Philosophies, Vol. 6, Pages 86: Safety Valves of the Psyche: Reading Freud on Aggression, Morality, and Internal Emotions
Philosophies doi: 10.3390/philosophies6040086
This article argues for a Freudian theory of internal emotion, which is best characterised as key “safety valves of the psyche”. After briefly clarifying some of Freud’s metapsychology, I present an account regarding the origin of (self-)censorship and morality as internalised aggression. I then show how this conception expands and can be detailed through a defence of a hydraulic model of the psyche that has specific “safety valves” of disgust, shame, and pity constantly counteracting specific sets of Freudian drives. This model is important for explicating Freud’s crucial concept of sublimation, which continues to have key therapeutic and normative relevance today, which I show through the case of jokes. I finish with the argument that largely happy, productive lives can be seen as in a dynamic between the release of too much (perversion) and too little (neurosis) psychical pressure through these mechanisms.
Free full text: Read More