This article is about the psychoanalytical term. For other uses, see The pleasure trap pdf principle.
Specifically, the pleasure principle is the driving force guiding the id. Epicurus in the ancient world, and Jeremy Bentham in the modern, laid stress upon the role of pleasure in directing human life, the latter stating: “Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure”. Freud’s most immediate predecessor and guide however was Gustav Theodor Fechner and his psychophysics. Freud used the idea that the mind seeks pleasure and avoids pain in his Project for a Scientific Psychology of 1895, as well as in the theoretical portion of The Interpretation of Dreams of 1900, where he termed it the ‘unpleasure principle’.
In the Two Principles of Mental Functioning of 1911, contrasting it with the reality principle, Freud spoke for the first time of “the pleasure-unpleasure principle, or more shortly the pleasure principle”. Civilization and its Discontents of 1930 he still considered that “what decides the purpose of life is simply the programme of the pleasure principle”.
Freud contrasted the pleasure principle with the counterpart concept of the reality principle, which describes the capacity to defer gratification of a desire when circumstantial reality disallows its immediate gratification. In infancy and early childhood, the id rules behavior by obeying only the pleasure principle. People at that age only seek immediate gratification, aiming to satisfy cravings such as hunger and thirst, and at later ages the id seeks out sex. Maturity is learning to endure the pain of deferred gratification.
In his book Beyond the Pleasure Principle, published in 1921, Freud considered the possibility of “the operation of tendencies beyond the pleasure principle, that is, of tendencies more primitive than it and independent of it”. Through an examination the role of repetition compulsion in potentially over-riding the pleasure principle, Freud ultimately developed his opposition between Libido, the life instinct, and the death drive. Look up pleasure principle in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. Psychology – the science of behaviour.