cathexis

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cathexis

 [kah-thek´sis]
in psychiatry, conscious or unconscious investment of psychic energy in a person, idea, or any other object. adj., adj cathec´tic.

ca·thex·is

(kă-thek'sis),
A conscious or unconscious attachment of psychic energy to an idea, object, or person.
[G. kathexis, a holding in, retention]

ca·thex·is

(kă-thek'sis)
A conscious or unconscious attachment of psychic energy to an idea, object, or person.
[G. kathexis, a holding in, retention]

cathexis

A Freudian concept in which ‘emotional energy’ is said to be concentrated on, or attached to, an idea, person or object, in much the way, according to Freud, that an electric charge can be retained on insulating material. The investment of ‘libidinal’ energy in something. See also FREUDIAN THEORY.
References in periodicals archive ?
Kristeva emphasizes the effort required for a woman to be attracted erotically to the opposite sex: the process of "shifting to the symbolic order at the same time as to a sexual object of a sex other than that of the primary maternal object represents a gigantic elaboration in which a woman cathexes a psychic potential greater than what is demanded of the male sex" (Kristeva 1989, 30).
or transforms cultural constructs into a 'sublime' erotic object (one thinks of the cathexes, by men and women, in social bonds, intellectual and aesthetic productions, etc.)" (Kristeva 1989, 27--28).
Freud defines the id as chaotic, disorganised, primitive, illogical, contradictory, highly bodily, unaware of value judgements (good/evil, morality), dominated by the pleasure principle: in short, "instinctual cathexes seeking discharge--that, in our view, is all there is in the id" ("The Dissection of the Psychical Personality" 74).
The primary caretaker's role of aiding the infant and young child in separating narcissistic cathexes into the object cathexes has been interfered with by the harsh external realities in which these families live.
"The complex of melancholia behaves like an open wound," Freud wrote, attracting satellite cathexes "from all directions."
This single-mindedness reflects its self-enclosure, its non-participation in the negotiations between inside and outside that come to characterize the secondary process and its more stable cathexes of those representations that the mobile energies of the primary process are predisposed to abandon in a mechanistic attempt to dissipate unpleasurable amounts of excitation.
I do so in order to underscore the quantitative or differential status of the Thing, in its intimate association with the drives, before the mobile cathexes of the primary process are bound, through the secondary process, to representations that take shape as objects and are articulated through the word-presentations that make possible conscious thought.(3) Samuel Weber glosses this difference between the primary and the secondary processes in a way that can remind us once more of the former's similarity to "pure rhetoric":
Since the ego itself is produced as the stable binding of cathexes to an object, and since it serves to regulate the binding of cathexes to the object-world, the "reality," toward which its catachrestic "face" is turned, the anxiety it experiences denotes not simply a "real," external threat to the organism that the ego attempts to totalize under its name and in terms of its face, but also and more importantly, a threat to the representational value, the "reality," of the ego as a face, and thus to the "reality" to which, as logical copula, ego gives a face.
If the latter consists above all in the production and maintenance of stable cathexes, in particular of a visual nature, this explains why Freud defines the danger faced by anxiety in terms not merely of the "loss of objects," - which would still suggest a relation to an objective reality - but rather, more rigorously, as a loss of perception, a Wahrnemungsverlust since it is in such a loss that a true danger to the ego is articulated.
What gives Zlamany's paintings their meaning is that she uses the images to talk about representation--its half-feared, half-desired stirring of irrational cathexes. Only through the gap between painting and body--and more complexly, between painting-as-body and body-as-image--does the metaphorical transference that allows us to dwell on these works as images of death, of desire, of intimacy, even of dread, occur.