Aside from the search for satisfaction or pleasure, what makes up a human being? In the aftermath of World War 1, psychologists the world over analyzed this question with an increased fervor – unable to justify why Europe would forgo the profit and warmth of stability for the unprecedented nightmare that is modern war.
Whether we analyze people or states, one truth becomes apparent to all of us: there is much more going on than pleasure (libido) seeking and self-preservation (animal instincts). During times of war, suicide rates tend to drop. Countries with low homicide rates have the highest suicide rates. The data would suggest that humans have an innate drive to balance destructive forces.
Freud described the drive like this: “Starting from speculations on the beginning of life and from biological parallels I drew the conclusion that, besides the instinct to preserve living substance, there must exist another, contrary instinct seeking to dissolve those units and to bring them back to their primeval, inorganic state. That is to say, as well as Eros there was an instinct of death” (S. Freud, 1930.)
Unlike external aggression, which has a role in self-preservation as well as reproduction, the death instinct is directed inward. Essentially, the drive seeks what is most painful and disturbing to the organism. The ultimate goal is the cessation of all that is organic and a return to the inorganic.
The mechanism of destruction
In our own lives, we’ve noticed the change in our interests. While schools cut down on physical education, the use of technology remains ever increasing.
Despite increasing tech addiction and dependency, humanity is not ready to put the smartphone down. Rather, as is the case with Google Glass, the thought is only on how technology can be more invasive.
Our organic inferiority – fueled by complacency, boredom, and ease – is now being marketed to by Elon Musk, the backing force for the Neuralink. As described on the official site, Neuralink is an “ultra high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers.” In a very literal way, a part of your mind will be replaced with inorganic machinery.
This is the completion of inferiority marketing. While our sex appeal or state of mind have been targeted for product campaigns in the past, our very mind is now on trial – suspected to be lacking.
With mental illness at an all-time high, we should not be surprised to see tech addiction and the rise of tech integration. Increased gender dysphoria may be a similar mechanism.
Many of us stand ready to give up on mental sovereignty and integrate into a tech-net. The goal of psychologists must be to address the societal issues creating a setting where so many choose the inorganic over the organic.
Capitulation under the surrender flag known as progress is the antithesis of the role our psychologists ought to play in society.