Definition of life instinct in US English:

life instinct


  • An innate desire for self-preservation, manifest in hunger, self-defensive aggression, and the sexual instincts.

    Compare with death instinct
    • ‘Ordinarily of course, self-directed aggression conflicts with the life instinct, especially its self-preservative component, the animus.’
    • ‘Sure, they keep on plugging along, but it's more trapped-animal life instinct than true will.’
    • ‘This appears to be in contrast with the role of the life instinct and sublimation in the creative arts which aim to new expression, rather than a simple enactment of the perverse impulse.’
    • ‘The death instinct unties the object relations, and the life instinct reties them.’
    • ‘In his later writings, and in particular following his identification of a ‘death instinct’, Freud positioned the libido as the characteristic energy of the life instincts.’