The Death Drive of Evolution (From the Perspective of Depressive Realism)

  • Julie Reshe
Keywords: Depressive realism, death drive, evolution, nature, human exception, Darwin, Gould, Freud, Lacan


This paper analyses Charles Darwin and Sigmund Freud as depressive realists who attempted to dethrone the human species from their central place in nature and history. Both evolutionary theory and Freudian-Lacanian psychoanalysis partly preserve the idea of human exceptionalism, while considering psychoanalysis’s negative conceptualization of humans as the most maladapted species. This maladaption is conventionally conceptualized in psychoanalysis as a rupture from the natural order and is sometimes presented as the embodiment of the death drive. Such a concept of the death drive tends to be seen as an exclusively human drive. Developments in recent evolutionary biology and psychoanalytic thought suggest ways to elaborate on the concept of the death drive as not being exclusively human. Nature’s evolution is not the embodiment of progress that results in the appearance of the human species, and it is not the embodiment of a harmony from which humans deviate, but it is rather a rupture with itself. Nature as such is an embodiment of the death drive.

Author Biography

Julie Reshe

Professor, Researcher
School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of Tyumen,
Russia, 8 Marta St, 2k1, Tyumen


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How to Cite
Reshe, J. (2021). The Death Drive of Evolution (From the Perspective of Depressive Realism). Stasis, 11(1).
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