Our core issue, then, in both a political and social sense is the issue of inhibitions, given that about two-thirds of Americans do not express or say what they really believe or think. As a result, even polls and statistics become faulty and unreliable when the overwhelming majority of the population inhibits and self-censors itself, and in turn, no one knows what anyone really believes or thinks anymore. In turn, an emerging issue in our day and age and in our society is the issue of whether one’s online personality is the real personality or one’s in-person personality is the real personality, and this issue gets complicated due to the issue of inhibitions and self-censorship.
As Sigmund Freud argued: “Inhibition has a special relation to function.” One can infer from this argument that at least two-thirds of America has not reached its full functionality, nor has this large segment of the population been able to achieve self-actualization as a result of inhibitions and self-censorship. Inhibitions which lead to a lowering of functionality can also lead to symptoms which are pathological in nature. These symptoms of inhibition may be neurological, physiological, or even sexual in some instances. In a sexual sense, these symptoms or ‘disturbances’ as a result of inhibition manifest in the form of dysfunction, the inability to perform, or even fetishism.
Inhibition and in turn the anxiety which results from inhibition are largely reactions to what is perceived to be an external danger, as Freud argued. In turn, Freud equated this perception of danger and the fear which leads to inhibition to a fear of ‘castration.’ And in many cases, the solution to the anxiety that is generated from inhibition and fear is the “discharge of the libido” to borrow from Freud.
But the ‘liberation’ of the libido and its discharge after inhibition is no easy task. As Freud wrote:
“Whenever the analytic investigation touches upon the libido, withdrawn into its hiding-place, a struggle must break out; all the forces, which have caused the regression of the libido, will rise up as resistance against the work, in order to preserve this new condition.”
Freud also suggested that there is an “incestuous” element to inhibition which is quite complex. Nevertheless, both consciousness and our conscious ‘reality’ relate to the libido through its two main forces, namely, repression and resistance. And in the end, it is the unconscious reality which is the actual reality. As mentioned before, repression is what keeps the libido in its “hiding-place” per se, and resistance is what pushes back against the libido when it seeks to free itself from the repression and in turn manifest itself onto conscious reality.
Perhaps the most viable technique in overcoming repression and resistance and in turn manifesting one’s unconscious reality is the Freudian technique of ‘free association.’ It has been argued that ‘free association’ has been “the basic procedure that has been the backbone of psychoanalytic technique” ever since Freud settled upon it as his primary technique during the fin de siècle period of Europe. ‘Free association’ ultimately leads to the realization that one’s “unintended flow of thoughts contains disguised ideas and feelings” which one has been “keeping out of awareness.”
And during the flow or process of freely conveying one’s thoughts, there is either a “transference” of the feelings and ideas upon the person to whom the feelings and ideas are being conveyed, or repression and resistance kick in to stop the free flow altogether. ‘Free association’ is believed to have a dual function, in the sense that free association addresses the issue of transference and resistance on one hand, and it addresses the hidden, albeit the real and true feelings and ideas, which are buried beneath one’s conscious life.