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Stokes, A. (1945). Concerning Art and Metapsychology. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 26:177-179.

(1945). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 26:177-179

Concerning Art and Metapsychology

Adrian Stokes

This kind of satisfaction, such as the artist's joy in creation, in embodying his phantasies, or the scientist's in solving problems or discovering truth, has a special quality which we shall certainly one day be able to define metapsychologically. Until then we can only say metaphorically it seems to us "higher and finer".

A little further on in Civilization and its Discontents (Freud, 1930; 33) from which this quotation comes, Freud sums up such activity as 'making oneself independent of the external world, by looking for happiness in the inner things of the mind'. (Freud; 34.)

Of course, 'external world' in this context refers to the curtailments that issue from cognizance of the reality principle. Nevertheless, it is perhaps not irrelevant to introduce to this judgment the plea that the essence of artistic creation especially is the bestowing on pieces of matter the power to communicate a particular set of phantasies; or, as it might be expressed in more general language, the transposing to the external world of a formless inner nexus, through a medium of the external world, in terms of the external world. Certainly, for a succeeding passage about the pleasures derived from contemplating works of art, the above consideration has a well-founded relevance.

In the next method the same features are even more marked. The connection with reality is looser still; satisfaction is obtained through illusions which are recognized as such, without the discrepancy between them and reality being allowed to interfere with the pleasure they give.

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