Libido and Death Energy
Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychodynamic theory, believed sexual instincts and energy were a driving force for humans.
According to him, Id is stimulated by two instinctual forces, the Eros and Thanatos. Eros is the life instinct that maintains the life processes. It includes the sexual instinct called the libido. It refers to the survival impulse directing life-sustaining activities such as respiration, eating, and sex. It involves the drive of life, love, creativity, sexuality, self-satisfaction, and species preservation.
The Id is responsible for our basic drives like food, sex and is egocentric. It is the reservoir of libidinal energy. Libido has taken a more sexual connotation now, but Freud represented it for all the psychic energy in humans. The expression of libido varies as one passes through the psychosexual stages of development- oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital stage. For example, in the oral stage, the child’s libido is centered on the mouth, so activities such as sucking are essential.
Thanatos is the death instinct that manifests in the form of suicide, aggression, murder. It is the destructive force present in all human beings. Freud believed that the goal of life is death. It can be directed inward as a self-destructive tendency and outward in the form of aggressive instinct and violence.
The life instinct is more influential than the death instinct. The prominent role of the death instinct is protective. Freud viewed libido as more than just sexual urges, a general life instinct that includes survival instincts and other motivations. Moreover, the death instinct stands opposed to the life instinct.