An Introduction to Psychoanalytic Theory of Motivation by WALTER TOWMAN


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Counter-cathexis cannot annul previous, but it can prevent all further cathexis. It is learning how to avoid and fear or learning where to learn no more. All of cathexis and counter-cathexis, or at least all of the relevant portions of either, determine how any given situation will be perceived. We scan automatically in terms of where to continue cathecting and countercathecting, whereby the crucial cue for the latter is anxiety. Whenever this red fight goes on, some counter-cathexis has been insufficient, and additional counter-cathexis is necessary.

He has found a solution. He will, or may at least, remember this solution when he eats or misses his next strawberry dish, or when he passes by the preserves shelves of a foodstore the next time. One may also object—or have objected a while ago—to the statement that we learn as we satisfy desires. What desires am I satisfying when I study chemistry or rather when I keep some particular formula in mind, say, of some nuclein-acid in which I have no interest at all ? Well, why are you trying to keep it in mind in the first place ?

Hence the desire becomes impossible to satisfy for the time being and, may be, for some time to come. She may feel irritated. However, flinging herself into another on-going argument or even into some little flirtation may quickly get her over the disappointment. She is getting the attention she wanted after all, although from a different person. T h e substitution continuum "being liked"—a rather complex continuum, by the way—is in balance again. Yet, as a consequence she may not only have forgotten the incident soon afterwards, but even the name of the person when, the other day, she was asked for them in some other context.

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