Digital Desire: The Unconscious Goes Online

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Freud considered the unconscious a site of repressed wishes and hidden desires whose influence extends to the farthest reach of conscious life. Today, the unconscious is finding new expression on the Internet, which allows users anonymity and easy access. Users can shed their “real world” skins and replace them with digital ones, creating virtual personas to indulge in their secret passions. The Internet allows for the appearance of nearly anything that takes place in the human mind. Thus it is a space for fantasy, though with physical and sometimes dangerous consequences.

This lively and fascinating paper is presented by psychoanalyst Danielle Knafo, from New York. She will address the forbidden expressions of human desire via technology. A case of catfishing, whereby a person creates a fictional profile to lure someone into a relationship, is offered to raise questions about the nature of the human self and the role it plays in deception.

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