Friday, June 8, 2012

Lacanian Terminology: Reality Principle – Definition and Explanation

The idea of the "Reality Principle" as it was formulated by Freud was harshly objected in Lacan psychoanalytic theory. Freud described the initial contradiction between the pleasure principle which seeks gratification from previous experiences of pleasure but encounters the limitations imposed on such a gratification by the reality principle. According to Freud, the reality principle sublimates the pleasure principle by forcing it to seek indirect ways of achieving pleasure.
Lacan objected to this formulation of the reality principle. He thought the seeing "reality" and objectively given was a simplistic notion that did not correspond with the human experience. Lacan attributed reality, and the reality principle, to the symbolic order, where the subject cannot make such a clear cut distinction between imagination and reality, as Freud would have it. 

Some additional books to help you better your understanding of Lacan's theory and terminology: