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Thread: Artificialization of Sapiens and the Inculcation of Neurosis

  1. #1 Artificialization of Sapiens and the Inculcation of Neurosis 
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    Artificialization of Sapiens and the Inculcation of Neurosis

    The Enlightenment discovered the central role self-esteem played in human conduct. Freud showed us how the need for self-esteem grew in the infant and how the infant learned best to obtain that self-esteem by pleasing adults. Freud showed how “self-esteem comes to be maintained by a fictional style of performance, how the human animal itself becomes the locus of the social fiction…The inculcation of conscience was the inculcation of social meanings, social conventions; in a word, the artificialization of the “Natural Man”.

    Freud erroneously informed us that we were strivers after meaning as a result of our animal instincts, that “man harbored within himself the seeds of his own undoing…he was the essential animal, who carried with him the fate of his antisocial nature…man’s passion was his fate, and society was the grudgingly best of all possible worlds.”

    Today we do not accept this erroneously incomplete logic of Freud’s because we reject his biological basis for human behavior. We now know that biologically induced neurosis is not our fate. Neurosis is not the result of our animal instincts “but rather the bind of symbols”.

    “I am a social person because I am no longer mine: because I am yours.”--Freud

    One of life’s more urgent problems is learning to set the boundaries of the ego. Such control represents true maturity of character and personality; Sounds simple enough.

    Anxiety is the universal response of the organism to danger. For the child, anxiety becomes second nature when there is the slightest hint of separation from or abandonment by the mother.

    Freud’s whole psychoanalytic theory of neurosis is basically a study of how children control anxiety. Human reaction to the environment is delayed and controlled by the ego. Unlike all other animals the human can take some time to analyze and choose a response. It is obvious that the first concern for the developing ego is to learn how to control this ever present and overwhelming stimulus-response that can result from anxiety. The ego does this by ‘housing’ this anxiety within the ego, thus, no longer does the human organism respond directly to anxiety but the ego controls the response by ‘taking over’ this anxiety.

    A major revision of Freudian theory finds that while the child’s anxiety is based on helplessness; it is not based upon genetic instincts but is based upon the child’s life situation and in his social world.

    The restriction of experience is the heaviest price an animal can pay and it is the restriction of experience that the human animal pays to control anxiety. Freud tells us that the ego staves off anxiety “only by putting restrictions on its own organization”.

    The egos theoretical limits are limited from the very beginning during interaction with its parents. The mechanisms of defense thus become excellent techniques of self-deception. This is the fateful paradox we call neurosis: The child is given into humanization by giving over the aegis over himself. Freud says for the child “You no longer will have to punish me father; I will punish myself…You can approve of me as you see how well I do as you would wish me to…I am a social person because I am no longer mine; because I am yours.”

    Becker says “the conclusion of Freud’s work is that the humanization process itself is the neurosis”.

    Did you know that we are all neurotic to one degree or another? Can you identify that personal neurosis?

    Ideas and quotes from “The Birth and Death of Meaning”—Becker


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