chapter  2
29 Pages

The world as it is vs. the world as I would like it to be: contemporary reflections on Freud’s “Formulations on the two principles of mental functioning”

ByDavid Bell

David Bell expands on some basic Freudian concepts that are essential elements in “Two principles”. He views the tendency to equate the pleasure principle with primary process and with the repressed unconscious as overly simplistic and reviews some of Freud’s later writings that cast doubt on such analytic assumptions. Freud’s writing has a curious doubling back quality as he returns repeatedly to themes that had occupied him at the beginning. Formulations of the two principles of mental functioning (FTPMF) has exactly this quality and it is perhaps this feature that lends it a somewhat puzzling nature, for it seems at one and the same time to be saying something that is both new and old. In his initial introduction of the death drive Freud describes a kind of passive lure into a peaceful world of nothingness that he links to Nirvana. The world of the depressive position is thus much less dominated by wishful phantasy.