Current Ideas about How the Mind Works
M. Sara Rosenthal, Women and Depression (2000):
A simple analogy is to imagine that this system of brain chemistry exchanges is like a washing machine. Serotonin is the ‘water’ that flows in at certain times and is flushed out. Normally, enough water flows in and out, and the machine functions properly. But depression is akin to low water pressure. It would be like setting your washing machine on high only to find that the water level doesn’t go beyond low.
David Burns, Feeling Good (1999):
Your blue moods can be compared to the scratchy music coming from a radio that is not properly tuned to the station. The problem is not that the tubes or transistors are blown out or defective, or that the signal from the radio station is distorted as a result of bad weather. You just simply have to adjust the dials. When you learn to bring about this mental tuning, the music will come through clearly again and your depression will lift.
Sigmund Freud, “The Aetiology of Hysteria” (1896):
Imagine that an explorer arrives in a little-known region where his interest is aroused by an expanse of ruins, with remains of walls, fragments of columns, and tablets with half-effaced and unreadable inscriptions. He may content himself with inspecting what lies exposed to view, with questioning the inhabitants . . . who live in the vicinity, about what tradition tells them of the history and meaning of these archeological remains. . . . But he may act differently. He may have brought picks, shovels and spades with him, and he may set the inhabitants to work with these implements. Together with them he may start upon the ruins, clear away the rubbish, and, beginning with the visible remains, uncover what is buried . . . . [including buildings covered with] numerous inscriptions, which, . . . when they have been translated, yield undreamed-of information about the events of the remote past, to commemorate which the monuments were built. Stones talk!
If we try, in an approximately similar way, to induce the symptoms of hysteria to make themselves heard as witnesses to the history of the origin of the illness, we must . . . . lead the patient’s attention back from his symptom to the scene in which it arose; and, having thus located the scene, we remove the symptom by bringing about, during hte reproduction of the traumatic scene, a subsequent corrections [of what the person thought at the time].
Cecelia Tichi, Shifting Gears: Technology, Literature, Culture in Modernist
The Education of Henry Adams is a good example of the new, twentieth-century technological outlook. . . . .
Adams. . . disliked capitalism. But he clearly participated in machine values when he declared that education is “to fit young men . . . to be men of the world,” and that each young man is by definition “a certain form of energy; the object to be gained is the economy of his force. . . . Adams. . . says that “education should try to . . . diminish the friction” (314) to accomplish an economy of force . . . .
Sigmund Freud, “The Neuroses of Defence” (1895):
Hysteria begins with the overwhelming of the ego, [a traumatic event] . . . . The raising of tension at the primary experience of unpleasure is so great that the ego . . . is obliged to allow a manifestation of discharge – usually an excessive expression of excitation . . . . , the manifestation of fright (e.g.). . . .
There is a normal tend toward defence – that is, an aversion to directing psychical energy in such a way that unpleasure results. This trend . . . cannot be employed against perceptions, for these are able to compel attention . . . ; it only comes in question against memories or thoughts.
Repression and the formation of defensive symptoms only occur subsequently [after the traumatic scene] . . . . Repression [occurs] by the intensification of a boundary idea. . . . If the traumatic event found an outlet for itself in a motor manifestation, it will be this that becomes the boundary idea and the first symbol of the repressed material.