Does death instinct exist?2016-12-23
In his Civilization and Its Discontent, Freud provides a special definition of civilization from the perspective of psychoanalysis——he views the civilization as endeavor to "set limits to man's aggressive instinct and to hold the manifestation of them in check by psychical reaction-formations." Therefore we can draw at least two conclusions:1) Freud views the nature of human being is evil——he used "aggression" in this case. 2) there is a great conflict between the nature of human and civilization. The former is not strange to me because I have finished his The Interpretation of Dreams where he connects the inner cause of every dream with sexuality, which just as the "aggression" here belongs to the decaying of humans. what is new to me is that Freud create the phrase "death instincts" in this book to refer to all the evil parts of human beings. I am quite interested in this phrase, do several research and find out that according to Freud, every human being has the impulse to decay. That is to say, we humans have the instincts to kill other people or commit suicide. It all comes from the beginning of our life in the womb——a dark, peaceful environment similar to death and during the process of our development we instinctively try to go back to that environment again, by killing ourselves and others. For the latter of the conclusion, it seems that if we want to develop our civilization, we have to eliminate the death instincts. But it seems that the "aggression" can not be eliminated easily because people feel comfortable with it and attempts to remove the aggression by abolishing private property have failed. Therefore Freud come up with "work of Eros"(personally I connect it with the longing for life, affection and love), which is the opposite of the death distinct. But in my opinion, Freud still puts much emphasis on the death instinct. He claims that "aggression form the forms the basis of every relation of affection and love. It seems that in the struggle between Eros and Death, which is the essence of the development of civilization, the latter surpasses the former. But I really question about it. I wonder whether the death distinct really exists? because I think people will not be born to have such desires to hurt others or themselves (just from personal knowledge). As far as I am concerned, Freud brings up the concept of "death distinct" just to explain or justify the WORLD WAR when imperialism aggression suffocated the whole world. 2) if the death distinct really exists, which one will win in the struggle between Death and Eros? that is, what will be the future of the civilization? personally I prefer that Eros will win. I hold the idea that people will long for survive and tend to collect together although they are divided into several groups and there may be some hostility among out-groups now.