Difference between revisions of "Sublimation"

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sublimation (sublimation)                    In Freud's work, sublimation is a process
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{{Top}}sublimate|sublimation{{Bottom}}
  
  in which the libido is channelled into apparently non-sexual activities such as
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=====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]] [[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]].
  
  artistic creation and intellectual work. Sublimation thus functions                as   a
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=====Jacques Lacan=====
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[[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>
  
socially acceptable escape valve for            excess sexual energy which would
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=====Differences - Freud and Lacan=====
 +
However, [[Lacan]]'s account of [[sublimation]] also differs from [[Freud]]'s on a [[number]] of points.
  
  otherwise have to be discharged in socially unacceptable forms (perverse
+
=====Perversion=====
 +
[[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]].
  
behaviour) or in neurotic symptoms. The logical conclusion of such a view is
+
[[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.
  
  that complete sublimation would      mean the end of all perversion and all
+
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>
  
  neurosis. However, many points remain unclear in Freud's                 account of
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=====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]].
  
  sublimation.
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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>
  
      Lacan takes up the concept of sublimation in his seminar of 1959-60. He
+
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]].
  
  follows Freud in emphasising the fact that the element of social recognition is
+
=====Death Drive=====
 +
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>
  
  central to the concept, since it is only insofar as the drives are diverted towards
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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}} p.212</ref>
socially valued objects that they can be said to be sublimated (S7, 107). It is
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# Secondly, the [[death drive]] is not only a "[[destruction]] drive," but also "a will to crate from zero."<ref>{{S7}} p.212-3</ref>
 
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# 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.
  this dimension of shared social values which allows Lacan to tie in the concept
 
 
 
  of sublimation with his discussion of ethics (see S7, 144). However, Lacan's
 
 
 
  account of sublimation also differs from Freud's on a number of points.
 
 
 
      1. 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 is prohibited by society. Lacan however rejects the
 
 
 
  concept of a zero degree of satisfaction (see éiûek, 1991: 83-4), arguing that
 
 
 
perversion 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.
 
 
 
      2. 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' (S7, 91).
 
 
 
      3. 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'
 
 
 
(S7, 293). 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. To be more specific, 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' (S7, l 12).
 
 
 
      4. While Lacan follows Freud in linking sublimation with creativity and ART,
 
 
 
he complicates this by also linking it with the DEATH DRIVE (S4, 431). 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 (S7, 212). Secondly, the
 
 
 
death drive is not only a 'destruction drive', but also 'a will to create from
 
 
 
zero' (S7, 212-13). 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.
 
 
 
== def ==
 
 
 
The redirection of sexual desire to "higher" aims. Freud saw sublimation as a protection against illness, since it allowed the subject to respond to sexual frustration (lack of gratification of the sexual impulse) by taking a new aim that, though still "genetically" (Introductory Lectures 16.345) related to the sexual impulse, is no longer properly sexual but social. In this way, civilization has been able to place "social aims higher than the sexual ones, which are at bottom self-interested" (Introductory Lectures 16.345). 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" (Introductory Lectures 16.346).
 
  
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==See Also==
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{{See}}
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* [[Art]]
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* [[Death drive]]
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||
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* [[Drive]]
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* [[Ethics]]
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||
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* [[Fantasy]]
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* [[Libido]]
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||
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* [[Structure]]
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* [[Thing]]
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{{Also}}
  
 
== References ==
 
== References ==
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<div style="font-size:11px" class="references-small">
 
<references/>
 
<references/>
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</div>
  
[[Category:Lacan]]
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[[Category:Freudian psychology]]
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[[Category:Psychoanalysis]]
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[[Category:Jacques Lacan]]
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[[Category:Dictionary]]
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[[Category:Concepts]]
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[[Category:Culture]]
 
[[Category:Terms]]
 
[[Category:Terms]]
[[Category:Concepts]]
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[[Category:New]]
[[Category:Psychoanalysis]]
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[[Category:Art]]
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Latest revision as of 20:02, 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