necrophilia; love of death; death, love of –

Literally, „necrophilia“ means, „love of the dead“ (as „biophilia“ means „love of life“). The term is customarily used to denote a sexual perversion, namely the desire to possess the dead body (of a woman) for purposes of sexual intercourse, or a morbid desire to be in the presence of a dead body. ― (1964a: The Heart of Man. Its Genius for Good and Evil, New York (Harper and Row) 1964, p. 39.)


Necrophilia in the characterological sense can be described as the passionate attraction to all that is dead, decayed, putrid, sickly; it is the passion to transform that which is alive into something unalive; to destroy for the sake of destruction; the exclusive interest in all that is purely mechanical. It is the passion to tear apart living structures. ― (1973a: The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, New York (Holt, Rinehart and Winston) 1973, p. 332.)


The capacity for the attraction to death is one which is given in any human being if he fails in development of what I would call his primary potentiality, namely to be related to life as something which is interesting, something which is joyful, or to develop his powers of love and reason. If all of these things remain incomplete, then man is prone to develop another form of relatedness, that of destroying life. By doing this he also transcends life, because it is as much of a transcendence to destroy life as it is to create it. ― (1991f [1961]: The Concept of Mental Health, in: E. Fromm, The Pathology of Normalcy. Contributions to a Science of Man, New York (American Mental Health Foundation) 2010, p. 11.)

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