Curiosities of Freud’s Theory of the Unconscious Mind

Curiosities of Freud’s Theory of the Unconscious Mind

Last update: 17 February, 2016

Freud’s psychoanalytical theory has received strong rejections and produced debates around the validity of its methodology, but nobody can criticize that it represented significant advancements for philosophy, psychology, and scientific medicine in its time.

Whether you consider it pseudoscience or science, Freud’s theories about the destruction of the concept of the id through the study of the unconscious mind had an essential influence on every discipline in the 20th century.

In the wonderland of Mind, I should be as free as another.

-Helen Keller-

Curiosities of the mind according to Freud

Desire and repression

As human beings, we all have desires and repressions that we feel obligated to control in front of others. Sometimes we are not even aware of this because it is controlled by the unconscious mind.

We often behave ways that the culture will accept, rather than ways we actually feel would make us happy. Our desires are frustrated on these occasions because they are seen as immoral, illegal, or unbecoming.

These contradictions emerge in a subliminal way in our dreams, fantasies, or slips of the tongue. Why are we so limited by what others may think of us?

Man Thinking

Ego, id, and superego

In 1923 Freud explained that the mind is divided into three parts. On the one hand, we have the conscious part of the mind, the “ego,” which represents the controlled aspects of ourselves; on the other hand, the “id” is the unconscious mind controlled by the principle of pleasure. Finally, we have the “superego,” which is made up of the moral norms that we have been internalizing since we were children and that culminates into both guilt and morality.


Just as the ancient thinkers believed, the human mind needs harmony. We no longer talk about the brain cells balancing the four humors, but rather of the three parts of the mind mentioned above. According to Freud, imbalances cause neurosis or psychosis.

This was an important assertion at the time, as it was the first time insanity was considered as independent of mental or physical injury.

Curiosities about the theory of the unconscious and the application of psychoanalytical method

  1. Force of language: when a patient wants to be submitted to a study of their unconscious mind due to some kind of problem, the cure falls back on the spoken word. Language is the place where inner conflict can be recognized, so the person speaks about any topic without restrictions.

The unconscious is structured like a language.

Jacques-Marie Émile Lacan

  1. Free association: through language, the patient expresses contents that for him are still unconscious, that he does not recognize in a superficial way because of his “ego.”
  2. Dream interpretation: if our dreams are one of the ways that our inner desires have of showing themselves, these must be studied. This allows for the appearance of traumas and conflicts so that they can be resolved. You already know that we are what we dream and we dream what we are.

  1. Role of the psychoanalyst: only this final point is what the psychoanalyst is prepared to do. He allows the conscious study of a person’s unconscious mind.

-Would it help if you told your subconscious to settle down?

– It’s my subconscious. Remember? I can’t control it.

-Nolan, Inception-

  1. Culture: this is a means of shaping the subject just as the culture is also shaped by him. Feedback. Each time period has its peculiarities and its ways of being that must be studied by the psychoanalyst to understand what the effects are on the patient.

The symptoms of psychological pathologies take forms suitable to the societies that the subjects inhabit.
-Nora Sternberg de Rabinovich-

  1. The Oedipus complex: this is possibly the greatest curiosity in the theory of the unconscious. Freud pointed out in his studies that men are moved by instincts and one of these is the well known “kill father.” The mother figure becomes the revealer, the essential being, and one of the subject’s desires is to take the place of his father figure.

Culture, as we have said, plays an important role in the realization of the “ego.” In this way, it is responsible for preventing this desire from being realized, bringing with it morality and religion. Repression and the Oedipus complex can turn into pathologies.