The term '[[sublimation ]]' (Fr. ''sublimation'') is one of the most familiar terms in the vocabulary of [[psychoanalysis]].
Sublimation and Freud==[[ Sigmund Freud]] never developed a coherent theory (or account ) of [[sublimation]].
Sublimation]] is a term widely used in [[ psychoanalytic theory]] to describe the [[ process]] in which the [[ libido]] [[ sexuality|sexual]] [[drive]] (psychic or erotic energy) is channelled, converted, transformed into an apparently non-sexual activity, such as [[ art|artistic creation]] and intellectual work, or redirected, diverted toward an apparently non-sexual aim or a socially valued [[ object]] , such as [[ art|artistic creation]] and intellectual work, into creative and intellectual activity, into "socially useful" achievements.<ref> Freud 1933</ref>
Sublimation]] is a type of [[ coping|coping mechanism]] or [[ defense mechanism]] , which functions as a socially acceptable escape valve for excess sexual or erotic energy which would otherwise have to be discharged in socially unacceptable forms (perverse behaviour) or in neurotic symptoms. Erotic energy is only allowed limited expression due to [[ Psychological repression|repression]].
The logical conclusion of such a view is that complete sublimation would mean the end of all perversion and all neurosis. [[ Civilization]] has been able to place "social aims higher than the sexual ones."<ref>Introductory Lectures 16. 345</ref>
===Sublimation and Art=== This usage appears to be influenced by the aesthetics of the sublime. In his study of Leonardo da Vinci, Freud uses 'sublimation' in this sense to describe the transformation of theyoung Leonardo's sexual curiosity into a spirit of intellectual inquiry.<ref>1910a</ref> Whilst this produced great works of art, the sublimation of [[libido]] into a general urge to know meant that a small quota of Leonardo's sexual ennergy was directe dtowards sexual aims, and resulted in a stunted adult sexuality. Elsewhere Frud suggests tht a mature woman's capacity to pursue an intellectual profession may be a sublimated expression of her childhood desire to acquire a penis.
==Sublimation and Lacan == Lacan's account of sublimation differs from Freud's on a number of points.
# Freud argues that [[ sublimation]] is only necessary because this direct [[ satisfaction]] of the [[drive]] ( although theoretically possible) is [[ prohibition|prohibited]] by [[ society]].
# Freud's account implies that [[ perversion|perverse]] [[ sexuality]] as a form of direct [[ satisfaction]] of the [[drive]] is possible, and that [[ sublimation]] is only necessary because this direct form is [[prohibition|prohibited]] by [[ society]] . Lacan conceives of [[ perversion]] in a highly structured relation to the [[drive]] s which are already, in themselves, [[ linguistic]] rather than [[ biology|biological forces]].<ref> see Zizek, 1991: 83-4)</ref>
# Whereas Freud believed that complete [[ sublimation]] might be possible for some particularly refined or [[ culture]] d people, Lacan argues that "complete sublimation is not possible for the individual."<ref>S7, 91</ref> This is not to say that the "free mobility of the libido" (Introductory Lectures 16.346) is ever fully contained: "sublimation is never able to deal with more than a certain fraction of libido."<ref>Introductory Lectures 16. 346</ref>
# In Freud's account, [[ sublimation]] involves the redirection of the [[ drive]] to a different (non-sexual) [[object]]. In Lacan's account, [[sublimation]] does not involve directing the drive to a different object, but rather changing the (position of the object in the structure of fantasy) nature of the object to which the drive was already directed, a "change of object in itself," something which is made possible because the drive is "already deeply marked by the articulation of the signifier."<ref>S7, 293</ref> The [[ sublime]] quality of an [[ object]] is thus not due to any intrinsic property of the object itself, but simply an effect of the object's position in the [[symbolic]] [[structure]] of [[fantasy]]. Sublimation relocates an object in the position of the [[thing]]. The Lacanian formula for sublimation is thus that "it raises an object ... to the [[ dignity of the Thing]]. "<ref> S7, l 12</ref>
# Lacan (following Freud) associates [[sublimation]] with [[creativity]] and [[art]], but also links it with the [[death drive]]. <ref>S4, 431</ref> ## Firstly, the concept of the [[death drive]] is itself seen as a product of Freud's own [[sublimation ]].<ref>S7 , 212</ref ## Secondly, the death drive is not only a "destruction drive," but also a "will to create from zero."<ref>S7 , 212- 13</ref> ## Thirdly, the [[sublime object]], through being elevated to the [[dignity of the Thing]], exerts a power of fascination which leads ultimately to [[death]] and destruction. ==Sublimation and Ethics== In his 1959-60 [[seminar]], ''[[The Ethics of Psychoanalysis]],'' [[Jacques Lacan]] emphasizes the element of [[social recognition]] as central to the concept, and reflects upon the dimension of shared social values (towards which the sublimated drives are diverted) in his discussion of ethics.<ref>[[Jacques Lacan|Lacan, Jacques]]. [[The Ethics of Psychoanalysis]]. p. 107, 144</ref> <ref>[[Seminar XI]] sublimation, 11, 165</ref>
* [[Sublime Object]]
libido]]* [[ drive]]* [[ death drive]]* [[ The Ethics of Psychoanalysis]]
== References ==
Concepts]] [[Category:Psychoanalysis]] [[Category:Freudian psychology]]