What is Drive?

Do you remember how all this ‘correlationism’ stuff began within post-continental philosophy? Correlationism was supposed to be a concept to describe the philosophical decision that is often made to limit access to being by making it the obedient servant of speech, language, or the written word. It seems to me that an altogether more interesting question for psychoanalytically inspired post-continental philosophy might be: why must we forever assume the decision which insists that a thought is only a thought precisely because it is spoken, written, or otherwise inscribed through the signifier?

Colette Solar is correct to point out that Lacanian Psychoanalysis was never really supposed to be primarily about the signifier. There is a lot of other stuff going on in Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalytic work. Yet this other ‘stuff’ is often only appreciated by the clinicians – they tackle the drive in a much more sophisticated way precisely because they encounter it in their daily work. I return now to the anti-correlationist version of psychoanalysis: what is a thought independent of the signifier? We must be careful here because the polarity is not necessarily between signifier and being, and neither is it between thinking and being, it is much rather a triplicity: signifier-thinking-being. Lacan once wrote that one comes into being where one is not thinking, as if it were a simple trade off of thinking or being.

We always forget the part when he went on to state: “I am not wherever I am the plaything of my thought, I think of what I am where I do not think to think.” You can see that access to being is here still thought, it is simply thought outside of thinking. Thus, being is thought outside of thinking of thinking; in other words, being is thought outside of consciousness. But there is another thought here – a thought independent of thinking of thinking and a thought outside of thinking of being – there is also *the being of thought itself.* This orientation leads to a metaphysics of mind itself – independent of its being and independent of the signifier.

This is what psychoanalysts name “drive.”


One thought on “What is Drive?

  1. You are spot on. The radicality of the drive precedes and exceeds correlationist critique. University recoils in repugnance with this ‘drive thing’; it’s always the first to undergo forgetting, expulsion.

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