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Riolo, F. (2018). On the Pleasure Principle. Ital. Psychoanal. Annu., 12:41-46.

(2018). The Italian Psychoanalytic Annual, 12:41-46

On the Pleasure Principle Language Translation

Fernando Riolo

What pleasure can psychoanalysts talk about? Pleasure takes many forms: there is the pleasure of the senses and that of the intellect; aesthetic pleasure and ecstatic pleasure; there is also a «pathic» pleasure, which is not always so pleasant. There is a pleasure that is wellness, harmony with one's own body and with oneself, euthymia; and there is a pleasure that is uneasiness, discord between one's body and oneself, dysthymia. In investigating the multiple forms that pleasure can take, we should therefore aim to understand the principle which gives rise to these forms, because this is what every investigation sets out to do: to bring the variable phenomena that are presented to our perception back to a meta-phenomenal principle which allows them to be explained.

Freud posited as «pleasure principle» (Lustprinzip) the sex drive; and he had placed this principle at the «roots» of psychic life in its conflictual relationship with the Realitätsprinzip. Therefore, he had developed a theory which explained the «affects» of pleasure and unpleasure as the psychic derivatives of somatic quantities; from which in turn were derived the ideational processes and cognitive functions through a long and complicated work of mediation between the demands of the body and those of the outside world: psychic reality, in other words, as a product of the dramatic conflict between the biologikòs kosmos and the exoterikòs kosmos.

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