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Lander, J. (1949). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 18:541.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:541

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

Joseph Lander

December 21, 1948. INSTINCT SATISFACTION AND PLEASURE. Ludwig Eidelberg, M.D.

Eidelberg suggests the desirability of distinguishing the concept of instinctual satisfaction from the concept of pleasure. In instinctual satisfaction, 'unpleasure' is removed without experiencing pleasure. Unpleasure is a signal that instinctual tension has passed a certain threshold. Because of its unpleasure, the infant must soon learn coördinated actions of its whole body to restore various disturbed equilibria. Some equilibria are restored by incorporation, others by elimination. According to Eidelberg, pleasure can occur only when there has been a coördinated action of the whole body and the participation of the sense organs in the process of restoring equilibrium. In addition, the objects sought must have a positive appeal to the total personality, must be acceptable to the individual and conform with its general sense of values. Eidelberg favors reserving the term 'pleasure' for the situation in which these criteria prevail. Unlike Freud, Eidelberg believes pregenital instincts are capable of end pleasure (discharge of tension, in contrast to forepleasure in which tension increases). He also believes that unpleasure is a precondition for achieving pleasure: we learn to tolerate the transient tensions of unpleasure until we find the object which permits discharge of tension. In these terms, defecation is an instinct satisfaction rather than pleasure for the 'normal', because in such an individual the total personality accepts the act without approving it as a valuable thing.

In discussion, Dr. Laci Fessler raised the question of the rôle played by the unconscious part of the ego and the superego in instinctual gratification, and the extent to which id characteristics (the primary process, etc.) hold true for the superego. Dr. Herbert A. Wiggers elaborated on the specificity of the difference between instinctual satisfaction with and without pleasure, illustrated by the infant who nurses without pleasure if the hole in the nipple is too large, with pleasure when sucking needs are properly met. He also advanced the theory that in the process of evolution the emergence of object libidinous attachment brought with it the feeling of pleasure. Dr. Paul Federn agreed in essence but disagreed that hunger is an experience of the whole personality; in his opinion, it is felt only by the ego.

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