Drive of Life or Eros: What is It?

The drive of life encompasses all those impulses and behaviors that motivate our survival without renouncing pleasure and adding to the feeling of well-being.


There are moments in which we find an unequaled inspiration, as if we had been touched by a wand. We are so motivated that the world is too small for us, wanting to go for our goals, with enthusiasm and courage. We speak of instants that are genuinely defining the drive of life.

This drive invites us passion and vitality. In addition, it is a way to resolve tensions. However, as it might seem at first, it is not always something of an erotic or sexual nature.

Through this article, we show you what really defines this drive; one of the essential concepts of psychoanalytic theory. In addition, we show you how it manifests, the origin, its relationship with mythology and associated concepts.

Drive of life, what is it?

To begin to understand the drive of life it is necessary to approach the concept of drive. The concept is born of Freud’s theory of personality, which suggests that we act to resolve the tensions that we have.

The drive is according to this current the origin of all mental activity. It has:

  • Source. It is the organ where the drive is born.
  • Force. What pushes the action.
  • Goal. It consists in the satisfaction of excitement.
  • Object. That which satisfies.

As we have already pointed out, the impulse is not necessarily a sexual matter, although by their names it can be thought that way. It goes further, although it is linked to the pursuit of pleasure and satisfaction. Now, the life drive is that impulse that generates both activation and excitation in the organic plane. Your goal is to preserve our survival.

In addition, it is a dynamic force that goes in search of pleasure, leaving aside what does not generate it. This works when we activate mechanisms to reduce our tensions.

Why is it called eros?

It is also called in this way because psychoanalysis has always been close to mythology, in fact it is a subject that fascinated Sigmund Freud. So, the use of metaphors or analogies that refer to certain stories or traits of mythology to explain the theory has been common; A great idea to make it more understandable.

Then, the drive of life is associated with the God of mythology whose name is Eros. It is the person responsible for sexual attraction, love and fertility.

How does it manifest?

Eros is present in each one of us. It intervenes in the relationship we have with ourselves, with others and with nature. Then it manifests itself in the way in which we interact, motivating actions that lead us towards survival.

In addition to the basic physiological activities, within which sex is found, the drive of life is present in dreams, in creativity, in eroticism and in love.

In addition, it is presented avoiding pain or that which is not pleasant to us. Although Freud always emphasized that the barriers between pleasure and displeasure are quite diffuse.

Concepts associated with the life drive

Within psychoanalysis, the limits between some concepts are minimal: this has to do with understanding the psychic apparatus as a dynamic element. The drive of life is not the exception. Let’s see, in the framework of economic theory, which concepts are associated:

  • Principle of pleasure. He who seeks satisfaction.
  • Principle of reality. He who is responsible for adapting to the circumstances.
  • Drive of death. It would encompass those impulses associated with dissolution. Also, the tendency to destroy life and aggression.
  • Principle of Nirvana. It would have to do with the tendency to reduce the excitation level to zero.

The concept of life drive is part of the most important concepts of the theory of psychoanalysis, making sense when understood within the psychoanalytic conception of the psychic apparatus. Furthermore, and although it may seem paradoxical, it is intimately related to the death impulse; in fact, there is not a moment when both are not present.


The drive of life is that push that invites us and motivates us to survive. That dynamic impulse of self-preservation that we have and that is at the bottom of many of the behaviors we perform.