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Opatow, B. (1989). Drive Theory and the Metapsychology of Experience. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 70:645-660.

(1989). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 70:645-660

Drive Theory and the Metapsychology of Experience

Barry Opatow


This paper begins by examining the current conflicting points of view about metapsychology—its status, usefulness and explanatory power. The drive concept, the source of psychic dynamism, is identified at the core of the controversy. As a solution, the paper proposes a conceptual intensification afforded by the integration

of consciousness into Freud's theory of the drive. With consciousness, I attempt to mine a deep vein of theory. Rather than being viewed as an inert accompaniment to organismic events, consciousness is exhibited as an inherent dialectical activity. This allows a non-metaphorical conceptualization of psychic energy that is consistent both internally and with physical law. This drive concept is then applied to the putative experience of earliest infancy and provides a basis for the anaclitic origin of sexuality and a critique of current infant research.

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