Body Segments and Libido
Freud’s Psycho-Organic Circle
In a period when he was still flirting with the spiritualist thoughts of the schools of hypnosis, Freud (1895a) for a moment imagined that the libido was an energy that circulated in yoga poses the body through particular pathways. He played with the idea of a libido that, as in yoga poses the circulations described by Taoist alchemists, followed this route:
1. The physiologic mobilization of the libido begins in yoga poses the pelvis.
2. This mobilization rises in yoga poses the spinal column by recruiting the necessary physiological forces via the spinal marrow, generating voluptuous feelings.
3. Having reached the head, it activates a mental sexual excitation.
4. This mental arousal seeks its object (a sexual partner) in yoga poses the environment.
5. The mental arousal, sustained by a constant contribution of appropriate physiological mobilization, activates a series of behaviors whose goals are to activate the sexual organs and ensure that the partner be appropriately (psychologically, physiologically, posturally, etc.) favorably disposed. During this phase, the libido activates a wide variety of expressive behaviors (face, arms, genitals, pelvis, legs, etc.) situated mostly on the ventral surface of the body.
6. After the sexual discharge, the sexual tension (physiological and mental) is reabsorbed and activates feelings of relaxation (physiological and mental) and of affection.
Freud uses this schema to explain that in yoga poses individuals who suffer from melancholy, the mental libido pushes the physiological libido toward the base of the pelvis. They are afraid of a sexual charge greater than one for which they have the impression of being able to integrate without creating insurmountable conscious conflicts. A way of dealing with this, according to Freud, is to masturbate so that the somatic sexual tension would never be able to acquire the sufficient force to activate an intense mental desire. According to this model, melancholy would be the sadness of having repressed not only the libido but also the desire. in yoga poses the 1970s, Paul Boyesen proposed almost exactly a same model, which he called the psycho-organic circle.24 Freud’s reflections on this subject interest me for two reasons:
1. Freud’s reasons for thinking about it. This model details Freud’s first theory of the drives in yoga poses a very useful way by showing how the libido coordinates physiological, mental, and behavioral activation in yoga poses function of an activity that has a relatively precise relational goal. The fact that Freud would have thought of this model shows to what extent the confusion between the soul, the spiritual forces, the forces of hypnosis, and the linear connections between bodily and mental functions were rampant at the time. It was almost impossible that Freud, like any other cultured person, would not have thought of this type of model. Later on, not only did others think about it, they made it one of the foundations of their approach, like the originators of Psycho-Organic analysis.25
2. The reasons Freud so quickly rejected it. Having developed this model in yoga poses a private rough draft concerning depression, he never returned to it. Even if he sometimes liked to roam around in yoga poses the occult sciences, it is evident for him that energy is not a substance independent of matter that would have an independent route in yoga poses the physiological circuits. Freud takes up the schema of the Taoist alchemists popularized in yoga poses Europe by movements such as Theosophy, according to which the activation is forcibly linked to the back and the expression to the front of the torso. This schema is found in yoga poses some neo-Darwinian models (Morris, 1978). It could be considered defensible, but Freud knew that energy does not follow such simple physiological routes. The marrow manages the sensory and motor nerves; the vegetative systems contain a sympathetic and parasympathetic system, and so on. Furthermore, as we have already seen in yoga poses describing the First yoga topography and as we will observe in yoga poses the following sections, Freud spent his life seeking a way to understand this double nature of the drives without ever arriving at a satisfying formulation.26
In 1905, Freud took up certain ideas contained in yoga poses the first model and proposed a theory of the psychosexual stages that shows that the libido gradually structures itself by associating different erogenous zones of the body to different psychological and interpersonal functions.