Source: Creativity, ego, id, cathexes and energetic flux …

I want to share a very interesting psychoanalytic view of creative process from the 1954 Edith Jacobson essay “THE SELF AND THE OBJECT WORLD: Vicissitudes of Their Infantile Cathexes and Their Influence on Ideational and Affective Development.” It is actually a footnote with a reference to Ernst Kris’s writings:

“Kris (1952) has beautifully described the ability of creative persons to let their ego immerge into the id and emerge again, and thus, by oscillating between closeness to and distance from the id, to use the id in the service of the ego. In further comments on this problem, Kris expressed his assumption that the capacity for sublimation is connected with a particular ability of creative people to draw and absorb psychic  energy through manifold avenues from the deepest energetic flux of the id and to veer it into the channel of creative activity. This ability, I believe, would presuppose a particular energetic elasticity in such persons, permitting rapid processes of drive transformation, drive fusion and drive neutralization. This drive elasticity would account for the capacity for such constant fluctuations between id closeness and id distance during the creative process.

I may additionally express my surmise that such an energetic elasticity in creative persons may combine with a particularly favorable vicissitude of their orality, which enables them to hypocathect temporarily all other objects to an amazing degree and to hypercathect the one subject on which they work consistently with great amounts of energy in a way remindful of the small child’s exclusive oral investment in his one love object. But after achievement of their goal, such creative persons are able to re-establish their previous cathective balance up to the time of another creative spell. This astounding ability, I believe, becomes manifest in their “devouring” interest in their work, which during such a creative spell makes them utterly forgetful of the rest of the world, and in their return to the common ways of life after completion and relief of the tremendous creative tension.”

(The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, Volume IX, International Universities Press, Inc., 1954, p.93)

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