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Old November 1st, 2008, 12:23 PM   #1
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Engine of Economic Collapse: Human Desire

Engine of Economic Collapse: Human Desire

The Christian theologian Augustinian recognized human restlessness and constant discontent to be the source of the “historical process”. This conjecture, as a theory for man’s discontent, takes humans out of this world’s historical process. Under Christian theology the human soul has supernatural qualities; it, Christianity, takes the human species out of the animal kingdom and places wo/man between the natural and the supernatural.

Marx emphasizes the importance of the “economic factor” in the process of history.

While Freud agreed with the importance of the economic factor, he theorized that “work and economic necessity are the essence of the reality-principle…the essence of man lies not in the reality-principle but in repressed unconscious desires…no matter how bitter the struggle for bread, man does not live by bread alone,”.

Freud raises the question ‘Why do humans do the things they do’; in other words, what do humans desire beyond economic welfare and the mastery over nature?

Eros—the sum of self-preserving instincts that are manifested as impulses to gratify basic needs, as sublimated impulses, and as impulses to protect and preserve the body and mind—love.

Freud theorizes that beyond labor there is Eros. “And if beyond labor at the end of history there is love, love must have always been there from the beginning of history, and it must have been the hidden force supplying the energy devoted to labor and to making history…From this point of view, repressed Eros is the energy of history and labor must be seen as sublimated Eros.”

I think that Eros is the engine of our present economic collapse. And I think that Eros, human desire, love of self, is the steam engine of history.

Do you think that repressed Eros is the source of our present economic catastrophe?

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