Foreword to the Second Volume
The second volume contains three sections of the monograph: the fourth, describing the characteristic activity of the unconscious in conditions of altered states of consciousness (normal and hypnotic sleep); the fifth, devoted to the manifestations of the unconscious in clinical syndromes, and the sixth, in which the role of the unconscious mind in the structure of artistic perception and creativity is discussed.
The bringing together of these, it would seem, variously oriented lines of thought within a single volume may at first sight appear artificial and devoid of a common idea to justify such combination. However, a closer examination will show that this is not so. In order to get a more precise notion of this uniting idea the reader is referred to one of the most peculiar sections of the general theory of the unconscious - to conceptions according to which unconscious activity, irremovably participating in the shaping of daily behaviour and speech, at the same time preserves the function of generating its own specific forms of expression, and is capable of sounding - under definite conditions - in a 'specific language' that is not identical with the language of clear consciousness, i. е., with formalized, logically organized, rationally constructed speech.
It is well known that this problem of the 'specific language' of the unconscious holds an important place in the psychoanalytic literature. It is rooted in Freud's early works which, for the first time, pointed to the existence of regular links between the activity of the unconscious and specific forms of conscious language production (slips of the tongue, slips of the pen, jokes, etc.). Subsequently this idea was considerably broadened due to its use in psychosomatic medicine (the viewing of certain diseases and clinical syndromes as symbolic 'body language' that gives expression to unconscious forms of mental activity or emotional states which, for some reason or other, are deprived of an opportunity of being expressed in behavioral acts and normal intercourse). Ultimately, in recent years attempts have been made - mainly as a result of J. Lacan's work - at further deepening the idea of the relation of the unconscious with language. These attempts are made under the modest slogan 'Back to Freud'. Actually, however, this is not a backward movement toward Freud's well-known original statements. Rather these attempts purport to add further strength to Freud's propositions; as a result they are given - perhaps not always quite convincing, but at least a very effective - further development. Thus, for Lacan a manifestation of the unconscious in speech is by no means a more or less casual (as it is for Freud) breaking of the 'language' of the unconscious through the texture, barriers and screens of rationally controlled verbalizations. In Lacan's view the relations between the unconscious and speech are far more complex and intimate, for, he believes, "the unconscious is structured as a language", and "the subject's unconscious is another's speech".
We shall not dwell here on these paradoxically sounding, rather involved, assertions. Considerations and evidence enabling their interpretation to some extent are to be found in the editors' introduction to the second section of the monograph as well as in many papers of that section, with which the reader is perhaps already acquainted. At present our chief interest lies not so much in the general interpretations given to the idea of the specific "language of the unconscious" by Psychoanalysis and other similarly oriented conceptions, but rather in the idea itself, the degree of its validity, the arguments and facts enabling it to cling on persistently over decades notwithstanding the force and harshness of criticism it has repeatedly been subjected to. It is also important - provided the idea in question is accepted to some extent - to clarify the qualitative variety of forms the "language of the unconscious" is capable of assuming in different conditions. The attention of many authors whose contributions make up the present, second volume of the monograph is focussed on attempts to answer these questions.
Thus, the tendency to conceptualize dreams as mental production which, on the basis of special principles, gives expression not only to contents that in waking were clearly conscious but also to material which in that state was repressed has given rise to a truly vast literature. Occasionally, penetrating observations are interspersed with conjectures, fantasies and myths, making it rather difficult to filter the rigorously scientific element in the heterogeneous material. Nevertheless it would be inadmissible to shun the problem of the reflection - in a "specific language" - of the activity of the unconscious in dreams. It should be clear to those who prefer to sidestep the issue that they are merely offering to follow the line of least resistance. It should be borne in mind that it is precisely in the relationship of dream and unconsciousness that much evidence is accumulated on the forms and on the regularities and functional role objectively characterizing the dynamics of such relations.
Matters are essentially similar with the expression of the unconscious in clinical pictures. The well-known conception of 'body language', postulating the tendency of the unconscious toward a symbolic expression in pathological syndromes, is - for good reasons - subjected to serious criticism in many papers of the fifth section. However, the very fact of the profound influence of mental life in its structural complexity, i. е., of its unconscious and conscious components, on the course of the disease is indisputable. The task here is to throw light on the hitherto elusive objective laws of these influences. By solving this task we shall gain a better insight not only into the psycho-physiological mechanisms mediating the relations between the unconscious and 'body', but also into the forms in which the unconscious manifests itself as a clinical factor, that is to say, we shall determine in which specifically its own language the unconscious speaks in clinical conditions - at times overtly and loudly and at others covertly and faintly.
Finally, artistic creativity. In the introduction to the sixth section the editors attempt to argue in detail to the effect that even such a categorical formula as "the unconscious permeates all creativity, being present at all stages of artistic perception" does not constitute an overstatement. Yet it would be a blunder and oversimplification to 'reduce' this creativity solely to the activity of the unconscious (an oft-repeated thesis in Western esthetics), i. е., to confine the creation of artistic images only to those elements of the mind, to those motives and values which, determining as they do the spiritual life of the artist, remain unconscious for him. It is easy to see, however, that such synthesizing and at the same time delimiting conception of the roles played by consciousness and the unconscious in acts of artistic creation brings us back to the problem of the specific features of the expression of the unconscious in art, i. е., essentially, to the 'language' it speaks in art.
These considerations, it is believed, explain the logical relationship between such, apparently far removed from one another, problems as dreams, clinical syndromes, and genesis of an artistic image. If we attempt to approach these problems from the positions of the theory of the unconscious, their seemingly paradoxical interrelationship will fade, and, instead, the notion of their significant relationship, and even more, of their mutual complimentarity, will emerge. It was this conception that served as the basis for the selection of materials comprising the second volume of the monograph. It will become clear to the reader that the authors of the majority of the papers of all the sections of this volume endeavour to determine, as precisely as possible, the characteristics of the language of the unconscious that is spoken in conditions of a dreamlike lowering of the level of waking, illness, and the artist's efforts to materialize the images he is creating.
Special attention is given in the fourth section to the functional role of dreams and the related activity of 'nonverbal thinking'. The tendency towards neutralization ('reconciliation') of motivational conflicts is viewed as an important element of this role. Many papers of the fifth section present a critical discussion of the problem of the 'psychological specificity' of clinical syndromes and their relation to the function of the symbolic expression of what is repressed. Materials of the sixth section contain an analysis of the processes that facilitate the shaping of 'the truth of art', understood as a feature of creativity, which is particularly dependent on the unconscious factors of the latter.
It will be noted that all these are problems of essentially the same general pattern, i. е., of the forms of the expression of the unconscious and its characteristic phenomenology; hence, it is not surprising to notice, in the course of their analysis, numerous instances of overlapping of both approaches and objectives. Does this mean, however, that the problem of the 'languages' of the unconscious are confined to this phenomenological aspect alone? To think so would be a serious mistake.
When Psychoanalysis speaks about a specific language of the unconscious - irrespective of whether it refers to "the language of dreams", "the body language" or "the language of art" - underlying the theory of all these manifestations is "the postulate of symbolism" according to which one of the most characteristic features of the unconscious is generation of symbolic figures and images that screen unconscious experiences. This process of symbol formation is declared to be a function primarily inherent to the unconscious.
Under this conception the nature of unconscious manifestations is, understandably, explained by the capacity to create symbolic images, just as in Moliere: "Poppy sends to sleep because it possesses a soporific power". As to the editors, in the introductory articles to the sections of the present volume they attempt to show that the symbolic character of the production of the unconscious is explained fairly well by the specific psychological conditions under which it occurs. Thus, dream symbolism is viewed by the editors as a form of relation between the various psychological contents, being the only possible form within sensual-concrete (unverbalized) thinking, for the latter does not make use of logical relations. Essentially this is pseudosymbolism, i. e. symbolism emerging merely because any symbol formed in coniitions of alogical thinking constitutes a 'symbol'. " Body symbolism" is explained in a similar way (it will suffice in this connection to recall the idea on the "fatal relations" set forth by I. P. Pavlov in his controversy with P. Janet over the nature of hysteria).
Thus, an adequate understanding of the 'languages' of the unconscious is excluded from the outset unless a correct stand is taken in respect to the "postulate of symbolism".
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