The Unconscious and the Primary Processes

  • Robert Samuels


This chapter explains why our mental freedom from reality should be seen as both a positive and negative thing. On a positive side, imagination helps us to consider alternative ways of thinking and living, but this freedom from material reality can also lead us to escape from seeing the truth of our world and our own actions. Freud called this alternative to reality the primary processes, and he stressed how the human mind is often shaped by irrational fantasies. Moreover, Freud insisted that infants naturally hallucinate the satisfaction of their wishes, and so they have to be taught to differentiate between their internal fantasies and external reality. I claim in this chapter that the primary way that people escape reality and satisfy the demands of the pleasure principle is through wish fulfillment in the unconscious.


Unconscious Primary processes Freud Hallucination Fantasy 

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Samuels
    • 1
  1. 1.University of California, Santa BarbaraSanta BarbaraUSA

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