From No Subject - Encyclopedia of Psychoanalysis
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According to Freud we know that there is an unconscious because it manifests itself at precisely those moments when our conscious defence mechanisms are at their weakest; for example, through our dreams when we sleep, in those accidental slips of the tongue when we say something that we did not really intend to say but we often mean, through jokes which frequently reveal more about us than we think, or, finally, through the symptoms of mental distress and illness. What each of these examples points to, argued Freud, is the presence of processes beyond conscious thought that erupt and disrupt everyday speech and experience. This is the Freud of the early texts on language: The Interpretation of Dreams (1991a [1900]), The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1991b [1901]) and Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious (1991c [1905]).