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Beyond the Pleasure Principle

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In Beyond the Pleasure Principle Freud revised his earlier theory of the drives which asserted the primacy of the pleasure principle, that is to say, the theory that our primary motivation as human beings is the fulfilment of pleasure or desire.

Clinical experience revealed to Freud that subjects compulsively repeated painful or traumatic experiences in direct contradiction to the primacy of the pleasure principle.

Freud called this beyond of pleasure 'the death drive' and suggested that the primary purpose of life is to find the correct path to death.

Lacan followed Freud in associating the death drive with repetition, but he argued that we are not driven towards death but by death.

It is loss that drives life through desire but, human beings will settle for any experience, however painful, rather than fall out of the familiarity of the symbolic into the trauma and void of the real.