In this article, Freud defines the pleasure principle and elaborates his explanation with different examples. Freud says that although there are unpleasant situations in our lives, we have impulses that make us react to it. An example for this is a one and half year old child whose mother used to leave him for hours. His reaction to this situation was to create a game “Gone” where he throws objects in the corner and get them back. So, the unpleasant situation of her departure is compensated by the pleasant moment of her return. Besides, the repetition of this game, gave the child pleasure and at the same time made him the master of the situation( this shows that children deep inside want to act like adults and control certain situations).
Freud then explains that physicians should be more concerned with patients who react passively towards serious situations because all the repressed feeling within us which lie in our unconscious should come out because if not they’ll have bad effects and can cause mental and psychological problems. Sex is considered among the repressed feelings that can be accumulated from childhood. The first emotional disappointment that a person faces is when he as a child loses the affection tie that connects him to the opposite sex parent when a new child arrives and as a consequence he receives less attention , that’s why s/he feels jealous.
Other term introduced is “compulsion to repeat” which refers to repetition of certain experiences over and over again. Freud says that patient actually forgets his past experiences that are repressed but they can come out unintentionally when he’s with the doctor for example and the patient’s resistance to the repetition of unpleasant experiences is controlled by the ego system:” There is no doubt that the resistance of the conscious and unconscious ego operates under the sway of pleasure principle: it seeks to avoid the unpleasure which would be produced by the liberation of the repressed.” On the other hand, these experiences could be revived in the form of dreams even if it’s in an indirect way.
If we try to apply the pleasure principle in literature, for example in Laura Esquivel’s novel “Like Water For Chocolate”, Tita the protagonist who was oppressed by the patriarchal society where she lived and even by her mother, got rid of all these repressed feelings by cooking which for her represents a pleasant experience. Other example in cinema, in a movie like Saw, the Jigsaw who is struggling with cancer chooses his victims who don’t appreciate what they have. So, he brings out all the anger he feels inside by torturing his victims playing a game with them which pleases him.
Actually there’s a part that I couldn’t understand and I hope someone could help out with it: ” The consideration of these cases and situations, which have a yield of pleasure as their final outcome, should be undertaken by some systems of aesthetics with an economic approach to its subject-matter”. I’d like to know what Freud means by economic approach in this context? because this term has been repeated twice in the text.