chapter  6
14 Pages

Variations, components and accidents

Critical reflections on Freud’s concept of the drive
WithMonique David-Ménard

In certain texts by Lacan, such as 'Agency of the Letter in the Unconscious, or Reason since Freud' from 1957, there seems to be a reductive tendency that only allows for a choice between a naturalist 'figurative semiology' and a system of writing. At the beginning of Freud's 1905 book, Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, the drive is defined by two components, the aim and the object. Whenever Freud writes on the variability of the objects of the drives, he gives an important role to the fetish that introduces a blockage of that same variability. When Freud reiterates the acquisitions of drive theory in the lecture on anxiety and instinctual life, he uses no fewer than ten terms to characterize the plasticity of drive components: some concern the aim, others the source, still others the object. Even in his most biological speculations Freud characterizes sexuality through 'accidental factors'.