The World Explored, the World Suffered Education Issue Nr. 22 September 2019 - Page 20

Culture, in Freud's view is the battleground of two mighty instincts, the life instinct of an individual which unites people into families, villages and cities, and the death instinct which can only be deciphered at the level of the relation between people where forces work conservatively to repeat the patterns of the past obsessively. These same forces work to prevent wider and wider associations, sometimes by destructively dissolving existing constructed relations on a limited scale, or on a global scale in a world war. The life instinct, Eros, Freud argues , ought in a perfect world, to triumph over the death instinct, Thanatos. The stoical attitude appears to be an attitude one adopts whilst one observes the battle of the giants on the cultural scene. Freud does not presume to even guess the outcome and stands in the shadow of Kant who was absolutely certain on moral grounds that Reason would prevail and a cosmopolitan kingdom of ends would be created as a consequence. Ricouer stands either in between these two positions or alternately to the right of Kant if one believes the mechanism of forgiveness to have religious connotations. Freud has been mentioned in this context in spite of Ricouers criticism that the Freudian archaeological theory of mind and society lacks a Hegelian teleological dimension (or Aristotelian dimension:the telos of the common good). Freudian theory is particularly valuable in the explanation of pathological phenomena. If the assumption of Plato and Aristotle relating to the logical identity of personal identity and social or political identity is philosophically defensable then, even if Freudian theory might lack an important teleological dimension this might not be of decisive significance when it comes to the characterisation of pathological phenomena whether it be of a personal or political nature. Take the phenomenon of group identity which Freud wrote a paper about(Group Psychology and the Ego). The stronger the bond of identification with the group, the stronger the reaction to "outsiders" however minimal the factual differences between the outsiders and the members of the group might be. This reasoning can be used to ground an objection to the project of globalization, namely, that the only alternative to the current concept of the nation state is some kind of world government. Now Kant particularly rejected the concept of world government on the grounds that this would be tyrannical. If we connect this Kantian point to the Freudian reflection, the consequence would seem to be the kind of middle position suggested by Ricouer in which a European project dilutes national identity and nationalism on the road to the global project of further dilution of the identification mechanisms involved in Euro-politanism. Freud clearly described the pathological consequences of identification mechanisms in relation to the mobilization of aggression against the Jews, but he did not see the full consequences of this particular battle between Eros and Thanatos. He died in 1939. Had he been alive he would probably have observed that a German Jew was just as much a German as any non- Jewish German. His analysis of the