repetition

“Freud…saw the tendency to repeat as as attempt to avoid anxiety and internal distress. He explained that repetition is enacted as a defense against remembering. If the traumatic event is externalized through some form of repetition, then the anxiety that will inevitably arise if the meaning of the event is considered and consciously examined is lessened. Freud thus theorized that repeating is a way to avoid remembering.”
By repetition, he is referring to “an organic compulsion … [for]…how the germ of a living animal is obliged in the course of its development to recapitulate…the structures of all the forms from which it sprung” (Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, p. 37; in Conforti, p. 6).
This includes the individual life, how adults reenact the patterns of relationships in the family of origin; and also in groups (I think!) as in the moment of leverage for change presented by a problematic moment. This is what Billig refers to as dialogic repression. Conforti rejects social constructionism though, arguing for the presence of an a priori archetypal impulse in the psyche that each person is unavoidably riven to: he takes the psyche itself as a pre-given thing. His argument will proceed, I think, along the lines of evidence of tension between the nature of the archetype seeking to express itself (energy intending toward form) and … something else – what?
From Field, Form, and Fate: Patterns in Mind, Nature, & Psyche by Michael Conforti.

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