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(The painter whose name Freud could not remember):


Freud argues that it is not merely forgetting but “substituting” which is interesting: I search for the name of X, I substitute the name Y — and that substitution “persists”.  This process of substituting one name for another “follows regular and predictable paths.”

To demonstrate this procedure, Freud gives an example of how this once happened with him. While having a conversation with a stranger about Turks in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Freud remembered something a friend had told him about those people involving sex and death. Nothing thinking it appropriate to make such a statement in a conversation with a stranger, Freud repressed the information.

Then he later tried to remember the name of a painter. He could not remember the name of the painter, but instead he “remembered” the name of two other painters. There was some association between the names of the “other” painters and the information he had repressed about Bosnia.

First, he represses information A.

Second, he cannot recall information B.

Third, he substitutes information C (which has some association to A) in place of B.

As for the association between C and A, there may be some “external” relationship there is also [often] “some connection of content.”

He is careful to admit that not every act of forgetting follows this pattern: sometimes there is a “simple” forgetting, “While proper names are sometimes forgotten for simple reasons, they are also sometimes forgotten for reasons motivated by repression.”

(One of the paintings Freud was viewing when he could not remember the name:)