death instinct

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death instinct

n.
A primitive impulse for destruction, decay, and death, postulated by Sigmund Freud as coexisting with and opposing the life instinct. Also called Thanatos.

death′ in`stinct


n.
1. Psychoanal. an impulse to withdraw or destroy, working in opposition to forces urging survival and creation (life instinct).
2. suicidal tendency or inclination.
[1915–20]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.death instinct - (psychoanalysis) an unconscious urge to die
depth psychology, psychoanalysis, analysis - a set of techniques for exploring underlying motives and a method of treating various mental disorders; based on the theories of Sigmund Freud; "his physician recommended psychoanalysis"
impulse, urge - an instinctive motive; "profound religious impulses"
References in periodicals archive ?
Similar to the author of "Balin and Balan," Millingen conceives of human and inhuman nature as battlefields (one of his preferred metaphors) "on which fight the theoretically underdeveloped forerunners of Freud's Eros and Thanatos, the life and death instincts," in Rylance's apt paraphrase (p.
He, further, infers that "we might suppose that the life instincts or sexual instincts which are active in each cell take the other cells as their object, that they partly neutralize the death instincts (that is, the processes set up by them) in those cells and thus preserve their life" (Freud 50).
The research develops from an assumption that all forms of Zimbabwean dance reveal the desire to express unconscious wishes, and further contends that Zimbabwean dances represented in identified prose works express both what Freud terms the life and death instincts Pervin and John, 1997.
One of the central themes is their interpretation of Freud's later theory of instinct, the theory of life and death instincts that he formulated in 1920.
Death is the quintessential unpleasure to be mastered in any symbolic game of mourning and loss; just as Freud proposes that "The pleasure principle seems actually to serve the death instincts" (338), the impulse toward death is subordinate to the game, the pleasurable simulation of absence and return.
Moreover, Freud's theory concerning the life and death instincts suggests not only that the organism is inherently divided in seeking both to perpetuate and to shorten its own existence, but that "it wishes to die only in its own fashion" (Beyond 39).
Just as Pym's portrayal of horror leads to the domains of the sublime, its exploration of the death instincts anticipates Freud's speculations in Beyond the Pleasure Principle.(14) We could now mention Harold Bloom's essay "Freud and the Sublime: A Catastrophe Theory of Creativity," in which he points out that Freud's "The Uncanny" and Beyond the Pleasure Principle are "the only major contribution that the twentieth century has made to the aesthetics of the sublime."(15) If Freud defines terror as the return of the repressed, the unconscious is the site of the uncanny and the source of the sublime.(16)
It is a corpus haunted by death work, death instincts, locked in a poetic of absence and negation.