Unformatted text preview: Week Two Lecture Four: The Human Instinct for War Key Questions: 1) Are humans naturally inclined towards war and violence? 2) If so, how can war be avoided? X Liberalism leaves society vulnerable, debilitating sense of uncertainty I) The Crisis of Meaning in the West a) Growing doubt about the pillars of Western culture i) a darker recognition of the human propensities ii) Scrutiny of intellectuals and artists (1) "why?" vs "how?" X The pillar of progress X propensity for violence, irrationality is part of the dark side of the X paid liberal assumption on tax X Instead of how questions like philosophers tend to ask, now it's the why questions. After the war, questions become more skeptical. (Why god? Why beauty?) X These why questions help answer Einstein's question X Approach West as a cultural manifestation dividing self X Divided because European consciousness that is torn between opposing forces X "the best lack all conviction" X prominence of West's destructive instincts (The worst are part of passionate intensity) b) Post war Europe as cultural manifestation of the "divided self" i) Torn between its idealistic aspirations and its destructive instincts ii) In Nietzschean terms, instinct vs reason, herd mentality vs individual conscience iii) In Freudan terms, erotic vs destructive instincts X 19th century has optimism X Nietz was too dark and morbid for people's taste X After WWI, his ideas move towards the center stage (not mainstream) for intellectuals and artists X radical skepticism found great appeal against collge people Nietche: The Revolt of the Irrational Will a) Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) i. From fringes to center stage of European consciousness b) Challenged the fundamental assumption of progress i. Three propositions c) Attacks the meta-narratives of Western culture i) "beauty" in art "Apollonian" vs Dionysian" impulse in art ii) "Great Libels on Life" Niettsche believes: X Refine or complex culture is a sign of degeneration X critique individualism in favor for the herd X his ideas were marginal before the war, popular after X attacks meta narratives, art is absurd. For art is romantic. (art is impulse. This is not new treat. Art should be inherently irrational, creative, and amoral. X myth over lyrical poetry X in painting, it's more about multiple perspective than linear perspective (perfect symmetry is an illusion) X The first great libel on life is this: -a lot of emphasis on truth -Christian promise of universal salvation - Enlightenment...preaching dictatorship on reason These together conceal true instinct of humanity (Creative, violent, irrational). The above the "opium of them masses" If we empathize with this era, we'll understand the topsy turvy His ideas had resonance with artists and intellectuals in the post war II) d) The appeal of Nietzsche in post war Europe III) Freud: The Repression of the Death Instinct a) psychoanalysis's probe into the irrational, destructive side of humanity i) "" b) Analysis of the Oedipal Complex i) the compelling force of violence ii) freud's implicit argument IV) The Problem of War a) two dominant instincts Eros and Destructiveness i) a "Compass of Motives" ii) Instinct for destruction 1) Einstein: "An inner necessity" 2) Freud. "Death instinct" b) How can humanity ever avoid war? i) Boost the Eros instinct- Repress the Death instinct ii) Combat the "herd mentality" through education and culture c) The Paradoxical Solution to War i) increase the dosage of culture itself ii) intellectualism as the best way to repress our regressive impulses iii) final analysis -these impulses are intrinsic to human nature that it's impossible to get rid of them -he gives us a good example "a letter to Einstein", league of Nations as a group has no teeth or force on its own -you can only force a new world order if you have the means -humans have two dominant instincts (love and hate) love seeks to preserve and unite. Hate (destroy and kill) is stronger...even if they're different, they're not mutually exclusive -our love is so strong, we'd kill for it -neither Einstein and Freud are optimistic about the human race Talks about destructive impulse is like the power of karma -notion of free will... - ...
View Full Document
- Spring '08
- post war Europe, destructive instincts