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PSYCHOANALYSIS. THE GAZE

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Introduction

PSYCHOANALYSIS. THE GAZE Sigmund Freud (May 6, 1856 - September 23, 1939; was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychology. Freud is best known for his theories of the unconscious mind, especially involving the mechanism of repression; his redefinition of sexual desire as mobile and directed towards a wide variety of objects; and his therapeutic technique, especially his understanding of transference in the therapeutic relationship and the presumed value of dreams as sources of insight into unconscious desires. Freud's structural theory "Tip of the Iceberg" - Structural and Topographical Models of Mind The id, as previously stated, is the source of our drives and Freud considered it to be the reservoir of libido. 'The libido' or simply 'libido', is the form of energy cathected upon objects or an affect received from objects, predominantly sexual, which underlies all mental processes. Our drives (Freud had very theoretically specific "-drives" such as the death-drive, but drives can often be equated to 'instincts') surge forth from the id and apply libidinal energy to objects, which may result in aggressive or erotic attachments/actions upon chosen objects The drives of the id are considered to be inborn, operating within the primary psychical processes (those of the unconscious) and are absolutely determined according to the pleasure principle. It is said that the id behaves as though it were unconscious, the reason thought to be is that our ego and our super-ego's ideals and pressures are often in conflict with the id's, causing repression, as the gratification of the id's drives would often be devastating in terms of social- and self-image. ...read more.

Middle

a piece of clothing or underlinen). Such substitutes are with some justice likened to the fetishes in which savages believe that their gods are embodied. A transition to those cases of fetishism in which the sexual aim, whether normal or perverse, is entirely abandoned is afforded by other cases in which the sexual object is required to fulfil a fetishistic condition - such as the possession of some particular hair-colouring or clothing, or even some bodily defect - if the sexual aim is to be attained. No other variation of the sexual instinct that borders o the pathological can lay so much claim to our interest as this one, such is the peculiarity of the phenomena to which it gives rise. Some degree of diminution in the urge towards the normal sexual aim (an executive weakness of the sexual apparatus) seems to be a necessary pre-condition in every case. The point of contact with the normal is provided by the psychologically essential overvaluation of the sexual object, which inevitably extends to everything that is associated with it. A certain degree of fetishism is thus habitually present in normal love, especially in those stages of it in which the normal sexual aim seems unattainable or its fulfillment prevented. The situation only becomes pathological when the longing for the fetish passes beyond the point of being merely a necessary condition attached to the sexual object and actually takes the place of the normal aim, and, further, when the fetish becomes detached from a particular individual and becomes the sole sexual object. These are, indeed, the general conditions under which mere variations of the sexual instinct pass over into pathological aberrations. ...read more.

Conclusion

This belief is rooted in Lacan's reading of Ferdinand de Saussure and structuralism, and more specifically his belief that Freud's concept of the unconscious prefigured structuralist linguistics. Lacan picks up on Saussure's observation that a signifier is distinguished and identified through its difference from other signifiers. (For example, "love" is understandable, in part, only through its opposition to "hate," which is in turn understandable only in relationship to "love") As a result, language is never completely contained - it always contains things beyond what is intended, and these things form an endless chain of signifiers. This signifying chain, and more broadly the ordering structures of language in general constitute the Other (always capitalized in Lacan's work). The Real, the Imaginary, and the Symbolic Lacan also formulated the concepts of the Real, the Imaginary, and the Symbolic, which he used to describe the elements of the psychic structure. The Imaginary constitutes Lacan's version of the ego - the structured conception of identity, beginning with the mirror stage. The imaginary depends on a division between self and "other," but this division already relies on reference to the Other. The Other, in this triad, is contained in the Symbolic - the ordering structures of language and grammar in which the Imaginary self-formulates. All of this is coupled with the Real - the world as it exists before the mediation of language. The Real, therefore, can never truly be grasped or engaged with - it is continually mediated through the imaginary and the symbolic. Lacan's notion of the Real is a very difficult concept which he, in his later years, worked to present in a structured, set-theory fashion, as mathemes. ...read more.

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