According to Freud, there is no such thing as an accident, but rather an unconscious desire. Freud developed the theory of Bungled Actions as a method to explain when things happen that seem to be accidental but play right into what that person desires at the time. The desire may not even be a conscious or purposeful event, but can be something that is desired in the subconscious and the accident or bungled action provides a means to get that desire accomplished.
One might consider these bungled actions to be a doorway into our unconsciousness.
In his essay “Bungled Actions”, Freud talks of cases where he saw the idea of a mistake or bungled action connecting to a deeper meaning. “Bungled actions can, of course, serve as whole number of other obscure purposes” (237). Freud talks about the idea of breaking things, harming oneself. The action of these things all are supposed to represent something that our unconscious wants to see happen. Numerous bungled actions were discussed throughout the reading which I would have never thought to be connected to one another.
Smashing or breaking things with some value, there were several stories in which people said to have broken something and it was connected to an event in their lives. Freud sees the breaking of something as a sacrifice. For instance, Freud himself once being clumsy sat down at his desk to write a letter and knocked over the ink pot over which sat on his desk. Earlier in the day, his sister had commented on how his ink stand didn’t match his table and how he should get another one. Based on his theory, he believes that the reason he unconsciously broke the ink pot is purely because in his mind his sister said he needed to get another one. Dropping, knocking over and breaking objects are acts which seem to be used very often to express unconscious trains of thought” (242) as we saw in the Freud’s mishap. The story in the reading goes to say that a young boy wasn’t happy with his nurses’ directions for him to spend the morning in bed. He got quite angry and threatened to kill himself. That evening the boy was showing his arm with the large bump and bruises on it and said “that was my attempt at suicide that I threatened this morning. In Freud’s eyes this child had unconsciously hit his arm because of his earlier comment. “Falling, stumbling, and slipping” aren’t always seen as “accidental miscarriages of motor activities” (243) because they always have a story behind them. Freud suggests that these things express sexual content. Believing Freud’s theory took some reading, after understanding the unconscious and the id, ego, and super ego I believe we all have an unconscious world hiding inside us waiting to “escape” through small mistakes or Freudian slips.
I personally have never thought about how the accidents or mistakes I make in my life are actions that happened to try and tell me something else, but if someone is daring enough to take a gander, why not. I feel that if people are more aware of this it might not happen as often but it doesn’t hurt to investigate the urges hiding within all of us. Just the other week I was talking to my parents about how I wanted to get a new laptop because my computer was getting old. I also thought how nice it would be to be able to take it to different places, such as school.
We were throwing the around and decided to wait until laptops were on sale right before September. My dad has been looking online for sales ever since. Just the other morning my dad needed to jump on the internet really quick before he went to work in the morning, I guess he was still half asleep and knocked a whole cup of hot coffee right on top of the computer. Needless to say we had to go out Saturday morning to buy me a new laptop; the coffee destroyed it! My dad’s subconscious really wanted to buy me a new laptop, I guess.