(I read Fromm and wrote this while still in the throws of untreated alcoholism)
I have been struggling in my head for quite a while with the concept of what are some base norms of our culture. What are the meta-subconscious ideas that drive America?
While reading Erich Fromm’s, The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness he outlines necrophilia as a contributor to malignant aggression. To understand this, we must approach that a “given character structure interacts with a given social structure.” Meaning we are seeing how American’s individual character interacts with death and how this influences society. Now when we all hear this word we think of sex with dead people. But in the definition that the Fromm uses it is more of an attraction to death, not solely a corpse to have intercourse with. Where is this evident? Is it based on truths? The answer is clear to me and yes we are a culture of death. The imagery of death is ever-present in popular entertainment, people wear shirts with skulls on them and other macabre imagery. It looks cool. Where else can this be found? Any horror movie or metal music? Video games where killing is the basis seem to be the most fun. Like The Walking Dead…I love the show but when you take a step back it is truly morbid and sad. Books about fighting wars and destruction, these are things that entertain and perhaps we should look at these to find where our values. There seems to be some overarching love of death and of dying. While we are all scared to death, for the most part, there seems to be this attraction.
As for the military side of things we are used to one thing that was highlighted in a video that I was watching about Royal Marine Officers.
The Sergeant Major says within his first three sentences, “Don’t forget that the reason we exist is to kill.” I can remember one letter I wrote to my parents, “They are training us to kill”. Don’t let us forget the point of the military.
Doesn’t the word look so much more foreboding in bold? We can say it is a force for good and that may true but we are used to killing. The troubling thing on top of this is corporations are making money from death. Maybe this is slightly skewed because of where I am situated in life. But look at yourselves and the things you enjoy.
Fromm would argue that this is from malignant aggression that has developed in modern man. I would argue that man is born inherently evil. Most people, when asked, would say that man is good. A little hesitantly usually. How does this effect us this culture of death? Is it healthy? I don’t have these answers but would ask you to just think about it. Please, leave comments on the good and bad strains that effect modern America. Perhaps this the closest we shall see a Psychologist reason his way to the fallen nature of man.