In this paper I will challenge Freud's conception of the individual's primary motivating principles as fundamentally based in the maintenance

of a constant equilibrium through the satisfaction of instinctual urges. After an in-depth exploration of this theory I will juxtapose my findings with other, both contrary and ameliorative, theories that consider the individual to contain inherent drives towards continual growth and development at every stage of life. These will include Abraham Maslow's theory of metamotivations and Victor Frankl's “will to meaning”. Through this comparative exploration I intend to illustrate some of the places where Freud's theories of motivation fall short of encompassing the full range of human drive. Freud‟s theory concerning the individual‟s basic motivating forces is comprehensively demonstrated in his theory of the life and death instincts and their relationship to the pleasure principle in his classic essay Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920). In this essay Freud posits a significant alteration of his past theory of drives. In his previous theory, expounded in Formulations on Two Principles of Mental Functioning, he offers the pleasure principle as the singular factor in the motivating dynamics of the drives (1911). Our drives, which are essentially sexual in nature, are born in the Id and seek fulfillment through what is known as the primary process. Unable to attain fulfillment in the social reality in which we live without endangering one‟s person, these basic urges are either circuitously channeled by the ego towards a later fulfillment or repressed indefinitely, in which case their influence is made known to consciousness through neurosis.

2 In the revised theory in Beyond the Pleasure Principle Freud says that the origin of our drives is not based primarily in the libido and ego but rather in the life and death instincts. Under this theory, the sexual drives, along with our instincts towards selfpreservation and mastery fall under the term „life instinct‟ or Eros. However, this drive towards the self‟s growth and preservation is tempered by a drive towards its demise. The death instinct, which is integral to every instinct besides the sexual seeks to “restore organic life to an earlier state of things.” This instinct, Freud speculates, is a remainder from the primordial days in which life first introduced itself, in some mysterious manner, into inorganic matter. This created tension in the new life form which the organism inherently strove to relieve by “cancelling itself out” (Freud, pp613). Freud asserts that this drive continues to exist within us as a desire towards inertia: Is it really the case that, apart from the sexual instincts, there are no instincts that do not seek to restore an earlier state of things? That there are none that aim at a state of things which has never yet been attained? I know of no certain example from the organic world that contradicts the characterization that I have thus proposed. There is unquestionably no universal instinct towards higher development observable in the animal or plant world, even though it is undeniable that development does in fact occur in that direction (p.615). Freud is here attempting to biologically demonstrate that we are predisposed towards a regressively oriented drive system. There is nothing inherent within us that drives us towards that which „has never been attained‟. What it appears that he is saying by this is that the individual is simply not wired to engage with the unexplored horizons of existence. Rather we are wired to simply attain a state of static security and there be content. Life is not an adventure, the hero‟s journey is an inapplicable fairytale, and we are meant to attain only what has been attained before us. Thus the death instinct reigns ponderously over our destinies.

3 Freud later goes on to describe the dynamics between the life and death instincts. The result of the fluctuation between these two principles results in equilibrium: It is as though the life of the organism moved with a vacillating rhythm. One group of instincts rushes forward so as to reach the final aim of life as swiftly as possible, but when a particular stage in the advance has been reached, the other group jerks back to a certain point to make a fresh start and so prolong the journey (p.615)

Yet even within the dynamics of the life instinct the impulse towards inertia and equilibrium manifests itself. Looking at the pleasure principle at work one sees how Freud‟s conception of what the organism considers to be essentially pleasurable consists in a release of excitation rather than in the excitation itself. The act of sex, which is one of the most direct realizations of Eros, most obviously embodies this dynamic. However, it appears to be applicable to the emergence and fulfillment of libidinal urges in general. This points to the fundamental idea that the life instincts manifest themselves within the organism as a feeling of tension, the release of which is experienced as pleasure. This alone seems to directly oppose the idea of any inherent drive or inborn motivation that would incite the individual towards continual development in correspondence to a continual realization of any sort of life imbuing energy such as Freud‟s Eros. But what of sublimation? Through this process, the sexual drives are redirected and transformed into constructive energy capable of providing the impetus for great human achievement (Freud p.262). Yet, however he may have considered it in the past, Freud‟s position on the power of sublimation in Beyond the Pleasure Principle seems less than enthusiastic (p.616). In it, he addresses the theoretical perspective that the great works of civilization are somehow a result of an intrinsic drive in human beings towards such purpose and meaning. This drive, he counters, is nothing but one of the possible

4 outcomes of the repression of the libidinal instincts. These instincts, finding no fulfillment, result in an insatiable tension that, because of the nature of the repression provide “no alternative but to advance in the direction in which growth is still free— though with no prospect of bringing the process to a conclusion or of being able to reach the goal”(p.616). So we endeavor towards the accomplishments of the great works of civilization in order to avoid the satisfaction of an essential libidinal instinct. “The repressed instinct never ceases to strive for complete satisfaction”, says Freud, “which would consist in the repetition of a primary experience of satisfaction. No substitutive or reactive formations and no sublimations will suffice to remove the repressed instinct‟s persisting tension” (p.616). Humankind possesses no „instinct towards perfection‟, as Freud says. We are biologically oriented towards the maintenance of a state of equilibrium and at the same time void of any intrinsic drive toward the development of a new state of affairs beyond the formative stages of life (child to early adulthood). I offer the following quote to finalize Freud‟s perspective on the matter before moving on: It may be difficult, too, for many of us to abandon the belief that there is an instinct towards perfection at work in human beings, which has brought them to their present high level of intellectual achievement and ethical sublimation and which may be expected to watch over their development as supermen. I have no faith, however, in the existence of any such internal instinct and I cannot see how this benevolent illusion is to be preserved. The present development of human beings requires, as it seems to me, no different explanation from that of animals. (p.616) My aim has been to show that Freud‟s reductive, analytical model of human motivation is essentially what is known as a regressive drive theory (Fiscalini, 1990). Now I wish compare this theory with several progressive drive models with the intention of bringing to light some of the ways in which the Freudian model fails to account for the

5 higher aspirations of human development. The characteristics of the progressive model are expansive and do not as easily adhere to categorization as do the reductive principles of Freud‟s model. However, one near universal characteristic in the progressive models which quite tangibly offers itself to inspection, is the drive towards tension (Fiscalini, 1990). This concept of tension-induction presides in the theories of both of the following thinkers who see the organism as capable of evoking innate drives towards sensory stimulation, arousal, and the life-imbuing energy of Eros pointed to above. This perspective of a drive towards tension can be found duly advocated within in the theory of metamotivation by Abraham Maslow, one of the foremost proponents of the individual‟s need for development beyond the comfortable recliner of homeostatic existence. Maslow‟s theory can be considered amendatory rather than entirely contradictory. There is intersection between his views and Freud‟s concerning the instinctual nature of the individual‟s base drives (p.327 Maslow, 1971). Yet Maslow puts forth the idea that once all of one‟s basic needs are fulfilled, one is enabled (meeting certain prerequisites) to strive towards the fulfillment of further needs which pertain to the realization of one‟s innate true self. This is known as the drive towards selfactualization, and is the means by which the inherent uniqueness of every individual is realized and expressed. This theory, which will be explained in greater depth below, has been criticized for being too vague and unable to be scientifically demonstrated. But what appears vague to some is to others the only way to truly understand the human condition—through engaging with the individual holistically as a living, dynamic being rather than as a series of reductive principles. Maslow‟s theory asserts that this innate drive towards becoming “more fully human” leads us towards meaningful existence

6 transcendent of identification with our base desires and conditioned self. The therapeutic application of this theory enables this development and in way picks up where Freud‟s psychoanalysis might leave one hanging. Freud‟s psychoanalysis enables one to free oneself from the bounds of neurosis, which are based in the trapped energy of unresolved childhood dynamics; to become aware of the influence of the superego and thereby differentiate one‟s ego from societal conditioning; to free one‟s energy in order that it may reallocate itself towards the health of the individual. But to what end? Are we to free ourselves only to become more productive participants in the status quo, satisfied with the reward of a peaceful existence grounded in the endless cycle of the pleasure principle? Or are we not capable of employing our newfound freedom in the service of continued growth towards becoming something more meaningful. Maslow‟s theory elucidates not only the possibility of but the need for the latter. In The Farther Reaches of Human Nature Maslow lays out in detail his theory of Metamotivation—that which motivates one towards self-actualization. In it, he states that metamotivations are instinctual in nature and required to avoid illness and achieve “full humanness and growth” (p.305 1971). The illnesses, or “diminutions of humanness” as he also refers to them, associated with failure to self-actualize are called metapathologies and include alienation, meaninglessness, philosophical crisis, and “loss of faith in or reductive explanation of all high values” (p.305). But approaching human psychology negatively from the perspective of alleviating what is wrong is ultimately not Maslow‟s way. Rather, his point of departure is the consideration of that which constitutes the healthy individual. Self-actualization being

7 the apex of human mental health, one‟s understanding is best served through an understanding of what this process essentially is. John Fiscalini expresses much of this essence in the following: It refers, in other words, to the self-active striving for fulfillment or actualization of one's human capacities or unique psychic potentialities, including the fullest possible expression and realization of one's singular potentials for feeling, thinking, and imagining. This genus of need refers, then, to the proactive striving to fulfill one's "originality, " "true selfness, " or what some have called one's "I-ness" or uniquely individual self; and it comprises such psychic processes as creativity, curiosity, play, activity, and aspects of what is often called "will"— choosing, initiating, intending, determining—as well as aspects of courage. (1990)

There are four prerequisites to truly engaging with the process of selfactualization. The first three are synonymous with a Freudian conception of mental health, and the last is clearly not. Seeing how and why this is so will be constructive to the thesis at hand. They are as follows: One must be sufficiently free from illness; be adequately fulfilled in one‟s basic needs; be positively using one‟s capacities; and be “motivated by some values which one strives for or gropes for and to which one is loyal (p.291, Maslow). It was not Freud‟s aim to align the individual with value and meaning, either societal or personal. He assaulted the static convention of Victorian sensibility with a vigilant fervor tempered by the precision of a surgeon‟s scalpel, extricating values and tossing them in the waste basket and, as Jung has said, rightly so. But he did not replace them. He left that for others. (Jung 1932) This idea that value and meaning are required to embark upon the path towards becoming fully human is, in my research, nowhere more poignantly expressed than in Victor Frankl‟s theory of a „will to meaning‟. Victor Frankl spent years as a captive in concentration camps during the Second World War. During this time of great suffering,

8 that which enabled to him to maintain his sanity, sense of identity, and will to live was his connection to a sense of meaning throughout the ordeal. This experience led him to development his system of logotherapy, which is based on the principle that the individual possesses as a fundamental drive the “will to meaning”. In rebuttal to Freud‟s assertion that the will to meaning is merely a product of sublimation, defense mechanisms, or reaction-formations, Frankl states, “I would not be willing to live merely for the sake of my „defense-mechanisms‟, nor would I be willing to die merely for the sake of my „reaction-formations‟”(p.121, 1954). With Frankl too, one finds the idea of a drive towards tension an integral element. During Frankl‟s initial captivity he strove to recreate the manuscript of his first book which had been previously confiscated. At night he would write what he could remember on small scraps of paper until he had recreated as much as he could. He was sure, he says, that this act helped him overcome cardiovascular collapse due to typhoid fever. Thus, he points out, it was a state of tension between what he had to do and what he had thus far accomplished that gave him the impetus to move forward. Such tension, he says, is an intrinsic and vital aspect of the psyche and should be fostered. When one is faced with a potential meaning to fulfill, one‟s dormant will to meaning is evoked by the tension of what must be accomplished (p.127, 1954). He goes on to say “I consider it a dangerous misconception of mental hygiene to assume that what man needs in the first place is equilibrium or, as it is called in biology, homeostasis i.e., a tensionless state. What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task” (p.127).

9 According to Frankl there are three ways in which meaning can be found: through creation, or meaningful work or action; through the experience of either another person through love or the experience of something profound like nature, truth, beauty, or culture; or through suffering (p133). What all of these have in common however is selftranscendent engagement with the world. Here we find a direct correspondence with Maslow‟s picture of the self-actualized individual. He states, “In examining selfactualizing people directly, I find that in all cases, at least in our culture, they are dedicated people, devoted to some task “outside themselves,” some vocation, or duty, or beloved job.” Here we see a marked difference between Maslow‟s and Frankl‟s theories with those of Freud. This difference is rooted in their contrary standpoints of regressive vs. progressive motivation and is one I did not anticipate discovering. Freud offers a perspective of the healthy individual as one engaged in the vacillating patterns centered on the maintenance of equilibrium. His view is of the individual as inherently selfish and aggressive, held in check only by the ego‟s reality principle. Frankl and Maslow, on the other hand, insist that the healthy individual, incited by tension, strives towards meaning and that the degree to which one succeeds depends how much one‟s search involves oneself with something outside of oneself. In other words, “The more one forgets himself—by giving himself over to a cause to serve or another person to love—the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself”(p.133, 1954).

It is likely that Freud would categorize the very concept of self-actualization under a “drive to perfection” mentioned at the beginning of the paper which he dismisses

10 as the result of repressed instincts. These instincts, unable to be fulfilled, create a tension in the organism which it seeks to alleviate by the only way it can—by moving forward towards an unreachable goal. The nature of the defense mechanism prevents it from going back. Only through the process of psychoanalysis can one release this tension, Freud insists. In this process, this blocked energy would be made known through the transference neurosis. When the client/therapist rapport was well enough established the therapist would communicate what would by that point be almost obvious—that the client was repeating emotional patterns from childhood, only the therapist is substituted for the parent. This would allow the client to release this energy by experientially coming to terms with the root cause of the neurosis. Thus does Freud discount the notion of progressive drive theory, providing in its stead his theories of the life and death instincts. I have attempted to show, however, that the progressive drive theories of Maslow and Frankl are not so easily dismissed. Aside from their proven efficacy in therapeutic environments over many years, the essential idea contained within them appeals to a part of the human psyche that Freud‟s theory may leave wanting. Namely, that there is an essential aspect of our being, a true self, whose nature is not to shirk from the unexplored, taking refuge in homeostatic security, but to engage with it so that it may continue to grow, develop, and become.