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Issue Details: First known date: 2014... 2014 The Poet and the Criminal : Dreams, Neuroscience and a Peculiar Way of Thinking
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'Freud’s sometimes startlingly acute and complex descriptions of the two realms of waking and sleeping, and his emerging method of analysing dreams in The Interpretation of Dreams (1900) foreshadowed and dramatised some later findings in neuroscience. Neuroscience in turn presents us now with an opportunity to modify and extend our understanding of the kind of thinking that produced Freud’s pioneering turn-of-the-century version of the mind, and perhaps revivify our understanding of creativity. If there is validity in the lateralised description of the brain in neuroscience, does this throw light on the process Freud followed as he grappled with the question of establishing the discipline of psychoanalysis through defining a new method of understanding dreams? This essay surveys research findings on brain lateralisation with the aim of identifying a model of the human self composed of two wills never quite in partnership with each other, distinct in their modes of thinking, and potentially disruptive of each other’s way of being, requiring a third position (a between-ness) if we are to function to our potential as human beings. This model is then applied to an understanding of Freud’s early unresolved conflict between his then model of dreams (in his 1900 book on dreams) as disguised wish fulfillment and his method of dream interpretation that required the empathic practice of listening with a responsive passivity. The essay surveys briefly the history of difficulty the psychoanalytic profession has manifested in recognising the centrality of dreams and the art of dream interpretation with a view to showing that the kind of knowledge important to the arts, knowledge based in the subtleties of intuition, learned skills and proliferating complexity, have been historically undervalued. Finally this essay will propose that rather than considering the self in terms of conscious, preconscious and unconscious realms, or even according to a neurological model of left brain and right brain thinking, it is more useful, as Freud came to understand, to allow for a creative consciousness to emerge as a constantly negotiated state of between-ness, where poet and scientist might meld, where the linguistic and the chthonic recognise and accommodate each other, as they did eventually for Freud. This amounts to an argument for the centrality of poetry to thinking.' (Publication abstract)

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Last amended 30 Oct 2014 10:33:31 The Poet and the Criminal : Dreams, Neuroscience and a Peculiar Way of Thinkingsmall AustLit logo TEXT : The Journal of the Australian Association of Writing