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Riggall, R.M. (1924). Beyond The Pleasure Principle. Psychoanal. Rev., 11(1):61-66.

(1924). Psychoanalytic Review, 11(1):61-66

Special Reviews

Beyond The Pleasure Principle

Review by:
Robert M. Riggall

The economic consideration of mental processes assumes that they are regulated by the pleasure principle, these processes originating in tension and aiming at relaxation or pleasure.

Pleasure and pain (unlust) are considered in relation to the quantity of excitation present in the psychic life. This is not a simple relationship nor does a direct proportion exist between them; the amount of diminution or increase in a given time may be the factor for feeling. Forces opposing the pleasure tendency make the goal of supremacy only approximately attainable.

The instinct of self-preservation causes the pleasure principle to be replaced by reality and pain is endured in order ultimately to gain pleasure. The pleasure principle is concerned partly with sex impulses and prevails over the reality principle only to the detriment of the organism. Certain repressed instincts connected primarily with the pleasure principle can only obtain substitutive gratification along circuitous routes and are felt by the ego as pain instead of pleasure. All neurotic pain is therefore pleasure which cannot be experienced as such.

The traumatic neurosis is recognized as being inexplicable on the basis of organic injury to the nervous system. Freud emphasizes the importance of two facts: first the element of surprise, and, secondly, that an injury or wound occurring at the same time tends to guard against the onset of the neurosis. Apprehension cannot produce a traumatic neurosis because it protects against fright. The characteristic dream of the traumatic neurosis patient is continually taking him back to the scene of his disaster. Freud suggests that in this case the wish fulfilment function of the dream is prevented from coming into action because the stimuli are not assimilated.


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