CONVERSATIONS WITH MEDARD BOSS, 1961-1972
because even while being in the room, she was with her friend so much that the purse was not there at all. At that time there was no leaving-for-somewhere.
If the same woman were to leave someone to whom she was indifferent in order to go shopping in the city, then she would not forget the purse. Rather, she would take it with her because the purse belongs to shopping, to the relationship in which the woman would actually be involved. Here, the leaving is a leaving for the city. Only leaving for the city matters here. This having been with the acquaintance to whom she is indifferent is finished.
The matter [attributed to] unconscious intention is an explanation as opposed to a phenomenological interpretation.* This explanation is a pure hypothesis that in no way advances the understanding of the phenomenon itself and, as such, of leaving [the purse] behind.
In the Freudian hypothesis leaving [the purse] behind is stressed as a fact which must then be explained. We ascertain this fact of leaving [the purse] behind from the outside. The woman herself does not leave the purse behind unconsciously because the purse is not there [for her] at all, and one can only leave something behind when it is there.
MB: How about forgetting something painful, which according to Freud's theory has been repressed into the unconscious
MH: When I leave the umbrella behind at the hairdresser's, I do not think of taking it with me. When I forget something painful, I do not want to think about it. Here, it does not slip away from me, but I let it slip away from me. This letting something slip away from me happens in such a way that I occupy myself more and more with something else so that what is uncomfortable may slip away. The painfulness itself is already an indication of the fact that she was, and still is, afflicted by the painful event in her youth. But she does not deal with it, with this painful event. She also knows about this painful event, otherwise it could not be a painful event for her. It is an avoidance of herself as the self continuously afflicted by the painful event. In this
* See ibid., p. 245: "There is little doubt that Freud discovered a facet of human existence whose significance can hardly be exaggerated. Yet Freud's theoretical bias toward the philosophy of the natural sciences blinded him to an understanding of repression as a phenomenon of existence. Instead, he tried to force this event into the confines of a dynamic, mechanistic theory. In doing this, however, he distorted the phenomenon itself beyond recognition and produced a purely Active mental construct. In this mutilated form the Freudian theory of repression has been uncritically adopted by most current practitioners of psychotherapy and psychosomatic medicine."—TRANSLATORS