CLASSICAL DEFENSE MECHANISMS
Any endeavor concerned with the tactics of illusion construction must scan the nature of the classical defense mechanisms. As can be seen, such mechanisms represent the everyday tactics of adaptation to all of the things in life that are fear provoking, puzzling, or not easily handled within a strictly rational or logical frame of reference.
As is well known, Sigmund Freud and other psychoanalytic pioneers (especially Anna Freud) described ways in which individuals who find life to be puzzling or difficult try to reshape their experiences into more palatable versions. Persons are said to make use of various "defense mechanisms," which permit them to edit selectively what is happening to them and to conjure up narratives that are less puzzling, less scary, and more triumphant. An internal feeling or emotion that is alien to one's ego ideal can be projected onto a bad other. A memory of villainous action on one's part can be shoved into the recesses of the repressed. One's unacceptably intense anger can be transformed so that it appears to be a diametrically opposite brand of affect. Psychoanalytic observers originally told us that the persons who came to them for treatment were constantly utilizing defense mechanisms to adjust their images of reality. However, as more and more research data have accumulated, we learn that defense mechanisms flourish in those who are troubled enough to seek therapeutic help as well as in the average citizen. It is not unusual to repress, to project, to rationalize, and to engage in all of the other varieties of defensive maneuvers.
The best evidence of the urgent need to defensively camouflage emerges when persons do scientific work. The scientific establishment starts out with the assumption that individual scientists innocently and unconsciously shape
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Publication information: Book title: The Psychology of Adaptation to Absurdity:Tactics of Make-Believe. Contributors: Rhoda L. Fisher - Author, Seymour Fisher - Author. Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Place of publication: Hillsdale, NJ. Publication year: 1993. Page number: 106.
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