Open Minded p.119

Though his theory changed, Freud always characterized the mind as operating under the influence of two contradictory principles. In his last theory, the mind operated under the sway of eros, a drive directed toward forming differentiated unities, and the death drive, an entropic force directed toward decomposition and undoing. His aim was to portray the mind as inevitably conflicted. But he also succeeded in portraying the mind as inherently restless. Restlessness is not itself a teleological goal of mind; it is the inevitable outcome of mind’s operating under the influence of conflicting teleological principles. At its best this restlessness expresses itself in creative associations, poetry, delightful wanderings of mind; at its worst, in mental discontent, irritability of mind, intrusive and dominating thoughts, traumatic associations. But this restlessness isn’t a goal of mind; it’s an expression of it.


Jonathan Lear – Open Minded: Working Out the Logic of the Soul p.119

Open Minded p.76

Human life must find its way among three sets of significant boundaries. The first are those which delineate intrapsychic structure and which collectively separate what is available to consciousness from what is repressed. The second is between what is inside a person’s psyche and what lies outside. The third is between what is inside a person’s world and what lies beyond the pale. Meaningful contents may travel across a boundary, but each boundary serves as a kind of buffer. Each bounded area is offered limited freedom from the pressures exerted by what lies beyond. So, for example, while it is virtually impossible for someone to hold two consciously recognized contradictory beliefs, it is easier to tolerate living with a conscious belief and an experience in the world which seems to contradict it, or to tolerate a conscious belief and a countervailing unconscious wish. These boundaries provide some respite from the holistic demand that everything fit together. Each boundary permits certain discontinuities to lie on either side.


Jonathan Lear – Open Minded: Working Out the Logic of the Soul p.76