Death Drive

Death Drive

In classical Freudian psychoanalytic theory, the death drive(s) (Todestrieb) is the drive towards death, self-destruction and the return to the inorganic: "the hypothesis of a death instinct, the task of which is to lead organic life back into the inanimate state". It was originally proposed by Sigmund Freud in 1920 in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, where in his first published reference to the term he wrote of the "opposition between the ego or death instincts and the sexual or life instincts". The death drive opposes the drive for life, the tendency toward survival, propagation, sex, and other creative, life-producing drives. The death drive is sometimes referred to as "Thanatos" in post-Freudian thought, complementing "Eros", although this term was not used in Freud's own work, being rather introduced by one of Freud's followers, Wilhelm Stekel.

The Standard Edition of Freud's works in English confuses two terms that are different in German, Instinkt ("instinct") and Trieb ("drive"), often translating both as instinct. "This incorrect equating of instinct and Trieb has created serious misunderstandings". Freud actually refers to the "death instinct" as a drive, a force that is not essential to the life of an organism (unlike an instinct) and tends to denature it or make it behave in ways that are sometimes counter-intuitive. The term is almost universally known in scholarly literature on Freud as the "death drive", and Lacanian psychoanalysts often shorten it to simply "drive" (although Freud posited the existence of other drives as well).

Read more about Death Drive:  The Making of The Theory: Beyond The Pleasure Principle, Philosophy, Cultural Application: Civilization and Its Discontents, The Continuing Development of Freud's Views, Analytic Reception

Other articles related to "drive, death drive, death, drives":

Beyond The Pleasure Principle - Fruitfulness of The Essay - Other Theorists
... Freud as fundamental concepts, namely, the unconscious, repetition, the transference and the drive" ... Both Melanie Klein and Lacan were to adopt versions of the death drive in their own theoretical constructs ... "Klein's concept of the death drive differs from Freud's...but there is an ever-increasing reference to the death drive as a given cause of mental development" in her works ...
Death Drive - Analytic Reception
... of the existence of an instinct of death or destruction has met with resistance even in analytic circles" ... that "the facts on which Freud based his concept of a death instinct in no way necessitate the assumption...of a genuine self-destructive instinct" ... other, mainly biologically oriented set of hypotheses of the "life" and "death instincts"'" ...
Kleinian Object Relations Theory - Death Drive
... Freud developed the concept object relation to describe or emphasize that bodily drives satisfy their need through a medium, an object, on a specific locus ... just the mother's breast can be the locus of satisfaction for a drive ... to traditional psychoanalysis, there are at least two types of drives, the libido (mythical counterpart Eros), and the death drive (mythical counterpart Thanatos) ...

Famous quotes containing the words drive and/or death:

    Ha, ha, my ship! thou mightiest well be taken now for the sea- chariot of the sun. Ho, ho! all ye nations before my prow, I bring the sun to ye! Yoke on the further billows ... I drive the sea!
    Herman Melville (1819–1891)

    Night is a dead monotonous period under a roof; but in the open world it passes lightly, with its stars and dews and perfumes, and the hours are marked by changes in the face of Nature. What seems a kind of temporal death to people choked between walls and curtains, is only a light and living slumber to the man who sleeps afield.
    Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894)