Sybil asked about the
words suppression and repression. Both are based on a Latin verb that meant to
press, to weigh down, to stifle. The word compression shares the same root.
Based on the tone of her
email, I think that Sybil was considering both words in their psychological
sense. From that perspective, suppression is the conscious act of stifling unacceptable thoughts, memories or
desires, while repression is the unconscious
act of stifling unacceptable thoughts, memories or desires.
Both words have other
meanings, too. Originally, suppression meant to keep an individual or an entire
community in a state of subjection. It is also an act of censorship. Keeping a
secret is another element. In medicine, it once meant to check the flow of
originally referred to keeping an individual or an entire community in a state
of impotence. Stamping out an idea or action antithetical to authority is
another meaning. Another action involves blocking natural growth or development.
So both words overlap in
meaning in several areas.
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