The Dialectics of Repression.

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The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby Sauwelios » Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:28 pm

If we use Freud's early terms "pleasure principle" and "reality principle", we can formulate the process of repression as follows:

    Thesis the pleasure principle + Antithesis the reality principle =
    Synthesis repression

The demands of reality repress the will to pleasure that was instilled in man during his prolonged dependence on his parents/guardians (by the pleasure, i.e., the feeling of power, this gave him).

Consequently, we can formulate the process of neurosis as follows:

    Thesis repression + Antithesis the pleasure principle =
    Synthesis neurosis

These two dialectical formulations have suggested to me a third:

    Thesis neurosis + Antithesis the pleasure principle =
    Synthesis ..........

For thesis and antithesis can be turned around, so the pleasure principle is always the antithesis:

    Thesis the reality principle + Antithesis the pleasure principle =
    Synthesis repression + Antithesis the pleasure principle =
    Synthesis neurosis + Antithesis the pleasure principle =
    Synthesis ..........

The human will to pleasure has been so deeply instilled in him during his prolonged infancy that it can probably never be eradicated during his lifetime (if man would evolve back so that human infancy would be less prolonged, the human will to pleasure might become eradicable).

It is always the pleasure principle that rebels against other principles or facts. In its rebellion against the reality principle, it must be suppressed (repressed), otherwise the person will come to harm (e.g., the child may stick its fingers in a power socket). So when it rebels against the reality principle, the result is repression (or death). When it rebels against repression, it, like a resistance movement rebelling against an oppressor, performs its activities underground: e.g., in dreams.

Now it may be hard to picture how it will rebel against neurosis. For me, the antithesis PP versus neurosis is too abstract. However, there is, in my view, no true difference between neurosis and sublimation. Sublimation is merely the socially acceptable form of neurosis. We may therefore understand sublimation as a form of neurosis, and neurosis as a form of sublimation. And for me, the antithesis PP versus sublimation is much easier to picture. The pleasure principle may battle against the tendency to sublimate it, may strive to lead "flown-away virtue", to speak with Nietzsche's Zarathustra, "back to the earth---yea, back to body and life" (TSZ, Of the Bestowing Virtue).

    Once hadst thou passions and calledst them evil. But now hast thou only thy virtues: they grew out of thy passions.
    [ibid., Of Joys and Passions.]
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby Jakob » Sun Jan 10, 2010 6:17 pm

The human will to pleasure has been so deeply instilled in him during his prolonged infancy that it can probably never be eradicated during his lifetime (if man would evolve back so that human infancy would be less prolonged, the human will to pleasure might become eradicable).

All in all it seems like an interesting theory, not without merit, but do you suppose other animals are not guided by a longing for pleasure? What about lions? Mainly it seems to me that for them, the reality principle is much less antagonistic to the pleasure principle.
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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby Sauwelios » Sun Jan 10, 2010 10:34 pm

Jakob wrote:
The human will to pleasure has been so deeply instilled in him during his prolonged infancy that it can probably never be eradicated during his lifetime (if man would evolve back so that human infancy would be less prolonged, the human will to pleasure might become eradicable).

All in all it seems like an interesting theory, not without merit, but do you suppose other animals are not guided by a longing for pleasure? What about lions? Mainly it seems to me that for them, the reality principle is much less antagonistic to the pleasure principle.

What about lions? Please elaborate.
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby Jakob » Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:36 am

I see two limits to Freuds analysis:

1, given the case of many animals, the following of pleasure is not necessarily the result of an especially long nurturing phase.
2, the analysis of neurosis as an antagonism between pleasure principle and reality principle does not explain why these principles, in the human, are opposed.
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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby The Last Man » Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:47 pm

Jakob wrote:I see two limits to Freuds analysis:

1, given the case of many animals, the following of pleasure is not necessarily the result of an especially long nurturing phase.
2, the analysis of neurosis as an antagonism between pleasure principle and reality principle does not explain why these principles, in the human, are opposed.


Yes. . . Freud's ideas are pretty imperfect, to say the least.

And basing such a complex and intricate neurochemical and sociological/psychological processes as human peasure or psychological-instinctive-emotional repression, or the evolutionary and sociological/ecological/psychological process of maintaining homeostasis with one's environment (internal and external) on a Hegelian sort of dialectic is so oversimplifying the situation it is almost meaningless. Now while it is of course common sense to consider that we 1) want pleasure, 2) sometimes cannot have the pleasure we want, and 3) therefore sometimes fell repressed or frustrated, this is by no means any sort of brilliant or original insight.

Your 1, and 2, above are sound objections to a Freudian-Marxist sort of dialectical approach here. We can draw a difference between the human animal and the non-human animal, of course, and this will go a long way in isolating the problem here, but this sort of analysis goes far beyond the ability of the dialectic, or Freud, to handle.
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Genius never desires what does not exist. -Kierkegaard

The first and last thing required of genius is the love of truth. -Goethe

The ideal genius, who has all men within him, has also all their preferences and all their dislikes. There is in him not only the universality of men, but of all nature. He is the man to whom all things tell their secrets, to whom most happens, and whom least escapes. He understands most things, and those most deeply, because he has the greatest number of things to contrast and compare them with. The genius is he who is conscious of most, and of that most acutely. -Weininger

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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby Sauwelios » Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:26 pm

Jakob wrote:I see two limits to Freuds analysis:

1, given the case of many animals, the following of pleasure is not necessarily the result of an especially long nurturing phase.
2, the analysis of neurosis as an antagonism between pleasure principle and reality principle does not explain why these principles, in the human, are opposed.

You have not yet explained why you think lions are 'guided by a longing for pleasure'.
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby Sauwelios » Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:32 pm

The Last Man wrote:Yes. . . Freud's ideas are pretty imperfect, to say the least.

And basing such a complex and intricate neurochemical and sociological/psychological processes as human peasure or psychological-instinctive-emotional repression, or the evolutionary and sociological/ecological/psychological process of maintaining homeostasis with one's environment (internal and external) on a Hegelian sort of dialectic is so oversimplifying the situation it is almost meaningless. Now while it is of course common sense to consider that we 1) want pleasure, 2) sometimes cannot have the pleasure we want, and 3) therefore sometimes fell repressed or frustrated, this is by no means any sort of brilliant or original insight.

Your 1, and 2, above are sound objections to a Freudian-Marxist sort of dialectical approach here. We can draw a difference between the human animal and the non-human animal, of course, and this will go a long way in isolating the problem here, but this sort of analysis goes far beyond the ability of the dialectic, or Freud, to handle.

I can't wait for your non-dialectical, Deleuzian-Guattarian thread on these matters. This thread, however, is, as the title suggests, on the dialectics of repression.
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby The Last Man » Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:34 pm

Sauwelios wrote:
The Last Man wrote:Yes. . . Freud's ideas are pretty imperfect, to say the least.

And basing such a complex and intricate neurochemical and sociological/psychological processes as human peasure or psychological-instinctive-emotional repression, or the evolutionary and sociological/ecological/psychological process of maintaining homeostasis with one's environment (internal and external) on a Hegelian sort of dialectic is so oversimplifying the situation it is almost meaningless. Now while it is of course common sense to consider that we 1) want pleasure, 2) sometimes cannot have the pleasure we want, and 3) therefore sometimes fell repressed or frustrated, this is by no means any sort of brilliant or original insight.

Your 1, and 2, above are sound objections to a Freudian-Marxist sort of dialectical approach here. We can draw a difference between the human animal and the non-human animal, of course, and this will go a long way in isolating the problem here, but this sort of analysis goes far beyond the ability of the dialectic, or Freud, to handle.

I can't wait for your non-dialectical, Deleuzian-Guattarian thread on these matters. This thread, however, is, as the title suggests, on the dialectics of repression.


And it is precisely on this that I am commenting.

Or am I not allowed to call your conclusions or ideas into question?
It is not the strengths, but the durations of great sentiments that make great men. -Nietzsche

Genius never desires what does not exist. -Kierkegaard

The first and last thing required of genius is the love of truth. -Goethe

The ideal genius, who has all men within him, has also all their preferences and all their dislikes. There is in him not only the universality of men, but of all nature. He is the man to whom all things tell their secrets, to whom most happens, and whom least escapes. He understands most things, and those most deeply, because he has the greatest number of things to contrast and compare them with. The genius is he who is conscious of most, and of that most acutely. -Weininger

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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby Sauwelios » Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:55 pm

The Last Man wrote:
Sauwelios wrote:I can't wait for your non-dialectical, Deleuzian-Guattarian thread on these matters. This thread, however, is, as the title suggests, on the dialectics of repression.


And it is precisely on this that I am commenting.

Or am I not allowed to call your conclusions or ideas into question?

You cannot call my conclusions into question, because you refuse to 'stoop down' into the framework in which these conclusions are made. Of course you can call my ideas into question, e.g., the implicit idea that it is at all useful to approach these matters dialectically; by rejecting that idea, however, as you have done, you reject my whole OP, and can therefore have no more business in this thread (as any further input from you will be off-topic, 'beyond' the topic... Does this sound familiar?).
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby The Last Man » Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:19 pm

By calling your premises into question I thus call your conclusion into question as well. That is basic logic. It is also the primary means by which philosophical debate takes place - calling each other's assumptions and premises into question.

If I challenge the idea that you might use a dialectical synthesis to reasonably consider the problem of repression, I am thus refuting your conclusion as well, assuming of course that my critiques are sound. Which, by the way, I wouldn't mind if you commented on my thoughts regarding the inability of the dialectic to handle the complex and intricate psychological/sociological factors involved with repression. Feel free to comment on my overal idea that the dialectic is too simplistic to understand such a psychological concept - as a start, why exactly do you think that the dialectic might even be able to capture such an idea? Any examples as to where and how it has adequately explained similar ideas or concepts? Perhaps we need to first dive into a discussion of what the dialectical process is, and why it might (or might not) be capable of explaining a psychological process such as repression.
It is not the strengths, but the durations of great sentiments that make great men. -Nietzsche

Genius never desires what does not exist. -Kierkegaard

The first and last thing required of genius is the love of truth. -Goethe

The ideal genius, who has all men within him, has also all their preferences and all their dislikes. There is in him not only the universality of men, but of all nature. He is the man to whom all things tell their secrets, to whom most happens, and whom least escapes. He understands most things, and those most deeply, because he has the greatest number of things to contrast and compare them with. The genius is he who is conscious of most, and of that most acutely. -Weininger

I don't roll on shabbos. -Walter
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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby Jakob » Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:29 pm

Sauwelios wrote:
Jakob wrote:I see two limits to Freuds analysis:

1, given the case of many animals, the following of pleasure is not necessarily the result of an especially long nurturing phase.
2, the analysis of neurosis as an antagonism between pleasure principle and reality principle does not explain why these principles, in the human, are opposed.

You have not yet explained why you think lions are 'guided by a longing for pleasure'.

Ah, that needs explanation? This comes as a surprise. I can see it in their behavior, just like Freud did with humans, I suppose. They very clearly enjoy the comforts of life, respond to this type of stimulant. Many animals, especially mammals, appear to be guided by it.

Mammals in genersl have a relatively long nurturing phase - animals which come out of eggs would be, according to Freuds rationale, less driven by the pleasure principle.
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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby Jakob » Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:37 pm

I personally can see the use of dialectic in understanding repression. Synthetization of experience into abstractions does work in science, and that is what Freud was trying to do, not without success. His understanding was clearly imperfect, as he was the first to admit, but many have been helped by the methods derived from or inspired by his dialectic. And many have been hurt by it through abuse of these methods.

In any case I can relate to the OP as far as a general principle. I'm also interested in the outcome of neurosis put to further scrutiny using this dialectic, though I can usually only relate if an illustration or example is given to verify every step. Any absolute truths are not to be expected, whenever logic is used, just functional understanding. TLM, I think you put your standards here too high for Sauwelios, me and yourself, since we all have to use rationality, which in it's very essence is a dialectic tool.
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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby Sauwelios » Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:58 pm

The Last Man wrote:By calling your premises into question I thus call your conclusion into question as well. That is basic logic. It is also the primary means by which philosophical debate takes place - calling each other's assumptions and premises into question.

If I challenge the idea that you might use a dialectical synthesis to reasonably consider the problem of repression, I am thus refuting your conclusion as well, assuming of course that my critiques are sound. Which, by the way, I wouldn't mind if you commented on my thoughts regarding the inability of the dialectic to handle the complex and intricate psychological/sociological factors involved with repression. Feel free to comment on my overal idea that the dialectic is too simplistic to understand such a psychological concept - as a start, why exactly do you think that the dialectic might even be able to capture such an idea? Any examples as to where and how it has adequately explained similar ideas or concepts? Perhaps we need to first dive into a discussion of what the dialectical process is, and why it might (or might not) be capable of explaining a psychological process such as repression.

Perhaps you need to do so in a separate thread, rather than vulturing on mine.
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby Sauwelios » Mon Jan 11, 2010 6:01 pm

Jakob wrote:
Sauwelios wrote:
Jakob wrote:I see two limits to Freuds analysis:

1, given the case of many animals, the following of pleasure is not necessarily the result of an especially long nurturing phase.
2, the analysis of neurosis as an antagonism between pleasure principle and reality principle does not explain why these principles, in the human, are opposed.

You have not yet explained why you think lions are 'guided by a longing for pleasure'.

Ah, that needs explanation? This comes as a surprise. I can see it in their behavior, just like Freud did with humans, I suppose. They very clearly enjoy the comforts of life, respond to this type of stimulant. Many animals, especially mammals, appear to be guided by it.

Mammals in genersl have a relatively long nurturing phase - animals which come out of eggs would be, according to Freuds rationale, less driven by the pleasure principle.

Yes, I also think the distinction is relative (as Brown says, based on a quantitative phenomenon). For example, dogs dream, i.e., they, too, are neurotic.

Freud did not just 'see it in their behaviour', he psychoanalysed himself as well as them.
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby Jakob » Mon Jan 11, 2010 6:30 pm

Sauwelios wrote:Yes, I also think the distinction is relative (as Brown says, based on a quantitative phenomenon). For example, dogs dream, i.e., they, too, are neurotic.

So given that dogs dream, objection 1 possibly falls away, which leaves 2: The analysis of neurosis as an antagonism between pleasure principle and reality principle does not explain why these principles, in the human, are opposed.
Freud did not just 'see it in their behaviour', he psychoanalysed himself as well as them.

Why 'just'? Seeing (also, projecting) things in an animals behavior is fundamental to psychoanalysis.

    1. a method of investigation of the mind;
    2. a systematized set of theories about human behaviour;
    3. a method of treatment of psychological or emotional illness.
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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby Sauwelios » Mon Jan 11, 2010 6:57 pm

Jakob wrote:
Sauwelios wrote:Yes, I also think the distinction is relative (as Brown says, based on a quantitative phenomenon). For example, dogs dream, i.e., they, too, are neurotic.

So given that dogs dream, objection 1 possibly falls away, which leaves 2: The analysis of neurosis as an antagonism between pleasure principle and reality principle does not explain why these principles, in the human, are opposed.

It has not been shown that, in other animals who have the will to pleasure, the principles are not opposed. But it could also be the case that it's true that only human beings have that will. For the essential distinction is that between the will to power and the will to pleasure. Pleasure is the feeling of power, but this is only a side-effect in the case of the will to power; whereas in the case of the will to pleasure, it is the goal.


Freud did not just 'see it in their behaviour', he psychoanalysed himself as well as them.

Why 'just'? Seeing (also, projecting) things in an animals behavior is fundamental to psychoanalysis.

Psychoanalysis is aimed at explaining neurosis and sublimation.



    1. a method of investigation of the mind;
    2. a systematized set of theories about human behaviour;
    3. a method of treatment of psychological or emotional illness.
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby Sauwelios » Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:33 pm

Sauwelios wrote:
The Last Man wrote:By calling your premises into question I thus call your conclusion into question as well. That is basic logic. It is also the primary means by which philosophical debate takes place - calling each other's assumptions and premises into question.

If I challenge the idea that you might use a dialectical synthesis to reasonably consider the problem of repression, I am thus refuting your conclusion as well, assuming of course that my critiques are sound. Which, by the way, I wouldn't mind if you commented on my thoughts regarding the inability of the dialectic to handle the complex and intricate psychological/sociological factors involved with repression. Feel free to comment on my overal idea that the dialectic is too simplistic to understand such a psychological concept - as a start, why exactly do you think that the dialectic might even be able to capture such an idea? Any examples as to where and how it has adequately explained similar ideas or concepts? Perhaps we need to first dive into a discussion of what the dialectical process is, and why it might (or might not) be capable of explaining a psychological process such as repression.

Perhaps you need to do so in a separate thread, rather than vulturing on mine.

Really, the more I think of it, the more reasonable my anger appears. Just ask yourself what the object of this vulture could possibly be---to get me to change both the title and text of my OP to: "Ask The Last Man what it should say here."? And considering our earlier clash in my thread on my rank name change, what hope could he have of accomplishing his objective? Conclusion: it must be either malice or thoughtlessness that drives him to reply to my posts.

Note that he does not offer any alternative approach himself! Do we, falling prostrate at his feet, have to ask him what, O wise one, we should do? But the answer is evident: read Deleuze, who thought that one could not gain anything from reading Nietzsche if one did not often laugh like an idiot while doing so! Well, I, for one, am glad that malady is not too contagious (I have read his short book on Nietzsche). I will leave that to clowns like this:

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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby Jakob » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:44 am

For the essential distinction is that between the will to power and the will to pleasure.

So do you see the will to power as analogous with the reality principle?
Neurosis + pleasure principle = psychosis? Or how did Freud see that?
I think by the way that the pleasure principle could be what I mean with the lust for truth.
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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby Jakob » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:00 am

Sauwelios wrote:Really, the more I think of it, the more reasonable my anger appears. Just ask yourself what the object of this vulture could possibly be---to get me to change both the title and text of my OP to: "Ask The Last Man what it should say here."? And considering our earlier clash in my thread on my rank name change, what hope could he have of accomplishing his objective? Conclusion: it must be either malice or thoughtlessness that drives him to reply to my posts.

Well written. Perhaps there is some truth in it even. But it is more probably an interest in the material that drives him to respond. What is the material?

If I may be so free: a conservative Nietzschean interpretation of Freud. In stark contrast appears to stand the postmodernist Deleuz-/Guattarian interpretation of the Austrian doctor. Freud himself was an admirer of Nietzsche, to put it mildly - he did not want to read him, because he feared that the German had already eloquently formulated much of what he was trying to understand. But what about the postmodernists?

Is it possible that we understand something both through the eyes, or rather the tongue, of the German and the Frenchman? What is it that we would have to understand? What metaphysics can rise above the most fundamental human attribute - taste?
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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby Sauwelios » Tue Jan 12, 2010 2:54 am

Jakob wrote:
For the essential distinction is that between the will to power and the will to pleasure.

So do you see the will to power as analogous with the reality principle?

Not quite. As you know, I see reality as the will to power and nothing besides. And the will to be realistic (e.g., to control one's will to sexual pleasure in order not to be removed from society) is a will to power, I think, that is, a will to actual power and not just to the feeling of power (pleasure). Perhaps the question is just whether one takes a short-term or a long-term view. But pleasure itself is not concerned with death.

Nietzsche says somewhere that every 'center of force' would extend its dominion over the whole universe if it could, but that it is kept in check by other such centers. The thing is that during his infancy, man's will to extend his dominion is kept relatively unchecked for a relatively long time. One should definitely think of the Buddha who was protected by his father until he was 18, then suddenly came into contact with the real world, and subsequently devised a teaching that taught that to live was to suffer, and that one should therefore seek to extinguish the fire of the will, which he understood as the cause of all disharmony and thereby of all suffering. Thus Freud's later terms "death instinct" and "Nirvana principle" are closely related.

Nietzsche often says that the will to power is not concerned with pleasure but (as is obvious) with power. My current Freudian-Nietzschean view, then, is that man's will to power and his will to pleasure (which is sort of a 'corrupted' will to power, meaning both spoiled and perverse) are in lifelong conflict. His will to power must win each battle, otherwise there is death. I have defined three such battles:

    1. Reality principle Vs. Pleasure principle

The outcome of this battle is the enslavement (repression) of the pleasure principle by the reality principle.

    2. Repression Vs. Pleasure principle

Here the pleasure principle rebels against its oppression underground. Though the reality principle suppresses (represses) the pleasure principle, the latter finds an outlet 'underground', i.e., in dreams, Freudian slips, and neurosis in the narrow sense (these three constitute neurosis in the broader sense), or in religion, art, etc. (sublimation). Thus the result is neurosis or sublimation.

Neurosis + pleasure principle = psychosis? Or how did Freud see that?

I'm not sure how Freud saw this. And at least you've suggested a result of the third battle. But why do you think the pleasure principle's battle against sublimation must result in psychosis? Psychosis does not sound like a step forward from sublimation, as sublimation does from repression. The basic suggestion of my OP was that, though the pleasure principle can never win---until death---, its ceaseless striving forces an ever thicker solution (e.g., first a three to one solution, then a five to two solution, then a seven to three solution, etc.); from the perspective of the pleasure principle, the result becomes ever more refined.


I think by the way that the pleasure principle could be what I mean with the lust for truth.

Could be. "Pleasure" is Lust in the German, of course (also "joy"). And does not Crowley inextricably connect pleasure with the truth in his Little Essay on sorrow?
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby The Last Man » Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:36 am

Sauwelios wrote:
Sauwelios wrote:
The Last Man wrote:By calling your premises into question I thus call your conclusion into question as well. That is basic logic. It is also the primary means by which philosophical debate takes place - calling each other's assumptions and premises into question.

If I challenge the idea that you might use a dialectical synthesis to reasonably consider the problem of repression, I am thus refuting your conclusion as well, assuming of course that my critiques are sound. Which, by the way, I wouldn't mind if you commented on my thoughts regarding the inability of the dialectic to handle the complex and intricate psychological/sociological factors involved with repression. Feel free to comment on my overal idea that the dialectic is too simplistic to understand such a psychological concept - as a start, why exactly do you think that the dialectic might even be able to capture such an idea? Any examples as to where and how it has adequately explained similar ideas or concepts? Perhaps we need to first dive into a discussion of what the dialectical process is, and why it might (or might not) be capable of explaining a psychological process such as repression.

Perhaps you need to do so in a separate thread, rather than vulturing on mine.

Really, the more I think of it, the more reasonable my anger appears. Just ask yourself what the object of this vulture could possibly be---to get me to change both the title and text of my OP to: "Ask The Last Man what it should say here."? And considering our earlier clash in my thread on my rank name change, what hope could he have of accomplishing his objective? Conclusion: it must be either malice or thoughtlessness that drives him to reply to my posts.

Note that he does not offer any alternative approach himself!


But I did offer an alternative. My point was that the dialectical approach alone cannot sufficiently account for repression (related to this is how Freud's understanding of the reality principle and the pleasure principle is likewise insufficient).

There are innumerable drives and unconscious factors involved in something like repression, as well as environmental factors as well: genetics, family rearing, one's society and cultural customs. Does a male or female repress more based on a divergence from expected or desired reality as opposed to actual reality? Does one's family and values he was raised with affect his propensity to instinctively repress his urges for pleasure (e.g. what is the role of personality, common values or intellect)? And what social outlets exist for this repressed energy, and how does the existence of these potential outlets (sports, video games/media, religion, crime, leisure, drugs, sex, etc) affect the initial impulse and need to repress?

In terms of the unconscious we have to reconcile with cognitive dissonance - if we understand repression dialectically in terms of Freud's reality (R) and pleasure (P) principles, then is it merely the apperception and implicit awareness of this disconnect that drives repression, or is a more conscious dissonance involved here which would put repression in both the conscious and unconscious camps, as well as both the cognitive and emotional? Freud's R and P span this sort of awareness, but in terms of actually describing what is going on in the mind or biological brain they are vague concepts, their ability to describe is limited as a result. Thus we must (as was another of my initial points here) take a closer and more critical look at the terms involved here:

First, R as the idea that there exists a set of demands and conditions upon one's existence, and these can be known by man through various ways. How are these known? It seems irrelevant to Freud. That they exist to be summed up under one 'principle' is enough for him. Are our perceptions of these demands and conditions accurate? Once again this seems not to matter much. Freud can form a R based solely on the idea of the simple and irrefutable fact that the environment has limitations built into it. As with much of Freud, this is not some grand realisation, but common sense and also quite obvious from the start. Yet if we are to understand repression then the relationship between R and P needs to be outlined in greater detail, else we are just speculating and making things up (which is of course what Freud did much of the time). Without an understanding of how the apperception of environmental demands and conditions impacts influences man's expectations and psyche we cannot know how it interacts with P. For example, to illustrate this point: John desires a new car, as his current car is almost broken down. He realises that he does not have very much money at the moment. How does he guage his desire for a new car (his pleasure) as it relates to the reality of the possibility for purchasing a new car? Does he wait a while to save more money to thus better satisfy his pleasure with a better car? Or does he give in and buy a sufficient but cheaper car, giving him *sooner* pleasure but at the expense of the *strength or amount* of the pleasure itself? And which truly represents a repression, if any? If indeed this is the meaning of repression, the practical and forced limitation of P, then repression amounts to nothing more than R itself and thus the entire dialectical synthesis breaks down into self-reference and circularity.

Next, this of course leads us into analysing P a bit more. How do we simply take Freud at his word that "pleasure" is the motivating factor? If we isolate P without R first, we see how P is the result of one's internal biological needs, psychological desires, impulses and instincts and conditionings - all of these can come together to generate the type of pleasure that we seek. Does John want a red sportscar or a black SUV? Does he want a small compact or a economical hybrid? Does he value speed more than gas mileage, flashy looks over long-term reliability? He might look at his own experiences to understand where these more specific desires come from - we can be sure that they do come from somewhere, but in terms of P itself they are somewhat irrelevant; *however* they become very relevant when we posit P in the presence of R: R places restrictions on P and thus forces John to actualise his nuances of pleasure, weighing one desire against another. If an economical car conforms to R more than a flashy car, but his desire (pleasure) for a flashy car exceeds that for an economical car, how does he reconcile this? In what method does he place this reconciliation? And certainly we can see how different individuals, based on their values, character, impulsiveness, personality, intellect and reasoning ability can arrive at different means and results from such an reconciliation? And what about how one's culture and social rules and norms impacts all of these personal factors involved here?

So we see how P in terms of R is a tricky subject for John, as it is for anyone - R imposes real restrictions on P that must be reconciled somehow. And as Freud would have us believe, if P is not satisfied *as much as it possibly can be* then repression results - but one problem with this is that P can never be maximized when it is bound to R. Thus repression is seen by Freud as an inevitability - but is it really? Are we all and always repressing ourselves on a deeper level, merely because our P is not maximized to the highest possible extent? That seems foolish because it implies that R acts on P but that P cannot change as a result of this - P can change, and indeed does change, based on R. Given numerous interactions with one's environment P moves to conform to R over time. P changes, and so we can see that the 'P in terms of R = repression' is simplistic in that it does not account for the possibiliy that P can decrease to diminish repression, to the point where potentially P = R! and thus repression ceases (understand '=' here as only representing the alignment of P and R to a degree sufficient to fail to cause the generation of repression). When our desires (pleasures) are brought into more direct alignment with the possibilities presented to us by our reality, repression fades as there is no longer any need for repression to be generated at all. So the dialectic here focuses only on synthesising R and P first, and then synthesising repression and R, but this comes at the expense of realising that repression can drop to zero, or near-zero.

Another factor the dialectic here does not take into account is that the synthesis of P with repression itself can result not only in more repression of an unconscious type, but also in the reduction of P itself - P can change based on R, but what about based on repression? Of course P will change in the presence of repression, as the same psychological compensating mechanisms of homeostasis and reaction which generate repression to begin with in order to maintain P are at work in subsequently reducing P in the presence of an otherwise irreducible repression (if R cannot be changed and repression cannot be mitigated by other means, P will tend to change itself).

Perhaps you begin to see what I mean here? Freud cannot possibly account for all of these subtleties. Even the simple case of "John wants a new car" cannot be handled by a dialectical synthesis, not without a complete generalising and ignorance of the *true* factors involved in John's decision, and the relationships these factors play with each other. . . the dialectic ignores the quality or type of relations between R and P (because it is ignorant of what constitutes R and P in themselves, and also of what these constitutive factors subsequently constitute *in relation to each other*), and thus is doomed to misunderstand these relations.

Absent this more detailed and critical attempt to understand R, P and repression, Freud's dialectical synthesis of 'P, R = repression' amounts to nothing more than a completely obvious common sense, and has almost no explanatory or descriptive power at all - in otherwords it is all but useless.
It is not the strengths, but the durations of great sentiments that make great men. -Nietzsche

Genius never desires what does not exist. -Kierkegaard

The first and last thing required of genius is the love of truth. -Goethe

The ideal genius, who has all men within him, has also all their preferences and all their dislikes. There is in him not only the universality of men, but of all nature. He is the man to whom all things tell their secrets, to whom most happens, and whom least escapes. He understands most things, and those most deeply, because he has the greatest number of things to contrast and compare them with. The genius is he who is conscious of most, and of that most acutely. -Weininger

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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby Sauwelios » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:55 pm

Great. Now why don't you turn this endless monologue of yours into an OP? I could think of some reasons.
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby The Last Man » Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:04 am

Sauwelios wrote:Great. Now why don't you turn this endless monologue of yours into an OP? I could think of some reasons.


Why would I do that, when this topic is being tackled right here in this OP? Why have two topics for the exact same thing...?
It is not the strengths, but the durations of great sentiments that make great men. -Nietzsche

Genius never desires what does not exist. -Kierkegaard

The first and last thing required of genius is the love of truth. -Goethe

The ideal genius, who has all men within him, has also all their preferences and all their dislikes. There is in him not only the universality of men, but of all nature. He is the man to whom all things tell their secrets, to whom most happens, and whom least escapes. He understands most things, and those most deeply, because he has the greatest number of things to contrast and compare them with. The genius is he who is conscious of most, and of that most acutely. -Weininger

I don't roll on shabbos. -Walter
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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby The Last Man » Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:03 am

It would also be nice if you were willing to entertain alternative ideas here, ones that (perhaps) run counter to your own assumptions. . . . Why not leave personal bravado and hubris out of this? You dont like me, I dont care, so lets move on shall we? Can we not have a discussion in the realm of ideas here, based on the content herein, rather than your resorting to deliberately ignoring ideas that are beyond your own and falling back on ad hominem every time? Lets just be adults, shall we?
It is not the strengths, but the durations of great sentiments that make great men. -Nietzsche

Genius never desires what does not exist. -Kierkegaard

The first and last thing required of genius is the love of truth. -Goethe

The ideal genius, who has all men within him, has also all their preferences and all their dislikes. There is in him not only the universality of men, but of all nature. He is the man to whom all things tell their secrets, to whom most happens, and whom least escapes. He understands most things, and those most deeply, because he has the greatest number of things to contrast and compare them with. The genius is he who is conscious of most, and of that most acutely. -Weininger

I don't roll on shabbos. -Walter
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Re: The Dialectics of Repression.

Postby Jakob » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:30 pm

The Last Man wrote:Given numerous interactions with one's environment P moves to conform to R over time. P changes, and so we can see that the 'P in terms of R = repression' is simplistic in that it does not account for the possibiliy that P can decrease to diminish repression, to the point where potentially P = R!

I agree.

I would add that the whole polarity between P and R and the resulting repression reminds me of the mechanism behind ressentiment. It seems to fit within the domain of slave morality, whereas P = R, as seems to be the case with cats and other powerful predators, appears to be a formula for master morality.
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