Repression Quotes


And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.

Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.

The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.

Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear."
[
Special Message to the Congress on the Internal Security of the United States
, August 8, 1950]

Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.

When we're afraid, we lose all sense of analysis and reflection. Our fear paralyzes us. Besides, fear has always been the driving force behind all dictators' repression.

Persepolis

Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis

I get what it's like to want something, but to try and force yourself to really believe that you don't.

I wonder if being sane means disregarding the chaos that is life, pretending only an infinitesimal segment of it is reality.

Koolaids: The Art of War

Rabih Alameddine

Koolaids: The Art of War
Chaos    Denial    Existentialism    Life    Repression    Sanity

This is what it means to be a woman in this world. Every step is a bargain with pain. Make your black deals in the black wood and decide what you’ll trade for power. For the opposite of weakness, which is not strength but hardness. I am a trap, but so is everything. Pick your price. I am a huckster with a hand in your pocket. I am freedom and I will eat your heart.

How often it is that the angry man rages denial of what his inner self is telling him.

Dune

Frank Herbert

Dune

Because you have no memory for things that happened ten or twenty years ago, you're still mouthing the same nonsense as two thousand years ago. Worse, you cling with might and main to such absurdities as 'race,' 'class,' 'nation,' and the obligation to observe a religion and repress your love.

Class    History    Love    Memory    Nationalism    Race    Religion    Repression

Dissociation is the common response of children to repetitive, overwhelming trauma and holds the untenable knowledge out of awareness. The losses and the emotions engendered by the assaults on soul and body cannot, however be held indefinitely. In the absence of effective restorative experiences, the reactions to trauma will find expression. As the child gets older, he will turn the rage in upon himself or act it out on others, else it all will turn into madness.

Without realizing that the past is constantly determining their present actions, they avoid learning anything about their history. They continue to live in their repressed childhood situation, ignoring the fact that is no longer exists, continuing to fear and avoid dangers that, although once real, have not been real for a long time.

Amnesia    Child sex abuse    Childhood    Chile abuse    Danger    Denial    Emotional neglect    Emotions    Facts    Fear    History    Memories    Memory    Past    Reality    Repressed    Repression

If desire causes suffering, it may be because we do not desire wisely, or that we are inexpert at obtaining what we desire. Instead of hiding our heads in a prayer cloth and building walls against temptation, why not get better at fulfilling desire? Salvation is for the feeble, that's what I think. I don't want salvation, I want life, all of life, the miserable as well as the superb. If the gods would tax ecstasy, then I shall pay; however, I shall protest their taxes at each opportunity, and if Woden or Shiva or Buddha or that Christian fellow--what's his name?--cannot respect that, then I'll accept their wrath. At least I will have tasted the banquet that they have spread before me on this rich, round planet, rather than recoiling from it like a toothless bunny. I cannot believe that the most delicious things were placed here merely to test us, to tempt us, to make it the more difficult for us to capture the grand prize: the safety of the void. To fashion of life such a petty game is unworthy of both men and gods.

There are many roles that people play and many images that they project. There is, for example, the "nice" man who is always smiling and agreeable. "Such a nice man," people say. "He never gets angry." The facade always covers its opposite expression. Inside, such a person is full of rage that he dares not acknowledge or show. Some men put up a tough exterior to hide a very sensitive, childlike quality. Even failure can be a role. Many masochistic characters engage in the game of failure to cover an inner feeling of superiority. An outward show of superiority could bring down on them the jealous wrath of the father and the threat of castration. As long as they act like failures they can retain some sexuality, since they are not a threat to her father.

Fear of Life

Alexander Lowen

Fear of Life

As she had been walking from the ward to that room, she had felt such pure hatred that now she had no more rancor left in her heart. She had finally allowed her negative feelings to surface, feelings that had been repressed for years in her soul. She had actually FELT them, and they were no longer necessary, they could leave.

The cases described in this section (The Fear of Being) may seem extreme, but I have become convinced that they are not as uncommon as one would think. Beneath the seemingly rational exterior of our lives is a fear of insanity. We dare not question the values by which we live or rebel against the roles we play for fear of putting our sanity into doubt. We are like the inmates of a mental institution who must accept its inhumanity and insensitivity as caring and knowledgeableness if they hope to be regarded as sane enough to leave. The question who is sane and who is crazy was the theme of the novel
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
. The question, what is sanity? was clearly asked in the play
Equus
.
The idea that much of what we do is insane and that if we want to be sane, we must let ourselves go crazy has been strongly advanced by
R.D. Laing
. In the preface to the Pelican edition of his book
The Divided Self
, Laing writes: "In the context of our present pervasive madness that we call normality, sanity, freedom, all of our frames of reference are ambiguous and equivocal." And in the same preface: "Thus I would wish to emphasize that our 'normal' 'adjusted' state is too often the abdication of ecstasy, the betrayal of our true potentialities; that many of us are only too successful in acquiring a false self to adapt to false realities."
Wilhelm Reich
had a somewhat similar view of present-day human behavior. Thus Reich says, "Homo normalis blocks off entirely the perception of basic orgonotic functioning by means of rigid armoring; in the schizophrenic, on the other hand, the armoring practically breaks down and thus the biosystem is flooded with deep experiences from the biophysical core with which it cannot cope." The "deep experiences" to which Reich refers are the pleasurable streaming sensations associated with intense excitation that is mainly sexual in nature. The schizophrenic cannot cope with these sensations because his body is too contracted to tolerate the charge. Unable to "block" the excitation or reduce it as a neurotic can, and unable to "stand" the charge, the schizophrenic is literally "driven crazy."
But the neurotic does not escape so easily either. He avoids insanity by blocking the excitation, that is, by reducing it to a point where there is no danger of explosion, or bursting. In effect the neurotic undergoes a psychological castration. However, the potential for explosive release is still present in his body, although it is rigidly guarded as if it were a bomb. The neurotic is on guard against himself, terrified to let go of his defenses and allow his feelings free expression. Having become, as Reich calls him, "homo normalis," having bartered his freedom and ecstasy for the security of being "well adjusted," he sees the alternative as "crazy." And in a sense he is right. Without going "crazy," without becoming "mad," so mad that he could kill, it is impossible to give up the defenses that protect him in the same way that a mental institution protects its inmates from self-destruction and the destruction of others.

Fear of Life

Alexander Lowen

Fear of Life
Bioenergetics    Emotion    Fear    Guilt    Life    Living    Neurosis    Repression    Sexuality    Therapy

...ideas are definitely unstable, they not only CAN be misused, they invite misuse--and the better the idea the more volatile it is. That's because only the better ideas turn into dogma, and it is this process whereby a fresh, stimulating, humanly helpful idea is changed into robot dogma that is deadly. In terms of hazardous vectors released, the transformation of ideas into dogma rivals the transformation of hydrogen into helium, uranium into lead, or innocence into corruption. And it is nearly as relentless.
The problem starts at the secondary level, not with the originator or developer of the idea but with the people who are attracted by it, who adopt it, who cling to it until their last nail breaks, and who invariably lack the overview, flexibility, imagination, and most importantly, sense of humor, to maintain it in the spirit in which it was hatched. Ideas are made by masters, dogma by disciples, and the Buddha is always killed on the road.
There is a particularly unattractive and discouragingly common affliction called tunnel vision, which, for all the misery it causes, ought to top the job list at the World Health Organization. Tunnel vision is a disease in which perception is restricted by ignorance and distorted by vested interest. Tunnel vision is caused by an optic fungus that multiplies when the brain is less energetic than the ego. It is complicated by exposure to politics. When a good idea is run through the filters and compressors of ordinary tunnel vision, it not only comes out reduced in scale and value but in its new dogmatic configuration produces effects the opposite of those for which it originally was intended.
That is how the loving ideas of Jesus Christ became the sinister cliches of Christianity. That is why virtually every revolution in history has failed: the oppressed, as soon as they seize power, turn into the oppressors, resorting to totalitarian tactics to "protect the revolution." That is why minorities seeking the abolition of prejudice become intolerant, minorities seeking peace become militant, minorities seeking equality become self-righteous, and minorities seeking liberation become hostile (a tight asshole being the first symptom of self-repression).

Those who speak of progression but are afraid of change are self-repressed and therefore unable to reach any further than their eyes can already see.

Advancement    Afraid    Change    Eyes    Fear    Future    Future plans    Futuristic    Progression    Repression    Seeing    Self repressed    Trapped

Tension, in the long run, is a more dangerous force than any feud known to man.

Bitterness    Dangerous    Dishonesty    Feuds    Force    Honesty    Lies    Lying    Man    Mankind    Peace    Pressure    Repression    Resistance    Rivalry    Run    Secrecy    Suppression    Tension    Truth    War

When you have half of Caironese in slums, when you don't have clean water, when you don't have a sewer system, when you don't have electricity, and on top of that you live under one of the most repressive regimes right now... Well, put all that together, and it's a ticking bomb. It's not of a question of
threat
; it is question of looking around at the present environment and making a rational prognosis.

2010    Cairo    Egypt    Electricity    Hosni mubarak    Poverty    Repression    Revolt    Revolution    Slums

Repression is a seamless garment; a society which is authoritarian in its social and sexual codes, which crushes its women beneath the intolerable burdens of honour and propriety, breeds repressions of other kinds as well.

Shame

Salman Rushdie

Shame

Life was taking its vengeance on me, and that vengeance consisted merely in coming back, nothing more. Every case of madness involves something coming back. People who are possessed are not possessed by something that just comes but instead by something that comes back. Sometimes life comes back. If in me everything crumbled before that power, it is not because that power was itself necessarily an overwhelming one: it in fact had only to come, since it had already become too full-flowing a force to be controlled or contained - when it appeared it overran everything. And then, like after a flood, there floated a wardrobe, a person, a loose window, three suitcases. And that seemed like Hell to me, that destruction of layers and layers of human archaeology.

Destruction    Hell    Life    Madness    Repression    Vengeance

While the repression of a memory is a psychological process, the suppression of feeling is accomplished by deadening a part of the body or reducing its motility so that feeling is diminished. The repression of the memory is dependent upon and related to the suppression of feeling, for as long as the feeling persists, the memory remains vivid. Suppression entails the development of chronic muscular tension in those areas of the body where the feeling would be experienced. In the case of sexual feeling, this tension is found in and about the abdomen and pelvis

Fear of Life

Alexander Lowen

Fear of Life
Chronic    Health    Repression    Sex    Sexuality    Suppression    Tension

... you sometimes had to force people to say things they would rather not articulate, just so they could hear their own words. It was interesting the way people could know things and not know them at the same time. Denial, he said, was like a thick stone wall.

Carelessness on the part of revolutionaries has always been the best aid the police have.

Help! Help! I'm being repressed!

We are afraid of what we will do to others, afraid of the rage that lies in wait somewhere deep in our souls. How many human beings go through the world frozen with rage against life! This deeply hidden inner anger may be the product of hurt pride or of real frustration in office, factory, clinic, or home. Whatever may be the cause of our frozen rage (which is the inevitable mother of depression), the great word of hope today is that this rage can be conquered and drained off into creative channels …
…What should we do? We should all learn that a certain amount of aggressive energy is normal and certainly manageable in maturity. Most of us can drain off the excess of our angry feelings and destructive impulses in exercise, in competitive games, or in the vigorous battles against the evils of nature and society. We also must realize that no one will punish us for the legitimate expression of self-assertiveness and creative pugnacity as our parents once punished us for our undisciplined temper tantrums. Furthermore, let us remember that we need not totally repress the angry part of our nature. We can always give it an outlet in the safe realm of fantasy. A classic example of such fantasy is given by Max Beerborn, who made a practice of concocting imaginary letters to people he hated. Sometimes he went so far as to actually write the letters and in the very process of releasing his anger it evaporated.
As mature men and women we should regard our minds as a true democracy where all kinds of ideas and emotions should be given freedom of speech. If in political life we are willing to grant civil liberties to all sorts of parties and programs, should we not be equally willing to grant civil liberties to our innermost thoughts and drives, confident that the more dangerous of them will be outvoted by the majority within our minds? Do I mean that we should hit out at our enemy whenever the mood strikes us? No, I repeat that I am suggesting quite the reverse—self-control in action based upon (positive coping mechanisms such as) self expression in fantasy.

The psychoanalytic liberation of memory explodes the rationality of the repressed individual. As cognition gives way to re-cognition, the forbidden images and impulses of childhood begin to tell the truth that reason denies.

Everyone represses everything. Do you think any of these "normal" human beings really do exactly what they want to do all the time? 'Course not. It's just the same. We're middle-class and we're British. Repression is in our veins.

Why would a person prefer the accusations of guilt, unworthiness, ineptitude - even dishonor and betrayal- to real possibility? This may not seem to be the choice, but it is: complete self effacement, surrender to the "others", disavowal of any personal dignity and freedom-on the one hand; and freedom and independence, movement away from the others, extrication of oneself from the binding links of family and social duties-on the other hand. This is the choice that the depressed person actually faces.

The Denial of Death

Ernest Becker

The Denial of Death

What then did you expect when you unbound the gag that muted those black mouths? That they would chant your praises? Did you think that when those heads that our fathers had forcibly bowed down to the ground were raised again, you would find adoration in their eyes?

Once the government can demand of a publisher the names of the purchasers of his publications, the free press as we know it disappears. Then the spectre of a government agent will look over the shoulder of everyone who reads. The purchase of a book or pamphlet today may result in a subpoena tomorrow. Fear of criticism goes with every person into the bookstall. The subtle, imponderable pressures of the orthodox lay hold. Some will fear to read what is unpopular, what the powers-that-be dislike. When the light of publicity may reach any student, any teacher, inquiry will be discouraged. The books and pamphlets that are critical of the administration, that preach an unpopular policy in domestic or foreign affairs, that are in disrepute in the orthodox school of thought will be suspect and subject to investigation. The press and its readers will pay a heavy price in harassment. But that will be minor in comparison with the menace of the shadow which government will cast over literature that does not follow the dominant party line. If the lady from Toledo can be required to disclose what she read yesterday and what she will read tomorrow, fear will take the place of freedom in the libraries, book stores, and homes of the land. Through the harassment of hearings, investigations, reports, and subpoenas government will hold a club over speech and over the press."
[
United States v. Rumely
, 345 U.S. 41 (1953)]

First Afghanistan, now Iraq. So who's next? Syria? North Korea? Iran? Where will it all end?' If these illegal interventions are permitted to continue, the implication seems to be, pretty soon, horror of horrors, no murderously repressive regimes might remain.

It is pointless to ask: Why then is sex so secret? What is this force that so long reduced it to silence and has only recently relaxed its hold somewhat, allowing us to question it perhaps, but always in the context of and through its repression? In reality, this question, so often repeated nowadays, is but the recent form of a considerable affirmation and a secular prescription: there is where the truth is; go see if you can uncover it. [...] It is reasonable therefore to ask first of all: What is this injunction? Why this great chase after the truth of sex, the truth in sex?

Repress the natural and it comes back even stronger: not everyone can be a fetishist

You could continue to repress and think about the life you could have had or you can take what you want from life and see that the world finds that person infinitely more irresistible...

Theoretical considerations require that what is to-day the object of a phobia must at one time in the past have been the source of a high degree of pleasure.

[A]dventures befall the unadventurous as readily, if not as frequently, as the bold. Adventures are a logical and reliable result - and have been since at least the time of Odysseus - of the fatal act of leaving one's home, or trying to return to it again. All adventures happen in that damned and magical space, wherever it may be found or chanced upon, which least resembles one's home. As soon as you have crossed your doorstep or the county line, into that place where the structures, laws, and conventions of your upbringing no longer apply, where the support and approval (but also the disapproval and repression) of your family and neighbors are not to be had: then you have entered into adventure, a place of sorrow, marvels, and regret.

Gentlemen of the Road

Michael Chabon

Gentlemen of the Road
Adventure    Freedom    Life    Repression    Travel    Wandering

You can count the bruises on your heart easily enough, but numbering sins is a far tricker matter. Men are eternally forgetting for their benefit. They leave it to the World to remeber, and to the Outside to call them to harsh accout. One hundred Heavens . . . for one thousand Hells.

Regulation of sexual behavior
is the preferred route to wider social
control.

Love is a kind of symptom that arises through the repression of libido.

Attraction    Desire    Libido    Love    Psychology    Repression    Symptom

Those who nurse secrets, nurse a chaotic world of amplified silence.

I could not discuss what had happened to me with anyone, I could not even admit it to myself; and, while I never thought about it, it remained, nevertheless, at the bottom of my mind, as still and as awful as a decomposing corpse. And it changed, it thickened, it soured the atmosphere of my mind.

Giovanni's Room

James Baldwin

Giovanni's Room

She looked as if she were about to burst into tears, but she was wonderful at catching the ball of her own mood in mid-air.

This Real Night

Rebecca West

This Real Night

We could not be fulfilled if we weren't inauthentic some of the time—inauthentic, that is, in relation to such things as our passing desires to throttle our children, poison our spouse, or end our marriage over a dispute about changing a lightbulb.

Setting aside the truth value of the UFO phenomenon, it is an interesting sociological reality that so many people are unwilling to discuss the most - and at times traumatic - experience of their lives. What does it say about our society that this is so? My feeling is that, by its very nature, it represents a form of repression. If you are a reader who believes UFOs to be nonsense of some sort, I can nevertheless assure you that you have a friend or relation who has seen one. They have simply learned not to discuss it. Many people can live perfectly well within the constraints of repression and denial; they simply learn to shut off certain parts of their mind. It is sad, but it happens all of the time.

But not everyone is the same. Not everyone is willing to do this, or even
can
do this. By any estimate, there are may millions of people on this planet who have had a powerful UFO experience. They cannot and will not be silenced indefinitely.

When distinction of any kind, even intellectual distinction, is somehow resented as a betrayal of the American spirit of equal opportunity for all, the result must be just this terror of individualistic impulses setting us apart, either above or below our neighbours; just this determination to obey without questioning and to subscribe with passion to the conventions and traditions. The dilemma becomes a very real one: How can this sense of democratic equality be made compatible with respect for exceptional personalities or great minds? How can democracy, as we understand it today, with its iron repression of the free spirit, its monotonous standardisation of everything, learn to cherish an intellectual aristocracy without which any nation runs the risk of becoming a civilisation of the commonplace and the second-rate?

-The very absence of the freedom to criticise against your own or any other government is all the more a reason to loudly shout-out for democracy! If that is wrong, Drew boldly went on, -then I would rather be wrong then to be numbered among the majority of the so-called righteous people whose only mandate seems to be controlling people. If a government is against its people expressing themselves, then that government is obviously hiding something criminal from its people and the world, and it is therefore afraid of being exposed and losing whatever power it has.

Why are you dressed as a man?" Neeva said. "Why do you act like..." She paused. "Why do you act like... like one of them?" Her voice rose, challenging and accusatory.
"Them,"
she said again. "Where women aren't human, aren't people, just things--objects.
Them."
She jabbed a thumb toward the rear window, where surely one of the Doll Maker's men followed unseen. "Oh, they'll show you a real man. They'll turn you into a real woman. They'll fuck you hard, you'll
want
it, but what you want never actually matters because everything is about their own ego.
Them."
Neeva stopped for air; a long, greedy inhale. "Why?" she said. "Why would you--a woman"--she spat out the word--"you who should know what it feels like to be called a cunt and a bitch and a whore just because you voiced an opinion, to be told you're fat or ugly as a way to make your argument worthless, that you're stuck-up, repressed, and in denial of your true feelings when you find
them
repulsive. Why would you be one of them? What's
wrong
with you?

Abuse    Human trafficking    Men    Misogyny    Modern slavery    Repression    Sex trade    Sexism    Them    Women

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