Difference between revisions of "Sublimation"

From No Subject - Encyclopedia of Psychoanalysis
Jump to: navigation, search
(Sublimation and Lacan)
(The LinkTitles extension automatically added links to existing pages (<a rel="nofollow" class="external free" href="https://github.com/bovender/LinkTitles">https://github.com/bovender/LinkTitles</a>).)
 
(16 intermediate revisions by one other user not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
The term '[[sublimation]]' (Fr. ''sublimation'') is one of the most familiar terms in the vocabulary of [[psychoanalysis]].
+
{{Top}}sublimate|sublimation{{Bottom}}
  
==Sublimation and Freud==
+
=====Sigmund Freud=====
[[Sigmund Freud]] never developed a coherent theory (or account) of [[sublimation]].
+
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]] [[symptom]]s. 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]].
  
[[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>
+
=====Jacques Lacan=====
 +
[[Lacan]]s 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 [[drive]]s are diverted towards this [[dimension]] of shared social values that they can be said to be sublimated.<ref>{{S7}} p. 144</ref> It is this dimension of shared social values which allows [[Lacan]] to tie in the concept of [[sublimation]] with his [[discussion]] of [[ethics]].<ref>{{S7}} p. 144</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.
+
=====Differences - Freud and Lacan=====
Erotic energy is only allowed limited expression due to [[Psychological repression|repression]].
+
However, [[Lacan]]'s account of [[sublimation]] also differs from [[Freud]]'s on a [[number]] of points.
  
The logical conclusion of such a view is that complete sublimation would mean the end of all perversion and all neurosis.
+
=====Perversion=====
[[Civilization]] has been able to place "social aims higher than the sexual ones."<ref>Introductory Lectures 16.345</ref>
+
[[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 in prohibited by [[society]].
  
===Sublimation and Art===
+
[[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 [[structure]]d relation to the [[drive]]s which are already, in themselves, [[linguistic]] rather than [[biological]] forces.
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==
+
Whereas [[Freud]] believed 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>
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]].
+
=====Object=====
 +
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]].
  
# 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]].
+
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>
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>
+
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]].
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]].
+
=====Death Drive=====
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>
+
While [[Lacan]] follows [[Freud]] in linking [[sublimation]] with [[creativity]] and [[art]], he complicates this by also linking it with the [[death drive]].<ref>{{S4}} p.431</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>
+
Several reasons can be adduced to explain this.
## Firstly, the concept of the [[death drive]] is itself seen as a product of Freud's own [[sublimation]].<ref>S7, 212</ref>
+
# Firstly, the concept of the [[death drive]] is itself seen as a product of [[Freud]]'s own [[sublimation."<ref>{{S7}} p.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>  
+
# Secondly, the [[death drive]] is not only a "[[destruction]] drive," but also "a will to crate from zero."<ref>{{S7}} p.212-3</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.
+
# 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>
 
  
 
==See Also==
 
==See Also==
* [[Sublime Object]]
+
{{See}}
 
* [[Art]]
 
* [[Art]]
* [[libido]]
+
* [[Death drive]]
* [[drive]]
+
||
* [[death drive]]
+
* [[Drive]]
* [[The Ethics of Psychoanalysis]]
+
* [[Ethics]]
 +
||
 +
* [[Fantasy]]
 +
* [[Libido]]
 +
||
 +
* [[Structure]]
 +
* [[Thing]]
 +
{{Also}}
  
 
== References ==
 
== References ==
 +
<div style="font-size:11px" class="references-small">
 
<references/>
 
<references/>
 +
</div>
  
[[Category:Lacan]]
+
[[Category:Freudian psychology]]
 +
[[Category:Psychoanalysis]]
 +
[[Category:Jacques Lacan]]
 +
[[Category:Dictionary]]
 +
[[Category:Concepts]]
 +
[[Category:Culture]]
 
[[Category:Terms]]
 
[[Category:Terms]]
[[Category:Concepts]]
+
[[Category:New]]
[[Category:Psychoanalysis]]
 
[[Category:Freudian psychology]]
 
 
[[Category:Art]]
 
[[Category:Art]]
[[Category:Culture]]
+
 
 +
__NOTOC__

Latest revision as of 19:02, 20 May 2019

French: sublimation
Sigmund Freud

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.

Jacques Lacan

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]

Differences - Freud and Lacan

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

Perversion

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.

Whereas Freud believed 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]

Object

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.

Death Drive

While Lacan follows Freud in linking sublimation with creativity and art, he complicates this by also linking it with the death drive.[5]

Several reasons can be adduced to explain this.

  1. Firstly, the concept of the death drive is itself seen as a product of Freud's own [[sublimation."[6]
  2. Secondly, the death drive is not only a "destruction drive," but also "a will to crate from zero."[7]
  3. 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.

See Also

References

  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
  5. Lacan, Jacques. Le Séminaire. Livre IV. La relation d'objet, 19566-57. Ed. Jacques-Alain Miller. Paris: Seuil, 1991. p.431
  6. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.212
  7. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.212-3