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Solms, M. (2013). Response to Commentaries. Neuropsychoanalysis, 15(1):79-85.

(2013). Neuropsychoanalysis, 15(1):79-85

Response to Commentaries Related Papers

Mark Solms

The Id is Not the Same as the Unconscious … and other Things

I am of course pleased by the substantial degree of agreement with my main conclusions. Due to limitations of space, I will focus on the points of disagreement.

Ariane Bazan says I have conflated affect and drive (i.e., Trieb, which Strachey called “instinct”). She also thinks that I confuse drive and instinct, in the modern sense of the word. First, let me say that I did not intend to do so, because I do not consider these things to be synonymous at all. I define drive as “a measure of the demand made upon the mind for work in consequence of its connection with the body” (Freud, 1915a, p. 122), where the “measure” is the degree of deviation from a homeostatic set-point (with implications for survival and reproductive success). I do not believe that this deviation itself is something mental, but the “demand” it generates is felt in the pleasure-unpleasure series. This (felt demand) is affect, which in my view is the origin of mind. The “work” that flows from affect is cognition, the functional purpose of which is to reduce affect—that is, to reduce prediction error (free energy). The purpose of cognition is to bring the


1 A general point that applies to all the commentaries: When we use the word “body” we generally think of our exteroceptive (mainly visual) representation of it. This is not strictly correct. Our visual image of the body—both its external surface and the viscera—is no more real than our affective sense of it. The ubiquitous tendency to privilege the visual (and other exteroceptive senses) produces the mind-body problem. It leads us to the erroneous impression that the visually represented body causes affective feelings, when in fact the two apparent things—the body-as-object and the body-as-subject—are simply two different ways of perceiving the same thing. (See Solms, 1997; Solms & Turnbull, 2002.)

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