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Denis, P. (2016). The Drive Revisited: Mastery and Satisfaction. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 97(3):759-784.

(2016). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 97(3):759-784

Contemporary Conversations

The Drive Revisited: Mastery and Satisfaction Related Papers

Paul Denis

(Accepted for publication 27 September 2015)

Starting from the theory of the libido and the notions of the experience of satisfaction and the drive for mastery introduced by Freud, the author revisits the notion of the drive by proposing the following model: the drive takes shape in the combination of two currents of libidinal cathexis, one which takes the paths of the ‘apparatus for obtaining mastery’ (the sense-organs, motricity, etc.) and strives to appropriate the object, and the other which cathects the erotogenic zones and the experience of satisfaction that is experienced through stimulation in contact with the object. The result of this combination of cathexes constitutes a ‘representation’, the subsequent evocation of which makes it possible to tolerate for a certain period of time the absence of a satisfying object. On the basis of this conception, the author distinguishes the representations proper, vehicles of satisfaction, from imagos and traumatic images which give rise to excitation that does not link up with the paths taken by the drives. This model makes it possible to conciliate the points of view of the advocates of ‘object-seeking’ and of those who give precedence to the search for pleasure, and, further, to renew our understanding of object-relations, which can then be approached from the angle of their relations to infantile sexuality. Destructiveness is considered in terms of “mastery madness” and not in terms of the late Freudian hypothesis of the death drive.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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