The death instinct: Some thoughts on suicide, violence and God – Medium

Is there something within us that drives us toward death? This theory was proposed by Sabina Spielman and made popular by Sigmund Freud. It’s often interchangeably called the death drive or death instinct and it works in direct opposition to the life instinct or that which drives us to want to live…. Read this story on Medium: The death instinct: Some thoughts on suicide, violence and God


More stories on Medium: Forgiveness: The fine art of the apology

More interesting stuff: It’s not all in your mind: Mental health and physical pain and What really makes people happy?


16 thoughts on “The death instinct: Some thoughts on suicide, violence and God – Medium

  1. When I was young, I sometimes felt drawn from heights, meaning I felt the urge to jump down, and that without a conscious death wish. I had it very strongly when I was working for an Indian company in the freeport of Hamburg. I wanted to let myself fall down the loading port. It scared me terribly this urge. My first marriage was ending at that time, so I presume it had something to do with it. To feel better or to feel nothing … to numb sad feelings.

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    1. Wow, it’s amazing how our minds can work like this. I think sometimes it comes down to some kind of awareness check or impulse control as most people only think about such things but others end up acting on such thoughts.

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  2. Im not sure about being flawed or the whole aspect of “perfection. I prefer to think of it as an essential condition for growth. To grow means to exist within the context of polarities, light and dark etc. The moment we think of perfection in the traditional kind of way we begin to move into a form of dualism which for me is not helpful. I know this raises all sorts of other issues, but I am also grappling with this. The one thing I do know is that something of the answer can be found in forms of dualistic thought. I perceptions of “perfection” need to change. The old wineskin is no longer useful. Loved your post. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting. What I meant when I mentioned perfection is that the Judeo-Christian version of God is purported to be a perfect being, so it doesn’t quite make sense to me that He would create such a giant mess of imperfect beings… makes much more sense that we came from an imperfect God or group of gods like those of Greek mythology.

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              1. The notion that speaking the same language doesn’t separate people is simplistic. As you can attest, speaking the same language does not mean agreement. We could feel much more psychological kinship with speakers of other languages without having a need for a ‘common language’. For instance, it is possible to make friends without a common language.

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  3. Excellent post, JoAnn…
    When I am having a hard time sometimes my thoughts go to “I wish I would die” but then if I really examine that thought deeply I realize that I don’t really want to die, but rather I want the bad feelings (and my reaction to the bad feelings) to die… I like your explorations about being flawed or tested… and I want to suggest another idea which is that the death urge is really the desire to feel better than we are feeling… does that ring true for you?

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    1. Yes, that makes sense to me. It’s a way of trying to find a solution for a problem… even though it may not always be deemed rational or acceptable. Thanks for sharing!

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