The Repressed Psyche
(11 November 1988) after James Henry Leigh Hunt
Hans had a theory that the repressed psyche was perverse. The more repressed, the more perverse, and you couldn’t protect yourself from it. One woman accomplished her avoidances with sneezing fits. One man picked his nose in public. Another man had an excessive fascination with women’s breasts. Breasts were windows to his psyche, and bigger breasts were bigger windows. The consequence was he often made a fool of himself. Hans pondered the implications of this theory. What is the difference between the perverse evidence of psychic repression and the genuine marks of character? What is the difference between the perverse evidence of psychic repression and brain damage? Did the theory justify human deviance, or argue for freedom from repression? Was there any evidence to support the assumption that if the psyche were freed from its cage it wouldn’t bite its keeper? Hans scratched his head. Then he sneezed and picked his nose, but that didn’t make him feel any better, or less uncertain.