There has been another mass murder school shooting, this time Friday in Santa Fe, Texas.
Not long ago,m I wrote down some thoughts and an extract from the 92-page book “Civilization and Its Discontents” by the Austrian neurologist and writer Sigmund Freud (1856-1939).
It was completed during the rise of Adolf Hitler, and among other insights the book anticipated the horrors of World War II. I first read the book in the 1960s as a college student. I happened upon a copy the other day and was struck again by Freud’s realistic view of human behavior.
Here’s the extract:
“Men are not gentle creatures who want to be loved, and who at the most can defend themselves if they are attacked: They are, on the contrary, creatures among whose instinctual endowment is to be reckoned a powerful share of aggressiveness. As a result, their neighbor is for them not only a potential helper or sexual object, but also someone who tempts them to satisfy their aggressiveness on him, to exploit his capacity for work without compensation, to use him sexually without his consent, to seize his possessions, to humiliate him, to cause him pain, to torture and to kill him.”
In my opinion, Freud was correct and little has changed.
The state-sponsored mass destruction of humans continues around the world.
Closer to home, active shooter mass killings are regular occurrences in the U.S. And nearly every day, most of us hear of horrific individual murders in our own cities big and small.
Of course, Freud was generalizing. The world then and now is occupied by mostly good and humane people.
And yet one can’t deny that humanity has an evil side that constantly manifests itself. Today’s psychologists disagree with some of Freud’s theories, but agree that he got the evil part right.