death instinct

(redirected from death instincts)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.

death instinct

[′deth ‚in‚stinkt]
(psychology)
In psychoanalytic theory, the unconscious drive which leads the individual toward dissolution and death, and which coexists with the life instinct.
References in periodicals archive ?
The shock of the encounter makes him aware of his suppressed desires, and he redirects his contempt at himself, thus setting the stage for the triumph of the death instinct. By situating Balin's initial realization of Camelot's corruption within this bower, Tennyson emphasizes the irreconcilability of nature and culture, individual and group.
Freud, further, states that this type of masochism originates from death instincts (165-170).
They dance mock-war dances, singing the death of the coward who sells." In such a scenario, the war dance kongonya, seems to paradoxically exude both the life and death instincts freedom and death.
"What reason could she have," wonders Heyst, concerning Lena's decision to confront Ricardo, "Was it the promptings of some obscure instinct"; and indeed we could say that Lena's actions are motivated by the seemingly paradoxical death instinct which, however, is no less obscure than that of survival (Victory 294).
Unless, as Freud qualifies it, the reality principle intervenes, this nirvana principle, this death instinct, becomes the goal of life.
We have seen, therefore, that the conflict between Marie and Marguerite is best understood initially as reflecting that between the life and death instincts described by Freud.
Many of these processes are unconscious and automatic, so that, at first sight, identifying the details of the negotiation and of the compromise between the life instinct and the death instinct seems to be an impossible task.
(2) Caropreso and Theisen Simanke re-examine the second instinctual dualism hypothesis introduced by Freud in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, pointing out that death instinct is an internal necessity of Freudian metapsychological theory.