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No. 4 



No. 4 

















I have revised this translation, so carefully made 
by Miss Hubback, several times, but I feel that it calls 
for special indulgence on the part of the reader. On 
account, doubtless, of the extreme complexity and re- 
markable novelty of the ideas which Professor Freud 
here expounds, comprising as they do his thoughts 
on the ultimate problems of life, the style is one of 
exceptional difficulty. As it is more important to render 
his ideas precisely than to clothe them in another 
garb, we decided to adhere faithfully to the original 
even at the expense of some uncouthness as regards 
the English. 

The word (Juirtst, as in the phrase pleasure-pain 
principle, has been translated as 'pain'; pain without 
inverted commas signifies Schmerz in the original. The 
word Besetzimg (literally: state of being occupied), as 
in the expressions Beselzungscncrgie and Energiebe- 
setzit7ig has been rendered by the words 'investment' 
or 'charge', the latter being taken from the analogy 
of electricity. These and other technical terms will be 
discussed in a Glossary which it is intended to publish 
as a supplement to the International Journal of 
Psycho- Analysis. 






In the psycho-analytical theory of the mind we take 
it for granted that the course of mental processes is 
automatically regulated by 'the pleasure-principle': that 
is to say, we believe that any given process originates 
in an unpleasant state of tension and thereupon 
determines for itself such a path that its ultimate issue 
coincides with a relaxation of this tension, i.e. with 
avoidance of *pain' or with production of pleasure. 
When we consider the psychic processes under observ- 
ation in reference to such a sequence we are introducing 
into our work the economic point of view. In our opin- 
ion a presentation which seeks to estimate, not only 
tlie topographical and dynamic, but also the economic 
element is the most complete that we can at present 
imagine, and deserves to be ^distinguished by the term 
meta -psychological. 

We are not interested in examining how far in 
our assertion of the pleasure-principle we have 
approached to or adopted any given philosophical 
system historically established. Our approach to such 
speculative hypotheses is by way of our 'endeavour 

2 Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

to describe and account for the facts falling within our 
daily sphere of observation. Priority and originality are 
not among the aims which psycho-analysis sets itself, 
and the impressions on which the statement of this 
principle is founded are of so unmistakable a kind that 
I, it is scarcely possible to overlook them. On the other 

hand, we should willingly acknowledge our indebted- 
ness to any philosophical or psychological theory that 
could tell us the meaning of these feelings of pleasure 
and 'pain' which affect us so powerfully. Unfortun- 
ately no theory of any value is forthcoming. It is the 
obscurest and least penetrable region of psychic life 
and, while it is impossible for us to avoid touching on 
it, the most elastic hypothesis will be, to my mind, 
the best. We have decided to consider pleasure and 
' pain ' in relation to the quantity of excitation present 
in the psychic life— and not confined in any way — along 
such lines that 'pain' corresponds with an increase and 
pleasure with a decrease in this quantity. We do not 
thereby commit ourselves to a simple relationship 
, between the strength of the feelings and the changes 

corresponding with them, least of all, judging from 
f , psycho-physiological experiences, to any view of a 

L- ^^ct proportion existing between them; probably the 

I amount of diminution or increase in a given time is 

[. the decisive factor for feeling. Possibly there is room 

here for experimental work, but it is inadvisable for 
t us analysts to go further into these problems until we 

can be guided by quite definite observations. 
&; We cannot however profess the like indifference 

i ^^^" ^e fincl that an investigator of such penetration 

Beyond the Pleasure Principle 3 

as G. Th. Fechner has advocated a conception of pleas- 
ure and 'pain' which in essentials coincides with that 
forced upon us by psycho-analytic work. Fechner's 
pronouncement is to be found in his short work ' Einige 
Ideen zur Schopfungs- und Entwicklungsgeschichte der 
Organismen', 1873 (Section XI, Note p. 94) and reads 
as follows: 'In so far as conscious impulses always bear 
a relation to pleasure or "pain", pleasure or "pain" 
may be thought of in psycho-physical relationship to 
conditions of stability and instability, and upon this 
may be based the hypothesis I intend to develop else- 
where, viz.: that every psycho-physical movement rising 
above the threshold of consciousness is charged with 
pleasure in proportion as it approximates — beyond a 
certain limit — to complete equilibrium, 'and iwith'" pain" 
in proportion as it departs from it beyond a certain 
limit; while between the two limits which may 
be described as the qualitative thresholds of "pain" 
or pleasure, there is a certain area of aesthetic 
indifference. ' 

The facts that have led us to believe in the 
supremacy of the pleasure-principle in psychic life also 
find expression in the hj'pothesis that there is an 
attempt on the part of the psychic apparatus to keep 
the quantity of excitation present as low as possible, 
or at least constant. This is the same supposition only 
put into another form, for, if the psychic apparatus 
operates in the direction of keeping down the quantity 
of excitation, all that tends to increase it must be felt 
to be contrary to function, that is to say painful, The 

pleasure-principle is deduced from the principle of 


4 . Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

constancy; in reality the principle of constancy was 
inferred from the facts that necessitated our assump- 
tion of the pleasure-principle. On more detailed dis- 
cussion we shall find further that this tendency on the 
part of the psychic apparatus postulated by us may 
be classified as a special case of Fechner's principle 
of the tendency towards stability to which he has related 
the pleasure-pain feelings. 

In that event, however, it must be affirmed that it 
is not strictly correct to speak of a supremacy of the 
pleasure-principle over the course of psychic processes. 
If such existed, then the vast majority of our psychic 
processes would necessarily be accompanied by pleasure 
or would conduce to it, while the most ordinary 
experience emphatically contradicts any such conclusion. 
One can only say that a strong tendency towards the 
pleasure-principle exists in the psyche, to which, 
however, certain other forces or conditions are opposed 
so that the ultimate issue cannot always be in accord- 
ance with the pleasure-tendency. Compare the comment 
of Fechner in a similar connection. ^ ' Therewithal it 
is to be noted that the tendency towards the goal 
does not imply the attainment of it and that in general 
the goal is only approximately attainable . . . ' If we 
now address ourselves to the question of what 
circumstances have the power to frustrate the success- 
ful carrying out of the pleasure-principle we shal 
be treading on safer and better-known ground, and we 
can draw in abundant measure on our analytical 
experiences for the answer. 

' op. cit., p. 90. 

Beyond the Pleasure Principle 5 

The first case of such a check on the pleasure- 
principle is perfectly familiar to us in the regularity 
of its occurrence. We know that the pleasure-principle 
is adjusted to a primary mode of operation on the 
part of the psychic apparatus, and that for the pre- 
servarion of the organism amid the difficulties of the 
external world it is ab initio useless and indeed extre- 
mely dangerous. Under the influence of the instinct 
of the ego for self-preservation it is replaced by the 
* reality-principle', which without giving up the intention 
of ultimately attaining pleasure yet demands and 
enforces the postponement of satisfaction, the renun- 
ciation of manifold possibilities of it, and the temporary 
endurance of 'pain' on the long and circuitous road 
to pleasure. The pleasure-principle however remains 
for a long time the method of operation of the sex 
impulses, which are not so easily educable, and it 
happens over and over again that whether acting 
through these impulses or operating in the ego itself 
it prevails over the reality-principle to the detriment 

of the whole organism. 

It is at the same time indubitable that the replace- 
ment of the pleasure-principle by the reality-principle 
can account only for a small part, and that not 
the most intense, of painful experiences. Another 
and no less regular source of 'pain' proceeds from 
the conflicts and dissociations in the psychic apparatus 
during the development of the ego towards a 
more highly co-ordinated organisation. Neariy all the 
energy with which the apparatus is charged comes 
from the inborn instincts, but not all of these are 


6 Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

aUowed to develop to the same stage. On the way 
it over and again happens that particular instincts, or 
portions of them, prove irreconcUable in their aims or 
demands with others which can be welded into the 
comprehensive unity of the ego. They are thereupon 
spht off from this unity by the process of repression, 
retained on lower stages of psychic development, 
and for the time being cut off from aU possibility of 
gratification. If they then succeed, as so easUy happens 
witii the repressed sex-impulses, in fighting their way 
through— along circuitous routes— to a direct or a substi- 
tutive gratification, this success, which might otherwise 
have brought pleasure, is experienced by the ego as 
I pain'. In consequence of the old conflict which ended 
in repression the pleasure-principle has been violated 
anew, just at the moment when certain impulses were 
at work on the achievement of fresh pleasure in pur- 
suance of die principle. The details of tiie process 
by which repression changes a possibility of pleasure 
into a source of 'pain' are not yet fuUy understood 
or are not yet capable of clear presentation, but it is 
certain that aU neurotic 'pain' is of this kind, is 
pleasure which cannot be experienced as such. 

The two sources of 'pain' here indicated still do 
not nearly cover the majority of our painful experiences, 
but as to the rest one may say with a fair show of 
reason that their presence does not impugn the 
supremacy of the pleasure-principle. Most of the 'pain' 
we experience is of a perceptual order, perception 
eitiier of the urge of unsatisfied instincts or of some- 
thmg in the external worid which may be painful in itself 



-.- - —■ ■ .!«r_ ' .r- - ■ - .- .!■ ;, '- :_- ' 

Beyond the Pleasure Principle 7 

or may arouse painful anticipations in the psychic appara- 
tus and is recognised by it as ' danger'. The reaction to 
these claims of impulse and these threats of danger, a 
reaction in which the real activity of the psychic 
apparatus is manifested, may be guided correctly by the 
pleasure-principle or by the reality-principle which modi- 
ties this. It seems thus unnecessary to recognise a still 
more far-reaching limitation of the pleasure-principle, 
and nevertheless it is precisely the investigation of the 
psychic reaction to external danger that may supply 
new material and new questions in regard to the 
problem here treated. 


After severe shock of a mechanical nature, railway 
collision or other accident in which danger to life is 
involved, a condition may arise which has long been 
recognised and to which the name 'traumatic neurosis' 
is attached. The terrible war that is just over has been 
responsible for an immense number of such maladies 
and at least has put an end to the inclination to 
explain them on the basis of organic injury to the 
nervous system due to the operation of mechanical 
force. ^ The clinical picture of traumatic neurosis 
approaches that of hysteria in its wealth of similar 
motor symptoms, but usually surpasses it in its strongly 
marked signs of subjective suffering— in this resem- 
bling rather hypochondria or melancholia— and in 
the evidences of a far more comprehensive general 
weakemng and shattering of the mental functions. 
Neither the war neuroses nor the traumatic neuroses of 
peace are as yet fully understood. With the war neuroses 

' Cp. Psycho-Analysis and the War Neuroses, by 
l-erenczi, Abraham, Simmel and Ernest Jones ; No. 2 of the 
International Psycho-Analytical Library, 1921. 


Beyond the Pleasure Principle 9 

some light was contributed, but also on the other 
hand a certain confusion introduced, by the fact that 
the same 'type of malady could occasionally occur 
without the interposition of gross mechanical force. In 
the traumatic neuroses there are two outstanding 
features which might serve as clues for further reflec- 
tion- first that the chief causal factor seemed to he 
in the element of surprise, in the frightj and secondly 
that an injury or wound sustained at the same time 
generally tended to prevent the occurrence of the neu- 
rosis Fright, fear, apprehension are incorrectly used 
as synonymous expressions: in their relation to danger 
they admit of quite clear distinction- Apprehension 
Unzst) denotes a certain condition as of expectation 
of danger and preparation for it. even though it be an 
unknown one; fear iFurcht) requires a definite object 
of which one is afraid; fright {SchrecH) is the name 
of the condition to which one is reduced if one 
encounters a danger without being prepared for it; it 
lavs stress on the element of surprise. In my opinion 
apprehension cannot produce a traumatic neurosis; m 
apprehension there is something which protects against 
fright and therefore against the fright-neurosis. We 
shall return later to this dictum. 

The study of dreams may be regarded as the 
most trustworthy approach to the exploration of the 
deeper psychic processes. Now in the traumatic neur- 
oses the dream life has this peculiarity: it continually 
takes the patient back to the situation of his disaster, 
from which he awakens in renewed terror. This fact 
has caused less surprise than it merits. The 


Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

obtrusion on the patient over and again, even in 
sleep, of the impression made by the traumatic ex- 
perience is taken as being merely a proof of its 
strength. The patient has so to speak undergone a 
psychical fixation as to the trauma. Fixations of this 
kind on the experience which has brought about 
the malady have long been known to us in 
connection with hysteria. Breuer and Freud stated 
in 1893 that hysterics suffer for the most part from 
reminiscences. In the war neuroses, observers, such as 
Ferenczi and Simmel, have been able to explain a 
number of motor symptoms as fixation on the factor 
of the trauma. 

But I am not aware that the patients suffering 
from traumatic neuroses are much occupied in wakina 
life with the recollection of what happened to them. 
They perhaps strive rather not to think of it. To 
regard it as self-evident that the dream at night takes 
them back to the situation which has caused the 
trouble is to misunderstand the nature of dreams. It 
would be more in correspondence with that nature 
if the patient were presented (in sleep) with images 
from the time of his normal health or of his hoped- 
for recovery. If we are not to go thoroughly astray 
as to the wish-fulfilment tendency of the dream in 
consequence of these dreams of the shock neuroses, 
perhaps the expedient is left us of supposing that 
in this condition the dream function suffers dislocation 
along with the others and is diverted from its usual 
ends, or else we should have to think of the enig- 
matic masochistic tendencies of the ego. 

\ ■ 

Beyond the Pleasure Principle 1 1 

1 propose now to leave the obscure and gloomy 
theme of the traumatic neuroses and to study the 
way in which the psychic apparatus works in one of 
its earliest normal activities. I refer to the play ot 


The different theories of child-play have recently 
been collated by S. Pfeifer in Imago- and their 
analytical value estimated; I may here refer the reader 
to this work. These theories endeavour to conjecture 
the motives of children's play, though without placing 
any special stress on the 'economic' point of view, 
i. e. consideration of the attainment of pleasure. Without 
the intention of making a comprehensive study of these 
phenomena 1 availed myself of an opportunity which 
offered of elucidating the first game invented by 
himself of a boy eighteen months old. It was more 
than a casual observation, for I lived for some weeks 
under the same loof as the child and his parents, and 
it was a considerable time before the meaning of his 
puzzling and continually repeated performance became 

clear to me. 

The child was in no respect forward in his mtel- 
lectual development; at eighteen months he spoke 
only a few intelligible words, making besides sundry 
significant sounds which were understood by those about 
him. But he made himself understood by his parents 
and the maid-servant, and had a good reputation for 
behaving 'properly'. He did not disturb his parents 
at night; he scrupulously obeyed orders about not 
touching various objects and not going into certain 

1 igig, Bd. V, S. 243- 


Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

rooms; and above all he never cried when his 
mother went out and left him for hours together, 
although the tie to his mother was a very close 
one: she had not only nourished him herself, but 
had cared for him and brought him up without 
any outside help. Occasionally, however, this well- 
behaved child evinced the troublesome habit of 
flinging into the corner of the room or under the 
bed all the little things he could lay his hands 
on, so that to gather up his toys was often no 
light task. He accompanied this by an expression 
of interest and gratification, emitting a loud lona- 
drawn-out 'o-o-o-oh' which in the judgement of 
the mother (one that coincided with my own) was 
not an interjection but meant 'go away' {fort). 
I saw at last that this was a game, and that the child 
used all his toys only to play 'being gone' (fortsein) 
with them. One day I made an observation that 
confirmed my view. The child had a wooden reel 
with a piece of string^ wound . round it. ^t never 
occurred to him, for example, to drag this after him 
on the floor and so play horse and cart with it, but 
he kept throwing it with considerable skill, held by 
the string, over ;the [side of his little draped cot 
so that ;the reel disappeared into it, then said his 
significant ' o-o-o-oh " and drew the reel by the string 
out of the cot again, greeting its reappearance with 
a joyful 'Da' (there). This was therefore the com- 
plete game, disappearance and return, the first act 
being the only one generally observed by the onlookers, 
and the one untiringly repeated by the child as a 

Beyond the Pleasure Principle 13 

game for its own sake, although the greater pleasTire 
unquestionably attached to the second act.^ 

The meaning of the game was then not far 
seek It was connected with the child's remarkable 
cutoal achievement-the foregoing of the satisfaction 
of an instinct-as the result of which he could let Ins 
mother go away without making any fuss. He made 
it right with himself, so to speak, by dramatismg the 
same disappearance and return with the objects he 
had at hand. It is of course of no importance for the 
affective value of this game whether the child invented 
it himself or adopted it from a suggestion from out- 
side Our interest wiU attach itself to another point. 
The* departure of the mother cannot possibly have 
been pleasant for the child, nor merely a matter of 
indifference. How then does it accord with the pleasure- 
principle that he repeats this painful experience' as a 
Lme? The answer wUl perhaps be forthcoming that 
the departure must be played as the necessary prelude 
to the joyful return, and that in this latter lay the 
true purpose of the game. As against this, however, 
there is the observation that the first act, the going 
away, was played by itself as a game and far more 
1 This interpretation was fully established by a further 
observation. One day when the mother had been out for 
some hours she was greeted on her return by the information 
'Baby 0-0-0-0' which at first remained unintelligible. It soon 
proved that during his long lonely hours he had found a 
method of bringing about his own disappearance. He had 
discovered his reflection in the long mirror which nearly 
reached to the ground and had then crouched down in front 
of it, so that the reflection was 'fort'. 


Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

frequently than the whole drama with its joyful 

The analysis of a single case of this kind yields 
no sure conclusion: on impartial consideration one ^ains 
the impression that it is from another motive that the 
child has turned the experience into a game. He was 
"1 the first place passive, was overtaken by the 
experience, but now brings himself in as playing an 
active part, by repeating the experience as a game 
m spite of its unpleasing nature. This effort might be 
ascribed to the impulse to obtain the mastery of a 
situation (the 'power' instinct), which remains inde 
pendent of any question of whether the recollection 
was a pleasant one or not. But another interpretation 
may be attempted. The fiinging away of the object 
so that It is gone might be the gratification of an 
impulse of revenge suppressed in real life but directed 
agamst the mother for going away, and would then 
have the defiant meaning: 'Yes, you can go, I don't 
want you, I am sending you away myself.' The same 
child a year later than my observations used to thr'w 
on the floor a toy which displeased him, and to say 
Go to the war.-' He had been told th;t his absent 
^ther was at the war, and he did not miss him a 
an, giving the clearest indications that he did not wish 
to be disturbed in the sole possession ofhismoth^' 

' When the child was five and three-quarter years old 
h.s mother died Now, when she was reaUy 'g ne' To-o) 

true 'bin r^' -"^ ^^ '^^ '"■ ^ "^^"^^ ^^^ ^^^^ - ^ 


Beyond the Pleasure Principle I5 

It is known of other chUdren also that they can 
give vent to sin^ilar hostile feeUngs by throwing objects 
fway in place of people.^ Thus one .s left m doubt 
whether the compulsion to ^vork over m psychic life 
wha has made a deep impression, to make oneself 
XI master of it, can express itself primarily and 
tlv^:Zy, of ;he pleasure-principle In the case 
„ed here, however, the child might have repeated 
a disagreeable impression in play only because with 
the repetition was bound up a pleasure gam of a 
different kind but more direct. • 

Nor does the further pursuit of the question of 
play resolve our hesitations between two concepuons 
We see that children repeat in their play everything 
Tt has made a great impression on them in actua 
Ufe that they thereby abreact the strength of the 
Sression and so to speak make themselves mas r 
of the situation. But on the other hand it is clear 
ough tH all their play is influenced by the dominant 
:;.h'of their time of life: viz. to be grown-up and 
to be able to do what grown-up people do. It i also 
observable that the unpleasing character of the 
experience does not always prevent its being utilised 
as a game. If a doctor examines a child's throat, or 
- performs a small operation on him, the alarmmg 
experience will quite certainly be made the subject 
of the next game, but in this the pleasure gam from 
another source is not to be overlooked. In passmg 
from the passivity of experience to the activity of 
I Cp. 'Eine Kindheitserinnerung aus "Dichtung und 
Wahrheit".' Imago, 1917, "d. V, S. 49- 



1 6 Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

play the chUd applies to his playfellow the unpleasant 
occurrence that befell himself and so avenges himself 
on the person of this proxy. 

From this discussion it 'p at all events evident 
that it is unnecessary to assume a particular imitation 
impulse as the motive of play. We [may add the 
reminder that the dramatic and imitative art of adults, 
which differs from the behaviour of children in being 
directed towards the spectator, does not however 
spare the latter the most painful impressions, e. g. in 
tragedy, and yet can be felt by him "as highly enjoy- 
able. This convinces us that even under the domination 
of the pleasure-principle there are ways and means ^ 

enough of making what is in itself disagreeable the ^ 

object of memory and of psychic pre-occupation. A ; 

theory of aesthetics with an economic point of view ^. 

should deal with these cases and situations ending in '" 

final pleasure gain: for our purposes they are of no 
help, since they presuppose the existence and suprem- 
acy of the pleasure-principle and bear no witness 
to the operation of tendencies beyond the pleasure- 
principle, that is to say, tendencies which might be of 
earher origin and independent of this. 


Five-and-twenty years of intensive work have 
brought about a complete change in the more immed- 
iate aims of psycho-analytic technique. At first tlie 
endeavours of the analytic physician were confined to 
divining the imconscious of which his patient was 
unaware, effecting a synthesis of its various components 
and communicating it at the right time. Psycho- 
analysis was above all an art of interpretation. Since 
the therapeutic task was not thereby accomplished, 
the next aim was to compel the patient to confirm 
the reconstruction through his own memory. In this 
endeavour the chief emphasis was on the resistances of 
the patient; the art now lay in unveiling these as soon 
as possible, in calling the patient's attention to them, 
and by human influence— here came in suggestion 
acting as ' transference '—teaching him to abandon 
the resistances. 

It then became increasingly clear, however, that 
the aim in view, the bringing into consciousness of 
the unconscious, was not fully attainable by this method 
either. The patient cannot recall all of what lies 

17 2 

1 8 Beyo7id the Pleasure Principle 

repressed, perhaps not even the essential part of it, 
and so gains no conviction that the conclusion 
presented to him is correct. He is obliged rather 
to repeat as a current experience what is repressed, 
instead of, as the physician would prefer to see him 
do, recollecting it as a fragment of the past.^ This 
reproduction appearing with unwelcome fidelity always 
contains a fragment of the infantile sex-life, there- 
fore of the Oedipus complex and its off-shoots, and 
is played regularly in the sphere of transference, 
i. e. the relationship to the physician. When this point 
in the treatment is reached, it may be said that 
the earlier neurosis is now replaced by a fresh one 
viz. the transference-neurosis. The physician makes it 
his concern to limit the scope of this transference- 
nem-osis as much as he can, to force into memory as 
much as possible, and to leave as little as possible to 
repetition. The relation established between memory 
and reproduction is different for every case. As a 
rule the physician cannot spare the patient this 
phase of the cure; he must let him live through 
a certain fragment of his forgotten life, and has 
to see to it that some measure of ascendency 
remains, in the light of which the apparent reality 
is always recognised as a reflection of a forgot- 
ten past. If this is successfully accomplished then 
conviction on the part of the patient is attained, and 
with it the therapeutic result that depends on it. 

^ See *Zur Technik der Psychoanalyse. II. Erirmern. 
Wiederholen und Durcharbeiten.' Sammlung kleiner Schriften 
zur Neurosenlehre. IV. Folge, 1918, S. 441. 

Beyond the Pleasure Principle 19 

In order to render more comprehensible this 
'repetition-compulsion' which appears in the psycho- 
analytic treatment of neurotics, we must above all get 
entirely rid of the erroneous idea that in this struggle 
with resistances we are concerned with any resistance 
on the part of the unconscious. The unconscious, i. e. the 
'repressed' material, offers no resistance whatever to 
the curative efforts; indeed it has no other aim than 
to force its way through the pressure weighing on it, 
either to consciousness or to discharge by means of some 
real action. The resistance in the treatment proceeds from 
the same higher levels and systems in the psychic life 
that in their time brought about the repression. But 
since the motives of the resistances, and indeed the 
resistances themselves, are found in the process of the 
treatment to be unconscious, we are well advised to 
amend an inadequacy in our mode of expression. We 
escape ambiguity if we contrast not the conscious and 
the unconscious, but the coherent ego and the repressed. 
Much in the ego is certainly unconscious itself, just 
\vhat may be called the kernel of the ego; only a 
part of it comes under the category of preconscious. 
After thus replacing a purely descriptive method of 
expression by a systematic or dynamic one, we may 
say that the resistance on the part of the analysed 
person proceeds from his ego, and then we at once 
see that the 'repetition-compulsion' must be ascribed 
to the repressed element in the unconscious. It prob- 
ably could not find expression till the work of the 
treatment coming to meet it had loosened the re- 

20 Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

There is no doubt that the resistance of the con- 
scious and preconscious ego subser^'cs the pleasure- 
principle; it is trying to avoid the *pain' that would 
be aroused by the release of the repressed material, 
and our efforts are directed to effecting an entry 
for such painful feeling by an appeal to the reality- 
principle. In what relation to the pleasure-principle 
then does the repetition-compulsion stand, that which 
expresses the force of what is repressed ? It is plain 
that most of what is revived by the repetitior-- 
compuision cannot but bring discomfort to the ego, for 
it promotes the bringing to light of the activities of 
repressed impulses; but that is a discomfort we have 
already taken into account and without subversion of 
the pleasure-principle, since it is 'pain' in respect of 
one system and at the same time satisfaction for the 
other. The new and remarkable fact, however, that 
we have now to describe is that the repetition- 
compulsion also revives experiences of the past that 
contain no potentiality of pleasure, and which could at 
no time have been satisfactions, even of impulses since 

The efflorescence of infantile sex-life was, by 
reason of the irreconcilability of its wishes with reality 
and the inadequacy of the childhood stage of develop- 
ment reached, destined to pass away. It perished 
in most painful circumstances and with feelings of a 
deeply distressing nature. Loss and failure in the 
sphere of the affections left behind on the ego-feeling 
marks of injury comparable to a narcissistic scar, 
which, according to my experience and the expositioa 

Beyond the Pleasure Principle 2i 

given by Marcinowski,i yields the most important 
contribution to the 'inferiority complex' common 
among neurotics. The sex-quest to which the physical 
development; of the child set limits could be brought 
to no satisfying conclusion; hence the plaint in later 
life: '"I can't do anything, I am never successful.' 
The bonds of tenderness linking the child more 
especially to the parent of the opposite sex succum- 
bed to disappointment, to the vain expectation 
of satisfaction, and to the jealousy aroused by the 
birth of a new child, unmistakable proof as it is of 
the faithlessness of the loved parent; the child's 
attempt, undertaken with tragic seriousness, to produce 
another such child himself met with humiliating 
failure; while the partial withdrawal of the tenderness 
lavished on the little one, the more exacting demands 
of discipline and education, severe words and an occa- 
sional punishment finally revealed to him the whole 
extent of the disdain which is his portion. Some few 
regularly recurring types are to be found, according 
to the way in which the typical love ot this period 
was brought to an end. 

All these undesired happenings and painful affect- 
ive situations are repeated by neurotics in the ' trans- 
ference' stage and re-animated with much ingenuity. 
They struggle to break off the unfinished treatment, 
they know how to re-create the feeHng of being dis- 
dained, how to force the physician to adopt brusque 
speech and a chilling manner towards them, they find 

1 Marcinowski: 'Die erotischen Quellen der Minderwertig- 
keitsgefiihle ', Zeitschrift fur Sexuahvissensckaft, 1918, IV. 

22 Beyond the Pleasure Principle *■ 

suitable objects for their jealousy, they substitute for 

the ardently desired child of early days the promise 

of some great gift which becomes as little real as 

that was. Nothing of all this could ever have afforded 

any pleasure; one would suppose it ought to bring * 

somewhat less 'pain' if revealed as memory rather 

than if lived through as a new experience. It is a 

question naturally of the action of impulses that should 

lead to satisfaction, but the experience that instead 

of this they even then brought ' pain ' has borne no 

result. The act is repeated in spite of everything; a 

powerful compulsion insists on it. 

That which psycho-analysis reveals in the trans- 
ference phenomena with neurotics can also be ob- 
served in the life of normal persons. It here gives 
the impression of a pursuing fate, a daemonic trait in 
their destiny, and psycho-analysis has from the outset 
regarded such a life history as in a large measure 
self-imposed and determined by infantile influences. The 
compulsion which thereby finds expression is in no 
way different from the repetition-compulsion of neu- 
rotics, even though such persons have never shown 
signs of a neurotic conflict resulting in symptoms. 
Thus one knows people with whom every human 
relationship ends in the same way : benefactors whose 
proteges, however different they may otherwise have 
been, invariably after a time desert them in ill-will, 
so that they are apparently condemned to drain to 
the dregs all the bitterness of ingratitude; men with 
whom every friendship ends in the friend's treachery; 
others who indefinitely often in their lives invest some 

Beyond the Pleasure Principle 23 

other person with authority either in their own eyes 
or generally, and then:iselves overthrow such authority 
after a given time, only to replace it by a new one; 
lovers whose tender relationships with women each 
and all run through the same phases and come to the 
same end, and so on. We are less astonished at this 
' endless repetition of the same ' if there is involved 
a question of active behaviour on the part of the person 
concerned, and if we detect in his character an 
unalterable trait which must always manifest itself in 
the repetition of identical experiences. Far more striking 
are those cases where the person seems to be ex- 
periencing something passively, without exerting any 
influence of his own, and yet always meets with the 
same fate over and over again. One may recall, for 
example, the story of the woman who married three 
men in succession, each of whom fell ill after a short 

. time and whom she had to nurse till their death.* 
Tasso gives a singularly affecting poetical portrayal 
of such a trend of fate in the romantic epic : ' Geru- 
salemme liberata. ' The hero, Tancred, has unwittingly 

' slain Clorinda, the maiden he loved, who fought with 
him disguised in the armour of an enemy knight. 
After her burial he penetrates into the mysterious 
enchanted wood, the bane of the army of the crus- 
aders. Here he hews down a tall tree with his sword, 
but from the gash in the trunk blood streams forth 

1 Cp. the pertinent observations of C. G. Jung in his article 
'Die Bedeutung des Vaters fur das Schicksal des Einzelnen". 
Jahrhuch fur psychoanalytische und psychopatJiologische For- 
schungen, 1901, Bd. I. 


24 - Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

and the voice of Clorinda whose soul is imprisoned 
in the tree cries out to him in reproach that he has 
once more wrought a baleful deed 'on his beloved. 

In the light of such observations as these, drawn 
from the behaviour during transference and from the | 

fate of human beings, we may venture to make the ^ 

assumption that there really exists in psychic] life a 
repetition-compulsion, which goes beyond the pleasure- 
principle. We shall now also feel disposed to relate 
to this compelling force the dreams of shock-patients 
and the play-impulse in children. We must of course 
remind ourselves that only in rare cases can we 
recognise the workings of this repetition-compulsion 
in a pure form, without the co-operation of other 
motives. As regards children's play we have akeady 
pointed out what other interpretations its origin 
permits. The repetition-compulsion and direct pleasurable 
satisfaction of impulse seem there to be inextricably 
intertwined. The transference phenomena obviously sub- 
serve the purpose of the resistance made by the ego 
persisting in its repression: the repetition-compulsion 
is, as it were, called to the aid of the ego, which is 
resolved to hold fast to the pleasure-principle. In what 
one might call the destiny compulsion much appears 
capable of rational explanation, so that no need is felt 
to establish a new and mysterious impulse. The least 
suspicious case is perhaps that of the shock-dream, 
but on closer examination it must be admitted that in 
the other examples too the state of affairs is not completely 
explained by the operation of the motives known to us. 
There remains enough over to justify the assumption 

Beyond the Pleasure Principle 2$ 

of a repetition-compulsion, and this seems to us more 
primitive, more elementary, more instinctive than the 
pleasure-principle which is displaced by it. But if there 
is such a repetition-compulsion in psychic life, we should 
naturally like to know with what function it corresponds, 
under what conditions it may appear, and in what 
relation it stands to the pleasure-principle, to which 
we have heretofore ascribed the domination over the 
course of the processes of excitation in the psychic life. 


What follows now is speculation, speculation often 
far-fetched, which each will according to his particular 
attitude acknowledge or neglect. Or one may caU it 
the exploitation of an idea out of curiosity to see 
whither it will lead. 

Psycho-analytic speculation starts from the impres- 
sion gained on investigating unconscious processes that 
consciousness cannot be the most general character- 
istic of psychic processes, but merely a special func- 
tion of them. Metapsychologically expressed, it asserts 
that consciousness is the functioning of a particular 
system which may be called Bw. Since consciousness 
essentiaUy yields perceptions of excitations coming from 
without and feelings {Empfindzmgen) of pleasure and 
'pain' which can only be derived from within the 
psychic apparatus, ;^ we may aUot the system W-Bw.i 
(= perceptual consciousness) a position in space. It 
must lie on the boundary between outer and inner, 
must face towards the outer world, and must envelop 

1 Thus named after the German words Wahmehmung 
(= perception) and Bewupsein (= consciousness). 


Beyond the Pleasure Principle 27 

the other psychic systems. We then note that in this 
assumption we have ventured nothing new, but are in 
agreement with the localising tendencies of cerebral 
anatomy, which places the 'seat' of consciousness in 
the coi-tical layer, the outermost enveloping layer of 
the central organ. Cerebral anatomy does not need to 
wonder why — anatomically speaking — consciousness 
should be accomodated on the surface of the brain, 
instead of being safely lodged somewhere in the deepest 
recesses of it. Perhaps we may carry matters a little 
further than this in our deduction of such a position 
for our system W-Bw. 

Consciousness is not the only peculiar feature that 
we ascribe to the processes in this system. Our im- 
pressions gained by psycho-analytic experience lead 
us to the supposition that all excitation processes in 
the other systems leave in them permanent traces 
forming the foundations of memory-records which 
have nothing to do with the question of becoming 
conscious. They are often strongest and most enduring 
when the process that left them behind never reached 
consciousness at all. But we find it difficult to believe 
that such lasting traces of excitation are formed also 
in the system W-Bw. itself. If they remained per- 
manently in consciousness they would very soon limit 
the fitness of the system for registration of new exci- 
tations; ^ on the other hand, if they became uncon- 
scious we should be confronted with the task of ex- 
plaining the existence of unconscious processes b a 

» Here I follow throughout J. Breuer's exposition in the 
theoretical section of the 'Studien liber Hysteric', 1895. 

28 Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

system whose functioning is otherwise accompanied 
by the phenomenon of consciousness. We should, so 
to speak, have gained nothing and altered nothing 
by our supposition which relegates to a special system 
the process of becoming conscious. Though this mav 
not be an absolutely binding consideration, it may 
at any rate lead us to conjecture that becoming con- 
scious and leaving behind a memory-trace are processes 
incompatible with each other in the same system. 
We should thus be able to say: in the system Bw. the 
process of excitation becomes conscious but it leaves 
behind no lasting tracer all the traces of it on which 
memory relies would come about in the next systems 
inwards from the propagation of the excitation on to 
them. It is on these lines that the scheme is sketched 
which I inserted into the speculative section of my 
'Traumdeutung' in 1900, If one reflects how little we 
know from other sources about the origin of con- 
sciousness the pronouncement that consciousness arises 
in the place of the memory-trace must be conceded 
at least the importance of a statement which is to 
some extent definite. 

The system Bw. would thus be characterised by 
the peculiarity that the excitation process does not 
leave in it, as it does in all other psychic systems, 
a permanent alteration of its elements, but is as it 
were discharged in the phenomenon of becoming con- 
scious and vanishes. Such a departure from the general 
rule requires an explanation on the ground of a fact- 
or which comes into account in this one system only: 
this factor which is absent from all other systems might 

Beyond the Pleasure Principle 29 

well be the exposed situation of the Bw. system- 
its immediate contact with the outer world. 

Let us imagine the living organism in the simplest pos- 
sible form as an undifferentiated vesicle of sensitive sub- 
stance : then its surface, exposed as it is to the outer world, 
is by its very position differentiated and serves as an 
organ for receiving stimuli. Embryology, repeating as 
it does the history of evolution, does in fact show 
that the central nen^ous system arises from the ecto- 
derm; the grey cortex of the brain remains a deriva- 
tive of the primitive supei-ficial layer and may have 
inherited essential properties from this. It would then 
be easily conceivable that, owing to the constant 
impact of external stimuli on the superficies of the 
vesicle, its substance would undergo lasting alteration 
to a certain depth, so that its excitation process takes 
a different course from that taken in the deeper layers. 
Thus a rind would be formed which would finally 
have been so burned through by the effects of stimu- 
lation that it presents the most favourable conditions 
for the reception of stimuli and is incapable of any 
further modification. Applying this idea to the system 
Bw., this would mean that its elements are not 
susceptible of any further lasting alteration from the 
passage of the excitation, because they are already 
modified to the uttermost in that respect. But they are 
then capable of giving rise to consciousness. In what 
exactly these modifications of the substance and of 
the excitation process in it consist many views may 
be held which as yet cannot be tested. It may be 
assumed that the excitation has, in its transmission 


30 Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

from one element to another, to overcome a resist- 
ance, and that this diminution of the resistance 
itself lays down the permanent trace of the excitation 
(a path): in system Bw. there would no longer exist 
any such resistance to transmission from one element 
to another. We may associate with this conception 
Breuer's distinction between quiescent (bound) and free- 
moving 'investment-energy' in the elements of the 
psychic systems;! the elements of the system Bw. 
would then convey no ' bound ' energy, only free energy 
capable of discharge. In my opinion, however, it is 
better for the present to express oneself as to these 
conditions in the least committal way. At any rate by 
these speculations we should have brought the origin 
of consciousness into a certain connection with the 
position of the system Bw. and with the peculiarities 
of the excitation process to be ascribed to this. 

We have more to say about the living vesicle 
with its receptive outer layer. This morsel of living 
substance floats about in an outer world which is 
charged with the most potent energies, and it would 
be destroyed by the operation of the stimuli proceeding 
from this world if it were not furnished with a pro- 
tection against stimulation {Reizsclmtz). It acquires 
this through its outermost layer — which gives the struct- 
ure that belongs to living matter— becoming in a meas- 
ure morganic, and this now operates as a special 
integument or membrane that keeps off the stimuli, 
1. e. makes it impossible for the energies of the outer 
world to act with more than a fragment of their 
^ J. Breuer and S. Freud: Studien uber Hysteric. 

Beyond the Pleasure Principle 31 

intensity on the layers immediately below which have 
preserved their vitality. These are now able under 
cover of the protecting layer to devote themselves to 
the reception of those stimulus masses that have been 
let through. But the outer layer has by its o\vn death 
secured all the deeper layers from a like fate^at 
least so long as no stimuli present themselves of such 
a strength as to break through the protective barrier. 
For the living organism protection against stimuli is 
almost a more important task than reception of stim- 
uli j the protective barrier is equipped with its own 
store of energy and must above all endeavour to pro- 
tect the special forms of energy-transformations going 
on within itself from the equalising and therefore de- 
structive influence of the enormous energies at work 
in the outer world. The reception of stimuli serves 
above all the purpose of collecting information about 
the direction and nature of the external stimuli, and 
for that it must suffice to take little samples of the 
outer world, to taste it, so to speak, in small quanti- 
ties. In highly developed organisms the receptive ex- 
ternal layer of what was once a vesicle has long been 
withdrawn into the depths of the body, but portions 
of it have been left on the surface immediately beneath 
the common protective barrier. These portions form 
the sense organs, which essentiall}'^ comprise arrange- 
ments for the reception of specific stimuli, but also 
possess special arrangements adapted for a fresh pro- 
tection against an overwhelming amount of stimulus, 
and for warding off unsuitable kinds of stimuli. It is 
characteristic of them that they assimilate only very 


Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

small quantities of the outer stimulus, and take in only 
samples of the outer world; one might compare them 
to antennae which touch at the outer world and then 
constantly withdraw from it again. 

At this point I shall permit myself to touch curs- 
orily upon a theme which would deserve the most 
thorough treatment. The Kantian proposition that time 
and space are necessary modes of thought [may be 
submitted to discussion to-day in the light of certain 
knowledge reached through psycho-analysis. We have 
found by experience that unconscious mental processes 
are in themselves 'timeless'. That is to say to begin 
with : they are not arranged chronologically, time alters 
nothing in them, nor can the idea of time be applied 
to them. These are negative characteristics, which can 
be made plain only by instituting a comparison witli 
conscious psychic processes. Our abstract conception 
of time seems rather to be derived wholly from the 
mode of functioning of the system W-Bw., and to 
correspond with a self-perception of it. In this mode 
of functioning of the system another form of protect- 
ion against stimulation probably comes into play. 
I know that these statements sound very obscure, but 
I must confine myself to these few hints. 

So far we have got to the point that the living 
vesicle is equipped with a protection against stimuli 
from the outer world. Before that, we had decided 
that the cortical layer next to it must be differentiated 
as the organ for reception of external stimuli. But this 
sensitive layer (what is later the system Bw.) also 
receives excitations from within: the position of the 



Beyond the Pleasure Principle 33 

system between outer and inner and the difference 
in the conditions under which this receptivity operates 
on the two sides become deciding factors for the 
functioning of the system and of the whole psychic 
apparatus. Towards the outer world there is a barrier 
against stimuli, and the mass of excitations coming 
up against it will take effect only on a reduced scale; 
towards what is within no protection against stimuli 
is possible, the excitations of the deeper layers pursue 
their way direct and in undiminished mass into the 
system, while certain characteristics of their course 
produce the series of pleasure-pain feelings. Naturally 
the excitations coming from within will, in conformity 
with their intensity and other qualitative characteristics 
(or possibly their amplitude), be more proportionate 
to the mode of operation of the system than the 
stimuli streaming in from the outer world. Two things 
are, however, decisively determined by these conditions: 
first the preponderance over all outer stimuli of tlie 
pleasure and 'pain' feelings, which are an index for 
processes within the mechanism; and secondly a shap- 
ing of behaviour towards such inner excitations as 
bring with them an overplus of 'pain'. There will be 
a tendency to treat them as though they were acting 
not from within but from without, in order for it to 
be possible to apply against them the defensive meas- 
ures of the barrier against stimuli {Reissckutz). This 
is the origin of projection, for which so important a 
part is reserved in the production of pathological states. 
I have the impression that by these last 
I" considerations we have approached nearer to a 

( - a 

34 Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

comprehension of the supremacy of the pleasure- 
principle, but we have not attained to an explanation 
of those cases which are opposed to it. Let us therefore 
go a step further. Such external excitations as are 
strong enough to break through the barrier against 
stimuli we call traumatic. In my opinion the concept of . 
trauma involves such a relationship to an otherwise 
efficacious barrier. An occurrence such as an external i 

trauma will undoubtedly provoke a very extensive | 

disturbance in the workings of the energy of the | 

organism, and will set in motion every kind of pro- j 

tective measure. But the pleasure-principle is to begin | 

with put out of action here. The flooding of the j 

psychic apparatus with large masses of stimuli can no . 

longer be prevented: on the contrary, another task j 

presents itself — to bring the stimulus under control, , 

to 'bind' in the psyche the stimulus mass that has j^ 

broken its way in, so as to bring about a discharge of it. | 

Probably the specific discomfort of bodily pain is 
the result of some local breaking through of the barrier 
against stimuli. From this point in the periphery there 
stream to the central psychic apparatus contkiual ex- 
citations such as would otherwise come only from with- 
in.^ What are we to expect as the reaction of the 
psychic life to this invasion? From all sides the 'charg- 
ing energy' is called on in order to create all round 
the breach correspondingly high 'charges' of energy. 
An immense 'counter-charge' is set up, in favour of 
which all the other psychic systems are impoverished, 

1 Cp. 'Triebe und Triebschicksale ', Sammlung kleiner 
Schriften 2ur Neurosenlehre. IV. Folge, 19 18. 





Beyond the Pleasiire Principle 35 

so that a wide-spread paralysis or diminution of other 
psychic activity follows. We endeavour to learn from 
examples such as these to base our metapsychological 
conjectures on such prototypes. Thus from this be- 
haviour we draw the conclusion that even a highly 
charged system is able to receive new energy stream- 
ing in, to convert it into a 'quiescent charge', thus 
to 'bind' it psychically. The more intense is the in- 
trinsic quiescent charge the greater is its binding force : 
and conversely the lower the charge of the system 
the less capable is it of receiving the energy that 
streams in, and so the more violent are the conse- 
quences when the barrier against stimuli is broken 
through. It is not a valid objection to this view that 
the intensifying of the charges round the place of 
irruption could be much more simply explained as 
the dii'ect action of the oncoming mass of excitation. 
If that were so, the psychic apparatus would merely 
undergo an increase of its energy charges, and the 
paralysing character of pain, with the impoverish- 
ment of all the other systems, would remain without 
explanation. Nor do the very violent discharge effects 
of pain invalidate our explanation, for they happen in 
a reflex manner, that is to say, they follow without 
the interposition of the psychic apparatus. The indef- 
inite nature of all the discussions that we term meta- 
psychological naturally comes from the fact that we 
know nothing about the nature of the excitation pro- 
cess in the elements of the psychic systems and do 
not feel justified in making any assumption about it. 
Thus we are all the time operating with a large X, 




Beyond the Pleasure Prificiple 


which we carry over into every new formula. That 
this process is accomplished wdth energies which differ 
quantitatively is an easily admissible postulate, that it 
also has more than one quality (e.g. in the direction 
of amplitude) may be regarded as probable : the new 
consideration we have brought in is Breuer's propos- 
ition that we have to do with two ways in which a 
system may be filled with energy, so that a distinc- 
tion has to be made between a 'charging' of the 
psychic systems (or its elements) that is free-flowing 
and striving to be discharged and one that is quies- 
cent. Perhaps we may admit the conjecture that the 
binding of the energy streaming into the psychic 
apparatus consists in a translating of it from the free- 
flowing to the quiescent state. 

I think one may venture (tentatively) to regard 
the ordinary traumatic neurosis as the result of an ex- 
tensive rupture of the barrier agabst stimuli. In this 
way the old naive doctrine of 'shock' would come 
into its own again, apparently in opposition to a later 
and psychologically more pretentious view which as- 
cribes aetiological significance not to the effect of the 
mechanical force, but to the fright and the menace 
to life. But these opposing views are not irreconcil- 
able, and the psycho-anal3^ic conception of the traum- 
atic neurosis is far from being identical with the 
crudest form of the ' shock ' theory. WhUe the latter 
takes the essential nature of the shock as residing in 
the direct injury to the molecular structure, or even 
to the histological structure, of the nervous elements, 
we seek to understand the effect of the shock by 

Beyo7id the Pleasure Principle 37 

considering the breaking through of the barrier with 
which the psychic organ is provided against stimuli, 
and from the tasks with which this is thereby faced. 
Fright retains its meaning for us too. What conditions 
it is the failure of the mechanism of apprehension to 
make the proper preparation, including the over-charg- 
ing of the systems first receiving the stimulus. In 
consequence of this lower degree of charging these 
systems are hardly in a position to bind the oncoming 
masses of excitation, and the consequences of the 
breaking through of the protective barrier appear all 
the more easily. We thus find that the apprehensive 
preparation, together with the over-charging of the 
receptive systems, represents the last line of defence 
against stimuli. For a great number of traumata the 
difference between the unprepared systems and those 
prepared by over-charging may turn the scale as to 
the outcome : with a trauma beyond a certain strength 
such a difference may no longer be of any importance. 
When the dreams of patients suffering from traumatic 
neuroses so regularly take them back to the situation 
of the disaster they do not thereby, it is true, 
serve the pm-pose of wish-fulfilment, the hallucinatory 
conjuring up of which has, under the domination of 
the pleasure-principle, become the function of dreams. 
But we may assume that they thereby subserve 
another purpose, which must be fulfilled before the 
pleasure-principle can begin its sway. These dreams 
are attempts at restoring control ot the stimuli by 
developing apprehension, the pretermission of which 
caused the traumatic neurosis. They thus afford us 

38 Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

an insight into a function of the psychic apparatus, 
which without contradicting the pleasure-principle is 
nevertheless independent of it, and appears to be of 
earlier origin than the aim of attaining pleasure and 
avoiding 'pain'. 

This is therefore the moment to concede for the 
first time an exception to the principle that the dream 
is a wish-fulfilment. Anxiety dreams are no such 
exception, as I have repeatedly and in detail shown; 
nor are the ' punishment dreams ' , for they merely 
put in the place of the interdicted wish-fulfilment 
the punishment appropriate to it, and are thus the 
wish-fulfilment of the sense of guilt reacting on the 
contemned impulse. But the dreams mentioned above 
of patients suffering from traumatic neuroses do not 
permit of classification under the category of wish- 
fulfilment, nor do the dreams occurring during 
psycho-analysis that bring back the recollection of the 
psychic traumata of childhood. They obey rather the 
repetition-compulsion, which in analysis, it is true, is 
supported by the (not unconscious) wish to conjure 
up again what has been forgotten and repressed. Thus 
the function of the dream, viz. to do away with the 
motives leading to interruption of sleep by presenting 
wish-fulfilments of the disturbing excitations, would 
not be its original one ; the dream could secure control 
of this function only after the whole psychic life had 
accepted the domination of the pleasure-principle. If 
there is a 'beyond the pleasure-principle' it is logical 
to admit a prehistoric past also for the wish-fulfilling 
tendency of the dream, though to do so is no 



Beyond the Pleasure Principle 39 

contradiction of its later function. Now, when this 
tendency is once broken through, there arises the further 
question : are such dreams, which in the interests of the 
psychical binding of traumatic impressions follow the 
repetition-compulsion, not possible apart from analysis? 
The answer is certainly in the affirmative. 

With regard to the war neuroses, so far as the 
term has any significance apart from a reference to 
the occasion of the appearance of the illness, I have 
explained elsewhere that they might very well be 
traumatic neuroses which have arisen the more easily 
on account of an ego-conflict. » The fact mentioned 
on page 9, viz. that a severe injury inflicted at the 
same time by the trauma lessens the chance of a 
neurosis arising, is no longer difficult to understand 
if two circumstances emphasised by psycho-analytic 
research are borne in mind. First that mechanical 
concussion must be recognised as one of the sources 
of sexual excitation (cp. the remarks: 'The effects of 
swinging and railway travelling' in Drei Abhandlungen 
zur Sexualtheorie, 4. Auflage 1920); and, secondly, 
that a painful and feverish illness exerts for the time 
it lasts a powerful influence on the distribution of the 
hbido. Thus the mechanical force of the trauma would 
set free the quota of sexual excitation which, in 
consequence of the lacking preparation by apprehension, 
has a traumatic effect: but, on the other hand, the 
contemporaneous bodily injury would bind the surplus 
excitation by the putting in of a claim to a narcissistic 

1 Psycho- Analysis and the War Neuroses. Introduction. 
International Psycho-Analytical Library. No. 2, 1921. 


Beyond the Pleasiire Principle 

over-charging of the injured part (see ' Zur Einfahrung 
des Narzissmus', Sammlung kleiner Schriften zur Neu- 
rqsenlehre, IV. Folge, 191 8). It is also known, though the 
idea has not been sufficiently made use of in the Libido 
theory, that disturbances in the distribution of the libido 
so severe as those of melancholia may be removed for 
a time by an intercurrent organic disease ; in fact even 
the condition of a fully developed dementia praecox is 
capable of a transitory improvement in these circum- 



The fact that the sensitive cortical layer has no 
protective barrier against excitations emanating from 
within will have one inevitable consequence t viz. that 
these transmissions of stimuli acquire increased economic 
significance and frequently give rise to economic 
disturbances comparable to the traumatic neuroses. 
The most prolific sources of such inner excitations 
are the so-called instincts of the organism, the re- 
presentatives of all forces arising within the body 
and transmitted to the psychic apparatus— the most 
important and most obscure element in psychological 


Perhaps we shall not find it too rash an assumption 
that the excitations proceeding from the instincts do 
not conform to the type of the 'bound' but of the 
free-moving nerve processes that are striving for dis- 
charge. The most trustworthy knowledge we have of 
these processes comes from the study of dreams. 
There we found that the processes in the unconscious 
systems are fundamentally different from those in the 
(pre)consciousj that in the unconscious 'charges' may 


42 Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

easily be completely transferred, displaced or condensed^ 
while if this happened with preconscious material only 
defective results would be obtained. This is the reason 
for the well-lmown peculiarities of the manifest dream, 
after the preconscious residues of the day before have 
undergone elaboration according to the laws of the 
unconscious. I termed this kind of process in the 
unconscious the psychic 'primary process' in contra- 
distinction to the secondary process valid in our normal 
waking life. Since the excitations of instincts all affect 
the unconscious systems, it is scarcely an innovation 
to say that they follow the lines of the primary process^ 
and little more so to identify the psychic primary 
process with the freely mobile charge, the secondary 
process with changes in Breuer's bound or tonic 
charge. 1 It would then be the task of the higher 
layers of the psychic apparatus to bind the instinct- 
excitation that reaches the primary process. The 
failure to effect this binding would evoke a disturbance 
analogous to the traumatic neuroses; it is only after 
the binding had been successfully accomplished that 
the pleasure-principle (and its modificadon the reality- 
principle) would have an opportunity to assert its sway 
without hindrance. Till then, the other task of the 
psychic apparatus would take precedence, viz. to 
obtain control of or to bind the excitation, not in 
opposition to the pleasure-principle but independently 
of it and in part without regard to it. 

The expressions of a repetition-compulsion which 

1 Cp. Section VII, 'Psychology of the Dream-Processes' 
in my ' Traumdeutung '. 



Beyond the Pleasure Principle 43 

we have described, both in the early activities of 
infantile psychic life and in the experiences of psycho- 
analytic treatment, show m a high degree an instinctive 
character, and, where they come into contrast with 
the pleasure-principle, a daemonic character. In the 
play of children we seem to arrive at the conclusion 
that the child repeats even the unpleasant experiences 
because through his own activity he gains a far more 
thorough mastery of the strong impression than was 
possible by mere passive experience. Every fresh 
repetition seems to strengthen this mastery for which 
the child strives; even with pleasurable experiences 
the child cannot do enough in the way of repetition 
and will inexorably insist on the identity of the im- 
pression. This characteristic is destined later to dis- 
appear. A witticism heard for the second time will 
almost fail of effect; a theatrical performance will never 
make the same impression the second time that it did 
on the first occasion; indeed it is hard to persuade 
the adult to read again at all soon a book he has 
enjoyed. Novelty is always the necessary condition of 
enjoyment. The child, however, never gets tired of 
demanding from a grown-up the repetition of a game 
he has played with him before or has shown him, 
till at last the grown-up refuses, utterly worn out; 
similarly if he has been told a pretty story, he wants 
always to hear the same story instead of a new one, 
insists inexorably on exact repetition and corrects each 
deviation which the narrator lets slip by mistake, 
which perhaps he even thought to gain new merit by 
inserting. Here there is no contradiction of the pleasure- 

44 Beyond the Pleasure Principle 



principle: it is evident that the repetition, the re- 
discovery of the identity, is itself a source of pleasure. 
In the case of a patient in analysis, on the other hand, 
it is plain that the compulsion to repeat in the trans- 
ference the occurrences of his infantile life disregards 
■ . in every way the pleasure-principle. The patient behaves 

in this respect completely like a child, and thus makes 
it clear to us that the repressed meniory-traces of his 
primitive experience are not present in a 'bound' 
form, are indeed, in a sense, not capable of the secondary 
process. To this fact of their not being bound they 
owe then- power to weave a wish-phantasy that will 
be represented in a dream, by adhering to the residues 
from waking experiences. We frequently encounter 
the same repetition-compulsion as a therapeutic ob- 
stacle, when at the end of the treatment we wish to 
bring about complete detachment from the physician; 
and it may be supposed that the vague dread with 
which those who are unfamiliar with it view anah'sis 
^ as though they feared to wake what they think is 

better left to sleep, is at root a fear of the appearance 
^ of this daemonic compulsion. 

In what way is the instinctive connected with the 
compulsion to repetition? At this point the idea is 
■' . forced upon us that we have stumbled on the trace 

I' of a general and hitherto not clearly recognised — or 

J at least not expressly emphasised — characteristic ot 

}: instinct, perhaps of all organic life. According to this, 

\'' an instinct wotild be a tendency innate in living 

\ organic ^natter i7npelling it towards the reinstate?nent 

f of an earlier condition, one which it had to abandon 

• Beyond the Pleasure Principle 45 

under the influence of external disturbing forces— a 
kind of organic elasticity, or, to put it another way, 
the manifestation of inertia in organic life.^ 

This conception of instinct strikes us as strange, 
since we are accustomed to see in instinct the factor 
urging towards change and development, and now we 
find ourselves required to recognise in it the very 
opposite, viz. the expression of the conservative nature 
of living beings. On the other hand, we soon think 
of those examples in animal life which appear to 
confirm the idea of instinct having been historically 
conditioned. When certain fish undertake arduous 
journeys at spawning-time, in order to deposit the 
spawn in certain definite waters far removed from 
their usual habitats, according to the interpretation of 
many biologists they are only seeking the earlier 
homes of their kind, which in course of time they 
have exchanged for others. The same is said to be 
true of the migratory flights of birds of passage, but 
the search for further examples becomes superfluous 
when we remember that in the phenomena of heredity 
and in the facts of embryology we have the most 
imposing proofs of the organic compulsion to repetition. 
We see that the germ cell of a living animal is 
obliged to repeat in its development— although in a 
fleeting and curtailed fashion— the structures of all 
the forms from which the animal is descended, instead 
of hastening along the shortest path to its own final 
shape. A mechanical explanation of this except in 
1 I have little doubt tliat similar conjectures about the 
nature of instinct have been already repeatedly put forward. 


Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

some trifling particulars is impossible, and the historical 
explanation cannot be disregarded. In the same way 
we find extending far upwards in the animal kingdom 
a power of reproduction whereby a lost organ is re- 
placed by the growth of a new one exactly like it. 

The obvious objection, that it may well be that 
besides the conservative instincts compelling repetiUon 
there are others which press towards new formation 
and progress, should certainly not be left unnoticed; 
it will be considered at a later stage of our discussion! 
But we may first be tempted to follow to its final 
consequences the hypothesis that aU instincts have as 
their aim the reinstatement of an earlier condition 
If what results gives an appearance of 'profundity' 
or bears a resemblance to mysticism, still we know 
ourselves to be clear of the reproach of having striven 
after anything of the sort. We are in search of sober 
results of investigation or of reflections based upon 
It, and the only character we wish for in these results 
IS that of certainty. 

■If then all organic instincts are conservative, 
historically acquired, and are directed towards regression, 
towards reinstatement of something earlier, we are 
obliged to place all the results of organic development 
to the credit of external, disturbing and distracting 
mfluences. The rudimentary creature would from its 
very beginning not have wanted to change, would, if 
circumstances had remained the same, have always 
merely repeated the same course of existence. But in 
the last resort it must have been the evolution of our 
earth, and its relation to the sun, that has left its 

Beyond the Pleasure Principle 47 

imprint on the development of organisms. The conserv- 
ative organic instincts have absorbed everyone of these 
enforced alterations in the course of life and have stored 
them for repetition; they thus present the delusive 
appearance of forces striving after change and progress, 
while they are merely endeavouring to reach an old goal 
by ways both old and new. This final goal of all organic 
striving can be stated too. It would be counter to the 
conservative nature of instinct if the goal of life were 
a state never hitherto reached. It must rather be an 
ancient starting point, which the living being left long 
ago, and to which it harks back again by all the 
circuitous paths of development. If we may assume as 
an experience admitting of no exception that everything 
living dies from causes within itself, and returns to the 
inorganic, we can only say ' The goal of all life is 
death'-, and, casting back, 'The inmiimate was there 
before the animated 

At one time or another, by some operation of force 
which still completely baffles conjecture, the properties 
of life were awakened in lifeless matter. Perhaps the 
process was a prototype resembling that otlier one 
which later in a certain stratum of living matter gave 
rise to consciousness. The tension then aroused in the 
" previously inanimate matter strove to attain an equi- 
librium; the first instinct was present, that to return 
to lifelessness. The living substance at that time had 
death within easy reach; there was probably only a 
short course of life to run, the direction of which was 
determined by the chemical structure of the young 
organism. So through a long period of time the living 

48 Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

i- substance may have been constantly created anew, and 

easily extinguished, until decisive external influences 
i altered in such a way as to compel the still suiviving 

r- substance to ever greater deviations from the original 

I path of life, and to ever more complicated and circuitous 

; routes to the attainment of the goal of death. These 

I circuitous ways to death, faithfully retained by the 

p -• conservative instincts, would be neither more nor less 

[■ than the phenomena of life as we now know it. If 

the exclusively conservative nature of the instincts is 
1: accepted as true, it is impossible to arrive at any 

■ other suppositions with regard to the origm and goal 

of life. 

If tliese conclusions sound stiangely in our ears, 
equally so will those we are led to make concerning 
the gi-eat groups of instincts which we regard as lying 
[ behind the vital phenomena of organisms. The postulate 

j of the self-preservative instincts we ascribe to evei7 

I living being stands in remarkable contrast to the 

^ supposition that the whole life of instinct serves the 

one end of bringing about death. The theoretic signif- 
( , icance of the instincts of self-presei-vation, power and 

self-assertion, shrinks to nothing, seen in this light; 
I ' they are part-instincts designed to secure the path to 

death peculiar to the organism and to ward off possi- 
bilities of return to the inorganic other than the 
immanent ones, but the enigmatic struggle of the or- 
ganism to maintain itself in spite of all the world, a 
struggle that cannot be brought into connection with 
anything else, disappears. It remains to be added that 
the organism is resolved to die only in its own way; 



Beyond the Pleas2ire Principle 49 

even these watchmen of life were originally the myrmi- 
dons of death. Hence the paradox comes about that 
the living organism resists with all its energy influences 
(dangers) which could help it to reach its life-goal by 
a short way (a short circuit, so to speak); but this 
is just the behaviour that characterises a pure instinct 
as contrasted with an intelligent striving.^ 

But we must bethink ourselves: this cannot be the 
whole truth. The sexual instincts, for which the theory 
of the neuroses claims a position apart, lead us to 
quite another point of view. Not all organisms have 
yielded to the external compulsion driving them to an 
ever further development. Many have succeeded in 
maintaining themselves on their low level up to the 
present time: there are in existence to-day, if not 
all, at all events many forms of life that must re- 
semble the primitive stages of the higher animals and 
plants. And, similarly, not all the elementary organisms 
that make up the complicated body of a higher form 
of life take part in the whole path of evolution to the 
natural end, i.e. death. Some among them, the re- 
productive cells, probably retain the original structure 
of the living substance and, after a given time, detach 
themselves from the parent organism, charged as they 
are with all the inherited and newly acquired instinct- 
ive dispositions. Possibly it is just those two features 
that make their independent existence possible. If 
brought under favourable conditions they begin to 
develop, that is, to repeat the same cycle to which 

1 Compare the subsequent criticism of this extreme view 
of the self-preservative instincts. 

50 Beyo7id the Pleasure Principle 

they owe their origin, the end being that again one 
portion of the substance carries through its develop- ' 

ment tea finish, while another part, as a new germinal 
core, again harks back to the beginning of the develop- 
ment. Thus these reproductive cells operate against 
the death of the Hving substance and are able to win 
for it what must seem to us to be potential immort- [ 

ality, although perhaps it only means a lengthening 
of the path to death. Of the highest significance is 
the fact that the reproductive cell is fortified for this 
function, or only becomes capable of it, by the mingling 
with another like it and yet different from it. ! 

There is a group of instincts that care for the 
destinies of these elementary organisms which survive j 

the individual being, that concern themselves with the 
safe sheltering of these organisms as long as they 
are defenceless against the stimuli of the outer world, , 

and finally bring about their conjunction with other 
reproductive cells. These are collectively the sexual 
instincts. They are conservative in the same sense as 
the others are, in that they reproduce earlier con- ' 

ditions of the living substance, but they are so in a ' 

higher degree in that they show themselves specially I 

resistant to external influences; and they are more 
conservative in a wider sense still, since they preserve 
life itself for a longer time. They are the actual life- 
instincts; the fact that they run counter to the trend 
of the other instincts which lead towards death indi- 
cates a contradiction between them and the rest, one 
which the theory of neuroses has recognised as full 
of significance. There is as it were an oscillating rhythm 

Beyond the Pleasure Principle 5 i 

in the life of organisms: the one group of instincts 
presses forward to reach the fmal goal of life as quickly 
as possible, the other flies back at a certain point on 
the way only to traverse the same stretch once more 
from a given spot and thus to prolong the duration 
of the journey. Although sexuality and the distinction 
of the sexes certainly did not exist at the dawn of 
life, nevertheless it remains possible that the instincts 
which are later described as sexual were active from 
the very beginning and took up the part of opposition 
to the r61e of the 'ego-instincts' then, and not only at 

some later time. 

Let us now retrace our steps for the first time, 
to ask whether all these speculations are not after all 
without foundation. Are there really, apart from the 
sexual instincts, no other instincts than those which 
have as their object the reinstatement of an earlier 
condition, none that strive towards a condition never 
yet attained? I am not aware of any satisfactory example 
in the organic world running counter to the characteristic 
I have suggested. The existence of a general impulse 
towards higher development in the plant and animal 
world can certainly not be established, though some 
such line of development is as a fact unquestionable. 
But, on the one hand, it is often merely a question 
of our own valuation when we pronounce one stage 
of development to be higher than another, and, on 
the other hand, biology makes clear to us that a 
higher development in one particular is often purchased 
with, or balanced by, retrogression in another. Then 
there are plenty of animal forms the youthful stages 


52 Bcyo7id the Pleasure Principle 

of which teach us that their development has taken 
a retrograde character rather than otherwise. Higher 
development and retrogression alike might well be the 
results of external forces impelling towards adaptation, 
and the part played by the instincts might be confined 
in both cases to retaining the enforced changes as 
sources of pleasure.^ 

Many of us will also find it hard to abandon our 
belief that in man himself there dwells an impulse 
towards perfection, which has brought him to his 
present heights of intellectual prowess and ethical subli- 
mation, and from which it might be expected that his 
development into superman will be ensured. But I 
do not believe in the existence of such an inner im- 
pulse, and I see no way of preserving this pleasing 
illusion. The development of man up to now does not 
seem to me to need any explanation differing from 
that of animal development, and the restless striving 
towards further perfection which may be observed in 
a minority of human beings is easily explicable as the 
result of that repression of instinct upon which what is 
most valuable in human culture is built. The repress- 
ed instinct never ceases to strive after its complete 
satisfaction which would consist in the repetition of a 

1 By a different route Ferenczi has arrived at the possi- 
bility of this conception. (' Stages of Development in the Sense of 
Reality'. Ch. VIII of his Contributions to Psycho-Analysis, 1916.) 
He writes: 'By following through this process of thought 
logically one is obliged to gain familiarity with the idea of 
a tendency to persistence or regression governing organic life 
also, while the tendency to progress in development, adap- 
tation, etc. is manifested only as against external stimuli.' 


Beyond the Pleasure Principle 53 

primary experience of satisfaction: all substitution- or 
reaction-formations and sublimations avail nothing 
towards relaxing the continual tension; and out of 
the excess of the satisfaction demanded over that 
found is born the driving momentum which allows of . 
no abiding in any situation presented to it, but in the 
poet's words 'urges ever forward, ever unsubdued' 
(Mephisto in 'Faust', Act i. Faust's study.). The path 
in the other direction, back to complete satisfaction, 
is as a rule barred by the resistances that maintain 
the repressions, and thus there remains nothing for it 
but to proceed in the other, still unobstructed direction, 
that of development, without, however, any prospect 
of being able to bring the process to a conclusion or 
to attain the goal. What occurs in the development 
of a neurotic phobia, which is really nothing but an 
attempt at flight from the satisfaction of an instinct, 
gives us the prototype for the origin of this ostensible 
'impulse towards perfection' which, however, we cannot 
possibly ascribe to all human beings. The dynamic 
conditions are, it is true, quite generally present, but 
the economic relations seem only in rare cases to 
favour the phenomenon. 



Our discussion so far results in the establishing ol 
a sharp antithesis between the ' ego-instincts ' and the 
sexual instincts, the former impelling towards death 
and the latter towards the preservation of life, a result 
which we ourselves must surely find in many respects 
far from adequate. Further, only for the former can 
we properly claim the consen'^ative — or, better, 
regressive — character corresponding to a repetition- 
compulsion. For according to our hypothesis the ego- 
instincts spring from the vitalising of inanimate matter, 
and have as their aim the reinstatement of lifelessness. 
As to the sexual instincts on the other hand : it is obvious 
that they reproduce primitive states of the living being, 
but the aim they strive for by every means is the 
union of two germ cells which are specifically 
differentiated. If tliis union does not take place, then 
the germ cell dies like all other elements of the multi- 
cellular organism. Only on this condition can the sexual 
function prolong life and lend it the semblance of 
immortality. Of what important happening then in the 
process of development of the living substance is sexual 



Beyond the Pleasure Principle 55 

reproduction, or its forerunner, the copulation of two 
individual protozoa, the repetition? That question we 
do not Imow how to answer, and therefore we should 
feel relieved if the whole structure of our arguments 
were to prove erroneous. The opposition of ego- (or 
death-) instincts and sexual (life-) instincts would then 
disappear, and the repetition-compulsion would there- 
upon also lose the significance we have attributed to it. 
Let us turn back therefore to one of the assumptions 
we interpolated, in the expectation that it will permit 
of exact refutation. We built up further conclusions 
on the basis of the assumption that aU life must die 
from internal causes. We made this assumption so 
Ught-heartedly because it does not seem to us to be 
one. We are accustomed so to thinly, and every 
poet encourages us in the idea. Perhaps we have re- 
solved so to think because there lies a certain con- 
solation in this belief. If man must himself die, after 
first losing his most beloved ones by death, he would 
prefer that his life be forfeit to an inexorable law of 
nature, the sublime Avdyxri, than to a mere accident 
which perhaps could have been in some way avoided. 
But perhaps this belief in the incidence of death as 
the necessary consequence of an inner law of being 
is also only one of those illusions that we have fashioned 
for ourselves * so as to endure the burden of existence '. 
It is certainly not a primordial belief: the idea of a 
'natural death' is alien to primitive races; they ascribe 
every death occurring among themselves to the in- 
fluence of an enemy or an evil spirit. So let us not 
neglect to turn to biological science to test the belief. 

56 Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

If we do so, we may be astonished to find how 
little agreement exists among biologists on the question 
of natural death, that indeed the very conception of 
death altogether eludes them. The fact of a certain 
average length of life, at least among the higher 
animals, is of course an argument for death from inner 
causes, but the circumstance that certain large animals 
and giant trees reach a very great age, one not to 
be computed up to now, once more removes this im- 
pression. According to the grandiose conception of 
W. Fliess all the vital phenomena — and certainly also 
death — are linked with the accomplishment of certain 
periods of time, among which there finds expression 
the dependence of two living substances, one male and 
one female, upon the solar year. But observations 
of how easily and extensively the influences of external 
forces can alter vital manifestations, especially in the 
plant world, as to their occurrence in time, can hasten 
or retard them, militate against the rigidity of the 
formulae laid down by Fliess and leaves at least doubt- 
ful the universality of the laws he sought to establish. 

The treatment of these themes, death and the 
duration of life among organisms, in the works of 
A. Weismann * possesses the greatest interest for us. 
This investigator originated the distinction of living 
substance into a mortal and an immortal half; the 
mortal is the body in the narrower sense, the soma, 
which alone is subject to natural death; while the 
germ cells are potentially immortal, in so far as they 

' Ober die Dauer des Lebens, 1S82; Ober Leben und 
Tod, 2. Aufl., 1892; Das Keimplasma, 1892, etc. 

Beyond the Pleasure Principle 57 

are capable under certain favourable conditions of 
developing into a new individual, or expressed other- 
wise, of surrounding themselves with a new soma. ^ 

What here arrests our attention is the unexpected 
analogy with our conception developed along so 
different a line of thought. Weismann, who is con- 
sidering living substance morphologically, recognises in 
it a constituent which is the prey of death, the soma, 
the body viewed apart from sex or heredity elements, 
and, on the other hand, an immortal part, the germ- 
plasm, which serves the purpose of preservation of 
the species, of propagation. We have fixed our attention 
not on the living matter, but on the forces active in 
it, and have been led to distinguish two kinds of in- 
stincts: those the purpose of which is to guide life 
towards death, and the others, the sexual instincts, 
which perpetually strive for, and bring about, the 
renewal of life. This sounds like a dynamic corollary 
to Weismann's morphological theory. 

This appearance of an important correspondence 
vanishes as soon as we examine Weismann's pro- 
nouncement on the problem of death. For Weismann 
admits the differentiation between the mortal soma 
and the immortal germ-plasm only in relation to multi- 
cellular organisms; with the unicellular beings the in- 
dividual and the reproductive cell are still one and 
the same. 2 The unicellular he thus affirms to be 
potentially immortal; death appears only among the 
metazoa, the multicellular. This death of the higher 

1 Ober Leben und Tod, 2. Aufi., S. 20. 

2 Ober die Dauer des Lebens, S. 38. 

58 Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

organisms is, it is true, a natural one, a death from 
inner causes, but it does not depend on an inherent 
quality of the living substance, ^ is not to be conceived 
as an absolute necessity based on the nature of life. ^ 
Death is rather a purposive contrivance, a phenomenon 
of adaptation to the external conditions of life, because 
after the differentiation of the corporeal cells into soma 
and germ-plasm the indefinite prolongation of the life 
of the individual would have become a quite inex- 
pedient luxury. With the appearance of this differentiation 
among multicellular organisms death became possible 
and expedient. Since then the soma of the higher 
organisms dies after a certain time from internal causes; 
the protozoa, however, remain immortal. Propagation, 
on the other hand, was not first introduced with death; 
it is on the contrary a primordial property of living 
matter like growth, in which it originated, and life 

has gone on uninterruptedly from its inception on the 

It is easy to see that to concede natural death to 
the higher organisms does not greatly help our case. 
If death is a late acquisition of life, then death-instincts 
traceable to the beginning of life on this planet no 
longer come into question. i\Iulticellular organisms may 
continue to die from internal causes, whether defect 
of differentiation or imperfections of their metabolism; 
it possesses no interest for the inquiry on which we 
are engaged. Such a conception and derivation of 

1 Ober Leben und Tod, 2. Aufl., S. 67. 
^ Ober die Dauer des Lebens, S. 33. 
* Ober Leben und Tod. Conclusion. 

Beyond the Pleasure Principle 59 

death certainly more nearly approaches the ordinary 
human view of it than the unwonted assumption of 

The discussion which has centred round Weismann's 
assertations has in my opinion had no decisive result 
in any direction. ^ Many writers have reverted to the 
standpoint of Goette (1883) who saw in death the 
direct consequence of propagation. Hartmann does not 
regard as the characteristic of death the appearance 
of a 'corpse', a piece of living substance which has 
'died off', but defines it as the 'definitive end of 
individual development'. In this sense protozoa are 
also subject to deathj with them death invariably coin- 
cides with propagation, but it is, so to speak, dis- 
guised by the latter, for the whole substance of the 
parent organism may be absorbed directly into the 
new individuals.^ 

The interest of the inquiry was soon directed towards 
testing experimentally the asserted immortality of living 
substance in unicellular beings. An American, named 
Woodruff, instituted a culture of a ciliated infusorium, 
a 'slipper-animalcule', which reproduces itself by division 
into two individuals; each time he isolated one of the 
products and put it into fresh water. He traced the 
propagation to the 3029th generation, when he dis- 
continued the experiment. The last descendant of the 

1 Cp. Max Hartmann: Tod und Fortpflanzung, 1906; 
Alex. Lipschiltz: 'Warum wir sterben', Kosmosbiicher, 1914; 
Franz Doflein: Das Problem des Todes und der Unsterblich- 
keit bei den Pflanzen und Tieren, 1919- 

2 Hartmann: loc. cit, S. 29. 

6o Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

first slipper-animalcule was just as lively as its original 
ancestor, without any sign of age or degeneration : if 
such numbers are convincing, the immortality of protozoa 
seemed thus experimentally demonstrable. ^ 

Other investigators have arrived at other results. 
Maupas, Calkins, etc., found, in contradiction to Woodruff, 
that even these infusoria after a certain number of 
divisions become weaker, decrease in size, lose a portion 
of their organisation, and finally die if they do not 
encounter certain invigorating influences. According to 
this, protozoa die after a phase of senile decay just 
like higher animals, in direct contravention of what 
is maintained by Weismann, who recognises in death 
a late acquisition of living organisms. 

Taking the net result of these researches together, 
we note two facts which seem to afford us a firm 
foothold. First: if the animaiculae, at a time when 
they as yet show no signs of age, have the oppor- 
tunity of mingling with each other, of 'conjugat- 
ing '—afterwards again separating— then they remain 
exempt from age, they have been 'rejuvenated'. This 
conjugation is doubtless the prototype of sexual pro- 
pagation of higher organisms: as yet it has nothing 
to do with multiplication, it is confined to the mingl- 
ing of the substances of both individuals (Weismann's 
Amphimixis). The invigorating influence of conjugation 
can also be replaced, however, by certain modes of 
stimulation, changes in the composition of the nutrient 
fluid, raising of temperature, or shaking. The famous 

* For this and what follows see Lipschutz ; Loc. cit., S. 26 
and 52i=f. 

Beyond the Pleasure Principle 6i 

experiment of J. Loeb will be recalled, who by the 
application of certain chemical stimuli to the ova of 
sea-urchins brought about processes of division which 
usually take place only after fertilisation. 

Secondly: it is after all probable that the infusoria 
are brought to a natural death through their own vital 
process, for the contradiction between Woodruifs 
findings and those of others arises from Woodruff having 
placed each generation in fresh nutrient fluid. When 
he refrained from doing so he observed, as did the 
other investigators, that the generations showed signs 
of age. He concluded that the animalculae were injured 
by the products of metabolism which they gave off 
into the surrounding fluid, and was then able to prove 
convincingly that only the products of zVi" own metabolism 
had this effect in bringing about the death of the 
generarion. For in a solution over-saturated with waste 
products of a distantly related species the very same 
animalculae throve excellently which when allowed to 
accumulate in their own nutrient fluid inevitably perished. 
Thus, left to itself, the infusorium dies a natural death 
from the imperfect disposal of its own metabolic products : 
perhaps all higher animals die ultimately from the same- 

At this point the doubt may then occur to us 
whether any good purpose has been served in looking 
for the answer to the question as to natural death in 
the study of the protozoa. The primitive organisation 
of these forms of life may conceal from us important 
conditions which are present m them too, but can be 
recognised only among the higher animals where they 


62 Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

have achieved for themselves a morphological ex- 
pression. If we abandon the morphological point of 
view for the dynamic, it may be a matter of entire 
indifference to us whether the natural death of the 
protozoa can be proved or not. With them the 
substance later recognised as immortal has not yet 
separated itself in any way from the part subject to 
death. The instinctive forces which endeavour to 
conduct life to death might be active in them too 
from the beginning and yet their effect might be so 
obscured by that of the forces tending to preserve 
life that any direct evidence of their existence becomes 
hard to estabHsh. We have heard, it is true, that the 
observations of biologists allow us to assume such 
death-ward tending inner processes also among the 
protozoa. But even if the protozoa prove to be im- 
mortal in Weismann's sense, his assertion that death 
is a late acquisition holds good only of the outward 
manifestations of death, and does not invalidate any 
hypothesis as to such processes as impel towards 
death. Our expectation that biology would entirely 
put out of court any recognition of the death-instincts 
has not been fulfilled. It is open to us to occupy 
ourselves further with this possibility, if we have other 
reasons for doing so. The striking resemblance between 
Weismann's separation of soma and germ-plasm and 
our distinction between the death and the Hfe-instincts 
remains unshaken, moreover, and retains its value. 

Let us dwell for a moment on this exquisitely 
dualistic conception of the instinctive life. According 
to E. Hering's theory of the processes in living matter 1 



Beyond the Pleasure Principle 63 

there course through it uninterruptedly two kinds of 
processes of opposite direction, one anabolic, assimilatory, 
the other katabolic, disintegrating. Shall we venture 
to recognise in these two directions of the vital 
processes the activity of our two instinctive tendencies, 
the life-instincts and the death-instincts? And we cannot 
disguise another fact from ourselves, that we have 
steered unawares into the haven of Schopenhauer's 
philosophy for whom death is the 'real result' of life ^ 
and therefore in so far its aim, while the sexual instinct 
is the incarnation of the will to live. 

Let us boldly try to go a step further. According 
to general opinion the union of numerous cells into 
one vital connection, the multiceUularity of organisms, 
has become a means to the prolongation of their span 
of life. One cell helps to preserve the life of the 
others, and the cell-community can go on Hving even 
if single cells have to perish. We have already heard 
that also conjugation, the temporary mingling of two 
unicellular entities, has a preservative and rejuvenating 
effect on both. The attempt might consequently be 
made to transfer the Libido theory yielded by psycho- 
analysis to the relationship of the cells to one another 
and to imagine that it is the vital or sexual instincts 
active in every cell that take the other cells for their 
'object', partially neutralise their death-instincts, i. e. the 
processes stimulated by these, and so preserve those 
cells in life, while other cells do the same for them, 

1 'Ober die anscheinende Absichtlichkeit im Schicksale 
des Einzelnen'. GroGherzog Wilhelm Ernst Auflage, Bd. IV, 
S. 268. 

64 Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

and still others sacrifice themselves in the exercise of 

this libidinous function. The germ cells themselves 

would behave in a completely 'narcissistic^ fashion, .^^— 

as we are accustomed to describe it in the theory "^B 

of the neuroses when an individual concentrates his 

libido on the ego, and gives out none of it for the 

charging of objects. The germ cells need their libido 

— the activity of their vital instincts — for themselves ■ 

as a provision for their later enormous constructive 

activity. Perhaps the cells of the malignant growths 

that destroy the organism can also be considered to 

be narcissistic in the same sense. Pathology is indeed 

prepared to regard the kernels of them as congenital 

in origin and to ascribe embryonal attributes to them. 

Thus the Libido of our sexual instincts would coincide 

with the Eros of poets and philosophers, which holds 

together all things living. 

At this point opportunity offers of reviewing the 
gradual development of our Libido theory. The analysis 
of the transference-neuroses forced on our notice in 
the first place the opposition between ' sexual instincts ' 
which are directed towards an object and other 
instincts which we only imperfectly discerned and 
provisionally described as 'ego-instincts'. Among the 
latter those which subserve the self-preservation of 
the individual had the first claim for recognition. What 
other distinctions were to be made, it was impossible 
to say. No knowledge would have been so important 
for the establishment of a sound psychology as some 
approximate understanding of the common nature and 
possible differences of the instincts. But in no department 

Beyond the Pleasure Principle 65 

of psychology did one grope more in the dark. 
Everyone posited as many instincts or 'fundamental 
instincts' as he pleased, and contrived with them just 
as the ancient Greek philosophers did with their four 
elements: earth, air, fire and water. Psycho-Analysis, 
which could not dispense with some kind of hypothesis 
as to the instincts, adhered to begin with to the 
popular distinction, typically represented by the phrase 
* hunger and love'. It was at least no new arbitrary 
creation. With this one adequately covered a consider- 
able distance in the analysis of the psychoneuroses. 
The conception of 'sexuality' — and therewith that of 
a sexual instinct — certainly had to be extended, till 
it included much that did not come into the category 
of the function of propagation, and this led to outcry 
enough in a severe and superior or merely hypocritical 

The next step followed when Psycho-Analysis was 
:able to feel its way a little nearer to the psychological 
ego, which was at first known to us only as a re- 
pressing, censoring agency, capable of constituting 
defences and reaction-formations. Critical and other 
far-seeing minds had indeed for a long time raised 
objections to the narrowing of the libido concept 
-down to the energy of the sexual instinct as directed 
to the object. But they omitted to say whence they 
•obtained this fuller comprehension, and failed to deduce 
anything from it of value for Psycho-Analysis. In the 
course of more deliberate advance it came under 
psycho-analytic observation how regularly libido is 
withdrawn from the object and directed towards the 



66 Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

ego (introversion) J and through the study of the libido- 
development of the child in its earliest phases it 
became clear that the ego is the true and original 
reservoir of the libido, which 'is extended to the object 
only from this. The ego took its place as one of the 
sexual objects and was immediately recognised as the 
choicest among them. Where the libido thus remained 
attached to.the ego it was termed * narcissistic '.^ This 
narcissistic libido was naturally also the expression of 
the energy of sexual instincts in the analytical sense 
which now had to be identified with the ' instincts of 
self-preservation', the existence of which was admitted 
from the first. Whereupon the original antithesis 
between the ego-instincts and the sexual instincts 
became inadequate. A part of the ego-instincts was 
recognised as libidinous: in the ego sexual instincts 
were found to be active — probably in addition to 
others^ nevertheless one is justified in saying that the 
old formula, viz. that a psych oneurosis arises out of 
a conflict between the ego-instincts and the sexual 
instincts, contained nothing that we should have to 
reject to-day. Only, the difference of the two kinds 
of instincts which was supposed originally to be in 
some kind of way qualitative has now to be defined 
otherwise, namely on a topographical basis. In particular 
the transference neurosis, the real object of psycho- 
analytic study, is still seen to be the result of a conflict 
between the ego and libidinous investment of an object. 

■ 'Zur Einfuhrung des Narzissmus', Jahrbuch der Psycho- 
analyse, Bd. Vf, 1914, and Sammlung kleiner Schriften zur 
Neurosenlehre, IV. Folge, igiS. 

Beyond the Pleasure Principle 67 

We are the more compelled now to accentuate 
the libidinous character of the self-preservative instincts, . 
since we are venturing on the further step of recognising 
the sexual instinct as the Eros, the all-sustaining, and 
of deriving the narcissistic libido of the ego from the 
sum of the libido quantities that bring about the 
mutual adherence of the somatic cells. But we now 
find ourselves suddenly confronted with this question : 
If the self-presei-vative instincts are also of a libidinous 
kind, then perhaps we have no other instincts at all 
than libidinous ones. There are at least no others 
apparent. In that event we must admit the critics to 
be in the right who from the first have suspected 
that psycho-analysis makes sexuality the explanation 
of everything, or the innovators like Jung who, quickly 
making up their mind, have used 'libido' as a synonym 
for 'instinctive force' in general. Is that not so? 

This result was at all events one not intended by 
us. On the contrary, we took as our starting point 
a sharp distinction between the ego-instincts ( = death- 
instincts) and the sexual instincts (= life-instincts). We 
were prepared indeed to reckon even the alleged self- 
preservative instincts of the ego among death-instincts, k 
a position which we have since corrected and with- ' 
drawn from. Our standpoint was a dualistic one from 
the beginning, and is so to-day more sharply than 
before, since we no longer call the contrasting tendencies 
egoistic and sexual instincts, but life-instincts and 
death-instincts. Jung's libido theory, on the other hand, 
is a monistic one; that he has applied the term libido 
to his only instinctive energy was bound to create 

68 Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

confusion, but should not have any further effect on 
us. We suspect that there are in the ego other 
instincts than those of self-preservation; only we ought 
to be in a position to demonstrate them. Unfortunately 
so little progress has been made in the analysis of 
the ego that this proof becomes extraordinarily difficult 
of attainment. The libidinous instincts of the ego may 
indeed be conjoined in a special way with other ego- 
instincts of which we as yet know nothing. Before 
ever we had clearly recognised narcissism, the con- 
jecture was already present in the minds of psycho- 
analysts that the 'ego-instincts' had drawn libidinous 
components to themselves. But these are merely vague 
possibilities which our opponents will hardly take into 
account. It remains an awkward fact that analysis up 
to now has only put us in the position of demonstrating 
libidinous impulses. The conclusion that therefore 
there are no others is one to which we do not 

In the obscurity that at present shrouds the theory 
of instinct, we shall certainly not do well to reject 
any idea that promises to throw light. We have made 
the antithesis between the life and death instincts our 
point of departure. Object-love itself displays a second 
such polarity, that of love (tenderness) and hate 
(aggression). What if we could succeed in bringing 
these two polarities into relation with each other, in 
tracing the one to the other! We have long re- 
cognised a sadistic component of the sexual instinct :i 

» Drei Abhandlurgen zur Sexualtheorie, from the First 
EditioQ, 1905, onwards. 

Beyond the Pleasure Principle 6g 

it can, as we know, attain independence, and as a 
perversion, dominate the whole sexual trend of a 
person. In one of the organisations which I have 
termed 'pregenital' it appears as a dominating part- 
instinct. But how is one to derive the sadistic impulse, 
which aims at the injui-y of the object, from the life- 
sustaining Eros ! Does not the assumption suggest 
itself that this sadism is properly a death-instinct which 
is driven apart from the ego by the influence of the 
narcissistic libido, so that it becomes manifest only 
in reference to the object? It then enters the service 
of the sexual function; at the oral stage of organisation 
of the libido, amorous possession is still one and the 
same as annihilation of the object; later the sadistic 
impulse" separates itself, and at last at the stage of 
the genital primacy it takes over with the aim of 
propagation the function of so far overpowering the 
sex-object as the carrying out of the sexual act 
demands. One might even say that the sadism expelled 
from the ego has acted as guide to the libidinous 
components of the sexual instinct; these later press 
on towards the object. Where the original sadism 
experiences no abatement or fusion, the well-known 
hate-love ambivalence of the love-life is set up. 

If the above assumption is justifiable then we have 
met the challenge of demonstrating an example of a 
death-instinct—though a displaced one. This conception, 
however, is far from being evident, and creates a 
frankly mystical impression. We incur the suspicion 
of having attempted at all costs to find a way out 
of an impasse. We may appeal against this verdict 


70 Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

by saying that the assumption is no new one, that 
we have once before made it when there was no 
question of an impasse. Clinical observations forced 
upon us the view that the part-instinct of masochism, 
the one complementary to sadism, is to be understood 
as a recoil of the sadism on to the ego itself. 1 A 
turning of the instinct from the object to the ego is, 
however, essentially the same as a turning from the 
ego to the object, which is just now the new idea in 
question. Masochism, the turning of the instinct against 
the self, would then be in reality a return to an 
earlier phase of this, a regression. The exposition 
I then gave of masochism needs correction in one 
respect as being too exclusive: masochism may also 
be what I was there concerned io deny, primary. ^ 

Let us return, however, to the life-sustaining 

sexual instincts. We have already learned from the 

investigation of the protoi:oa that the mingling of 

■ See SexuaJtheorie, 4. Aufl., 1920, and 'Triebe und 

Inebsdncksale' in Sammlung kleiner Schriften, IV. Fo]<^c 

= A considerable part of this speculation has been "anti- 
cipated m a work which is full of valuable matter and ideas 
but IS unfortunately not entirely clear to me; (Sabina Spielrein: 
Die Destruktioii als Ursache des Werdens', Jakrbuch fur 
Psychoanalyse, IV, 191 2). She designates the sadistic component 
as 'destructive'. In still another way A. Starcke (Jnleiding 
by de vcrtaling von S. Freud, De sexuele beschavingsmoral 
etc., 1914) has attempted to identify the libido concept itself 
with tlie biological concept of an impulsion towards death 
which is to be assumed on theoretical grounds (Cp. also 
Rank: 'Der Kiinstlcr"). All these attempts, as the one in the 
text, indicate how much the need is felt for a clarification 
in the theory of instinct which we do not yet possess. 

Beyond the Pleasure Principle 7 1 

two individuals without consequent partition, just as 
copulation between two individuals which soon after 
separate, has a strengthening and rejuvenating effect 
(v. s. Lipschutz), There is no sign of degeneration in 
their descendents, and they also seem to have gained 
the capacity for withstanding^ for a longer time the 
injurious results of their own metabolism. I think that 
this one observation may be taken as a prototype of 
the effect of sexual intercourse also. But in what way 
does the blending of two slightly different cells bring 
about such a renewal of life? The experiment which 
substitutes for conjugation among protozoa the effect 
of chemical or even of mechanical stimuli ' admits of 
our giving a reply v^'ith certainty : it comes about by 
the introduction of new stimulus-masses. This is in 
close agreement with the hypothesis that the life- 
process of an individual leads, from internal causes, 
to the equalising of chemical tensions: i.e. to death, 
while union with an individually different living substance 
increases these tensions— so to speak, introduces new 
vital differentia, which then have to be again lived 
out. For this difference between the two there must 
naturally be one or more optima. Our recognition that 
the ruling tendency of psychic life, perhaps of nerve 
life altogether, is the struggle for reduction, keeping 
at a constant level, or removal of the inner stimulus- 
tension (the Nirvana-principle, as Barbara Low terms it) 
—a struggle which comes to expression in the pleasure- 
principle— is indeed one of our strongest motives for 
beheving in the existence of death-instincts. 

1 loc. cit. 

72 Beyo7id the Pleasure Principle 

But the course of our argument is still disturbed 
by an uneasy feeling that just in the case of. the 
sexual instinct we are unable to demonstrate th at 
character of a repetition-compulsion which first put 
us on the track of the death-instincts. It is true that 
the realm of embryonic developmental processes offers 
an abundance of such repetition phenomena^ — the two 
germ cells of sexual propagation and their life-history 
are themselves only repetitions of the beginning of 
organic Hfe : but the essential feature in the processes 
designed by the sexual instinct is nevertheless the 
mingling of two cells. Only by this is the immortality 
of the living substance among the higher forms of 
life assured. 

To put it in other words: we have to make 
enquiry into the origin of sexual propagation and the 
source of the sexual instincts in general, a task before 
which the lay mind quails and which even specialists 
have not yet been able to solve. Let us, therefore, 
make a condensed selection from all the conflicting 
accounts and opinions of whatever can be brought 
into relation with our train of thought. 

One view deprives the problem of propagation of 
its mysterious attraction by representing it as part of 
the phenomenon of growth (multiplication by division, 
germination, budding). The arising of propagation by 
means of germ-cells sexually differentiated might be 
conceived, in accordance with the sober Darwinian mode 
of thought, as a way of maintaining and utilising for 
further development the advantage of the amphimixis 
which resulted in the first instance from the fortuitous 

. Beyond the Pleasure Principle 73 

conjugation of two protozoa. ^ 'Sex' would not thus 
be of very ancient origin and the extraordinarily 
powerful instincts which aim at bringing about sexual 
union would thereby repeat something which once 
chanced to happen and since became established as 
being advantageous. 

The same question now recurs as arose in respect 
of death— namely, whether the protozoa can be credited 
with anything beyond what they exhibit, and whether 
we may assume that forces and processes which become 
perceptible only in the case of the higher animals did 
first arise in the more primitive. For our puipose the 
view of sexuality mentioned above helps very little. 
The objection may be raised against it that it pre- 
supposes the existence of life-instincts as already 
operative in the simplest forms of life, for otherwise 
conjugation, which works against the expiration of life 
and makes the task of dying harder, would not have 
been retained and elaborated, but would have been 
avoided. If, then, we are not to abandon the hypothesis 
of death-instincts maintained, we must associate them 
with life-instincts from the beginning. But we must 
admit that we are working here at an equation with 
two unknown quantities. Anything else that science 
can tell us of the origin of sexuality amounts to so 
1 Although Weismann (Das Keimplasma, 1892) denies 
even this advantage: 'Fertilisation in no way signifies a 
rejuvenation or renewing of life.— it is in no way necessary 
for the prolongation of life ; it is nothing but a device for 
making possible the blending of two different inheritance 
tendencies.' Still, lie considers an increase of variability in 
living organisms to be the result of such blending. 

74 Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

little that this problem may be likened to an obscurity 

into which not even the ray of an hypothesis has 

penetrated. In quite another quarter, however, we 

encounter such an hypothesis, but it is of so fantastic 

a kind— assuredly a myth rather than a scientific 

explanation — that I should not venture to brina it 

forward if it did not exactly fulfil the one condition 

for the fulfilment of which we are labouring. That is 

to say, it derives an instinct from the necessity, for the 

rei7istatement of an earlier sitnatioti. 

1 refer, of course, to the theory that Plato in his 

Symposium puts into the mouth of Aristophanes and 

which deals not only with the origin of the sexual 

instinct but also with its most important variations in 

relation to the object. 'Human nature was once quite 

other than now. Originally there were three sexes, 

three and not as to-day two : besides the male and 

the female there existed a third sex which had an 

equal share in the two first. ... In these beings 

everything was double : thus, they had four hands 

and four feet, two faces, two genital parts, and so 

on. Then Zeus allowed himself to be persuaded to 

cut these beings in two, as one divides pears to stew 

them. . . . When all nature was divided in this way, 

to each human being came the longing for his own 

other half, and the two halves embraced and entwined 

their bodies and desired to ^rozv tocetker ao-aiii. ' ^ 

■3 i5 o> 

' I am indebted to Prof, Heinrich Gomperz of Vienna 
for the following indications as to the origin of the Platonic 
myth, which I repeat partly in his own words : I should like 
to call attention to the fact that essentially the same theory 


Beyond the Pleasure Prhiciple 

/ D 

Are we to follow the clue of the poet-philosopher 
and make the daring assumption that living substance 
was at the time of its animation rent into small 
particles, which since that time strive for reunion by 
means of the sexual instincts? That these instincts — 
in which the chemical affinity of inanimate matter is 

is also to be found in the Upantshads. The ]iri]iad-Aranyaka 
Upanishad 1,4, 3 (Deussen, 60 Upanishads des Veda, S. 393), 
where the creation of the world from the Atmaii (the selt 
or ego) is described, has the following passage 'Nor did he 
(tlie Atman, the self or ego) experience any joy, and for 
that reason no one has joy when he is alone. So he longed 
for a partner. He was as big as a woman and a man together 
when they embrace. He divided himself into two parts, wliich 
made a husband and a wife. This body is therefore one half 
of the self, according to Yajnavalkya. And for the same 
reason this empty space here becomes filled by the woman.' 

The Brihad-Aranyaka Upanishad is the oldest of all the 
Upanishads, and no expert authority would date it later tlian 
800 B. C. In opposition to the prevailing opinion I sliould 
not like definitely to deny the possibility of Plato having 
been dependent, even though very indirectly, on these hidian 
thoughts, for this possibility cannot be absolutely put aside 
even for the doctrine of rc-in carnation. A dependence of this 
sort, first conveyed through Pythagoras, would scarcely 
detract from the signilicance of the coincidence in thought, 
for Plato would not liave adopted any such story conveyed 
in some way from Oriental traditions, let alone have given 
it such an important place, had he not himself felt the truth 
contained in It to be illuminating. 

In an article by K. Ziegler ('Menschen- und Wcltwerden', 
Neue yahrbiichcr fur das klassiscJie Altertmn. 191 3, Band XXXI), 
which contains a systematic investigation of the thought in 
question, it is traced back to Babylonian ideas. 

76 Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

continued — passing through the realm of the protozoa 
gradually overcome all hindrances set to their striving 
by an environment charged with stimuli dangerous to 
life, and are impelled by it to form a protecting 
covering layer? And that these dispersed fragments of 
living substance thus achieve a multicellular organisation, 
and finally transfer to the germ-celJs in a highly 
concentrated form the instinct for reunion? I think 
this is the point at which to break off. 

But not without a few words of critical reflection 
in conclusion. I might be asked whether I am myself 
convinced of the views here set forward, and if so 
how far. My answer would be that I am neither con- 
vinced myself, nor am I seeking to arouse conviction 
in others. More accurately: I do not Icnow how far 
I believe in them. It seems to me that the affective 
feature 'conviction' need not come into consideration 
at all here. One may surely give oneself up to a line 
of thought, and foUow it up as far as it leads, simply 
out of scientific curiosity, or— if you prefer— as ad- 
vocatus diaboli, without, however, making a pact with 
the devil about it. I am perfectly aware that the third 
step in the theory of instinct which I am taking here 
cannot claim the same certainty as the two former ones, 
viz. the extending of the conception of sexuality and 
the establishing of narcissism. These innovations were 
direct translations of observation into theoiy, subject to 
no greater sources of error than is inevitable in anything 
of the kind. The assertion of the regressive character 
of instinct rests also, it is true, on observed material, 
namely on the facts of the repetition-compulsion. 

Beyond the Pleasure Principle yy 

But perhaps I have over-estimated their significance. 
At all events there is no way of working out this 
idea except by combining facts with pure imagination 
many times in succession, and thereby departing far 
from observation. We know that the final result 
becomes the more untrustworthy the oftener one does 
tliis in the course of building up a theory, but the 
precise degree of uncertainty is not ascertainable. One 
may thereby have made a brilliant discovery or one 
may have gone ignominiously astray. In such work 
I trust little to so-called intuition: what I have seen 
of it seems to me to be the result of a certain im- 
partiahty of the intellect — only that people unfortunately 
are seldom impartial where they are concerned with 
the ultimate things, the great problems of science and 
of life. My belief is that there everyone is under the 
sway of preferences deeply rooted within, into the 
hands of which he unwittingly plays as he pursues his 
speculation. Where there are such good grounds for 
•distrust, only a tepid feeling of indulgence is possible 
towards the results of one's own mental labours. But 
I hasten to add that such self-criticism does not render 
obligatory any special tolerance of divergent opinions. 
One may inexorably reject theories that are contra- 
<licted by the very first steps in the analysis of ob- 
servation and yet at the same time be aware that 
those one holds oneself have only a tentative validity. 
Were we to appraise our speculations upon the life 
and death-instincts it would disturb us but little that 
so many processes go on which are surprising and hard 
to picture, such as one instinct being expelled by 


7S Beyond ihe Pleasure Prindple 

others, or turning from the ego to an object, and so 
on. This comes only from our being obliged to operate 
with scientitic terms, i. e. with the metaphorical ex- 
pressions peculiar to psychology (or more correctly: 
psychology of the deeper layers). Otherwise we should 
not be able to describe the corresponding processes 
at all, nor in fact even to have remarked them. The 
shortcomings of our description would probably disappear 
if for the psychological terms we could substitute 
physiological or chemical ones. These too only con- 
stitute a metaphorical language, but one familiar to 
us for a much longer time and perhaps also simpler. 

On the other hand we wish to make it quite clear 
that the uncertainty of our speculation is enhanced in 
a high degree by the necessity of borrowing from 
biological science. Biology is truly a realm of limitless 
possibUities; we have the most surprising revelations 
to expect from it, and cannot conjecture what answers 
it will offer in some decades to the questions we have 
put to it. Perhaps they may be such as to overthrow 
the whole artificial structure of hypotheses. If that is 
so, someone may ask why does one undertake such 
work as the one set out in this article, and why should 
it be communicated to the world? Well, I cannot 
deny that some of the analogies, relations and 
connections thereia traced appeared to me worthy of 

1 I would here subjoin a few words to clarify our nomen- 
clature, one which has undergone a certain development in 
the course of our discussion. What 'sexual instincts' are, we 
knew through their relation to the sexes and to the function 


Beyond the Pleasure Principle 79 

of propagation. We then retained this term when the findings 
of psycho-analysis compelled us to regard its relation to 
propagation as less close. With the discovery of narcissistic 
libido, and the extension of the libido-concept to the individual 
cells, the sexual instinct became for us transformed into the 
Eros that endeavours to impel the separate parts of living 
matter to one another and to hold them together; what is 
commonly called the sexual instinct appears as that part of 
the Eros that is turned towards the object. Our speculation 
then supposes that this Eros is at work from the beginnings of 
life, manifesting itself as the 'life-instinct' in contradistincfion 
to the 'death-instinct' wliich developed through the animation 
of the inorganic. It endeavours to solve the riddle of life by 
the hypothesis of these two instincts striving with each other 
from the very beginning. The transformation which the concept 
of the ' eg o- instincts ' has undergone is perhaps harder to 
review. Originally we applied this term to all those instjnct- 
directions — not better known tons — which can be distinguished 
from the sexual instincts that have the object as their aim, 
thus contrasting the ego-instincts with the sexual ones, the 
expression of which is the libido. Later on we approached 
the analysis of the ego and saw tliat a part also of the 
'eo-o-instincts' is of a libidinous nature, having taken its own 
self as an object. These narcissistic instincts of self-preserv- 
ation therefore had now to be reckoned to the libidinous 
sexual instincts. The contrast between egoistic and sexual 
instincts was now converted into one between egoistic and 
object-instincts, both libidinous in nature. In its place, however, 
arose a new contrast between libidinous (ego and object) 
instincts and others whose existence can be determined in 
the ego and can perhaps be detected in the destruction- 
instincts. Speculation transforms this contrast into that of 
life-instincts (Eros) and death-instincts. 

I ' 


if this attempt to reinstate an earlier condition 
really is so universal a characteristic of the instincts, 
we should not find it surprising that so many processes 
in the psychic life are performed independently of the 
pleasure-principle. This characteristic would communi- 

} ' cate itself to every part-instinct and would in that 

case concern a harking back to a definite point on 

' ' the path of development. But all that the pleasure- 

principle has not yet acquired power over is not 
therefore necessarily in opposition to it, and we have 
not yet solved the problem of determining the relation 
of the instinctive repetition processes to the domination 
of the pleasure-principle. 

We have recognised that one of the earliest and 
most important functions of the psychic apparatus is 
I to 'bind' the instreaming instinctive excitations, to 

substitute the 'secondary process' for the 'primary 
process 'dominating them, and to transform their freely 
mobile energy-charge into a predominantly quiescent 
(tonic) charge. During this transformation no attention 
•can be paid to the development of 'pain', but the 

" 80 


Beyond the Pleasure Principle 8 1 

pleasure-principle is not thereby annulled. On the con- 
trary, the transformation takes place in the service of 
the pleasure-principle; the binding is an act of prepar- 
ation, which introduces and secures its sovereignty. 

Let us distinguish function and tendency more 
sharply than we have hitherto done. The pleasure- 
principle is then a tendency which subserves a certain 
function— namely, that of rendering tlie psychic apparatus 
as a whole free from any excitation, or to keep the 
amount of excitation constant or as low as possible. 
We cannot yet decide with certainty for either of these 
conceptions, but we note that the function so defined 
would partake of the most universal tendency of all 
living matter — to return to the peace of the inorganic 
world. We all know by experience that the greatest 
pleasure it is possible for us to attain, that of the 
sexual act, is bound up with the temporary quenching 
of a greatly heightened state of excitation. The 'binding' 
of instinct-excitation, however, would be a preparatory 
function, which would direct the excitation towards 
its ultimate adjustment in the pleasure of discharge. 

In the same connection, the question arises whether 
the sensations of pleasure and 'pain' can emanate 
as well from the bound as from the ' unbound' excitation- 
processes. It appears quite beyond doubt that the 
'unbound', the primary, processes give rise to much 
more intense sensations in both directions than the 
bound ones, those of the 'secondary processes'. The 
primary processes are also the earlier in point of time; 
at the beginning of mental life there are no others, 
and we may conclude that it the pleasure-principle 

82 Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

were not already in action in respect to them, it would 
not establish itself in regard to the later processes. 
We thus arrive at the result which at bottom is not 
a simple one, that the search for pleasure manifests 
itself with far greater intensity at the beginning of 
psychic life than later on, but less unrestrictedly: it 
has to put up with repeated breaches. At a maturer 
age the dominance of the pleasure-principle is very 
much more assured, though this principle as little 
escapes limitations as all the other instincts. In any 
case, whatever it is in the process of excitation that 
engenders the sensations of pleasure and ' pain ' must 
be equally in existence when the secondary process 
is at work as with the primary process. 

This would seem to be the place to institute further 
studies. Our consciousness conveys to us from within 
not only the sensations of pleasure and 'pain', but 
also those of a peculiar tension, which again may be 
either pleasurable or painful in itself. Now is it the 
'bound' and 'unbound' energy processes that we 
have to distinguish from each other by the help of 
these sensations, or is the sensation of tension to be 
related to the absolute quantity, perhaps to the level 
of the charge, while the pleasure-pain series refers to 
the changes in the quantity of charge in the unit of 
time? We must also be struck with the fact that the 
life-instincts have much more to do with our inner 
perception, since they make their appearance as dis- 
turbers of the peace, and continually bring along with 
them states of tension the resolution of which is ex- 
perienced as pleasure; while the death-instincts, on the 

Beyond the Pleasure Principle 83 

other hand, seem to fulfil their function unostentatiously. 
The pleasure-principle seems directly to subserve the 
death-instincts j it keeps guard, of com-se, also over 
the external stimuli, which are regarded as dangers 
by both kinds ot instincts, but in particular over the 
inner increases in stimulation which have for their aim 
the complication of the task of living. At this point 
innumerable other questions arise to which no answer 
can yet be given. We must be patient and wait for 
other means and opportunities for investigation. We 
must hold ourselves too in readiness to abandon the 
path we have followed for a time, if it should seem 
to lead to no good result. Only such * true believers ' 
as expect from science a substitute for the creed they 
have relinquished will take it amiss if the investigator 
develops his views further or even transforms them. 

For the rest we may find consolation in the words 
of a poet for the slow rate of progress in scientific 
knowledge : 

Whither we cannot fly, we must go limping. 
The Scripture saith that limping is no sin. ' 

' Ruckert in the 'Makamen des Hariri.' 

jaioq KJdi -/. , *: "• ■ :{-■,: .'.j; .■.-■ , ^, 

^yv/ani; Oi^ rf:>jf!// :. ; ..•'.;i: c;r;ob-'.e.f;p ■.■;:;;■■ 

■1-;-. :;,0 LJOil JSLItlfi 

f i . : . . 

;.,.-:CD ■ 

-)lij iyj J:jOt.J a iO 


INDEX --^ '."■ -'^^ *^* '-^ .oi.iiiJritl 

. ..j^..y 

■ '.,-■ V.-;.'.'. ,•<!■. I 

Acquired instincti^re dispositions, 49' 

Adaptation, 52- 

Death a phenomenon of, 58. 
Ambivalence, hate-love, 69- ..,-7 
Amphimixis, 60, 72. -^ ,..^., 
Anabolic processes, 63. 
Angst, 9. -, _. . 

Animalculae, 60, 61. 
Anxiety-dreams, 38. 
Apprehension, 9, 37. 39- 
Aristophanes, 74- 

Barrier against stimuli, 33, 34, 36-7- 
Binding, psychical, 30. 34-7. 39, 42, 44, 

Breufr, J-. >o, 27. 3°, 36, 4=. 

Calkins, 60. 
Cliarge, 34-7. 80, S2. 

Breuer's bound or tonic, 43- 

Counter-, 34- 

Free-flowing, 36. 42, 80. 
» of object, 64. 

Over-, 57, 39-40- 

Quiescent, 35-6, 80. 
Children, play of, n. 16. 43- 
Compulsion, 22, 49- 

Daemonic, 44- 

Destiny-, 24- 

Repetition-. See Repetition-corn 


to repeat, 44- 
Conjugation, 60, 63, 71-3- •'»'■* 

Becoming, 27. 28. '■ 

ego, 19-30, 

impulses, 3. >! 

psychic processes, 32.- ^'inltr '' 

The, 19. 

Consciousness {continue^: ^•■■^^•<'--^ ^^ 

Perceptual, 26. ' ■ '" ' 

Seat of, 27. 

Threshold of, 3. .ira^' 

instincts. See under Instincts. 

nature of living beings, 45. 
Constancy, principle of, 4. ■ 

Daemonic: •" ■-^■'.■i'." hp 
character, 43- 
compulsion, 44- 
Danger, 7, 9. 49. 83, 
Death, 47-50, 54-63, 71, 73- 

consequence of propagation, 59 
from inner causes, 56, 58, 
Goal of. See under Goal. 
Impulsion towards, 70. 
instincts. See under Instincts. 
Natural, 55, 56, 58, 61-2. 
of higher animals, 61. 
phenomenon of adaptation, 58. 
Destiny, 22, 

-compulsion, 24. ■'-'■'■V-"'- 
Deussen, 75. .:i-,iJi.mui'!^ 

Development, 45, 47, 49-54, 59. 72, So. 
Impulse towards higher, 51, 
Libido-, 66. * 

Organic, 46, 
Dobleiv, franz, 59. 
Dreams, 9-10, 37-9, 41, 44. 
Anxiety-, 3S. ,;i"i-" 
during psycho-analysis, 38. 
Function of, 37-8. 
in traumatic neuroses, 37-8. 
-life, 9- 

of shock patients, 24, 
Punishment, 38. 

Wish-fultilmcnt tendency of, 10. 
Consciousness, 3, i7, «9, 26-9, 47,82. I Dualistic standpoint of psycho-analysis, 
Origin of, 28, 30. ' I ^7- • ' '^'' - 




Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

Dynamic, i, 19, 53, 57, 62. 

Economic, i, 11, 16, 4', 53. 

Ego, 5, 6, 19, 20, 24, 64, 66-70, 75, 78-9. 

Analysis of, 68, 69. 

Coherent, 19. 

-conflict, 39. 

Conscious, 19, 20. 

-feeling, 20. 

instinct. See under Instinct. 

Kernel of, 19. 

Libidinous components of, 68. 

Libido directed towards, 65-6. 

Masochistic tendencies of, 10. 

Picconscious, 19, 20. 

Psychological, 65. 
Embryology, 29, 45. 
Energy, 5, 31, 36. 

liindiiig of, 36. 

Bound 30, 82, 
, charges, 34, as- 
Charging, 34. 

Free, 30, 

Free-flowing, 36, 80. 

Instinctive, 67. 

Propagation of, 28. 

-transformations, 31.. 

Unbound, Ss. 

Quiescent, 36, So. 
Eros, 64, 67, 69, 79. 
Excitation, 29, 33, 34, 39, 41, 42, 81, 82. 

Barrier against, 41. 

Bound, 81. 
. Disturbing, 38. 

External, 34. 

from within, 32, 33. 

Heightened state of, 81. 

Inner, 4. 

Instinct, 42, 81. 

Instinctive, So. 

Mass of, 33, 35, 37. 

Quantity of, a, 3, 81. 

Perceptions of, 26, 

Excitation {continued): 

processes, 25, 27-30, 35. 

Propagation of, 28. 

Sexual, 39. 

Traces of, 27, 30. 

Traumatic, 34. 

Unbound, 81, 

Painful, 6, 13; repeated as a game, 
1:3, IS, 43- 

Pleasurable, 43. 

Primary e. of satisfaction, 53. 

Repetition of identical, 22, 23. 

Revival of past, 20. 

Traumatic, 10. 

Fate, 22, 23, 24. 
Fear, 9, 

Feclimr, G. Tk., 3, 4. 
Feeling, 2. 

Ego-, 20. 

Hostile, 15. 

of 'pain', 26, 33. 

of pleasure, 26, 33. 

Painful, 20. 

Pleasure-pain, 4, 33- 
Ferenczi, 10, 52. 
Fixation, 20. 

Fliess, IrV., 56. 
Fright, 9, 36, 37. 
-neurosis, 9. 
Furcht, 9. 


Child's, 12. 

Meaning of, 13. 

Painful experience repeated as, 13, 

15, 43- 

Repetition of, 43. 
Genital primacy, 69. 
Germ cell, 45. 54, 56, 64, 72, 76. 

Narcissistic behaviour of, 63. 
Germ-plasm, 57, 58, 62. 



Goal, 47, 53. 

Life-, 49. 

Tendency towards, 4. 

of life, 47-9, 51- 

of organic striving, 47- 
Goette, 59. 
Gamperz, Prof. Hem., 74. 

Harhnann, Max, 59. 
Hate, 6S, 69. 
Heredity, 4S. 57. 
Hering, E., 62. 
' Hunger and Love', 65. 

Imitation impulse, 16. 
Immortaltty, 50, 54, J^-^^, 72. 

of protozoa, 60. 

of unicellular beings, 59. 
Impulse, 7. 14, 22, 51. 

Conscious, 3. 

Contemned, 38. 

Imitation, 16. 

Libidinous, 68, 

of revenge, 14. 

Play, 24- 

Repressed, 20. 

Sadistic, 69, 

Stages of, 51. 

towai'ds higher development, 51. 

towards perfection, 52-3, 
Inertia, in organic life, 45' 

Infantile : 

influences, 22. 

life, 44- 

psychic life, 43. ■ 

sex-life, iS, 20. 
Inferiority complex, 21. 
Inheritance tendencies, 73. 
Inherited instinctive dispositions, 49 
Instability, conditions of, 3. 
Instinct, 5, 6, 41, 46, 48-53, 64-8, 70, 
73-4, 77, 79-So, 82-3. 

Aim of, 46. 

compelling repetition, 46. 

Instinct {continued): 

Conception of, 44-5- 

Conservative, 46, 48; c ego-, 54; 
c. organic, 47'> c. sexual, 50. 
. Death-, S4-S, 5^-9, 62-3, 67-9, 71-3, 
77, 79. S2-3- 

Destniction-, 79' 

Ego-, 51. 54-5, 64, 66-S, 79; 

Libidinous nature of, 79. 

Egoistic-, 79- 

excitations, 42, 8r. 

First, 47- 

Foregoing the satisfaction of, 13. 

for reunion, 76. 

Inborn, 5. 

Libidinous, 67-S, 79. 

Life-, 50-1, 54-5, 57, 62-3, 67-8, 73, 
77, 79, 82. 

Narcissistic, 79. 

Nature of, 44. 

Object-, 79. 

of self-assertion, 48. 

Part-, 48, 69, 70, So. - 

Power-, 14, 48. 

Regressive character of, 76. 

Repression of, 52. 

Self-preservative, 5, 48, 49. ^4, 66, 
67, 68, 79- 

Sexual, 49-5', 54, 55, 57,63-8,70, 
72, 78, 79; libidinous, 79, libi- 
dinous components of, 69, ori- 
gin of, 74. 

Theory of, 68, 70, 76- 

Two kinds of, 57. 
Unsatisfied, 6. 
Vital, 63, 64. 
Introversion, 66, 

Investment-energy, quiescent (bound) 
and free-moving, 30. Set Charge, 

Jealousy, 14, 21, 22. 
Jung, C. G.. 23, 67. 

Katabolic processes, 63. 



Deyond the Pleasure Principle 

-\ ■ 

Libido, 64-7, 79. r.atYtvt'.i-iji'. ."»(;;;-««; 

concept, 65, 70, 79. -f^to-J-' 
■ development, 66. 

directed towards the ego, 65-6. 
-•- d'stribution, 39-40. 

Narcissistic, 66-7, 69, 77. 

Oral stages of, 69. ■ -''-''' 

quantities, 67. '^ .'-^.'i'A 

Reservoir of, 66. ^ ' 

theory, 40, 63, 64, 67. -v"? 
Life, 47-8, so, 55, 5S, 63, 63-. .--■ 

Beginnings of, 79. 

Dawn of, 51. i 

Forces tending to preserve, 62, 

Goal of. See under Goal. 

-instincts. See under Instincts. 

Instinctive, 62. 

Length of, 56. 

Love-, 69. .•-■». ;ii::--.;. 

Menace to, 36, ■' 

process, 71, 

Prolongation of, 54, 58, 63, 73. 

Properties of, 47. /r rX^ttl. 

Renewal of, 57, 71, 73. 

Rhythm in, 50-1. 

Stimuli dangerous to, 76. 
Lifschuts, Alex., 59, 60, 71. 
Loeb, y., 61. 

Love, 21, 68, 69. 
^ow, Barhara, 71. 

Marcinowski, 21. 

Masochistic tendencies of the ego, 10 
Masochism, 70. 

primary, 70. 
Maufas, 60, 

concussion, 39. 

force, 39. 

shock, 8. 

stimuli, 7, 
Memory, 23, 28. 

-records, 27. 

-traces, 27-8; repressed, 44.:iy;;/: 


Metabolism, 58, 61, 71. r-'-f;. 
Metapsychology, i, 26, 35. 
Metazoa, 57. 
Multicellular organisms, 57-8, 63, 76. 

Narcissism, 68, 76. 

behaviour of gerra-cells, 63, 

instincts, 79. 

libido, 66, 67, 69, 79. 

over-charging of the injured pai-t, 
39-40. .,:,..„..,.. 

scar, 20. 
Neuroses, 8-9, i3, 39, 

Fright-, 9. 

Shock, 10, 

Theory of the, 49, 50, 64. 
Nirvana-principle, 71. 

Object, 63-6, 69, 70, 74, 7S-9.. 

Annihilation of, 69. 

Charging of, 64. 

Injury of, 69. 

-instinct, 79. 

Libidinous investment of, 66. 

-love, 68. 

Sex-, 6g. 
Oedipus complex, iS. 
Oral stage of libido, 69. 

compulsion to repetition, 45. 

development, 47. 

Pain, 35- - t 

Bodily, 34. 
'Pain ', 1-3, s-6, 20, 32, 26, 33, 38, 80-2. 

Avoidance of, i, 38. 

feelings, 33. 

Feelings {^Emffinditngett) of, a6. 

Neurotic, 6. 

Sensations of, 81. 
Part-instinct, 48, 69, 70, 80. 

Index ..,c^ H.uvi.fyA 


Perfection, impulse towards, 52. 
Pfeifer, S., 11. 
Philosophy, i, 2, 63, 65. 

Plato, 74-5- .:_.,.L.,J:: ..yAi 

t*'ay: . . :■ . .:i-v/- 

-impulse, 24. 

of children, I1-16, 43. 

Motive of, 16. 
Pleasure, 1-6, 11, 15. 16. 23' ^^^ 33, 38, 

52, SI. 
Pleasure-pain, 4. 33i 82, 
Pleasure-principle, 1-7, '3, 1S-161 2^ 
24-S> 34, 37-9, 42-4, 71, 8o-3. 

Beyond the, 16, 24, 38. ... 

Dominance of, 82. . ::, , . 

Frustration of, 4-6. -.iv.ivi: 

Replaced by reality-principle, 5. 

Supremacy of, 3- 

Tendencies beyond, 16. 
Pleasure-tendency, 4- 
power-instinct, 14- ■■■■■ '■■' 

Prcconscious, 19, 4i- 

ego, 19, 20. ,r;T .71 .nwj'-.^.h';- 

material, 42. .-.cX-x 

residues, i,2. ov.f; ■ 

Pregenital organisation, 69. .fj-r^ 

Primary: mlUm. ■ 

experience of satisfaction, S3- 

Masochism, 70. 

process, 80, 81. 
Projection, 33- 
Propagation, S7-9. ^5, 69, 73. :,.:.,- 

and death, 59. 

Death the consequence of, 59. 

Function of, 79. 

of energy, 2b. r.. . . 

Sexual, 60, 72, 
Protective barrier, 31, 37, 41, 76- 
Protozoa, 55, 58-62, 70-1, 73, 76. 

Immortality of, 60. 

apparatus, 3, 4, 5, 7, n, 26, 33, 
34, 35, 36, 37, 41, 42, 80, Si. 


Psychic {conthmed): . ... ._..t..i..,,.:,.,:'_i, 
life, 3, 3, 15, 19, 24, 25, 34, 38, 

71, 80, 82. 
processes, i, 4t 9, 26; conscious, 
32, primary, 42, secondary, 43, 
systems, 27, 28, 30, 34, 35t 36- 
Punishment-dreams, 38. 
Pyi/tagaras, 75. 

l^a/ii, 70. 

Reaction-formation, 53, 65. 
Reality-principle, 5, 7, 20, 42. 

Pleasure-principle replaced by, j. 
Regression, 46, 52, 70. 
Regressive character of; 

ego-instincts, 54. 

instincts, 76. 
Re-incamation, 75- 
Reinstatement of: 

earlier condition, 44, 46, 51, 74, So. 

lifelcssness, 54. 
Rejuvenation, 60, 63, 71, 73. 
Repetition, iS, 43, 44, 46, 47t 49, 52. 

55. 73- 
Endless r. of the same, 23. 

Instincts compelling, 46. 

of identical experiences, 22-3, 

processes. So. 
Repetition-compulsion, 19, so, 22, 24, 
25, 3S, 39, 42, 44. 55. 73> 76. 

Organic, 45. 

impulses, 20. 

instinct, 52. 

material, 19, 20. 

memory-traces, 44- 

sex-impulses, 6. 

The, 19, 38- 

Repressing agency, 65. 
Repression, 6, iS, 19, 24, 53- 

of instinct, 52. 
Reproductive cells, 49, 50, 57. 
Resistance, I7> 19. 20, 24, 30, 53. 

.0" ,.-.« ,*' 


■ Beyond the Pleasure Principle 

Retrogression, 51-2. ■ '" - ■- 

Return to; 

lifelcssness, 47. 

the inorganic, 4S, 81. 

Riickert, 83. 

Sadism, 69, 70. 

Schopenhautr, 63. 

Secondary process, 44, So, Sr, 82. 


Instinct of, 5, 48, 49, 64, G6, 6S, 
Libidinous character of, 67. 
Sex, S7, 73, 7S. 

distinction, 51. 
impulses, 5; repressed, 6, 
-life, infantile, 18, 20. 
-object, 69. 
-quest, 21. 
Sexuality, 51, 65, 57. 
Conception of, 76. 
Origin of, 73. 
Shock, 36. 

-dream, 24. 

Dreams of s. patients, 24. 
Mechanical, 8. 
neuroses, 10, 
theory, 36. 
Simmel, 10. 
Spielrcin, Sabina, 70. 

Conditions of, 3. 
Tendency towards, 4. 
Starcke, A., 70. 
Stimulation, 83. 

Protection against, 30, 32. 
Stimuli, 29-34, 37, 4i, 5°, 52, 76, 83. 
Barrier against, 33, 34, 36, 37. 
Chemical, 71, 
Control of, 37, 
dangerous to life, 76. 
Defence against, 37. 
Mechanical, 71. 
Protection against, 31, 33. 
Reception of, 29, 31, 32. 


Stimulus masses, 31, 34, 71. 
Sublimation, 52, 53. 

Bw., 26, 28, 29. 

W-B\v., 26, 27, 32, 

Tasso, 23. 
Tension, 82. 

Unpleasant state of, i. 

Chemical, 71. 

Relaxation of, i, 53. 
Trauma, 34, 37, 39- 

External, 34, 

Fixation on, 10. 

excitation, 34. 

experiences, 10, 

impressions, 39. 

neurosis, 36, 37,39, 4i, 42; dreams 
in, 37, 3S. 

neurosis of peace, S. - 

Unconscious, 17, 19, 27. 

charges. 41. 

mental process ' timeless ', 32. 

processes, 26, 27, 

resistances. 19. 

Systems, 41-2. 

The, 19, 42. 
Unicellular beings, 57, 59, ^3- 

Immortality of, 5';. 
Upanishads, 75. 

Vcsicic, 29, 30, 31, 32. 

War neuroses, S, 9, 10, 39 
W-Bw., the system, 26-7, 33. 
Weismami, A., 56, S7, 59, 60, 6z, 73- 
Wish fulfilment, 37, 3S. 

tendency of dreams, 10; prehi- 
storic past of, 38. 
WoodriiJ^, 59j 60, 61. 

Ziegler, K., 75. 



Emeritus Professor of Neurology, Harvard University. With a 
Preface by SiGM. EREUD, M.D., LL.D. 

DRS. s. FERENCZi (Budapest), Karl Abraham (Berlin), Ernst 
SiMMEL (Berlin) and ERNEST JONE.'^ (London). INTUODUCTION 
by Professor SiGM, FREUD (Vienna). 

J, C. I'LilGEL, B.A. 

M.D., LL.D. Authorized Translation from the second German 
Edition by C. J, M. Hubback. 

JONES M.D. President of the International Psycho- Analytical 

EGO. By SiGM. FREUD RI.D., LL.D. Authorized Translation from 
the Gei-man by James Strachey. 


Directed by SlGM. FREUD 

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