I was reading something that Eric Laurent presenter at the XII CONGRESS WORLD ASSOCIATION OF PSYCHOANALYSIS April 13-17, which took place in Buenos Aires.
The first association I had when I read the text below was to the death drive as the thing that disrupts the pleasure principle as it asserts itself in out day-to-day living in the world.
Laurent’s words make me think that it is the death drive that awakens us to our lives, to the fact that we are contingent subjects in an uncertain world.
Thus, awakening is anything that is breach, alteration, damage of the homeostasis of the pleasure principle that guarantees life. Any absolute disturbance of life, in this sense, is death. Absolute awakening is death. Meanwhile, the little, partial awakenings awaken us in as much as they are breaches of the homeostasis. The pleasure principle is also the principle of meaning. Partial awakenings occur when the barrier of meaning is broken through. Can we conceive of the final awakening as a monstration of jouissance in some kind of a short circuit outside meaning? (Source)
Because of choices made by the translators of the Standard Edition of Freud’s writings, the German terms drive (Trieb) and instinct (Instinkt) were both rendered as instinct. This is extremely unfortunate because drive and instinct are clearly not the same thing!
I want to comment (further) on a few words I think are important, because they help me think about the different between instinct and drive.
awakening is anything that is breach, alteration, damage of the homeostasis of the pleasure principle that guarantees life.
The pleasure principle is tied to instincts, and instincts are all in the service of keeping a body alive and in a state of homeostasis. This is one of the things that separates instincts from drives, which go beyond what is necessary to sustain life. The drive pushes us further than we need, and wants us to keep going even further, and as such it disrupt homeostasis.
As I write this short post I think that the pleasure principle would have us drift along in comfort for a long as possible, and the drive is the thing that “wakes us up” from the slumber of comfort.
In this sense the drive is a monster. But what effect does this monster have on the lived life of the subject?
Is the drive good? Bad? Both?