Sublimation and Compassion


The concept of sublimation in Freud is examined here as a corollary of the metaphysics underlying the bulk of his works: the human being as moved by Lust. The author focuses on artistic and literary sublimation seen – in contrast with the original theory – not only as a psychic process in the creator, but also as an experience by the spectator or reader. Tracing the paradoxical status that pleasure takes on in classic reflections on art – in Aristotle and Kant in particular – the author reinterprets the concept of Sublimierung, no longer exclusively in relation to Lust, to the dialectics of pleasure/displeasure, but as process leading to the Care (Sorge) for the world, the others and for the works of art. Sublimation, reinterpreted as an initiation to the Care, thus discloses its relationship to the inevitable absence of the thing, hence its “lacunose” quality.

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European Journal of Psychoanalysis