Psychoanalysis > Freudian Slips and Mistakes

A Reading Error

By J Jones

I randomly read on a website the sentence "our (amazing) brain..." By mistake, I commit the reading error and I read "monster brain". What meaning has this strange replacement of "ours" with "monster"? (1)

For the people who live today (the so -called modern people) and for whom the intellect, the brain, and the mental are very important, this error makes no sense. Our brain cannot be a monster as the intellectual man, who uses his intelligence, who works with ideas is no monster. And still I committed this error....

A few days ago, I was discussing with a specialist about the strange inclination of the television Trinitas (2) to invite in their studios intellectuals, to advertise for science.

The strange thing here is exactly the fact that the interest for ideas comes in conflict with the PriestsĀ“ and Fathers who tormented themselves in the Athos monasteries; in short, it is about the mystic orthodox tradition.(3) At a certain point, my counterpart told me: "it is a great temptation, probably the last and more powerful trial, to sink into the world of ideas, into the mental, to follow the intelligent mind, to work intellectually, to discover so many things. After all, he follows, all these have no meaning, and this represents the secular knowledge, rejected by the holy priests. The true knowledge is immediate and it is borne in a mind empty of secular ideas and open towards God. The true knowledge is revealed."

This is where the idea of discrediting the mind, the brain actually comes from: the profound knowledge would not come on an intellectual way, through the secular mind (through brain).

There is however no direct allusion in our discussion to the word "monster". Where does this word come from?

A simple association of ideas makes me think to the famous saying addressed as a warning to Don Quijote: "Beware gentle knight, there's no greatest monster than reason". There, of course, in a context which has nothing to do with religion. The faculty of reasoning which is stigmatized, is the censorship that opposes to fantasy, to dreaming...

And still "greatest monster" brings another theme into discussion: the Sacred Monster - which as a label is not exactly a critic one, but more of a worship. Should this, thus, be my inclination of approving the follower of the monastic Christianity as well as the intelligence, meaning a fifty-fifty? It can be true. However, the energetic (libidinal) source of this error is not the discussion about mind, which, as much as unfamiliar it would be, does not constitute a powerful motivation.

The true source of my mistake is an absolutely unpleasant event that took place a few hours earlier. An event which also let physical marks - so, a traumatic source. Unfortunately, discretion prevents me from telling what happened.

By analyzing this slip I just wanted to show how much you can find out about the psychical dynamics and, of course, the drives working unconsciously just starting from the analysis of a mechanism which is generally ignored: a reading error.

And let us not forget that we owe Freud and his psychoanalysis the idea of analyzing this mechanism.

1. Unfortunately I couldn't render the phonetic likeness of the two words: "ours" and "monster", in English. In my native language "ours" is said "nostru" and "monster" - "monstru". One can easily see that "nostru" and "monstru" sounds quite similar.
2. A broadcasting company mainly dedicated to orthodox religious matters.
3. Christian orthodoxy is my country's main religious belief.


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