Sublimation is talked about by some thinkers as if it were an actual fact. But the only real fact is that it’s a theoretical process outlined in Sigmund Freud‘s psychoanalysis.
With sublimation, instinctual and antisocial impulses of the id are redirected toward non-instinctual, symbolic forms of behavior or expression. The redirection of the id’s antisocial desires apparently depends on a certain degree of ego development, and is usually understood to fall within socially acceptable channels, such as the arts.
When art is displayed and accepted in a public space, either officially (as pictured right) or subversively (as with graffiti), sublimation becomes a social-psychological and not just an individual dynamic.
Charles Rycroft, A Critical Dictionary of Psychoanalysis, Harmondsworth: Penguin 1977, pp. 159-160.
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