Yearning for Destruction: Thanatos and Snowflakes
- John C. Thompson
24th July, 2017
Thanatos is the urge to destruction, particularly to self-destruction, and
is not one of old Sigmund Freud’s more popular theories. However,
sometimes it is instructive to – metaphorically – get the likes of
Jihadists, Antifas, and (when you can find any) our Right-Wing Extremists
up on the leather couch and start taking notes.
Or you can nose through Freud’s 1930 book “Das Unbehagen in der Kulture”
(The Uneasiness in Civilization), although even the title sounds a bit
intimidating. Still, if you have been wondering what is wrong with some
people, there is insight here.
It isn’t just Freud: Authors from Jared Diamond back to the Durants have
pointed out that civilization requires compromise; we all have to
discipline ourselves to a hundred little constraints all the time. It is
hard to keep the balance; but then it is hard to keep the balance even in
primitive societies too.
That is the paradox in human society, particularly in civilization. We
form these groups to protect us from unhappiness and then our societies
become our biggest source of unhappiness. Not all of us manage to cope
with the problem.
However, the ideologues that have plagued us for 200 years feel that
civilization and its constraints need to be remade into some heroic new
model. Destroy society, the new society will be much better… just act, who
needs proof? What the ideologues don’t discuss much are their own
subconscious yearnings about that renovation.
At least today’s Jihadists are more honest about their intentions: They
make it clear they want to get laid more often – either in this world or
the next. Given their serial “temporary” marriages and the reintroduction
of sex slavery, a lot of them settle for both. Other ideologues are more
reticent about their sex-drives; but are just as clear about toppling
What is more disturbing however, is that the urge to self-destruction runs
in all of us and at some level one must really wonder about what lies
behind our willful disregard of threats like the Muslim Brotherhood, or the
embrace of political correctness. The destruction of history and tradition
for some unfounded, unspecified, future good is not something to take
The frustrating thing for Jihadists or Progressives is that they can sense
they are making progress towards their goals, but overall Western Society
is supposed to acquiesce to its own destruction. Domestic opponents who
insist on, for instance, pointing out the inherent flaws in Islam or voting
for Trump are rocks in the stream of destiny…. They can’t do that! It’s
against the narrative, how dare they?
At least Right-Wing extremists tend to be much more passive. They know
society is doomed, all they have to do is wait. This makes them much
easier to endure… ignore them and most eventually die of old age amid a
horde of stored ammunition and tinned food.
Here’s another word to remember: Schadenfreude. Let us take delight in
the misery of Jihadists and Progressives who find their hopes for our
downfall balked. We can annoy the Right-wing types by persisting in our
survival; and if we fail then it may help to have a chum who has been
preparing against it.