Most of What is Going on is Unconscious
Freud’s most important contribution was to make us aware of the unconscious. From Wikipedia:
Freud argued for the importance of the unconscious mind in understanding conscious thought and behavior. However, as psychologist Jacques Van Rillaer pointed out, “the unconscious was not discovered by Freud. In 1890, when psychoanalysis was still unheard of, William James, in his monumental treatise on psychology, examined the way Schopenhauer, von Hartmann, Janet, Binet and others had used the term ‘unconscious’ and ‘subconscious’”. Moreover, as historian of psychology Mark Altschule observed, “It is difficult—or perhaps impossible—to find a nineteenth-century psychologist or psychiatrist who did not recognize unconscious cerebration as not only real but of the highest importance.”
But for the most part, they were unaware how much of society’s functioning had become unconscious even then.
To his credit, Freud was aware of its most prominent trait – a destructiveness so vast as to be incomprehensible, but he thought this a basic defect in our nature – not the result of unconscious social processing. Like everyone else, he could not recognize how profoundly we had rejected the progress that had gotten out of hand.
Let me repeat that – we could see that progress had destroyed us, and we reacted by destroying progress – and the society that had promoted it. Our reasoning was sound here, although primitive – but it was effective.
To this day, we are completely ignorant of this. As a culture, we have blinders on and refuse to take them off. We can be forgiven for this – we had no skill in deciphering our unconscious processing, because we had never needed this. When our processing went underground, and took control from there, we were helpless to understand it – let alone control it.
Our most intelligent observers are baffled by our behavior, because they cannot understand one basic fact – that we have become self-destructive. They keep asking themselves how we could be so stupid – not understanding the unconscious logic behind it.
This logic is so simple, even a small child can understand it – if something is destroying you, you destroy it. As adults (severely degraded adults) we act like morons when faced with this obvious truth. People simply say “No, it cannot be this way,” and refuse to recognize what is going on right in from of their noses.
One cannot blame them, things have gotten so bad this recognition would be painful for them – but this is the only thing that could same them. Another characteristic of our time is our inability to tolerate pain. We consume pain-killers of all kinds, and indulge in all kinds of pain-killing (addictive) behavior. And they refuse to consider the seriousness of this. They just say “That’s the way it is, and nothing can be done about it.”
They are wrong. At an unconscious social level, they are doing something about it – very effectively. They have set off an unconscious social atomic bomb, much more powerful than any physical kind. And we are living in the wreckage of that bomb. Completely unaware of where we are, or how we got here.