"Beyond the Pleasure Principle" Book Review by Writer

"Beyond the Pleasure Principle"
A look at Freud's book, "Beyond the Pleasure Principle".
# 6470 | 1,635 words | 1 source | MLA | 2000 | US
Published on Feb 08, 2003 in Psychology (Freud)

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In "Beyond the Pleasure Principle", Freud presents his theory of the opposition between the death instinct (Eros) and the life instinct (Thanatos). Included in this examination and summary of Freud?s theory, is the discussion of the role of the repetition compulsion, of the sexual instincts and of binding. All of these issues are set to an example so that they can be demonstrated along with how the play of opposition between these two basic forces contributes to forming the individual personality.

From the Paper:

"Freud uses two terms, Eros and Thanatos, to label what he calls the instinct of life and the instinct of death, respectively. Part of the energy of the life instinct is the Libido and that energy gets directed at oneself so that you want to preserve yourself, grow, develop, and advance. Heavily opposing the life instinct is the death instinct, which is geared towards destruction. This destructive instinct wants to keep things the same and is a drive to an earlier state, ultimately death (or "nothing"). Freud explains that the death instinct will often get repressed, showing itself as an aggression turned outward towards others. Freud claims that the pleasure principle, which aims at reducing tension, "seems actually to serve the death instincts" (1961, 77). "The pleasure principle, then, is a tendency operating in the service of a function whose business it is to free the mental apparatus entirely from excitation or to keep the amount of excitation in it constant or to keep it as low as possible" (Freud, 1961, 76). In other words, the pleasure principle works for what is pleasurable, which, according to Freud is a relaxed state without tension or stimuli. So, for Freud, the pleasure principle urges us to repeat actions that bring us to that relaxed and unstimulated state of being. Even taking drugs that make us forget and put us in a state of dull sensation could be an action that Freud would classify as the pleasure principle working. The pleasure principle would urge the person to continue the action of taking that particular drug over and over even though this would ultimately lead to death, which is the ultimate goal of the pleasure principle since it when we are dead we have absolutely no incoming stimuli."

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