Beyond the Pleasure Principleby Sigmund Freud
Pub. Date: 04/28/1990
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Beyond the Pleasure Principle is a 1920 essay by Sigmund Freud that marks a major turning point in his theoretical approach. Previously, Freud attributed most human behavior to the sexual instinct (Eros or libido). With this essay, Freud went "beyond" the simple pleasure principle, developing his theory of drives with the addition of the death drive(s) (Todestrieb[e])… See more details below
Beyond the Pleasure Principle is a 1920 essay by Sigmund Freud that marks a major turning point in his theoretical approach. Previously, Freud attributed most human behavior to the sexual instinct (Eros or libido). With this essay, Freud went "beyond" the simple pleasure principle, developing his theory of drives with the addition of the death drive(s) (Todestrieb[e]) (often referred to as "Thanatos").
The essay describes humans as struggling between two opposing drives: Eros, which produces creativity, harmony, sexual connection, reproduction, and self-preservation; and Thanatos, which brings destruction, repetition, aggression, compulsion, and self-destruction.
In sections IV and V, Freud posits that the process of creating living cells binds energy and creates an imbalance. It is the pressure of matter to return to its original state which gives cells their quality of living. The process is analogous to the creation and exhaustion of a battery. This pressure for molecular diffusion can be called a "death-wish". The compulsion of the matter in cells to return to a diffuse, inanimate state extends to the whole living organism. Thus, the psychological death-wish is a manifestation of an underlying physical compulsion present in every cell.
Freud also stated the basic differences, as he saw them, between his approach and Carl Jung's, and summarized published research into basic drives (Section VI).
Table of ContentsAcknowledgments
Sigmund Freud: A Brief Chronology
Beyond the Pleasure Principle
Appendix A: Other Works by Sigmund Freud
1. From "The Uncanny"(1919)
2. From The Ego and the Id (1923)
3. From "The Economic Problem of Masochism" (1924)
4. From "A Note about 'The Mystic Writing Pad'" (1926)
5. From Civilization and Its Discontents (1930)
6. From "Analysis Terminable and Interminable" (1937)
Appendix B: Antecedents and Continental Responses to Beyond the Pleasure Principle
1. Empedocles, Love and Strife (ca. 420 BCE )
2. Plato, Aristophanes' Discourse on Love (ca. 385 BCE )
3. Arthur Schopenhauer, Death is the Résumé of Life (1892)
4. Friedrich Nietzsche, Repetition, Pleasure, and Pain (1882, 1886, posthumous)
5. Walter Benjamin, Shock and the Creative Process (1939)
6. Jacques Lacan, Death, Desire, and Freud's Radical Turn (1954-55)
7. Melanie Klein, On the Development of Mental Functioning (1958)
8. Norman O. Brown, Instinctual Dialectics Against Instinctual Dualism (1959)
9. Norman O. Brown, On Death, Time, and Eternity From Hegel to Freud (1959)
10. Paul Ricoeur, Superego and Culture: A Hermeneutic Interpretation (1965)
11. Paul Ricoeur, Open Questions: On Negation, Pleasure, Reality (1965)
12. Gilles Deleuze, Sadism, Masochism, and the Death Instinct (1967)
13. Jacques Derrida, Freud's Magic Writing Pad (1967)
14. Herbert Marcuse, "A Decisive Correction": Non-Repressive Progress and Freud's Instinct Theory (1970)
15. Jean Laplanche, Economic Paradox of the Death Drive (1970)
16. Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, First Positive Task of Schizoanalysis (1972)
17. Erich Fromm, A Humanist Response to the Death Instinct Theory (1973)
18. Rodolphe Gasché, Scientific Discourse in Light of Metapsychological Speculation (1974)
19. Jean Baudrillard, The Metaphor of the Death Drive and Its Counter-Finality (1976)
20. J.-B. Pontalis, The Work of Death (1976)
21. Samuel Weber, Freud, Aristophanes, and the Phantastic Hypothesis (1979)
22. Jacques Derrida, "A Kind of Discourse on Method": Freud's Performative Writing (1980)
23. Judith Butler, The Pleasures of Repetition: A Phenomenological Perspective (1987)
24. Todd Dufresne, "The Possibility of Happiness": Absolute Narcissism and the Problem of Sociality (2000)
25. Slavoj Zizek, Paradox of the Freudian Death Drive (2006)
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I haven't exactly read the book yet...But I'm terribly excited about it. Freud is an amazing person who I admire greatly. I'm doing a report on him as well...I'll let you know how the book turns out!