Repression and External Reasons
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When Freudians use the term “repression,” they usually mean to suggest that a psychological state in one part of the analysand’s psychological apparatus is obstructed by some other part. A traumatic memory, for example, might be squirreled away in the unconscious where it can be forgotten, or perhaps a childish desire is held hostage in the id by the superego. There is a more common use of the term that does not require us to posit a complex psychological apparatus, but which nevertheless would have us recognize that a person can have desires that are in some way estranged, alienated, or external. In some cases, the desires might be so repressed that they remain nearly undetected. In other cases, the agent might be very aware of them, but nevertheless wish he was rid of them because he did not see himself as having a reason to satisfy them. When it is the case that the agent has no reason to satisfy the desire, then repression seems perfectly rational as a necessary...