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The "Inner World" and "External World" in the psychical constitution : Helplessness and Eros in the concept of "civilized man" in Freud

Grant number: 17/09851-4
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2017
Effective date (End): September 30, 2020
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Social Psychology
Principal Investigator:José Francisco Miguel Henriques Bairrão
Grantee:Carlos Eduardo Ortolani Prado de Moura
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil


Based on the assumption that History, Culture and Religion are considered as a form of "knowledge of the world" and, as such, they reveal themselves as phenomena linked to the psychical constitution , we propose to investigate Freud´s contributions to understand, from the perspective of psychoanalysis, the phenomenon of Civilization and Society ("superego"), as well as the way in which they manifest themselves in the dimension of the psychic apparatus. On the one hand, therefore, the development of the individual's psychic life (the pleasure principle, the experience of satisfaction) and, on the other hand, his/her insertion into a human community is a matter of thinking about the configuration of the ego and the character of the individual, a fact that leads to considering the "influence of the other" and the "culture" in the psyche and this as the constitution of a morality that acts unconsciously (based on Id).It is, in short, man from the point of view of social history, of cultural inheritance taken by the Self (which extracts his Superego from the Id) through his ideal, i.e., both through the parents and through which the history of mankind imprinted on his body and what is represented in the Id [hereditary]. We attempted, therefore, to verify if it is possible to establish a connection between the "structuring of psychic life" and the "structuring of a historical time" (culture, "subjective /historical truth" inserting the figure of the "helpless man" immersed in a world that reveals his impossibility of satisfaction - the theoretical presupposition of this connection refers to the existence of an individual "history" of the subject while repeating the history of humanity itself. Considering this, the organization of social life is presented, as if to defend, as mediation between the drives and their relation to objects (the source of satisfaction-pleasure or frustration-displeasure), which will constitute a species of "drive organization" of the acculturated individuals. On the one hand, psychic life - as an object of study and analysis - is not reduced to individual experience (through phylogenetic inheritance). On the other hand, it must be understood from the perspective of an individual history (conflicting impulses, motives of the division of the psyche, organization of the self, social or cultural motivations, history of suffering), even though the individual's singularity, from a historical period or from a society, is dissolved from the point of view of this phylogenetic inheritance.Thus, psychoanalysis is inserted in the field of a theory of the social , as it goes through the "interdependence" of the individual with the mass or, in other words, as it goes through the articulation of the libidinal (pulsional) structure with the social structure (moral representations): individual psychology and social or mass psychology need to be considered in more depth. Consequently, the situation of man is found beyond a "biological individual" and in the perspective of an individual that takes place in the dimension of a "socialized time" and of a "field of socialization of subjectivity".It is, in short, the problematization of Freud's "external reality" (Nature, inert matter, social reality) and the constitution of an "inner reality" as a response to the "vicissitudes of life" - and this is where the coercive role and inhibiting Religion appear, of Culture and Institutions in and from the very antagonism of the human condition (abandonment-protection-coercion) as a "modality of insertion in life." In other words, it is man who is immersed in a Nature that is hostile to him, interdicting him an (immediate and quiet) experience of satisfaction of his needs and his drives. This is the dimension of work and community life as a way of overcoming its "hostile fear" in the face of the real hostility of Nature - after all, pleasure and prohibition cannot be mechanically disarticulated, but in mutual action. (AU)

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