The publication of Freud’s Beyond the Pleasure Principle seemed to represent a sinister turn from his views of mental processes as dominated by the Pleasure Principle to the overall domination of the Death Drive. There has been speculation that this dark development in Freud’s thought was brought on by the unexpected death of his daughter that same year. Some passages in the book are obscure and difficult to follow and he writes that he is not convinced by his own hypothesis, but that nonetheless it is possible, in scientific curiosity, to follow a line of thought. Read the full text here.
The image above is not to be found in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, it is in the work Freud published three years later, The Ego and the Id. There are, in fact, no images in BPP, nonetheless it is in that work where Freud first declares that he is now turning to look at the two kinds of instinct from a ‘topographical’ point of view. Freud starts to use a metaphorical spatial framework to conceive of mental processes and their interrelations which brings him to that illustration those three years later.