17/09/2011 by Josephine Rose
I like Freud…though most people seem to be put off by the fact that one of his driving ideas is that human beings are primarily motivated by sex and/or aggression. In the face of pop-Psychology, I think Freud should be given more credit, because after all, he was one of the first people who branched off from Medicine and laid down the foundations for earlier theories of Personality in Psychology. I could go on and on about the merits of Psychodynamics and the ingenuity of Freud’s theory, but maybe I’ll save that for some other time. Besides, I found the material about Freud’s work so interesting because most of it seemed true. And it was really fun learning about it.
Especially, the Defense Mechanisms.
I remember the first time we encountered Freud and his Defense Mechanisms back in first year. After that lecture, we were all so giddy because we felt that we just learned one of the basic, yet powerful tricks of our trade: Figuring out if someone was hiding something through the Defense Mechanisms… and why. Sounds terribly exciting doesn’t it? We could be one of those people on TV, like Patrick Jane on The Mentalist or Dr. Cal Lightman on Lie to Me, who could look into the person’s eye and say: I know what you’re thinking.
The Defense Mechanisms are sort of like coping mechanisms, to help us deal with the anxieties caused by the desires of the Id (which are usually not appropriate in society), in contrast to the strict rule of the Super Ego who wants the individual to follow what is right in society. The Ego mediates between the two, and in order to save the individual from sheer insanity, employs the Defense Mechanisms. The Ego is then able to police the border of the unconscious, finding a way to let the Id have what it wants, without incurring punishment from the Super Ego (honestly, it feels like I’m writing a plot for a Sci-Fi, thriller, story )
There are many Defense Mechanisms out there, and explaining all of them might be too much, but I’ll just share with you that one of my personal favorites has to be Rationalization. This is when a person makes up an acceptable reason for doing something that may be otherwise undesirable. I think this is also the most popular Defense Mechanism currently used by most students. I know I have tons of assignments due, for instance, but what I’m doing now is not procrastination. I am blogging. And that’s perfectly fine (?).
What’s your favorite excuse?