Long before I heard of either Sigmund Freud or even the term Sigmund Slip, I’d always conceived and thought that quite some of the mistakes in speeches, often referred to as slip of tongue; somehow reveal the state of the mind of the speaker. In other words, Slip of the tongues at times serves as the window through which we view the subconscious mind of the one who uttered such slip.
In his 1901 book The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, Sigmund Freud, a psychoanalyst, described the types of slips. According to him, "Two factors seem to play a part in bringing to consciousness the substitutive names: first, the effort of attention, and second, and inner determinant which adheres to the psychic material." All he is saying is that some facts are hidden from the conscious mind but available in the subconscious mind which is revealed through slips.
We often see people who hide under the roof that such slips at times can be unintentional and totally unrelated to the subject question as far as the speaker can recall to say heinous things. The truth is that we can’t see the mind of anyone except through revealing words or actions. Hence its needful to take the words of people serious, perhaps 50-50 until proven otherwise.
Let me explain with an example. Imagine yourself in a situation where out of anger, your neighbor called you a prostitute or thief. Now let’s assume that after some hours, when the whole issue had died down that the person says ‘it was just a slip. You know I was angry and you should never take that comment serious.” Would you believe him? I guess no. And the reason why you shouldn’t? Read on: if someone calls you a prostitute, he might have seen you act like one, dress like one, hang out with the opposite sex , or in general did or said something that fed that thought to his mind. The thought was generated and stored in the subconscious mind prior to the moment and let out when opportunity presented itself.
This is not to say that all slips are Freudian in nature. I personally know that there are occasions when I’ve said some things that have no bearing to what I wanted to say. That occurs quite sometimes too. The works of some modern psychoanalysts also buttress this point. Friends have also confirmed that such occasions do occur. But then, since we can’t your mind, and to stay on a safer side, it’s quite just reasonable to assume that whatever you utter is what you meant or has a link to what your thought pattern. While it may not have any link whatsoever to what I wished to say, it has to what I have been thinking.
The truth is that the mind receives data from the environment which it processes and stores. From this storage, information is retrieved and fed back into the environment. Information that it couldn’t store in the conscious compartment, it stores in the sub-conscious area. And when the information in the sub-conscious jumps out to the environment in the form of speech without a deliberate effort on the part of the speaker, it is called slip of tongue. It may not be related to what you are saying at the moment, but may offer a hint to what your thought pattern looks like.
So in general, in slips of tongue, you say things you didn't expect to hear yourself say at that moment. And because what you didn’t speak after careful meditation, you most likely isn't lying. No wonder Jesus instructed his disciples, “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”.
Since the day I understood and believe his words, I started to take every utterance of any man serious. He may end up not doing what he has said. He may end up apologising. But if he ever ends up saying “it’s just a slip of tongue”, I will reply him that he is simply a joke. You never say what your mind had never conceived. After all, Jesus reminded his disciples that man will give account for every careless words he utters. Careless words, including Slips too? Why? Because Jesus viewed them as really serious.
Now you know, what do you do? Be careful what you say. The police will say under arrest, ‘…what you said will be used against you in the court of law”. Obviously, the police doesn’t seem to believe they just slipped. And so you. Take people’s words seriously- at least until they prove you wrong.
What is your views? Do you think that slip of tongues are really that important or should less attention be given to the meaning? Share your views in the comment section.
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