Difference between revisions of "Sublimation"

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In [[Freud]]'s work, [[sublimation]] is a process in which the [[libido]] is channelled into apparently non-sexual activities such as artistic creation and intellectual work.
 
In [[Freud]]'s work, [[sublimation]] is a process in which the [[libido]] is channelled into apparently non-sexual activities such as artistic creation and intellectual work.
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[[Lacan]] however rejects the cocnept of a zero degree of satisfaction, arguing that [[perversion]] is not simply a brute natural means of discharging the [[libido]], but a highly structured relation to the [[drive]]s which are already, in themselves, [[linguistic]] rather than [[biological]] forces.
 
[[Lacan]] however rejects the cocnept of a zero degree of satisfaction, arguing that [[perversion]] is not simply a brute natural means of discharging the [[libido]], but a highly structured relation to the [[drive]]s which are already, in themselves, [[linguistic]] rather than [[biological]] forces.
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===Two===
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Whereas [[Freud]] beleived that complete [[sublimation]] might be possible for some particularly refined or cultured people, [[Lacan]] argues that "complete sublimation is not possible for the individual."<ref>{{S7}} p.91</ref>
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===Three===
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In [[Freud]]'s account, [[sublimation]] involves the redirection of the [[drive]] to a different (non-sexual) object.
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In [[Lacan]]'s account, however, what changes is not the object but its position in the structure of [[fantasy]].
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In other words, [[sublimation]] does not involve directing the [[drive]] to a different [[object]], but rather changing the 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}} p.293</ref>
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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]].
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===Four===

Revision as of 14:02, 4 August 2006

In Freud's work, sublimation is a process in which the libido is channelled into apparently non-sexual activities such as artistic creation and intellectual work.

Sublimation thus functions as a socially acceptable escape valve for excess sexual energy which would otherwise have to be discharged in socially unacceptable forms (perverse behavior) or in neurotic symptoms.

The logical conclusion of such a view is that complete sublimation would mean the end of all perversion and all neurosis.

However, many points remain unclear in Freud's account of sublimation.

--

Lacans takes up the concept of sublimation in his seminar of 1959-60.

He follows Freud in emphasizing the fact that the element of social recognition is central to the concept, since it is only insofar as the drives are diverted towards this dimension of shared social values that they can be said to be sublimated.[1]

It is this dimension of shared social values which allows Lacan to tie in the concept of sublimation with his discussion of ethics.[2]

However, Lacan's account of sublimation also differes from Freud's on a number of points.

One

Freud's account implies that perverse sexuality as a form of direct satisfaction of the drive is possible, and that sublimation is only necessary because this direct form in prohibited by society.

Lacan however rejects the cocnept of a zero degree of satisfaction, arguing that perversion is not simply a brute natural means of discharging the libido, but a highly structured relation to the drives which are already, in themselves, linguistic rather than biological forces.

Two

Whereas Freud beleived that complete sublimation might be possible for some particularly refined or cultured people, Lacan argues that "complete sublimation is not possible for the individual."[3]

Three

In Freud's account, sublimation involves the redirection of the drive to a different (non-sexual) object.

In Lacan's account, however, what changes is not the object but its position in the structure of fantasy.

In other words, sublimation does not involve directing the drive to a different object, but rather changing the 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."[4]

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.

Four

  1. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.144
  2. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.144
  3. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.91
  4. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.293