Two principles and the possibility of emotional growth
H. Levine helps the reader clarify, based on the work of Shur, some of the difficulties that one may encounter with the “Two principles” paper. One needs to make a distinction between, the trajectory of the unpleasure principle is towards withdrawal or decathexis, while that of the pleasure principle is towards approach and re-cathexis, although both share an ultimate goal of tension reduction within the psychic apparatus. After this useful clarification, Levine’s paper returns to the subject of the metapsychology of the representation of reality. He reminds us that Sigmund Freud did not develop in depth the way in which an individual is able to acquire the reality principle. The central concern of “Two principles” is a summary and review of the distinction and relationship between what Freud then saw as the two great regulating principles of the mind, the pleasure principle and the reality principle.