Freud on the Death Drive as Existence without Tension

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Title: Freud on the Death Drive as Existence without Tension
Authors: O'Connor, Brian
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/9291
Date: Jun-2016
Abstract: Freud's notion of the death drive is complex and arguably ambiguous. This paper, however, proposes that Freud's thoughts on our organic dynamic towards tensionlessness provide us with a cohesive path through the diverse characteristics that are attributed to the death drive. The paper shows that Freud is interested in giving expression to a kind of disavowal of personhood that may present itself symptomatically. A tensionless state can be gained by a dynamic release of the individual from the pressures of the ego. This study critically sets out the line of analysis that brought Freud, in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, to introduce the notion of the death drive. The main work of the paper is to examine the meaning of the very idea of death as tensionlessness. A central contention will be that death has a figurative meaning when it is discussed in that context: it is the death of the ego. The idea of death as tensionlessness will be employed to explore a number of clinical interpretations of the relationship between the death drive and neurotic guilt and envy.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Guilford Press
Journal: Psychoanalytic Review
Volume: 103
Issue: 3
Start page: 423
End page: 443
Copyright (published version): 2016 Guilford Press
Subject LCSH: Freud, Sigmund, 1856-1939
Jenseits des Lustprinzips. English
DOI: 10.1521/prev.2016.103.3.423
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Philosophy Research Collection

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