26 octubre, 2012


Many years ago I used to read Ernest Becker's (1924-1974) books. Titles such as The Denial of Death, or The Structure of Evil, were books that left an impression on me. Rereading books like The Denial of Death, I stepped into this paragraph which made me wonder about the way the human mind works. There are excellent explanations in this book about schizophrenia and other mind pathologies at the same time he delves into Kierkegaard's existential philosophy. Becker's prose is very enlightening without losing depth and academic rigor.  

This is the choice that the depressed person actually faces and that he avoids partly by his guilty self-accusation. The answer is not far to seek: the depressed person avoids the possibility of independence and more life precisely because these are what threaten him with destruction and death. He holds on to the people who have enslaved him in a network of crushing obligations, belittling interaction, precisely because these people are his shelter, his strength, his protection against the world.

Like most everyone else the depressed person is a coward who will not stand alone on his own center, who cannot draw from himself the necessary strength to face up to life. So he embeds himself in others; he is sheltered by the necessary and willingly accepts it. But now his tragedy is plain to see: his necessity has become trivial, and so his slavish, dependent depersonalized life has lost its meaning. It is frightening to be in such a bind. One chooses slavery because it is safe and meaningful; then one loses the meaning of it, but fears to move out of it. One has literally died to life but must remain physically in this world. And thus the torture of depressive psychotics: to remain steeped in one failure and yet to justify it, to continue to draw a sense of worthwhileness out of it.


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