After years and years since about 9 years old I’ve been struggling with understanding the underlying mechanisms of the human psyche, the thing that makes it tick. I’ve read hundreds of books from Schopenhauer to Dostoyevsky to Jung but I’ve never had an obvious underlying mechanism exposed, just vague esoteric philosophical/psychological concepts which has confused me deeply.
However my reading has lead me to Ernest Becker. And nothing has been put clearer in front of my eyes.
We are stuck in duality - our mind is infinite and filled with potential yet we are constrained to this meat machine which pisses and shits and is worth about $2. We are the infinite met with the finite. And we will do anything in our power to escape this terror of death.
Civilisation and culture ultimately is a defence mechanism to protect us from the knowledge of our mortality, therefore the prime goal of humanity is to transcend and become immortal wether that be through cosmic means (meditation, Tibetan book of the dead) or material means (becoming so rich your name lives for ever, being a great ruler)
So that is what makes us tick - survival instincts. And culture distracts ourselves from mortality. I’m western culture how do we become immortal?
Well, we buy things, go on greater trips, own a bigger house than all our friends - the list goes on. And in my opinion this system is not conducive for alleviating any form of death anxiety as you’ll never be the richest or most wealthy. We know in this materialist world we will never be as rich as bill gates or as famous as Kylie Jenner. The word that comes to mind is futility.
Anyways I hope you enjoyed this little spiel. Have a good week everyone.