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Heath, A. (2015). Mind Your Mind, Episode 2: Driven. PEP Video Grants, 1(1):4.

(2015). PEP Video Grants, 1(1):4

Mind Your Mind, Episode 2: Driven

Author and Director
A. Chris Heath, M.D.

The unconscious is a source of passion and depth. But it is silly and funny. And it gets us into all kinds of trouble. In Mind Your Mind Episode 2, Dr Heath explores what drives us. It has to do with love, connection, and creativity. From the Psychoanalytic fields of Drive Theory and Object Relations comes this adventure of discovery. Our unconscious comes out in the way we act; pay attention and be entertained!

DR. HEATH: What is love?

Hi. I'm Dr. Heath with Mind Your Mind. I'm on a quest to understand something. Here's the question. What motivates people? What is passion? What is love? See, there's an energy that drives people, but this energy comes from a basic need. It's the very energy that connects people.

So it may be that all of our motivations-- from love to work to friendship, belonging, mastery-- all come from this basic drive. And dreams. And even some symptoms, like anxiety are transformation of this energy.

You can see this energy, even in babies. A baby adores its mother, and the mother generally adores her baby. With this presence of the mother, the baby learns that it's safe to love, even to love herself. Is kind of like the baby makes an image of the mother in her own head.

Then, around age four, different stuff starts happening. Kids start realizing, wait a second. Mom has relationships with other people, too. Wait, should I be jealous? Kids all deal with this in the same way, by taking an aspect of the grownups around them. These are big changes. In fact, this increased ability to see the big picture is part of the way kids become ready to start school. Ooh, can I have that green?

Of course, what kids take in depends on their experience. Is one's sense of morality, for instance, out of empathy for others and striving to be good and kind? Or is our conscience are harsh, punishing one?

So the drive that-- oh, I don't need you in this scene. Sorry. The drive that lives in us can be applied in many ways. But what's this? Nah, you can't really see the drive. You can see the way manifests. It drives passion and curiosity.

So like a light bulb, you don't really see the electricity, only the light coming out of the electrified filament. So we have a name for this, a cathexis. Lots of things can be cathected.

So in relationships, there are a lot of these emotional investments. The love for the other person. The curiosity about what will happen next. Even the sadness at the ending of the evening. These are all examples of these emotional investments. Even at the ball game today, the emotional investment that the players have with the game and the one that we have with the game are all examples of this. Oh, man. I missed it. I'm going to take my seat.

But what do we see when we look at the other person? Are we emotionally investing something more abstract, like hope or nostalgia? In fact, if we're limited by our expectations, we might only see what we want to see of the other person. But then again, that's not really seeing the person, right?

This view that we have in our head of the other person becomes really powerful. We might even get the other person to act in a certain way and not even realize it. For instance, if you think somebody doesn't like you, and if you're a jerk to them, they're probably not going to like you. Voila, your expectations become accurate.

There's something that's the opposite of expectations, more like true intimacy, where there's a creative space in the interaction between the two people. There's even words for this. A psychoanalyst named Winnicott calls this a potential space. A space that's not a space. More of a spiritual space.

So let's see that played out. In this first example coming up, the guy's not able to creatively engage with his date. All he can talk about is himself.

WOMAN: So what were you doing earlier today?

MAN: Me, me, me, me. Me, me, me.

WOMAN: Oh. Um, well, when was the last time that you had an oil change?

MAN: Me. Me, me, me.

WOMAN: Ugh, this is awkward. He's only talking about himself. How can I get him to engage? Interesting. I had a similar experience like that as well.

MAN: Me. Me, me, me, me.

DR. HEATH: Instead of being a subject, she's only an object to him. There's not a creative space between them. So she's rightly mad. Let's see an example where there's more of an engagement.

MAN: I just moved out here from Seattle, actually.

WOMAN: Oh, my gosh. I love Seattle. The markets that are up there.

MAN: Yeah! They do, like, the farmer's market with the apples.

WOMAN: Oh my gosh. So good. The biggest.

MAN: So do you go up to Seattle often?

WOMAN: Just once a year. I've got some family up there.

MAN: That's really cool. Yeah, I love it there. Mainly, it's like the weather.

DR. HEATH: So here, there's an emotional investment, a mutual curiosity and discovery. It's like this potential creative space between them itself is invested.

Oh, but Dr. Freud, people misunderstand you. You know this creative drive, it's all one drive. And it started with my childhood love for my mother. It's all about love.

DR. FREUD: It's not about cigars or about theories. Understanding ourselves gives us freedom to love and create.

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Article Citation

Heath, A. (2015). Mind Your Mind, Episode 2: Driven. PEP Video Grants, 1(1):4

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