Notes by Yolmo Urgen
· Sigmund Freud is the father of psychoanalysis. He wrote about psychoanalysis sometime during the 20th century.
· It was the time when practical thinking and reasoning had come into being.
· Germany in the 18th and the 19th century was dominated by German philosophies and had a Nazi rule thus it was not possible for Freud to write freely on his theories. Thus due to this plight he went to England and started writing and expressing his views on psychoanalysis.
· Later there were many philosophers like Lacan Derrida who followed Freud footsteps and wrote on psychoanalysis and also tried to complete it.
· Freud eventually completed his work, publishing many books which were on psychoanalysis:
1. Civilization and its Discontents: In this book he writes about two prime principles which dominate human civilization. A) The pleasure principle and B) The reality principle. The pleasure principle is the principle which states that human beings only want pleasure in life and this is naturally seen in them( For Freud the only model of pleasure is sexual pleasure). But then he talks about the reality principle due to which the pleasure principle is sacrificed. This process is called sublimation. Due to this all the desires and the pleasure repressed, cannot be expressed. Freud thus talks about the unconscious mind which according to him is the space which is created in the mind to repress unexpressed desires.
2. The Interpretation of Dreams: In this book he further goes on to talk about the unconscious saying that we have no access to our unconscious mind and the only access to the unconscious is through our dreams. Dreams according to Freud do two things to the repressed desires: either condense (metaphor) or displace(metonymy). Condensation is just the constant vision of one image(for example, a snake representing a penis) and displacement is just a part of one image(for example, desire to be a king but only a part of the royalty seen, say the crown)
3. Psychopathology of everyday life: In this book Freud talks about parapaxes, which means “slip of tongue”. He says that our repressed desires are also expressed sometimes when we talk through slip of tongues.
4. The Jokes and their relations to the Unconscious: Here again he writes about the repressed desires coming out through the day to day jokes that we make. He says that jokes are a way of showing a glimpse of people’s repressed desires.
5. Three essays on the theory of sexuality: In this book he again talks about the content of the unconscious being only the sexual desires. Here he talks about the erotogenic zones: the oral, the anal and the phallic, which are the various stages of development of the unconscious. In the oral stage the child gets pleasure from his mouth: in the anal stage it learns toilet culture and also learns about the concept of inside and outside: in the phallic stage it realizes that it can take pleasure from its genital organ. The child then becomes polymorphously perverse, a term Freud uses to describe a being hose sexual or libidinal drives are relatively unorganized and are directed at any and every object that might provide sexual pleasure. He then goes on to talk about how incestuous the child becomes as it starts developing an attraction towards its mother if its a male child or towards its father if its a female child. Thais is where he talks about the Oedipus Complex. The polymorphously perverse phase of the child ends here and forces the child into the latency phase.
Freud says that the ‘I’ does not exist and that it is split between ego and the id.
· For Lacan the ego can never take the place of the unconscious, of empty it out, because according to him the ego or ‘í’ self is only an illusion, a product of unconscious itself. Thus Lacan talks about the formation of the ‘i’ self.
· Lacan, in order to explain the similar trajectory from an infant to an adult like Freud, talks about three concepts- need, demand and desire- that roughly correspond to three phases of development – the Real, the Imaginary and the Symbolic.
· The Real phase is when the child is only concerned about its needs and it has no demands. At this point the child does not know that it is in an independent state.
· Slowly it begins to understand that it has to start demanding when the mother leaves or goes away from it for sometime.
· It realizes that the nipple it sucks for food is not its and that the one standing in front of the mirror is itself. This is the point where it reaches the Imaginary phase where it starts learning language because it has demands.
· Here Lacan talks about the capital “Other” and the small “other”. The small other is when the child gets to know that the figure in front of the mirror is the” other” image of itself and the capital Other is the other which includes all the central institutions in the society which govern everything.
· Then the Symbolic phase starts where the child completely requires but has a desire to go back to the real stage which is not possible. Thus a centre is created.
· This centre is the phallus. Phallus for Lacan is not the penis. It can be any centre which the society creates to move away from the Symbolic state. Then all the legal understandings and norms and rules begin.
· All centre are the lack that people have. And all lacks are different.