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Stokes, A. (1962). On Resignation. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 43:175-181.

(1962). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 43:175-181

On Resignation

Adrian Stokes

Much of what figures below assumes the general submission, published in this Journal during 1960, concerning the death instinct as the compulsion to refuse objects, correlative with Freud's characterization of the libido as object-seeking (4). In arguing that the self-preservative drive vis-à-vis the environment must entail a prior attitude of defence vis-à-vis an inner danger, I asked the question: 'If the interests of survival that the ego will serve, conflict with those of immediate satisfaction, how is the ego developed from the id, unless there be at work in the id another and negative principle that causes survival to declare itself as an immediate aim: can the instinct of self-preservation be viewed satisfactorily without a partner who typifies danger?' I said in the conclusion: 'Freud showed that the Thanatos principle as a rule operates in a close fusion with Eros: masochism was his touchstone. I have found it necessary to imagine that in all life-giving and life-preserving responses there is mingled an impulse, however faint, of refusal. … The sense of loss is thereby first seen as the libidinal response to an innate refusal. I think that from the beginning the impulse of refusal is felt within other instinctual responses and tends to increase them, as might a slowly departing train the response of a man who would catch it.'

A result of anxiety is sometimes a remarkable bent for calculation. I mean by this word a reckoning concerning gain that tends to strangle spontaneity.

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