Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Again, I quote Sloterdijk's Terror from the Air. I wish I could paraphrase this:

Freud's approach led to the unfolding of a domain of latency of a particular type, to which the name the "unconscious" was given, a term borrowed from the idealist philosophies of Schelling, Schubert, and Carus, and from the philosophies of life of the 19th century, particularly those of Schopenhauer and Hartmann; this term defined a subjective dimension of non-unconcealment, of internal latencies and of invisible latent presuppositions linked to I-like states. After its Freudian redefinition, the concept's meaning was radically narrowed, becoming sufficiently specialized to make it useable for clinical operationalization; no longer did it designate a reservoir of dark, integrating forces, a nature capable of healing and generating images, situated upstream of consciousness; nor did it designate an underground comprised of blindly self-affirming currents of will existing beneath the "subject": it designated a small, inner container that becomes filled through repressions and that is placed under neurogenic pressure by the impulse of the repressed. The Surrealists' enthusiasm for psychoanalysis was based on their mistaking the Freudian concept of the unconscious with that of Romantic metaphysics.

-Peter Sloterdijk, Terror from the Air, Semiotext, 2009, p.p. 82-3.


  1. I see what you mean about the 'misinterpretation', but I do agree that it was productive. The thing is that Freud has become such a huge part of our culture, we can't avoid him, and so it is interesting to see the ways in which he has been absorbed and adapted in different ways.

  2. Yes. It's interesting to see how Freud has been absorbed and mixed with rather the 19th century ideas. For example, Eva Illouz's "Cold Intimacy" Polity, 2007, tells how Freud was mixed with the Victorian notion of "self-realization" in American culture.