The problem of the conceptual centre of psychoanalysis may be regarded as contained in a series of linked antinomies. The most general form taken by these antinomies is...that between force and meaning...within this schema the force term would then be something objective, or at least objectifiable, and thus comprehensible within the terms of natural science, whearas the meaning term would remain outside the net of natural sciences, being determinable only by symbolic means of one kind or another. (p81)
While it is generally all too facile to draw parallels between earlier thinkers and Freud, the case of William Blake is an exceptionally intriguing one. For one thing, there is just too much explicit 'metapsychology' in the lines from Blake to be passed by. These are not pre-Freudian intuitions...but almost exact enunciations of what Freud held to be most essential about the psyche.
In the 1910s, Freud wrote a series of twelve essays, to be collected as Preliminaries to a Metapsychology. Five of these were published independently under the titles: "Instincts and Their Vicissitudes," "Repression," "The Unconscious," "A Metapsychological Supplement to the Theory of Dreams," and "Mourning and Melancholia." The remaining seven remained unpublished, an expression of Freud's ambivalence about his own attempts to articulate the whole of his vision of psychoanalysis. In 1919 he wrote to Lou Andreas-Salome, "Where is my Metapsychology? In the first place it remains unwritten".10 In 1920 he published Beyond the Pleasure Principle, a text with metaphysical ambitions.
central preoccupation at the time of his death – the disentangling of the two theories of psychoanalysis, the metapsychological, or mechanistic, and the psychological, or one of meaning.
metapsychology has generally referred to those parts of psychoanalytic theory that are not immediately referrable to the evidence of conscious behavior but that employ instead mediating concepts such as 'structure, 'drive', 'libido', and so forth.