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Jekels, L. Bergler, E. (1940). Instinct Dualism in Dreams. Psychoanal Q., 9:394-414.

(1940). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 9:394-414

Instinct Dualism in Dreams

Ludwig Jekels and Edmund Bergler


We are here presenting the second of a proposed series of investigations into the more important psychological phenomena considered from the point of view of the dualism of instinct, eros and death.

In view of the energetic opposition which the hypothesis of a death instinct has met, particularly in Wilhelm Reich's book, Character Analysis, we ought perhaps to begin by determining whether or not this freudian concept can be upheld and whether, in the latter case, the basis for our investigation is still valid. We think, however, that this is neither the time nor the place for such a survey. Since we are of the opinion that a correct polemic consists of the support of a thesis rather than of the refutation of an attack upon it, we propose in the present case to limit ourselves to a presentation of a new piece of evidence for the existence of the death instinct which, as Freud complains, 'is difficult to grasp, inarticulate, and hard to demonstrate'. We believe that we can present evidence which is perhaps clearer than that heretofore presented. Our arguments against Reich will therefore refer only to those of his contentions which in some way cross the particular path which we have chosen for ourselves.

We believe that we have found this new evidence in a phenomenon which, unlike others that have been considered in this connection, does not belong to the field of pathology. It belongs rather to the realm of the normal and represents a biological state anchored basically in the periodicity which so widely dominates organic life. We refer, as you may already have guessed, to sleep.

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