“The disease called man”--Nietzsche

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by coberst, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. coberst Registered Senior Member

    “The disease called man”--Nietzsche

    Aristotle said that all men seek happiness. Freud said that the goal of the pleasure-principle is happiness. Man’s desire for happiness sets at odds to the reality-principle. It is the reality-principle that propels the world into tomorrow. Humans naturally seek what they wish but “reality imposes on human beings the necessity of renunciation of pleasures”.

    Therein lay the rub an the rub is called repression.

    Freud says that the whole edifice of psychoanalysis is constructed on the theory of repression—the essence of society is the repression of the individual--the essence of the individual is repression of him or her self—Freud’s theory is that the phenomena dreams, neurotic symptoms, and errors are caused—i.e. the principle of psychic determinism—they are meaningful because this means there is purpose or intention—“since the purport of these purposive expressions is generally unknown to the person whose purpose they express, Freud is driven to embrace the paradox that there are in a human being purposes of which he knows nothing, involuntary purpose”—i.e. unconscious ideas.

    Neurosis is “the disease called man” Nietzsche. “Neurosis is an essential consequence of civilization or culture.” Brown

    “Between “normality” and “abnormality” there is no qualitative but only a quantitative difference, based largely on the practical question of whether our neurosis is serious enough to incapacitate us for work.” The difference between “neurotic and healthy is only that the healthy have a socially useful form of neurosis.”

    Freud defined psychoanalysis as “nothing more than discovery of the unconscious in mental life”—the other hypothesis is that “some unconscious ideas in a human being are incapable of becoming conscious to him in the ordinary way, because they are strenuously disowned and resisted by the conscious life”.

    Norman Brown tells us that to comprehend Freud one must understand “repression”. “In the new Freudian perspective, the essence of society is repression of the individual, the essence of the individual is repression of the self.”

    Freud discovered the importance of repression when he discovered the meaning of the “mad” symptoms of the mentally deranged, plus the meaning of dreams, and thirdly the everyday happenings regarded as slips of the tongue, errors, and random thoughts. He concludes that dreams, mental derangements, and common every day errors (Freudian slips) have meaningful causes that can be explained. Meaningful is the key word here.

    Since these psychic phenomena are unconscious we must accept that we have motivation to action with a purpose for which we are unconscious (involuntary purposes). This inner nature of which we are completely unaware leads to Freud’s definition of psychoanalysis as “nothing more than the discovery of the unconscious in mental life.”

    Freud discovered that sapiens have unconscious causes which are hidden from her because they are disowned and hidden by the conscious self. The dynamic relationship between the unconscious and conscious life is a constant battle and psychoanalysis is a science of this mental conflict.

    The rejection of an idea which is one’s very own and remains so is repression. The essence of repression is in the fact that the individual refuses to recognize this reality of her very own nature. This nature becomes evident when it erupts into consciousness only in dreams or neurotic symptoms or by slips of the tongue.

    The unconscious is illuminated only when it is being repressed by the conscious mind. It is a process of psychic conflict. “We obtain our theory of the unconscious from the theory of repression.” Freud’s hypothesis of the repressed unconscious results from the conclusion that it is common to all humans. This is a phenomenon of everyday life; neurosis is common to all humans.

    Dreams are normal phenomena and being that the structure of dreams is common to neurotics and normal people the dream is also neurotic. “Between “normality” and “abnormality” there is no qualitative but only quantitative difference, based largely on the practical question of whether our neurosis is serious enough to incapacitate us for work…the doctrine of the universal neurosis of mankind is the psychoanalytical analogue of the theological doctrine of original sin.”

    Quotes from “Life against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History” Norman O. Brown

    If you do not perceive your self to be a cauldron of conflict does that mean that the science of psychology is just a bunch of baloney?

    If you look and cannot see it does that mean it does not exist?

    Must we prepare our self in order to see?
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  3. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

    Not sure if your Nietzsche quote applies here, but I think you are talking about what he called the Greek Apollonian(authority- order) VS Dionysian(Chaotic - Individual) drama.

    The way of Apollo carries us forward as a group(to reach the potential of the group) and the way of Dionyses carries us forward as an individual(to reach the potential of the individual). Too much of either, in my opinion is dangerous and historically they come in waves.

    Well Wikipedia says it better than me, I see:

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  5. coberst Registered Senior Member

    Humans are the only species to be self conscious. We dread death and repress that dread because we cannot live with a constant consciousness of our mortality.

    How can we, the “man on the street”, Tom & Jane, gain an insight into the meaning of this dread of death? A dread so strong that we kill to prevent that death and that we are so dedicated to repressing that dread that many things we do is done in that behalf.

    I suspect most of us have experienced the feeling we call ‘claustrophobia’. I have experienced that feeling and I am confident that I would do almost anything to stop that experience. I suspect that it was the dread of death that caused the inmates of the Nazi concentration camps to tolerate such terror as daily existence must have been for those imprisoned in those camps.

    I suspect that dread of death is the reason that ‘water-boarding’ is such a popular form of torture. Torture is, I suspect, an effort to induce that same dread that we experience in a claustrophobic episode. I think that we might properly use the metaphor ‘dread of death is claustrophobia’ or perhaps ‘dread of death is water-boarding’.

    Death is an abstract idea. It is an idea that grows and develops throughout our life. I am told that a child has no comprehension of death until the age of four or five.

    Cognitive science informs us that an abstract idea is a product of past experiences combined by the imagination into one coherent package. Real experiences constantly mold and remodel this abstract idea unconscious to the self. Cognitive science also informs us that 95% of all thought is unconscious. Thought might be imagined to be somewhat like an iceberg with 95% of its substance below the surface of consciousness.

    All animals have an instinctive drive to avoid death but humans add to this biological instinct a consciousness of self and a connection between mortality and the self that other animals do not have. This biological survival instinct to behind our fear of death but human’s biological fear is augmented by the way in which s/he perceives the world.

    Humans create a world view filled with symbols and death is just one of them. We are anxious about many things and repression of the unconscious seems to be a primary manner in which we try to cope with these anxieties. Occasionally experiences shock our ability to repress our anxieties in such a manner that we cannot find the will or strength to continue this repression and such things as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) occurs.
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  7. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

    PTSD is not simply a reaction to fear of death situations. And the person who experiences trauma has experienced something different from the those who haven't. Sexual abuse traumas of children cannot be boiled down into fears of death nor do flashbacks 'really mean' that fears of dying are coming back.
  8. coberst Registered Senior Member

    I suspect that PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) might well become one of the most important concerns for America that results from this war in Iraq.

    What I have read about these matters indicates that our fundamental fear of death and its subsequent repression forms the foundation for this mental breakdown called PTSD. Repression becomes completely exhausted and the consciousness of death becomes constant and finally irrepressible. The victims of PTSD can no longer ‘whistle past the graveyard’.

    The evolution into self-consciousness from self-satisfying ignorance inherent in animal nature had one great tragedy for wo/mankind, which is anxiety or dread. It is our very humanness which produces anxiety--dread of death. This anxiety results from the ambiguity of our situation and our inability to overcome such an ambiguity. This ubiquity of ambiguity drives us into the creation of a virtual world in which to live. Self-consciousness cannot be denied, we cannot disappear into a state of vegetation, we cannot flee dread; we can only create delusions--a virtual reality.

    The task of the sciences of psychology, psychoanalysis, sociology, and anthropology are to discover the strategies that humans use to avoid anxiety. How do we function automatically and uncritically in our virtual world and how do these strategies deprive us of true growth and freedom of action?

    Today we talk about ‘repression’ and ‘denial’; Kierkegaard, the pioneer, called these same things “shut-upness”. He recognized the ‘half-obscurity’ in which wo/man lives her life, he recognized that man recognizes the truth of ceremony, how many times to bow when walking past the altar, he knows things in the same way that a pupil uses ABC of a mathematical expression but not when it is changed to DEF. “He is therefore in dread whenever he hears something not arranged in the same order.”

    Shut-upness is what we today call repression. Kierkegaard recognized a “lofty shut-upness” and a “mistaken shut-upness”. It is important that a child be reared in a lofty shut-upness, i.e. reserve, because it represents an ego-controlled and self-confident perception of the world.

    Mistaken shut-upness, however, results “in too much blockage, too much anxiety, too much effort to face up to experience by an organism that has been overburdened and weakened in its own controls…more automatic repression by an essentially closed personality”. Good is openness to new possibilities and evil is closed to such possibility.

    Shut-upness is called, by Kierkegaard, “the lie of character”. “It is easy to see that shut-upness eo ipso signifies a lie, or, if you prefer, untruth. But untruth is precisely unfreedom…the elasticity of freedom is consumed in the service of close reserve…Close reserve was the effect of the negating retrenchment of the ego in the individuality.”

    This ‘lie of character’ is developed by the infant’s need to adjust to the world. This unfreedom becomes mistaken shut-upness when the character becomes too fearful of the world to open itself up to its possibilities. Such individuals become ‘inauthentic’; they are not their own person; they follow a life style that becomes automatic and uncritical, they become locked in tradition. This infant grows up becoming the ‘automatic cultural-man’.

    Quotes from “The Denial of Death”; Pulitzer Prize winner for nonfiction by Ernest Becker.
  9. Spud Emperor solanaceous common tater Registered Senior Member

  10. Challenger78 Valued Senior Member

    After all, we are only human.
  11. coberst Registered Senior Member


    The normal human has been given a great brain and the normal human wastes 98% of that great brain.
  12. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member


    Also it's not wasted, if it's not needed.
  13. coberst Registered Senior Member


    My source for this conclusion is observation and judgment. If some one thinks that brains are not needed by our society then that is further evidence of another wasted brain.
  14. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

    If you are using the PSTD soldiers go through you are on solider ground. But again, looking at PSTD in sexual abuse situations fear of death is not the issue generally - unless more overt forms of violence were central. You are also not distinguishing between the experiences of the trauma sufferer and the person on the street. If they both suffer from fear and death and both suppress it, why is one so different from the other? I can think of answers but the way you present the idea seems to mush them together. PSTD sufferers do not have 'the same thing' as the those other people.

    Those who repress more are more anxious? This does not fit my experience.

    I see very repressed people who are less anxious than people who are more open to their feelings. I also see vast cultural differences. Kierk. being a Dane is also going to develop notions of anxiety and the central problem in a culture where shut-upness is central.
  15. coberst Registered Senior Member

    We repress in order to inhibit anxiety. However, I suspect that in the case of PTSD our energy for repression is overcome and anxiety reins supreme.
  16. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

    Well your source might be using 2% but actually they really don't know a hell of a lot about the brain. They have no clue how much we really use. Some people I suspect use more than others yes.

    It's like the story of the retirement party for the famous GE CEO Jack Welch. Also retiring the same day was a shop worker. On a lark they had them both make speeches(rather the shop plug was given a couple mins to say something).

    He said "You paid me for 25 years, the use of my hands. My thoughts were never asked for and I would have given them for free".

    So that is what I meant, it's not wasted if it's not needed. I suppose It would be better said it's not wasted if it's not asked for. Not everybody gets to be CEO or a near-plagiarized, Pulitzer Prize winner. Some parts of the brain are used in motorskills(athletes) some for analytical thinking, still others for tasks we might have not done in thousands of years.

    What do you want coberst? Each their own renaissance man?
  17. coberst Registered Senior Member

    Exactly! I had not used the phrase before but it is right on.
    Renaissance means rebirth and so in that light it is not the right word but in the sense of the more vulgar use of the word as an individual who is self-actualizing by means of self-learning the word is proper.
  18. machaon Registered Senior Member


    Not true. For the love of god, if your going to post here do your dang homework.
  19. Pinocchio's Hoof Pay the Devil, or else.......£ Registered Senior Member

    If all exists in a constant state of evolution, its suggests constant change (no matter how small).
    whatever point in time you have used normal for will not be the norm now
    on what facts have you based the term normal human???

    1 seeing person in a room with 9 blind men who is normal?

    Perhaps you mean human brain??
  20. fadingCaptain are you a robot? Valued Senior Member

    "If you do not perceive your self to be a cauldron of conflict does that mean that the science of psychology is just a bunch of baloney?
    If you look and cannot see it does that mean it does not exist?
    Must we prepare our self in order to see?"

    Another Nietzsche quote might be appropriate:
    "if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. "

    The courageous must try and come to terms with their existence and all that it entails. To shirk this in order to gain a measure of happiness is cowardly and delusory.
  21. Pinocchio's Hoof Pay the Devil, or else.......£ Registered Senior Member

    Man's oldest enemy is man.
    Man's newest enemy is man.
    Man's downfall is man.
    I am a man, and I am proud.
    Oh man ,oh man. =anon:scratchin:
  22. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

    Don't forget the other part of that :
    (there have been so many different translations of this)
    "he who fights with monsters for to long, should take care that he himself does not become a monster".

    Sometimes it is not worth fighting for.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2008
  23. Pinocchio's Hoof Pay the Devil, or else.......£ Registered Senior Member


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