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GENERAL THEORY OF PSYCHOLOGY
THE LAWS OF PSYCHE
Alberto E. Fresina
CHAPTER 7 -(pages 111 to 124 of the book of 410)
Index of the chapter:
THE OPERATION OF IMPULSES
1. The mediator impulse and the mean-goals and purpose-goals
2- The learning and impulses
3- Fight among impulses
4- Fight inside an impulse
5- Functional features of impulses
6- Impulses and the historical and social phenomenon
THE OPERATION OF IMPULSES
Although it is not revealed clearly in the psychic surface, behavior is always supported by the directed tendencies of impulses. This fact can not be seen clearly as the mediator imp. is in charge of almost the whole coloring of intentional goals. But it is always serving to the interests of the other impulses. People’s interests are so diverse, that it becomes impossible to define them. But none of them pursues any other thing than satisfaction of impulses. This is this way, because the subject's interests are the interests of his impulses.*
* The expressions stating that an impulse “uses” another one, “cooperates” with its partner, or “it is interested” in something, must be obviously understood with a figurative meaning. Impulses are not subjective entities hidden in the “darkness of the mind”. They are only objective laws of the psyche.
There is a great difference between one person's interests and needs and the interests and needs of another one. But it is a difference in the way and not in the "essence" or in the content. Thus, in certain society people are interested in getting money, while in a primitive tribe, nobody is interested in it, but for example, they are interested in manufacturing good weapons for hunting. The common content is the interest and nec. for mean-objects; the different way is the nec. of money or of weapons. Both agree in getting interested in mean-objects that will be useful for the purposes of impulses. We have in each case the unity of the common and different facts. The common fact is that the mediator imp. will always try to achieve the mean-objects set up by the other impulses. The different fact is the nature of those mean-objects. The latter one depends on the diverse social, historical, cultural and environmental circumstances in general.
The common content and the different ways are united not only at means level but also at the level of impulses purposes. For example, the common content pursued by the nutritious imp. is to ingest food; the different way is eating bread, meat or spaghetti. Those different ways in which the satisfaction of the nutritious imp. occurs, also include the common content: eating or ingesting food.
The elements: nec. - D.T. - satisfaction, of each impulse we have analyzed, refer to the common content, to the constant essence underlying the changing colors of the phenomenon manifested, or to the possible ways where satisfaction may take place.
Based on the two objective aspects to which behavior tends (common content or essence and different way or phenomenon), we will use the corresponding concepts for each of them. The concept: goal will be used in general for what it is different or variable, either they are means or purposes. This way, there will be mean-goals and purposes-goals. The mean-goals are for example: money, weapons. The purposes-goals are: eating bread or meat. The mean-goals are the endless and variable objects or facts in which impulses may be interested in as means. The purposes-goals are equally endless and variable ways of giving concrete satisfaction to impulses.* These concepts will be useful to refer to the great variety of goals that people set, to the great quantity of manifested purposes of the subjects. And on the other hand, when we speak about the essential or the always-constant common content, we will use the concept: object of satisfaction. Such concept will make reference to the common side contained in the diverse purposes-goals, to the essence of what the impulse seeks. The objects of satisfaction are those that make the list of “things” producing the pleasure of each impulse, example: eating, sexual act, drinking, etc. In the example of the subject who looked for the coin to buy a piece of bread, we find the three elements clearly:
* In the case of the mediator impulse, considering its special nature, what it is mean-goal for any other impulse, it would always be goal-purpose for it.
Goal-purpose: to eat bread
Object of satisfaction: to eat
From such elements, just the last thing is essential and shared by all.
The search for the goal-purpose can not be separated from the search for the object of satisfaction. Only the first one is particularized, it is the manifested phenomenon; and the object of satisfaction is the general, essential and underlying part. The goal-purpose is the changeable or accidental part while the object of satisfaction is the constant and necessary part. But both aspects coexist in the same fact. Eating bread, for example, is the goal-purpose, but it is simultaneously the object of satisfaction: to eat.
The object of satisfaction may have a structural variation in an impulse. For example, approval, as object of satisfaction, may take place in two general ways: 1- congratulation for a concrete fact. 2- esteem and acceptance signs towards the person due to his global qualities. We will call specified object of satisfaction, to those structural ways of the object of satisfaction that correspond to the common and essential field. Not all the impulses have these specified objects of satisfaction, example: the only object of satisfaction of the nutritious imp. is: eating and it has no more specification. Instead, the rest imp., for example, has: the rest that responds to the general exhaustion of the organism, to surrender to sleep, and the specific rest after an occasional effort.
The specified objects of satisfaction are part of the structure of the impulse. They are at the same level than the object of satisfaction, that is to say, they correspond to the essence, or to the common parts and they are shared by the whole species.
The objects of satisfaction (and their specifications) are the essential purposes of intention; they are the entranceways to pleasure and simultaneously the exit ways of displeasure. As intention is in line with the general law, no other thing can be sought. Then, in the manifested motivation, we find plenty of mean-goals and different purpose-goals that express the flexibility and capacity of the impulses to be adapted to the changing environmental circumstances.
1. The mediator impulse and the mean-goals and purpose-goals
The object of satisfaction of this impulse is: the achievement of the goal. This achievement is what it produces pleasure, usually under the way of happiness, and what it puts an end to the nec. of the mediator imp. As we have already said, goals (mean and purpose) are set by the other impulses, and the mediator imp. helps to achieve them. Going back to the previous example, when the nutritious imp. is fixed in the coin as a mean-goal, it is helped by the mediator imp., and both of them tend to achieve its finding. Although such impulses are strongly united, they can be distinguished by the aspect of the nec. displeasure and by the pleasure of satisfaction. The part of hunger that accompanies the search shows us the presence of the nutritious imp., and the part of “nec. of coin” marks the presence of the mediator imp. Then, the “happiness of achievement”, as a way of experiencing pleasure, is the usual satisfaction of the mediator imp. But such happiness has all the colors of what it is announcing, that is, it is shaded by the mental representation of food and the beginning of its enjoyment in the fantasy. These elements show the presence of both impulses. We have also noticed the total dependence of the mediator imp. regarding the impulse to which it serves.
Not only the mediator imp. helps to achieve mean-goals, but it also offers its support for the achievement of the purpose-goals. In the above example, the nutritious imp. set up the finding of the coin as mean-goal, but it also set up eating bread as goal-purpose. The mediator imp. joins here again to the nutritious one, and besides hunger, it appears the nec. to achieve “eating the bread”. That is, ingesting that food is a goal shared by both impulses. For the nutritious one, it is a concrete goal, whereas that fact contains the essence of its object of satisfaction; and for the mediator imp., the act of eating the bread is an “abstract” goal, it is something that one desires to achieve just as if it were the coin. This way, during the act of ingesting that food, a simultaneous satisfaction of both impulses takes place. On one hand, the pleasure itself of ingestion, and on the other, the satisfaction of looking at himself eating the bread, as achievement of the goal. This pleasure belongs to the mediator imp. whose object of satisfaction is always the achievement of any goal.
The capacity of the mediator imp. to accompany the others until the end is a general reinforcement for these ones. It is an unconditional support until the last moments. Therefore, the pleasure of the mediator imp. is not only the anticipated reaction to satisfaction, due to the achievement of the mean-goals, but it is also combined to this satisfaction, regarding the achievement of the goal-purpose as well.
The mediator impulse usually sets up great chains of mean-goals. The achievement of a mean is set up in order to achieve another mean, and so on. Example, the coin is a mean to achieve another mean: to buy some bread. Also, the concrete satisfaction of an impulse can be a mean for another one. For example, absorbing information is the concrete satisfaction of the curiosity imp., but it can be at the same time, a mean for another impulse. Thus, the mediator imp., if it is serving this another impulse, joins the curiosity one and both motivate it to absorb the information. The same thing happens when a prey is killed to feed oneself. Here, the nutritious imp. sets up the animal death, as mean-goal. But that goal involves at the same time the entrance way to the pleasure of the aggression imp. Therefore, the mediator imp. that serves the nutritious one (or the fraternal one, if it is intended to feed the loved beings) can join the aggression imp, and both push the behavior in order to kill the prey.
We know, based on the law of effect, that the organism tends to repeat what it produces pleasure and to avoid the repetition of what it generates displeasure. We also know that, in general, to repeat the behavior that led to pleasure or to avoid the behavior that finished in displeasure, there should be certain proximity in time between the behavior and pleasure or consequent displeasure. Otherwise, the organism will not be able to make the relation between the facts. If an animal performs certain action, and the following day, we give it food as prize, it “will not know” that food is achieved with that behavior. Instead, if we give it the food at the moment it is carrying out the fact, and we only do it immediately after it, every time it feels hunger, it will repeat that behavior associated to the pleasure of ingestion.
In man, as it is evident, the proximity in time between the behavior and the prize or punishment, is not unavoidable. If a boy carries out certain action, and on the fifth day, we give him a prize, reminding him why we are doing it, it may be enough and he will tend to repeat it.
Although human learning does not depend on temporary proximity as an exclusive condition, the decisive power of those psychic consequences of behavior (prize and punishment) is maximum when both circumstances join, that is, when prize or punishment, apart from being interpreted by the reasoning as consequences of the own behavior, are immediately exhibited. For that reason, considering the fight for survival, nature selected the tribes where prize and punishment, apart from being correctly attributed by the intellect, were dominantly immediate to the correct or incorrect behavior.
That would be the function of the spontaneous answers regarding approval and disapproval. It was necessary a fast system of prize and punishment that allowed that pleasure or displeasure following good or bad behaviors, were eminently immediate to their performance. In the primitive tribe, it would be very difficult to give an immediate piece of meat to each subject that carries out a good action, or to submit him to physical tortures for each mistake he makes. Although this type of extreme measures are accumulated and keep on coexisting with the new ones, the fundamental side of the prize and punishment system is the social approval-disapproval in all its ways. It is a “brilliant invention” of nature, where a gesture is enough to produce pleasure or displeasure in the person who receives it, according to the quality of his behavior. Such system is a fundamental support of the properly human learning: the social and cultural learning.
Apart from favoring the social learning, this mechanism is an important encouragement for the efficiency of every social activity. That is the reason why, the tendency to carry out good things (or approvable) and to avoid the bad ones (or not approvable), as absolute values of the moral mechanism, has the most vital importance for a tribe.
However, we have also accumulated a more primitive system of prize and punishment that is shared with other animals. It consists on the happiness for the achievement of the goal and the frustration as reflex displeasure in the case of failing in the achievement. The spontaneous reactions of pleasure or displeasure for the success or failure in the attainment of the goal, are natural prizes and punishments in relation to their function for the learning. The behavior that fails in the purpose is usually a useless behavior that must be modified or replaced. For that reason, the intense displeasure of frustration is useful to encourage the organism not to repeat the behavior and to change its strategy.
We can deduce from that, that the conservation imp. is also a general support for the goals of the other impulses; that is to say, as that impulse must avoid any displeasure, and since frustration is a free entranceway to displeasure, fear before the possible pain of failure will be manifested. Therefore, the conservation imp., when constantly avoiding the displeasure of frustration, becomes a general support of the D.T. of the other impulses; it is the responsible for the avoidance of mistakes.
The instantaneous reactions of pleasure or happiness for the achievement and displeasure or frustration responding to the right or wrong behavior, have the important function to guide the learning of the organism. This shows us again that nature always “places” pleasure and displeasure where they are necessary, and the general law does the rest.
Thus, we can state that the mediator and conservation impulses are the ones that surround the D.T. of the impulse in activity, cooperating firmly with it; the mediator imp. seeking the happiness for the achievement and the conservation one avoiding the frustration displeasure.
This primitive system of prize and punishment, together with concrete pleasures and displeasures of the rest of impulses, plus the spontaneous imitation, is what we share with other animals regarding the guiding elements of learning. But in man, that new prize and punishment system of social approval-disapproval is added.*
* One good part of human imitation is also sustained by the interest in approval. Mainly in childhood and adolescence, it appears the phenomenon by which it is conceived as good (approvable and therefore imitable) what valued people do.
In spite of the great advantage that this new system meant for a tribe, the objective fight among the social organisms for the more efficiency in the global performance was so demanding that it was not enough, and a new complementary system of prize and punishment consistent in the ethical-moral self-reply was developed; this is, the ability to feel pleasure or displeasure in front of the own good or bad behavior although nobody judges the subject. Such complementary system is also sustained by the approval impulses (self-approval) and the conservation one (to avoid pain of self-disapproval for the own bad act). All this makes that the members of the tribe develop a system of values (classification of actions into good and bad, or approvable and non-approvable) which regulates their behaviors and attitudes.
During the development of the species, moral could never be opposed to the regular satisfaction of all the impulses. As this satisfaction was always useful for life, no surviving tribe could have moral principles whose contents were opposed to it. On the contrary, surviving tribes that ended up in the man's final appearance, were those whose moral contents (rules and values) always meant a support and strengthening for the satisfaction of impulses in all their members.
On the other hand, it is wrong to conceive moral principles separated from impulses. Impulses are not on one side and moral principles on the other one. What happens, is that some impulses are organized in their performance, “playing” the moral function. Thus, the approval imp. is satisfied through the good act, and the conservation imp., in one of its parts, avoiding the bad behavior.
If somebody, based on his moral principles, hinders his sexual imp. to feel satisfaction, it will result that this latter one will look for satisfaction unilaterally. But he will find a force that is opposesd to him. That force is not other thing than the conservation imp. Since the subject conceives the sexual behavior as a moral damage, and as moral damage leads to the pain of social disapproval and self-disapproval or blame, the conservation imp., in charge of avoiding pain, will try to avoid the pain of blame and of social rejection. Therefore, it will avoid damage. As in this situation the sexual activity is the wrong thing, the conservation imp. has to avoid it. In such way, an intense fight between two powerful forces of the psyche takes place: the conservation imp. and the sexual one. Although the fight between those impulses can be enough to disorganize the psyche, each one of these “titans of the spirit” has a powerful “friend” impulse that helps it. The conservation one, interested in denying the sexual satisfaction, has the unconditional support of the approval imp. Approval and self-approval are achieved when carrying out a good action, and here the good action is to abstain oneself from having sex. On the other hand, the sexual imp. is supported by the joy imp. The sexual way for the entrance to pleasure is one of the favorite ones of the joy imp. For this reason, the latter one supports it when fixing its most intense desire in the sexual satisfaction. Undoubtedly, the development of this fight between giants may end up in a psychological “disaster”.
The excluding and indefinite fight among impulses is always harmful. It is only positive when domain passes from one to the other, so that all of them have a regular satisfaction. Example, if the sexual imp. is in a situation previous to satisfaction and any danger occurs, the conservation imp. will appear and it will avoid the sexual satisfaction. But once danger has passed, the sexual imp. will continue with what it was doing. These are the normal or functional fights that take place inside intention. But for impulses it must be “clear” that they are part of the same intentional “team”. The true fight of the psyche is the one given by the general law against the opponent objective forces. The excluding supreme effects at stake are: happiness-misery. Therefore, the particular impulses have to cooperate among themselves, or to have balanced functional fights, allowing the passing from one to the other, avoiding that the absolute denial of an impulse satisfaction takes place, victim of the others. This would be to favor the common enemy: displeasure that comes triumphantly with the flags of psychic disorder and misery.
One case in which it is frequent that negative intervention of the conservation imp. occurs when hindering the curiosity imp. reaching to certain conclusions. This happens in those cases where the acceptance of certain truth would mean a strong pain. If that truth causes great disappointment, moral harm, it damages the subject's interests, or it is contrary and hostile to the “the friends' posture”, the conservation imp. will try as usual to avoid pain. For that reason, it will change the course of the reasoning, and the person will arrive to an irrational and illogical conclusion, that favors him or aims him to avoid that pain.
The mechanism we have analyzed is a true tramp for the thought. That is the reason why, the risk of self-deceit or of rejecting ideas because they are annoying, without caring their truthfulness, is always present. That risk would be considerably diminished when the person has developed his values in such way that he feels a strong moral displeasure for not telling the truth, or for the single suspicion in this respect, and this is not less intense than any other displeasure. That fact will make the conservation imp. be motivated to avoid the pain that causes seeing oneself escaping from truth, and reasoning will not be very distorted. Although the acceptance of truth is sometimes very painful, such development and disposition of values, implies a similar or higher moral pain than escaping from it. Moreover, there will be a moral pleasure when accepting it, that will end up in an imbalance in favor of truth.
Inside intention, we can find not only fights among two or more impulses, but also the diverse goals of a same impulse that are frequently excluded. Example, the nutritious imp. may “doubt” among different foods. Also, the conservation one may have to choose between avoiding one danger or another.
In some impulses, when two purpose-goals are in struggle, and when finally choosing one of these, the impulse as a whole is satisfied with it and the other goal is not interesting any more. On the contrary, each purpose-goal may have its own demand in other impulses, where satisfaction for the achievement of one of them does not affect the interest in the other one. Here, each purpose-goal has its autonomy of satisfaction demands. For example, if the curiosity imp. has been mobilized at the same time on two mysterious facts that intrigue the subject, and where knowledge of one or the other is excluded, the satisfaction of this curiosity in relation to one of the cases will not make the special curiosity towards the other fact disappear. Instead, in the nutritious imp., for example, this does not happen since only the ingestion of food makes the interest in the other one disappear.
The conservation and joy imp. usually set up permanent and independent specific goals. Fear as well as desire, when setting up certain objects or situations, maintain a great autonomy in relation to each particular object. They are purpose-goals to be respectively avoided and achieved, that are strongly and independently fixed regarding the rest of goals of the same impulse. Its maximum expression lies in phobias and in the obsessive setting of desires.
When an increasing or mixed impulse has not been satisfied for a long time, the nec. starts increasing gradually and with it, the satisfaction demands. The progressive increase of the intensity that nec. has and of the activity that D.T carries out reaches a maximum point in which they are stabilized, forming a kind of plateau in an imaginary graph. While satisfaction does not take place, the impulse will be permanently around the maximum plateau. This is valid for non-increasing impulses (and for the non-increasing part of the mixed ones) when the nec. and the D.T. have already mobilized. When the moving stimulus is repeated, and satisfaction is not achieved, these impulses will also reach the maximum plateau.
In those situations the nec. will be very deep, but not necessarily constant in its level, that is, the intensity of the unpleasant state of the nec. can diminish, and even disappear, being strengthened later (this would respond to the necessary rest of the responsible neurons). But the D.T. would always maintain a careful activity as long as satisfaction is not achieved. The influence of the D.T. activity on behavior, is manifested in the contents of mental representations. Also in the most important decisions, of those options that are more promising for the satisfaction of the impulse. On the other hand, the contents of dreams tend to be related to the satisfaction of the postponed impulse. Another manifestation is the selectivity in perception that makes the sensorial stimulus related to the needed impulse be more easily distinguished.
That bigger activity of unsatisfied impulses is very useful for life. As they are all direct or indirectly vital regarding their satisfaction, it is essential for the postponed impulse to call the attention. Otherwise, the subject would satisfy a great quantity of imp. that are pleasures for him, forgetting the other ones.
We have already said that one of the ways that impulse has in order to be noticed is its ability to use mental representation. It is carried out by presenting images of the different situations of satisfaction. Such images can be fantasies or brief ideas of the purpose-goal. The appearance of those images makes the nec. of the unsatisfied impulse become stronger, renewing constantly the energy of the behavior that is guided towards satisfaction. For example, if the nutritious imp. is mobilized, a light sudden pleasure will appear together with the fleeting mental image of one food that has been waiting for us. That image, together with the light sudden pleasure that it causes, will make the nec. revive which will give a new “push” to the D.T. guided to achieve satisfaction.
Brief images as well as elaborated fantasies produce, on one hand, a guider pleasure, and on the other, make the personal experience nec. rise up again, which gives a new push to the directed tendency.
Let’s say that what it is intentionally caused here is only the appearance of the image of the satisfaction object and the pleasure produced by that image. But the following strengthening of the nec. responding to it, is a mechanism different from intention. The intentional side is the new answer to the strengthened nec.
In the case of the conservation imp., a special and paradoxical situation turns up. At this stage, unpleasant or horrible images appear of those things that must be avoided. But such images are not pretended by intention. This is explained by the fact that the function of the conservation imp. avoids something that has not happened yet, and it is necessary for that, that the mental representations of those facts appear as an unavoidable imposition, so that they will cause fear and keep the organism ready. If those images were capable of an intentional management, they would be avoided or “erased from mind”, and this would make the organism forget dangers that threaten it, being an easy prey for them. For that reason, it is essential that those images appear to remind the subject which facts he has to avoid. In other words, such unpleasant mental representations are product of autonomous mechanisms of the forces opposed to intention, which cooperate with the latter one for survival. Those autonomous mechanisms make those images appear, in order to cause and maintain fear. Therefore, these are mechanisms essentially equivalent to the responsible ones of producing and maintaining hunger, thirst, etc. In the conservation imp., the object of satisfaction is the avoidance of something that has not happened yet. But as in order to avoid something, it is necessary to conceive it firstly in its affirmative way, the affirmative images of what it must not happen, must appear. Thanks to that, only fear appears in the personal experience moving the avoidance behavior.
However, when the reason for pain or what it has to be avoided is an own desire, the mechanism becomes against the subject. When that desire is conceived as a moral damage, for example, this makes the danger of pain take place in the own desires. Then, as the autonomous mechanism makes the image of the reason for fear appear unavoidably, the mental representation of the desired object and of the own act of its satisfaction will also appear. That image, when it is frequent, has the effect of renewing and reinforcing desire. As desire increases, the danger of moral pain also increases. And as the autonomous mechanism makes the image of what it must be avoided appear, the image of the desired object and of the desire itself appear, reinforcing it again. With that situation those images are not only the product of the autonomous mechanism of what it must be avoided but they also start being encouraged by the own joy imp., as an answer to the reactivated desire.
This process contributes to maintain the obsessive-compulsive reactions. It is like being all the time reminding a boy that he must not eat the “delicious” chocolate.
In the following analysis, we will not pay attention to those “anti-fantasies” of what it must be avoided, which are different from intention; instead, we will keep in mind those ones encouraged by the directed tendencies of impulses. In the case of the conservation imp., the authentic fantasies of its D.T. are those dealing with safe situations or absence of dangers, example: when a soldier has fantasies of peace in the middle of a war; that is, fantasies are just those ones encouraged by the D.T. that respond to the mobilized fear, and not to the images that do not have anything to do with the intention that generates fear.
Fantasies arisen out from dissatisfaction conditions, have the function to move the subject towards the thing carried out by him. Although he does not achieve the imagined situations, at least he will achieve it at the maximum possible level. They also have the function to cause a certain partial satisfaction of the impulse, what it contributes to maintain the good mood and to revive the interest for the satisfaction object. Although in many cases those fantasies are searched in themselves just for the pleasure they produce, nevertheless, that makes the mind remain busy in contents related to the satisfaction object of the needed impulse, what it will always be favorable for further satisfaction.
When being born, each normal baby potentially brings the same impulses and has the same motivational basic power than any other baby (already human) from another place or from another time. Impulses are blind forces that are the same in everybody. For that reason, the external environment, the social position of the subject under development, or his general life conditions set the direction of the directed tendencies that impulses have. In other words, they determine the diverse interests or mean-goals and purpose-goals. These elements appear, at sociological level, like historical or socially determined new necessities, which show the great flexibility and capacity of impulses adaptation to the changing environmental circumstances.
Those new necessities, which could be also called acquired necessities, and which are essentially the diverse mean-goals and purpose-goals of impulses, are represented, for example, by everything that a person can feel he needs in a modern society, that “it is necessary for him”. The historical development of production and of social life in general, makes the new necessities arise; example: T-shirts, swabs, vehicles, analgesics, bowls, grills, news programs, fans, telephones, books, etc. Such necessities that may have an infinite variation, depend on those external, historical, social, cultural circumstances of society. However, in no case, they are no longer the particular ways that give satisfaction to the same universal impulses. All those new acquired necessities, set up by the social development itself, are sustained in the functional aspect, mainly by the activity of the mediator impulse. This contributes with its “common fund” of undifferentiated nec., as it happened in the example of the coin (mean-goal) and of the bread (purpose-goal), and it is filled with the content of what the rest of the impulses set up as specific goals, at every step. That situation takes place based on its essential and absolute interests, and according to the general conditions of the material and concrete existence of the subject in relation to his social reality and to everything surrounding him.
As impulses are shared by everybody, they are a constant factor. They can never be decisive in any differential historical or social event. On that issue, they are condemned to a passive role, the same as any constant factor when it is about a differential phenomenon. For that reason, the explanation of those historical and social phenomena has to be found only in the laws of social level, which make up a superior order of laws, in whose sphere, individual psyches move.
If, in a society, there is a working and a capitalistic class and the members of the first one try to get a higher wage, and those of the second one, a higher profit, this will not obviously imply that people are born with “an impulse to wage” or with “an impulse to profit”. Such interests arise out from the different social status of both groups of subjects. As social life is organized in such way that money becomes a universal mean for the satisfaction of many impulses, the only option is to get it as an unavoidable mean. This way, such impulses, or more specifically their respective directed tendencies, will add their forces forming a “motivational alliance” in the subject's psyche, and giving place to the economic interests. These ones will adopt the way of wages, profits, fees, etc., according to the subject's location in the global process of production and social distribution.
All this situation shows us that the tendency to affirm pleasure and to deny displeasure, impulses, and the economic interests, are not different phenomena. Reasoning is as follows. Firstly, pleasure is looked for and displeasure is denied. Then, as that general tendency branches in the particular impulses, each subject tries to satisfy them. But that, taking into account the social reality, is achieved with money, impulses are interested in it. Thus, such a convergence of the partial interests that impulses have shapes the powerful economic interests, which acquire the force of a big river formed by several smaller flowing rivers.
But it is evident that if impulses are able to achieve their full regular satisfaction in any other way, money or economic power, as they are just means, are not interesting anymore.
Let’s say finally, that there are two types of conditions or basic premises determining the existence of an impulse. One type is impulses that must be “controlled” by the general law. The object of satisfaction has to be a fact producing a concrete and unconditional pleasure in all the members of the species, like satisfaction of a specific nec. shared by the whole species. The other condition is that the act of its satisfaction has to imply a fact objectively useful for the individual and group survival. We know many lists of instincts, expelling forces, necessities or man's impulses, but the approaches to set them up were never adjusted, at least fully, to those conditions. First, because from the remote time of Epicuro, the existence of the absolute tendency of intention called the general law of psyche, was seldom understood and given theoretical importance.* And therefore, impulses can not be conceived, without that premise, as specific ways through which that essential and absolute tendency of intention acts to affirm pleasure and deny displeasure. And second, because the idea of usefulness for survival, a premise that was indeed taken into consideration, was always distorted because of the individual focus that the primitive man had. On few occasions, the people devoted to the study of impulses or primary necessities took into consideration the fact that the characteristic essential tendencies of man, originally, carried out a function that it was not so important for the direct individual survival, but for the tribe’s one, for the social organism as a whole.
* Neither Freud understood clearly the generality of that tendency. Its “ beginning of pleasure” which seemed to be something timely and realistic, has suffered the sudden limitation of a strange “principle of reality”, conceived as if it were a mechanism of intention, essentially different or unaware to that general tendency. (refer to Freud Sigmund. Obras completas. Amorrortu Editores. Buenos Aires 1988 (refer to Freud Sigmund. “Complete works”. Amorrortu Editors. Buenos Aires 1988).
When it is spoken, for example, about the mysterious antisocial tendencies of “exploiting instincts”, “power”, “submission”, etc., we will see that they do not fulfill any of those conditions. Undoubtedly those “instincts”, more than serious scientific hypothesis, are elements fulfilling an ideological function: “to justify injustice”, that is to say, giving “roundness to squares”. But such imaginary instincts not only do not cause pleasure but they would also be harmful for survival. They only cause pleasure in the person who suffers from any psychic alteration (pleasure of sadism and humiliation towards others as a possible sickly orientation of the aggression impulse). No tribe would be able to survive with similar “collective madness” of its members.
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© Author: Alberto E. Fresina
Title: "The Laws of Psyche"
Title of the original Spanish Version:
"Las Leyes del Psiquismo"
Printed in Mendoza, Argentina
Mendoza, 14th July, 1999
Copyright registered at the National Copyright Bureau in 1988, and at the Argentine Book Camera in 1999, year of its publication.
Translated by Ana El kassir with the collaboration of Marcela Berenguer
Characteristic of the original copy in Spanish: Number of pages: 426; measures: 5.9 x 8.27 x 1 inch; weight: 1.2lb.
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