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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 43 | volume VIII | July-August, 2005



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 43July-August, 2005

Pleasure and beyond it

(“Banalities” by Brane Mozetič, “Blesok”, Skopje, 2004)

p. 1
Goce Smilevski

    The crucial choice in human existence, the one between life and death, is articulated in the poetry collection „Banalities“ of the distinguished Slovenian poet Brane Mozetič, now available in Macedonian in the excellent translation of Lidija Dimkovska and published by “Blesok”. This articulation of the life instinct expressed in the desperate need to discover the meaning of existence (“And for half a life / I’ve tried to stay alive and maybe discover / the secret of life!”) and the death instinct (“The first thought that comes to your mind / is to cut your wrists, to tie a noose, / or to leap from a building”), determined by alienation (“Friends aren’t friends, / acquaintances aren’t acquaintances, lovers / aren’t lovers, a mother isn’t a mother, / a father isn’t a father, a wife isn’t a wife, the ground isn’t the ground”) results in complete loss of the meaning of existence and pleasure: “Things had become banal: life, writing, / all superfluous.”
    Explaining the principle of pleasure in his “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” and “The Ego and the Id”, Freud suggests that this principle automatically regulates the course of psychological processes; it “is invariably set in motion by an unpleasurable tension, and … it takes a direction such that its final outcome coincides with a lowering of that tension – that is, with an avoidance of unpleasure or a production of pleasure” (Freud 1984: 253). Freud puts both pleasure and displeasure in relation with the quantity of excitement that is present in the psyche, in such a way that “unpleasure corresponds to an increase in the quantity of excitation and pleasure to a diminution.” This relation is a relation of “any directly proportional ratio; the factor that determines the feeling is probably the amount of increase or diminution in the quantity of excitation in a given period of time”. (ibid: 254).
    The pleasure principle is regulating, but it is not dominant at the same time, as it is opposed by other forces and relations. Because of the difficulties of the surrounding world, the pleasure principle is obstructed, or more precisely, replaced, by the reality principle, whose goal is maybe pleasure as well, but first of all endurance, and “it nevertheless demands and carries into effect the postponement of satisfaction, the abandonment of a number of possibilities of gaining satisfaction and the temporary toleration of unpleasure as a step on the long indirect road

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