Pedra, Papel e Tesoura

8 de novembro de 2017

Freud’s “Letter to Einstein, 1932”.

“Letter to Einstein, 1932” was written by Freud. Below are some annotations I made about that text. They may or may not reflect what I think about this subject. Questions about my personal opinion can be asked in the comments.

  1. Is it possible a future without war?
  2. Technological progress isn’t enough to stop war.
  3. A physicist, usually, does not have enough study about human feeling, so he should seek an expert before forming his opinion.
  4. Einstein wrote a letter to Freud to see if he had an answer to the problem, since Freud had the reputation of expert in human instincts.
  5. An impartial answer for a given problem needs to depend as little as possible on politics.
  6. At least for world peace purposes, there should be an international legislature and judiciary system composed by leaders of each nation, but Einstein admits that it’s a superficial fix: it’s pointless to have a perfect solution that wouldn’t be adopted.
  7. A court may have its decisions undone by pressures that are unrelated to the law.
  8. An international court would have to be superior to the nations that participate in it, in a way that one couldn’t argue against it’s decisions.
  9.  One of the obstacles to the idea is the desire for power.
  10. The desire for power leads one nation to meddle in the affairs of another nation.
  11. War is a business.
  12. Why is the population so passive when the government decides that it’s time for war?
  13. Soldiers have a job in the war, but they just act accordingly, rather than thinking if war really is necessary.
  14. People are led to believe that war is necessary (even when it is not) because schools, media, and sometimes church are controlled by a minority that profits from war.
  15. That’s how the minority manipulates thoughts and feelings.
  16. How, however, can a person reach such a degree of fury to the point of dying for a cause that does not even exist?
  17. Hate and desire for destruction are innate to the human being, who takes pleasure in hating.
  18. When a person discovers how to incite someone’s hatred, he or she has already gained some control over that person.
  19. Is it possible to evolve and leave hate behind? Will humanity ever be hate-free?
  20. Intellectuals can also be manipulated by the media.
  21. War isn’t the only form of hate. It can show itself under several forms. But war is still it’s most drastic and cruel manifestation.
  22. Einstein was fully conviced that Freud could answer to his questions.
  23. The same object can be analyzed by more than one science.
  24. A scientist may very well be unprepared to deal with politics.
  25. Law and violence only seem antagonistic; it is not possible to enforce a law without weapons.
  26. Humans are animals.
  27. When weapons were invented, intelligence began to replace brute force in the task of solving conflicts.
  28. The safest way to end law infringement is by killing offenders, but that doesn’t make it the best solution for crime.
  29. Killing an “enemy” causes pleasure on the assassin, by satisfying it’s instinct to kill.
  30. But people sometimes think: “Better to make him useful to us, instead of killing him.”
  31. You can spare an enemy’s life by making him useful, but you may still dread the possibility of revenge.
  32. Evolution has modified the forms of oppression, but the strong still oppresses the weak to this day, be it with sheer brutality or cunning.
  33. But several weak people can work together to destroy the oppressing party.
  34. When several weak ones manage to destroy a strong one, they establish a new right together.
  35. But that’s also violence.
  36. If the community is broken, they will return to the original state: a new strong one will raise and oppress the weak.
  37. A community’s source of power are the common feelings in each community member.
  38. To keep the community alive and in shape, each individual must give up some of his personal freedom.
  39. A completely balanced community is an idea without empirical examples.
  40. The community, to be perfectly balanced, would have to eliminate hierarchy in all of its forms.
  41. Unless hierarchy ceases to exist, the dominant classes will impose the laws with little participation of the submitted classes.
  42. Plus, those who are high in the hierarchy may want to put themselves above the laws, so that the laws that are valid for the people are not valid for the rulers.
  43. And there’s the pretty fair violence exercised by the oppressed people who want it’s dignity back.
  44. None of this nullifies the possibility of peaceful solutions.
  45. From a realistic point of view, many wars brought good consequences, but some brought only harm to both parties.
  46. The multitude of governments makes war easier to happen, meaning that a world with just a few rulers for large amounts of territory, obtained by annexation, would lessen the chance of war.
  47. Ironically, that means that peace can be established after a war, if the nation that won claims the enemy territory and it’s people.
  48. It is difficult to keep an unified territory if the people have striking differences.
  49. War is rare, but destructive.
  50. If we make a central authority to arbitrate conflicts between nations, war may be avoided.
  51. An organization like the United Nations is pointless if people don’t listen to it.
  52. The two forces that guarantee a society’s exitence: violence (law enforcement) and emotional attachments.
  53. However, if there is no violence, a community can continue existing by emotional bonds alone.
  54. Christian nations can have wars between each other, while making allies with other religions.
  55. Nationalism poses a problem in the quest for world peace.
  56. Peace would be easier if the world was communist.
  57. But establishing worldwide communism is a goal as distant as it is difficult to achieve.
  58. Putting things that way, it looks like world peace won’t ever come.
  59. There are only two kinds of impulse: Eros (love) and Thanatos (hate), union and aggression
  60. Neither is fundamentally bad, both are needed for survival.
  61. An instinct, such as self-preservation, can have a bit of both.
  62. A person can declare war for several reasons, which are not always declared.
  63. It’s possible to act in a destructive manner for reasons that are deemed “noble”, but it’s also possible to pretend to act in a “noble” manner when all that you want is destruction.
  64. The destructive impulse is also suicidal.
  65. At least in our society, it is not possible to eliminate human aggressiveness.
  66. Bringing peace through violence is already a manifestation of aggressiveness.
  67. Even if we can’t eliminate aggresiveness, it’s possible to control it’s manifestations.
  68. To avoid war, we must exercise love and the establish common interests.
  69. The rulers must be educated free from censorship.
  70. Instincts must submit to reason, which does not mean that we have to eliminate them, but rather seek acceptable forms of expression for them.
  71. But expecting everyone to submit their instincts to reason is to expect an utopia; not everyone is fit for doing that.
  72. It’s easier to avoid war by exercising love and companionship, because expecting everyone to be rational is madness.
  73. War may become common, but it will not become acceptable.
  74. That’s because war kills, humiliates, forces us to fight against each other, destroys our property and causes us misery.
  75. As the destructive power grows, war is threat to all human beings.
  76. War is not worth it, but many still see it as acceptable.
  77. For as long as there’s one nation that poses a threat to others, no nation will drop military power.
  78. The process of cultural evolution had good and bad consequences.
  79. We can not predict where that “evolution” (civilization) will take us.
  80. Civilization encourages sexual repression.
  81. The process of cultural conditioning may very well cause human extinction.
  82. Sensations that were considered pleasurable by our ancestors are now intolerable to modern men.
  83. Turning aggression to the inside has consequences, both good (you aren’t hurting others) and bad (you will likely hurt yourself).
  84. Although the process of cultural conditioning has negative consequences, at least it serves to drive us away from the desire for war.

3 Comentários »

  1. […] towards aggression, but it’s possible to tame it by exercising it’s opposite impulse: eroticism. Lack of physical affection is also pointed as a root of violent behavior by Prescott, in his Body […]


    Pingback por On deprivation of affection. | Analecto — 29 de abril de 2018 @ 00:51

  2. So many valid points are made here. In truth, we must first rid the Planet Earth of the internment camps (all countries) and in order to succeed here a Planetary Council will have to be established (elected reps from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th World Nations along with engineers, environmentalists, physicists et al.) get rid of the vapid United Nations. At this present moment there is no valid government upon the Earth beyond the municipal level. Only after a Planetary Council is established will it be possible to introduce Universal Law to earth along with Universal Human Rights.
    The Internment Camps are responsible for all War.


    Comentário por octaevius — 8 de novembro de 2017 @ 16:47

    • Someone wrote that national frontiers are an excuse to make war, indeed. I agree with most things that Freud says in this letter. However, I’m not so sure about some things being possible or not. Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be willing to try, as I’ll only know if it’s possible if I try.
      Also, the annotations on Paedophilia: The Radical Case are ready.

      Curtido por 1 pessoa

      Comentário por Yure — 8 de novembro de 2017 @ 21:01

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