Citing Literature. Related Information. Close Figure Viewer. Browse All Figures Return to Figure. Previous Figure Next Figure. Email or Customer ID. Forgot password? Old Password. New Password. Password Changed Successfully Your password has been changed. Returning user. Request Username Can't sign in? Forgot your username? The real world, which is avoided in this way by neurotics, is under the sway of human society and of the institutions collectively created by it.
To turn away from reality is at the same time to withdraw from the community of men. Therefore, the symptom must also be considered as an act of protest against the action of civilizational coercion. The warlike and disciplinary metaphors used by Freud to clarify the mechanism of neurosis - defense, resistance, restraint, repression, censorship, etc. The Studies are a treatise on the effects of the policy of nineteenth-century sexual repression on women, in which psychoanalysis is presented to the reader as a field of knowledge, an asset of culture, that encourages the return of the passions to the social scene.
Valuing culture, not only in its role of imposing repression on the drives, but as terrain where these can be exercised, Freud takes the mechanism of inhibition without hesitation as the dividing line between neurosis and normality. Inhibition is not only a consequence of the loss of energy which in every neurosis has to be permanently employed to the maintenance of repression.
Three Essays On The Theory Of Sexuality
The term introversion, forged by Jung, is reinterpreted by Freud and goes on to designate the withdrawal of libidinal investment from objects of everyday reality and its use for the investment of imaginary objects. Introversion is a counterpart of repression, which is produced by the self under the influence of the conflict between drives and reality.
The consequence is that the imaginary objects are invested and the libido is, in part, restricted to the world of fantasy. From then on, satisfaction will be predominantly imaginary, and the search for satisfaction in reality will be relegated to the background. This form of imaginary satisfaction of the drive is the other face of the inhibition of the act. The self will try to prevent the substitutive satisfaction of the repressed drive from having any effect on reality. The neurotic symptom, as a substitutive drive satisfaction, lowers the drive satisfactions to the imaginary plane, by avoiding the act.
There is another destiny for the drive, alternative to repression: the sublimation that puts a huge load of energy at the disposal of work in favor of the culture. The sexual drive, which is inhibited and hardly satisfied in the neurosis, where its satisfaction is only imaginary, can effectively find satisfaction in sublimation. Unlike repression, sublimation incites the subject to overcome narcissism, to disobey the commands of the superego. It is a way of conquering eroticism through aesthetic and ethical elevation:. Heroes, creators and artists are those who, in some way, put drives activity at the service of their work.
The creative work always involves a transgression, finding new ways, different from the status quo.
Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality
The impact of certain plastic works of art on civilization, with its possible subversive value, testifies to the vigor of the effects of sublimation on social life. Imaginary satisfactions, by avoiding the risks of displeasure, are insufficient from the point of view of enjoyment Bekerman, , p. It is in the act that the drive can find its satisfaction. The area of the drive is that of the act. Exposure to anxiety is the counterpart of not inhibiting the act, not avoiding drive satisfaction.
Freud did not systematically develop the notion of sublimation, or perhaps he did so in a lost essay of the Papers on metapsychology. However, he referred to sublimation in a way that leaves no doubt about the role of fundamental importance that it plays in psychoanalysis. On the contrary, the object is the most contingent element of the drive. That is why it can be transmuted, turning to targets and objects that seem to have no more sexual aspects and represent something of value to culture. In this second great Freudian paper on culture, already in the second topic, the solidarity between sexuality and culture is emphasized, since sexuality, love and all social bonds are subsumed into the life drives Eros.
It is a new era where the issue posed to the psychoanalyst is no longer centered on sexuality, but results from the impact of the First World War, with the revelation that even in countries that had achieved the highest level of cultural achievement, violence and barbarity could emerge in its most brutal face. The traumatic neuroses of war come to denounce this destructiveness. However, this does not mean that repression of sexuality has ceased to be considered as a potential determinant for neurotic illness.
On the contrary, in Freud reaffirmed the thesis that the sexual life of the educated man was severely impaired by the demands of modern life. As it is common in Freudian work, new elaborations do not mean abandoning old ones, but simply their inclusion in a new theoretical configuration, which obviously qualifies them in a new way. There is a permanent tension between the two topics. If the first question that called Freud to examine culture was the production of hysterias as a denunciation of the very repressive civilized sexual morality, especially in relation to women, in the pathologies resulting from the violence of World War I, instigated the psychoanalyst to reflect on destructiveness, and on the third source of discontent in culture: the relation of man to the Other.
Although assuming the most different shades over time, both issues still haunt us these days.
Psychoanalysts are nowadays very concerned with all the changes in the social-political and technological conditions of our time, since patients who arrive at their offices are not the same of more than a century ago. Efforts to account for the changing cultural reality are more than legitimate and are truly indispensable to the vitality of the psychoanalytic field. In diagnosing this subject, whether as perverse, melancholic or borderline , what is achieved is to completely eliminate the idea of singularity in the name of an average subject who would represent society.
The appropriateness of this procedure is questioned even in sociology. Society is made up of laws that govern relations between people. It is also a construction that serves to support the regularities of social relations, giving them substance Rudge, One cannot disregard the fact that the myriad differences that we can observe between values and ways of living are not only distributed among different cultures; within the same culture, we inherit many traditions that may be incompatible and we do very conflicting things Eagleton, , p.
There is always a contradiction between the particularity of experiences that are restricted to certain individuals or groups, with the universalization of other experiences that are expressed culturally by means of sets of symbols that make them homogeneous Velho, , p. Despite the need to respect the boundaries between the various fields of knowledge and the complexity of an interdisciplinary study, the concern to articulate what we find in the clinic to our cultural environment is legitimate and fundamental.
The symptoms and complaints found in clinical practice should be effectively considered as inseparable from the historical context and from current and dated social norms. Taking into account the historical dimension, socio-cultural diversity and keeping faithful to the fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis, it is possible to produce a critical reading of our time.
Since the sexual revolution of the s and the advent of the contraceptive pill, repression of women has receded in the West. Family organization has undergone major changes, information flows swiftly, while innovations resulting from technological advances are impressive. Analysts cannot escape the need to evaluate each clinical case, re-reading metapsychology in terms of what is heard in the clinic of our time. This is where we must interrogate psychoanalytic theory along the lines of Freud, who has reviewed it countless times.
In the name of interdisciplinary studies between sociology and psychoanalysis, the sociologist Ehrenberg , tends to discard a few formulations of Freudian theory. He considers that the cult to performance and the valorization of autonomy, central values of the present society, share responsibility in causing depression, the foremost symptom of discontent of our time. In a society where autonomy and self-fulfillment are such valued qualities, the fear of not being up to what is expected becomes constant.
Sexuality Part 1: The Aberrations – Sigmund Freud
Depression would be a way of responding to these new problems and, for the author, would have replaced neurosis. Ehrenberg, , p. Depression, which statistics today suggest to be a growing problem, may have this dimension of pathology of insufficiency, but from the point of view of psychoanalysis the psychic conflict that is permanent and irreducible is not ignored.
It involves a dimension of denunciation and contestation to the situation created by the economic expansion of capitalism that relies on consumers without hesitation, always ready for the quick search of the last objects and fashion insignia, avid and addicted to objects. That is, the subject is called to the role of consumer within market, which do not take this subject into consideration. The production of pseudo-needs that mask the lack is enforced, and the production of new objects is offered as an immediate solution. Depression involves a refusal and rebellion against the stimulus to consumption and to overvaluation of the possession of the objects as signs of success and of power and, ultimately, to the objectification of the subject.
One of the most impregnable bastions of the protest of neurosis, that gain increasing expression in the 21st century, are the so-called pathologies of the body, of which anorexia is the flagship. Freud treated it as a symptom, which eventually was present in hysteria, but which appeared especially as one of the main symptoms of melancholy, which include inhibition, depression, self-accusations, insomnia, and delusional expectation of punishment. The elaborations on melancholy formalized in pointed to object loss, ambivalence and narcissistic identification with the lost object as central factors in this clinical picture.