he called parapraxes--slips of the tongue or pen. In other words, we accidentally say or do things that we once tried to repress. Freud gives the example of the shop foreman who was to propose a toast to the boss. The trouble was that this boss was terribly unpopular. In plain words, he was what one might call a swine."


"The foreman stood up, raised his glass, and said \'Here\'s to the swine!\' "

"I\'m speechless!"

"So was the foreman. He had actually only said what he really meant. But he didn\'t mean to say it. Do you want to hear another example?"

"Yes, please."

"A bishop was coming to tea with the local minister, who had a large family of nice well-behaved little daughters. This bishop happened to have an unusually big nose. The little girls were duly instructed that on no account were they to refer to the bishop\'s nose, since children often blurt out spontaneous remarks about people because their repressive mechanism is not yet developed. The bishop arrived, and the delightful daughters strained themselves to the utmost not to comment on his nose. They tried to not even look at it and to forget about it. But they were thinking about it the whole time. And then one of them was asked to pass the sugar around. She looked at the distinguished bishop and said, \'Do you take sugar in your nose?\' "

"How awful!"

"Another thing we can do is to rationalize. That means that we do not give the real reason for what we are doing either to ourselves or to other people because the real reason is unacceptable."

"Like what?"

"I could hypnotize you to open a window. While you are under hypnosis I tell you that when I begin to drum my fingers on the table you will get up and open the window. I drum on the table--and you open the window. Afterward I ask you why you opened the window and you might say you did it because it was too hot. But that is not the real reason. You are reluctant to admit to yourself that you did something under my hypnotic orders. So you rationalize."

"Yes, I see."

 "We all encounter that sort of thing practically every day."

"This four-year-old cousin of mine, I don\'t think he has a lot of playmates, so he\'s always happy when I visit. One day I told him I had to hurry home to my mom. Do you know what he said?"

"What did he say?"

"He said, she\'s stupid!"

"Yes, that was definitely a case of rationalizing. The boy didn\'t mean what he actually said. He meant it was stupid you had to go, but he was too shy to say so. Another thing we do is project."

"What\'s that?"

"When we project, we transfer the characteristics we are trying to repress in ourselves onto other people. A person who is very mis............
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