*Describes a young women’s decline into self-destructiveness and disorder as she struggles to come to terms with the life she has chosen for herself.*
Sigmund Freud reduces all human behavious to the two basic inclinations of living organisms, namely to develop constructively and to disintegrate and die. Consequently he divides the drives into two groups, namely the life drives (eros) and the death drive (thanatos).
The life drives serve to preserve life and they therefore function in a constructive manner. The death drive, however, has the general tendency to break down, to reduce complex cells to inorganic matter, and represents the tendency of the living organism to die. (Personology: From Individual to Ecosystem, 4th edition, WF Meyer, C Moore, HG Viljoen)
All behaviour is caused by factors within the personality. Your primary needs like eating, breathing and drinking are associated with individual survival. Your sexual needs are associated with the survival of the species. Human beings seem to be resilient little buggers set on survival. But if all behaviour is regulated by what Freud called “drives”, how did he find an explanation for phenomena like war, aggression, murder, suicide and death? How is it possible that I can I continue on the path that I am on, regardless of my own safety, my own health, or the consequences of my actions? Why am I not fighting the pull of this downward spiral of self-destruction? Ah, Freud had an explanation for that too, you see. He called it Thanatos – The Death Drive.