Crooked Finger (crookedfingers) wrote,
Crooked Finger

  • Mood:

Man is a "theological being"

It is 12:27 PM on a cold wet gray Wednesday. I have managed not to fall into coma this afternoon. I wandered the house most of the morning waiting for a sign from heaven. I got out to look at a book titled, "Weimar Culture: The Outsider As Insider" by Peter Gay. The last used book I found by Peter Gay was titled, "The Party of Humanity: Essays in the French Enlightenment". I decided if I going to attempt to read anything in my exhaustive condition I would continue to read the book "The Denial Of Death" by Ernest Becker. I have bee steadily plowing through this paperback since I picked up at a local thrift shop a couple of weeks ago. I like for our children to read this book by Becker. I will quote something I just read in the book "The Denial Of Death" that I found interesting.

"Even in such cases, the combination of fullest self-expression and renunciation is rare, as we saw in Chapter Six when we speculated about Freud's lifelong problem. From all that we have now covered-the self in history and in personal creativity-we can perhaps draw even closer to the problem of Freud. We know that he was a genius, and we can now see the real problem that genius has: how to develop a creative work with the full force of one's passion, a work that saves one soul, and at the same time to renounce that very work because it cannot by itself give salvation. In the creative genius we see the need to combine the intensive Eros of self-expression with the most complete Agape of self-surrender. It is almost too much to ask of men that they contrive to experience fully both these intensities of ontological striving. Perhaps men with lesser gifts have it easier: a small dosage of Eros and a comfortable Agape. Freud lived the daimon of his Eros to the hilt and more honestly than most, and it consumed him and others around him, as it always does more or less. As Rank said: ". . . he himself could so easily confess his agnosticism while he had created for himself a private religion. . ." But this was precisely Freud's bind; as an agnostic he had no one to offer his gift to-no one, that is, who had any more security of immortality than he did himself. Not even mankind itself was secure. As he confessed, the spectre of the dinosaurs still haunts man and will always haunt him. Freud was anti-religious because he somehow could not personally give the gift of his life to a religious idea. He saw such a step as weakness, a passivity that would defeat his own creative urge for more life.

Here Rank joins Kiekegaard in the belief that one should not stop and circumscribe his life with beyonds that are near at hand, or a bit further out, or created by oneself. One should reach for the highest beyond of religion: man should cultivate the passivity of renunciation to the highest powers no matter how difficult it is. Anything less is less than full development, even if it seems like weakness and compromise to the best thinkers. Nietzsche railed at the Judeo-Christian renunciatory morality; but as Rank said, he "overlooked the deep need in the human being for just that kind of morality. . ." Rank goes so far as to say that the "need for a truly religious ideology. . . is inherent in human nature and its fulfillment is basic to any kind of social life." Do Freud and others imagine that surrender to God is masochistic, that to empty oneself is demeaning? Well, answers Rank, it represents on the contrary the furthest reach of the self, the highest idealization man can achieve. It represents the fulfillment of the Agape love-expansion, the achievement of the truly creative type. Only in this way, says Rank, only by surrendering to the highest of nature on the highest least fetishized level, can man conquer death. In other words, the true heroic validation of one's life lies beyond sex, beyond the other, beyond the private religion-all these are makeshifts that pull man down or that hem him in, leaving him torn with ambiguity. Man feels inferior precisely when he lacks "true inner values in the personality," when he is merely a reflex of something next to him and has no steadying inner gyroscope, no centering in himself. And in order to get such centering man has to look beyond the "thou," beyond the consolations of others and the things of this world." pg. 173,174 Ernest Becker

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded