[percy-l] I hope I am not becoming a pest

janet cantor janetcantor37 at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 9 06:56:09 EDT 2012

Re: The Thanatos Syndrome of Walker Percy:

  Eros and Thanatos—Freud 
    identifies two drives that both coincide and conflict within the individual 
    and among individuals.  Eros is the drive of life, love, creativity, 
    and sexuality, self-satisfaction, and species preservation.  Thanatos, 
    from the Greek word for "death" is the drive of aggression, sadism, 
    destruction, violence, and death.  At the conclusion of C&D, 
    Freud notes (in 1930-31) that human beings, following Thanatos, have invented 
    the tools to completely exterminate themselves; in turn, Eros is expected 
    to "make an effort to assert himself in the struggle with an equally 
    immortal adversary. But who can foresee with what success and with what result?"
  In Civilization 
    and its Discontents, Freud struggles 
    with paradoxes:
    Human behavior is motivated by a desire for happiness ("satisfaction 
    of needs").  Humans bond together to promote happiness.  This 
    bonding or "civilization" works against individual happiness. 
    Although civilization prevents happiness, it is necessary for human 
    In order for civilizations to be coherent, they channel their aggression 
    toward scapegoats (those excluded from the coherence), but with little effect: 
    "In this respect the Jewish people, scattered everywhere, have rendered 
    most useful services to the civilizations of the countries that have been 
    their hosts; but unfortunately all the massacres of the Jews in the Middle 
    Ages did not suffice to make that period more peaceful and secure for their 
    Christian fellows" 

 this is an awkward kid who made a video for his teacher as a school 
project to explain Existentialism. Forget about his hemming and hawing 
and just listen to him. This is the clearest explanation of 
Existentialism I have ever heard.  Note especially what he says about 
Kierkegard. I just love this primitive video:
Existentialism & Walker Percy.mp4
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/percy-l/attachments/20120709/0db29b65/attachment.html>

More information about the Percy-L mailing list