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Fig 2.12 – Eros and Thanatos

Text: Page 77

For Freudian psychology, the grinning skull symbolizes confrontation between life and death, mortality, and the drive to destroy and return to a motionless state. Freud adjusted his personality theory later in his career as an instinctual struggle between the forces to live and die. His libido theory went beyond sexual driven instincts to the instinctual forces that prolong and terminate life by again returning to mythology. This struggle was a battle between Eros, the Greek god of love, and Thanatos, the Greek god of death. Eros was the drive to survive and originated from the potent instinct of love and ambition. However, Eros needed Thanatos because without the shadow of Thanatos, Eros was left empty, hollow, and soulless.

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