Complex of images and symbols
Philosophers who addressed the theme of death, often write about the fact that in different cultures this theme is experienced in different ways. We have already traced the development of this topic throughout different eras. Now the question arises: is the fear of death real. In other epochs, the fear of death was completely absent: people found the strength to resist the threat of physical destruction. The ancient Greeks, for example, as already stressed, taught to overcome the horror of non-existence by concentrating the spirit, by the effort of life-giving thought to cultivate contempt for death in oneself. The people of the Middle Ages, on the contrary, brought the forthcoming death to a frenzy. Perhaps this attitude to death was caused by the pictures of mass deaths of people as a result of plague or hungry pestilence. No era, as the Dutch historian and philosopher Johan Huizinga testifies, does not impose on a person the idea of death with such perseverance as the 20th century.
If we ask the question: what is the basis for comparing how people perceive death in different cultures, epochs, then a paradoxical thing will be revealed. As a rule, philosophical statements are compared. "For some sense of dying may be in man," Cicero writes, for example. "All this we must think about in our youth so that we can despise death; without such reflection, no one can be at peace with his soul; as we know, we will have to die, perhaps even today. " Here it is - to despise death ... And the medieval thinker Meister Eckhart, on the contrary, writes about how difficult it is for a man to be detached from worldly goods ...
It turns out there was a time when deaths were not afraid, the fear of the threat of physical destruction was not always. But to what extent can you trust philosophical thought? After all, often expressed in judgment contempt for death just reflects the horror of it.
Psychologists believe that the fear of death lies in human nature itself, in the very mystery of life. He is original, i.e. is rooted in the depths of the human psyche. However, in a particular era, through the prism of certain spiritual values, this fear takes on various transformed forms. So they were reflected in persistent religious and practical attitudes.
Culture constantly reproduces the life situations that are encountered at all times. We are talking about the problems of duty, love, sacrifice, tragedy, heroism, death. However, the culture does not move at all in a circle, returning again and again to the same motives. In each epoch these values acquire a new content, dictated not only by the constant - fixed by the nature of man, but also by the social reality in which this nature is revealed. Similarly, the problems of death, although they persecute mankind for ever, still receive a different interpretation in various religious traditions.
Each culture develops a certain system of values, in which the questions of life and death are rethought. It also creates a certain complex of images and symbols, with the help of which the psychological equilibrium of individuals is ensured. Man, of course, has a certain knowledge about the fact of an imminent death. But he tries, based on the existing symbolism in the culture, to form a more concrete idea of what makes a full life possible before the fact of inevitable death.
Neo-Freudianism about death
Freud's ideas about Eros and Thanatos were further developed in neo-Freudianism.
E. Fromm emphasizes that most psychoanalysts who adopted Freud's theory abstained from the perception of that part of his teaching that speaks of the instinct of death, perhaps because it goes beyond biological thinking, according to which all "biological" is automatically identified with the physiology of instincts. And yet they did not abandon completely new ideas of Freud, but went on a compromise, recognizing that the "thirst for destruction" exists as the opposite of sexuality. This gave them the opportunity to apply a new approach to the notion of aggression and at the same time "do not notice" cardinal changes in his worldview and not fall under his influence.
Freud made a very important step forward from mechanical physiology to a biological view of the organism as a whole and to an analysis of the biological preconditions for the phenomena of love and hatred. However, according to Fromm, his theory suffers from a serious flaw: it relies on purely abstract speculative reasoning and does not have convincing empirical evidence.
In addition to this, although Freud made a brilliant attempt to explain human behavior using his new theory, his hypothesis was not suitable for explaining the behavior of animals. For the instinct of death, it is a biological force that acts in any living organism, which means that animals must also perform actions aimed at either self-destruction or destruction of other individuals. It follows that in less aggressive animals we must detect more frequent diseases and an earlier mortality (and vice versa); But this hypothesis, of course, has no empirical evidence. In fact, as Fromm showed, aggression and destructiveness are neither biological data nor spontaneously arising impulses.
E. Fromm paid much attention to the problem of aggression in man. The American psychoanalyst interpreted aggressiveness as a person's ability to commit violent acts. This is a characteristic of human behavior associated with destructiveness. It is usually opposed to peacefulness, and in psychoanalysis - to sex or libido as creative, creative principles.
Fromm notes that the ambiguity of the concept of "aggression" causes great confusion in the literature. It is also used in relation to the person who defends himself against the attack, and to the robber who kills the victim for the sake of money, and to the sadist torturing the prisoner. Confusion is further intensified, as this concept is used to characterize the sexual behavior of the male half of the human race; for the purposeful behavior of a climber, a trader and even a peasant who works zealously in his field.
Perhaps the reason for this confusion is the behavioral influence in psychology and psychiatry. If we use the word aggression all harmful actions, i.e. all actions that damage or lead to the destruction of a living and non-living object (plant, animal, human), then, of course, the search for a cause loses its meaning, then the character of the impulse that caused this harmful action is indifferent. If you use the same word to describe actions aimed at destruction, actions intended to be defended, and actions carried out with a constructive purpose, then perhaps you should give up hope of understanding the "causes" underlying these actions. They do not have a common cause, since we are talking about completely dissimilar phenomena.
Fromm agrees that the main advance in Freud's views compared to his predecessors was that he reduced all the "drives" to two categories: the instinct of self-preservation and the instinct of sexuality. In this sense, Freud's theory can be called the last step in the history of the development of the doctrine of instincts. In the work "I and It", notes Fromm, as, indeed, in all subsequent works, he put forward a couple: the drive to life (Eros) and the attraction to death. The death instinct is directed against the living organism itself and, therefore, is the instinct of either self-destruction or the destruction of another individual. If the instinct of death is associated with sexuality, then it finds expression in the forms of sadism and masochism. Freud's basic theoretical premise in Freud's understanding is that man is obsessed with passion alone, a thirst to destroy either himself or others. This tragic alternative is unlikely to be avoided.
Fromm believes that the mechanism of defensive aggression is mounted in the brain of man and animal and is called upon to protect their vital interests from threat. If human aggressiveness were at the same level as in mammals (for example, our closest relatives have a chimpanzee), then human society would be relatively peace-loving. But this is not so. It can be argued that, in contrast to most animals, man is a real "killer."
Defensive aggression is a fact of biological adaptation. The animal's brain is phylogenetically programmed in such a way as to mobilize all offensive and defensive impulses if a threat to its vital interests arises, for example, when an animal is deprived of a vital space or restricts access to food, sex, or when a threat to its offspring occurs. Everything in it is directed to eliminate the danger that has arisen. The goal of defensive aggression is not to destroy, but to preserve life. If this goal is achieved, then the aggressiveness of the animal disappears.
According to Fromm, a person who has the gift of foresight and imagination reacts not only to a momentary threat, but also to a possible danger, but also when there is no clear threat. In other words, a person can give an aggressive reaction to his own prognosis. Fromm conforms to various aggressive actions, which are not due to the destructive aspirations of the attacker, but to the fact that he is ordered to act in this way, and he himself considers it his duty to obey the order. Destruction in itself is not an end in itself, it serves only as an aid to the achievement of a genuine goal.
The most important tool of instrumental aggression, according to Fromm, is war.
Another significant type of aggression is malignant, if a person is susceptible to torture and killing and while experiencing pleasure. Such aggressiveness is inherent only in man; he is the only living being that can destroy his own kind without any benefit or benefit. Malignant aggression is peculiar only to man. It is not generated by animal instincts. This is one of the passions that dominate in individual cultures or individual individuals, while others do not.
A characteristic sign of malignant aggression is necrophilia. Necrophilus is a man obsessed with deep desire for death. The Greek word means a corpse, something dead, lifeless (meaning the inhabitants of the afterlife). Initially, necrophilia meant a passion for copulation or other social contact with the corpse. Physicians called necrophiles of people who find themselves wanting to be near a corpse, examine it, touch it. Necrophiles are also considered people who have a passion for dismemberment of a dead body. Reports on the facts of necrophilia have been found in many publications, especially in the criminological literature on sexual perversions.
In modern psychoanalysis (mainly after the work of E. Fromm & "Anatomy of human destructiveness") the concept of "necrophilia" is used to denote the deep sub-structure of the individual, the passion that is rooted in the human character itself and is, according to E. Fromm, the soil for the growth of more obvious and gross manifestations of necrophilia.
Therefore, the expression necrophilic was originally used to refer not to a character trait, but characteristics of perverse actions. For the first time this word was uttered by the Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno in 1936. Responding to the speech of the Spanish general, he said: "I just heard a meaningless necrophilic cry:" Long live death! "." In 1961, E. Fromm borrowed this concept from M. de Unamuno and studied the characteristic features of necrophilia.
In addition to monitoring patients during psychoanalysis sessions, Fromm used biographies of historical personalities (A. Hitler, JV Stalin). Relying on Freud that the most fundamental forces in the structure of the personality are two drives: one to life, the other to death, E. Fromm described two characters - biophilus and necrophilia. Necrophilism, in its definition, is a passionate attraction to everything dead, sick, putrid, decaying. This is a passionate desire to turn all living things into inanimate, the craving for destruction for the sake of destruction.
Necrophil is the antipode of life. It irresistibly attracts to everything that does not grow, does not change, to everything mechanical. But his behavior is driven not only by the craving for the dead, but also by the desire to destroy the green, viable. Necrophilus as it seeks to accelerate life, quickly pass its mortal, terrestrial part and approach death. Therefore, all life processes, feelings, motives, he would like to opredmet, turn into things. Life with its internal uncontrollability, because it does not have a mechanical device, frightens and even scares the necrophilia. He is more likely to part with life than with things, since the latter have the highest value for him.
Necrophila attracts the darkness and the abyss. In mythology and poetry, his attention is riveted on caves, ocean abysses, dungeons, eerie secrets and images of blind people. The deep intimate motivation of the necrophilus is to return to the night of the primordial, to the prehistoric state, to the inorganic world. Life is never predetermined, it is impossible to accurately predict and control it. In order to make life manageable, controlled, it is necessary to kill it ...
Necrophil has an exceptional interest in everything purely mechanical (non-biological). It is a passion for violent rupture of natural biological connections. In the very existence of the necrophilia there is a painful contradiction: he lives, but is burdened with life; it develops as all biological, but yearns for destruction. Necrophil feels the creative beginning of life, but is deafly hostile to every creature. In dreams, he sees terrible pictures of violence, death and death. He sees a completely dead city, a fully automated society. In the television show, the scenes of death, mourning, and torture are consonant with him.
Necrophilic tendencies can manifest themselves in unintended, "minor" actions (in the "psychopathology of everyday life"), which Freud interprets as repressed impulses. Often we meet people who have a habit of breaking and tearing into small pieces what comes into their hands: flowers, pencils. Necrophilic character can manifest itself in the conviction that the only way to resolve problems and conflicts is violence. The less explicit expression of necrophilia is in particular interest in the disease in all its forms, as well as in death. A relatively inaccessible feature of a necrophilic character is considered to be a special lifelessness when communicating. A direct manifestation of verbal necrophilia can be considered preferential use of words associated with destruction or excrement.
In the nature of modern man, according to Fromm, the necrophilic tendencies are growing. He is no longer interested in other people, nature and all life. Nehrofilsky E. Fromm considered the very nature of the total technique. The world of living nature has turned into a world of "lifeless". E. Fromm also singles out people of a special kind, from whom executioners, terrorists, torturers, overseers are recruited. Pathologically necrophilic individuals pose a serious danger to others. They are misanthropists, racists, warmongers, and rippers. .. The society should have an idea of the presence among the population of potential necrophiles.
Fromm developed Freud's thought about man's craving for death and everything inorganic, highlighting this topic as philosophical-anthropological. He wrote that human existence asks. A person is thrown into this world not by his own will and leaves him again against his will. In contrast to the animal, which in its instincts has a "built-in" mechanism of adaptation to the environment and lives entirely within nature, man lacks this instinctive mechanism. He must live his life; not life must be lived. He is in nature, and yet he goes beyond nature; he realizes himself, and this realization of himself from an isolated entity makes him feel unbearably lonely, lost, impotent. The very fact of birth creates a problem. At the moment of birth, life asks a person a question, and this question must be answered. Not only with his mind or body, but with his whole being who thinks and dreams, sleeps and eats, cries and laughs, a person continuously answers the question that sets his life.
What is this question? The essence of it is: how can we overcome suffering, isolation, shame, generated by the experience of isolation? How can we find agreement with ourselves, with our brethren, with nature? A person must answer this question in one way or another; and even his insanity will give an answer, creating his own reality and trying to overcome the horror of isolation.
The question is always the same. However, according to Fromm, there are several answers, or at least two major ones. One is to overcome isolation and to find agreement, returning to the state of unity characteristic of the "subconscious" period of a person's life. Another answer suspects "complete birth", the deepening of consciousness, the development of the mind, its ability to love to such a degree that a person could go beyond his own egocentric problems and achieve a new harmony, a new unity with the world.
The goal of life, writes Fromm, is "complete birth", although our tragedy is that most of us die before we are born in this way. Death is the cessation of birth. Physiologically, our cellular system is in the process of constant birth; psychologically, however, for most of us, birth at a certain point stops. Some people are completely stillborn & quot ;; they continue to live physiologically, while they mentally seek to return to the mother's womb, to the ground, into the darkness, into death; they are insane or almost insane. Many others continue their way of life. However, they can not completely break the umbilical cord. They symbiotically remain connected with the mother and father, family, race, state, social status, money, gods, etc .; they are never able to free themselves from this dependence, and hence become completely born. "
Once torn from the prehuman, heavenly unity with nature, a person can never return to where he came from; two angels with fiery swords prevent his return. Only in death or madness can a return be realized - but not in life and in sanity. Fromm develops the idea of Freud that man pulls back into an inorganic nature. A person can seek to find this regressive unity on several levels, which at the same time are pathological and irrational. He can be possessed by the passion of returning to the womb, to the mother earth, to death. If this aspiration becomes overwhelming and unbridled, the result will be suicide or madness.
The less dangerous and less pathological form of regressive search, according to Fromm, is the desire to remain dependent on the maternal breast, an eternally dependent sucker who is in euphoria when he is loved, taken care of, protected, admired, and unbearable Anxiety, if he is threatened with separation from loving matter.
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