New aspects of Freud's concept of the death instinct
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Arch Psych Psych 2005;7(2):59–64
In public and also often in discussions of the human sciences concerning violence a tendency prevails to refer to Freud's concept of the death instinct which ontologizes man's destructiveness. This paper argues against the assumptions of the genuine destructive nature of man by taking into account new neurophysiologic research on how violence influences the functioning of the brain. The basic principles of Freud's death instinct repetition compulsion and the nirvana principle become thus understandable as dysfunctional reactions of the brain, i.e. an inner physiological response to violence and neglect in early childhood.