Chapter 7: Psychoanalytic Analysis
Psychoanalysis Theory: an Overview
- pleasure principle
- The uncontrollable human drive to satisfy desire.
- An appetite for something that promises enjoyment, satisfaction, and pleasure in its attainment.
- reality principle
- The constant curbing of desire according to possibility, law, or social convention.
- The process of mentally containing our desires below conscious recognition or expression.
- The structure within the psyche (i.e. mind) that keeps trying to make its desires felt while remaining continually repressed.
- A psychoanalytic concept that describes the gap separating Imaginary pleasures and lived reality.
- Conscious awareness provided by your senses
- Things easily called to your conscious mind
- Perceptional consciousness + pre-conscious
- Associated with the Pleasure Principle – the uncontrollable human drive to satisfy desire, including libido, human sexual desire
- The one and only urge of the Id is toward satisfaction
- “It is the dark, inaccessible part of our personality”
- Associated with the Reality Principle – the constant curbing of desire according to possibility; laws, both written and unwritten; and social convention
- Acts according to the reality principle and seeks to please the id’s drive in realistic ways
The unconscious can reveal itself through
- Slips of the tongue (Freudian slip)
- according to Freud, infants are born “polymorphously perverse,” or with the ability to experience pleasure in an infinite number of ways, because they have no self-control and are
uninhibited by social conventions
- “oral stage,” or the union between mother and child in the act of breastfeeding
- although the child initially breastfeeds only for sustenance, it begins to derive other pleasures from the breast that are exclusively libidinal or sexual
- anal stage comes from the retention and expulsion of waste, and pleasure in the phallic stage involves shifting libidinal concentration to the genitals
- psychoanalytic scholar Anthony Elliot points out that each stage is accompanied by specific fantasies integral to the development of sexual identity: the oral stage features
comforting fantasies, the anal stage hosts sadistic fantasies, and the phallic stage involves fantasies of control and self-sufficiency
- although at this point the child still exists in an undifferentiated state of pleasurable connection to the mother, the developing ability to fantasize about the self lays the foundation
for notions of identification with the outside world
- Oedipus complex
- A mental structuring that takes the raw libidinal materials of the oral, anal, and phallic stages and splits them into conscious and unconscious desires.
- in the case of young boys, the arrival of the father in the family signals a threat to the sexual and pleasurable union between child and mother
- the boy, realizing that his father’s phallus has more sexual power over the mother than his own, represses his desires for the mother into the newly formed unconscious at the threat
of “castration” from the father figure
- for the young girl, the knowledge that she lacks a penis causes her to reject the penis-less, powerless mother and sexually desire the powerful father and the idea of bearing him
- because the young girl does not experience the powerful threat of castration (understands herself as already castrated), “the girl’s Oedipal stage is understood to be unstable,
forever shifting between maternal and paternal identifications, and thereby always incomplete”
- The pre-linguistic realm where the infant feels whole and connected to everything via the bond to the mother.
- the “mirror stage”: the child catches its reflection in a mirror and misrecognizes itself as an autonomous and total whole
- the “mirror” can also be interpreted metaphorically as the confirming gaze of another individual, such as another infant or the mother
- by identifying with the reflected image, the child begins to conceive of its own distinctness as a complete identity and takes the first steps toward ego formation (although he/she is
still somewhat beheld by the Imaginary and the pleasures it affords)
- the mirror stage recalls Freud’s own theories about identification because it is the first time that the child recognizes a connection between objects in the outside world and itself,