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Botticelli, S. (2017). My Freudian Cocaine Fantasia: Altering Consciousness, Theorizing Desire. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 18(3):212-222.

(2017). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 18(3):212-222

My Freudian Cocaine Fantasia: Altering Consciousness, Theorizing Desire

Steven Botticelli, Ph.D.

This paper speculates that Freud’s use of cocaine during the formative years of his theorizing shaped a particular conception of the nature of desire. One can draw correspondences between the phenomenology of cocaine intoxication and certain aspects of Freud’s ideas about desire: desire as appetitive, solipsistic, focused on discharge, defined by a quality of “drivenness,” subordinating of pleasure. Although relational reconsiderations have expanded our conception of desire, many contemporary people remain stringently Freudian in our experience of desire, as I use some clinical material to substantiate. In this sense we are all heirs to Freud’s cocaine consciousness.

In an imaginative leap, I link the wide cultural currency attained by psychoanalysis to its consilience with the logic of a coincident expanding capitalist economy—a mode of political economy that has now brought us to the brink of environmental destruction. I conclude that the future of civilization will depend on our ability to find other ways to live our desire.

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