What is the relationship of psychoanalysis to questions of dignity, self-respect
and respect for others?1 How, ultimately can we link Freud with Aristotelian concerns
for eudaimonia – human flourishing – and for phronesis – sustained moral
judgement?2 If Freud rightly tempers Aristotle’s optimism, how might Aristotelian
questions illuminate and complement Freudian forays into personhood?
If repression is defined as a state of disconnection and disavowal, of nonacknowledgement
of one’s own thoughts and acts, then it is morally and politically
problematic. Repression generates projection, in which accountability is
displaced onto others. However, I argue that in some instances, and given the
appropriate cultural means, it may provoke a dialectical return. Such introjection
provides the opportunity for gradual reconnection, recognition and, ideally, the
acknowledgement of responsibility.