“Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous – to poetry…

…But also, it gives birth to the opposite: to the perverse, the illicit, the absurd.” ― Thomas Mann, “Death in Venice and Other Tales” (1912).

From: The New Sexual Landscape and Contemporary Psychoanalysis (2020) by Danielle Knafo and Rocco Lo Bosco:

“Attempting to transgress the pleasure principle is not more pleasure, but pain…this “painful pleasure” is what Lacan called jouissance (1956-60, p.184)…

…Indeed, we think the concept of perversion is more relevant today than ever, especially considering the vast social changes being wrought by the tech revolution of the twenty-first century.

We have argued for the recognition of perversion in the social domain, noting that it is found in any human system whose aim, purpose, and meaning is – by the very operation of that system – reversed, undermined, violated, or destroyed. Indeed, social perversion (for example, in Churches and corporations and even psychiatry and psychoanalysis) contains many of the elements identified in psychoanalytic writings on sexual perversion: splitting, disavowal, illusion, means-end reversal, dehumanisation, and even delight in exploitation. As we argued before, erotic life extends into every sphere of human activity, the boardroom as well as the bedroom.

On the other hand, a rebellious and transgressive activity originating within a normative framework that undermines and challenges some aspect of that frame may be considered perverse and yet work to change things for the better. Thus, many civil and social upheavals provide examples of perversity that have served justice-seeking and life-affirming outcomes…”

Wikipedia: “Epicurus in the ancient world, and Jeremy Bentham in the modern, laid stress upon the role of pleasure in directing human life, the latter stating: “Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure”.

Freud’s most immediate predecessor and guide however was Gustav Theodor Fechner and his psychophysics.

Beyond the Pleasure Principle (German: Jenseits des Lustprinzips) is a 1920 essay by Sigmund Freud that marks a major turning point in his theoretical approach.”

Yorgos Dimitriadis: “Jacques Lacan, in his 1969 seminar The Other Side of Psychoanalysis (Lacan, 1969–1970, session of 11 February 1970), said that if analysis had one task to complete, it was to create a new field of energetics, the field of jouissance, which would require other structures than those of physics.”

Josh Cohen wrote in the Times Literary Supplement of 3rd April this year:

“I agreed to write this piece a lifetime ago – at the end of February, when a certain virus was just hovering at the edge of consciousness, yet another bad thing happening mostly to someone else, somewhere else. Now, sitting in my empty psychoanalytic consulting room, I’m spending the time between virtual sessions pondering the tastelessly funny, improbably Freudian coincidence of the centennial of Beyond the Pleasure Principle with a deadly global pandemic…

Given the indiscriminate carnage of the First World War and the rise of Nazism, it was probably inevitable that the element of destructiveness would come increasingly to define Freud’s thinking around the death drive. This emphasis is already anticipated in the latter part of Beyond, which sees the silent and imperceptible death drive, tending towards inertial quiescence, coming to insinuate itself into the expansive, noisy life drive and assuming the guise of sadism and cruelty. Brought into association with the life drive, the death drive turns its annihilating logic outward, drawing on the energy and force of its counterpart to do its dirty work. Riding on the coat-tails of the life-drive, the death drive wreaked the horrors of the war’s killing fields and the inexorable tide of Nazi exterminism…

…It is no coincidence, then, that this strand of Beyond the Pleasure Principle, the conception of the human being as a radically inertial organism, secretly seeking the annihilation of the tension and excitement aroused by living, has found more resonance among artists than clinicians. When human beings want to approach the wordless outer edges of their own experience, they tend to turn to art…”

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