Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Nicholas Grant BoevingEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_718

Whether structured like a language (Lacan), the submerged base of an iceberg (Freud), or the ocean upon which the iceberg itself is afloat (Jung), the unconscious is that vast “region” of mind that operates below (or para to) the limen of awareness, interacting with, affecting, and determining, to a certain degree, both our actions and our experience of consciousness in a myriad of ways only subtly perceived.

The discovery of this chimerical “entity” and the term which describes it has often been credited to Sigmund Freud, though articulator is perhaps a more a fitting distinction. Innumerable authors have described and foreshadowed what we today call the unconscious, among their number Paracelsus, Schopenhauer, Leibniz, Spinoza, and Shakespeare, but it was Freud who first gave us a language and latticework with which to both read and describe it in the form of psychoanalysis.

In the history of psychology, it was this integral insight that shaped the discipline’s theoretical...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rice UniversityHoustonUSA