[lit-ideas] Re: CFP: PEACE REVIEW on the Psychological Interpretation of War

  • From: Eric Yost <NYCEric@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2004 14:36:46 -0500

Andy may believe that Koenigsburg's question is new and brave, but I 
think Koenigsburg's just trying to clear an academic niche using the 
wrong tools.

Psychoanalytic writing about war and conflict is nothing new. Wilhelm 
Reich, Erich Fromm, Norman O. Brown, Karl Menninger, Colin Wilson, and 
Arthur Koestler have all tried to establish working theses about human 
destructiveness. Many have also studied the effect of group behavior on 

Few prescriptions result from these studies: Koestler concluded that our 
warlike nature was the result of a wrong turn in evolution, one that put 
our neocortex under the control of our limbic system, and that we should 
all spend our lives on drugs designed to reroute our violent impulses. 
Fromm and Brown (in "Anatomy of Human Destructiveness" and "Love Against 
Death: the Psychoanalytic Meaning of History") have concluded that 
society should change so as to minimize the emergence of "necrophiliac 
personality types" or hinder the ascendancy of death-centered thinking.

Koenigsburg comes late to this strand of humanist psychology and doesn't 
seem to have much to add to it except his name, a large mailing list, 
and his ambition. Plus he doesn't respond to objections from any of the 
groups he spams regardless of their qualifications.


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