An essay on “The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness by Erich Fromm. Amount of pages: 478. The book goes on in explaining the ways of aggression and how it reaches into man. Citing aggressive examples in the behavior of necrophilics and Hitler. The author goes into the early life of Hitler and his parents. How it had effect on what he became and his destructive way of life. He was a man that laid half way between reality and his fantasy. He had played war games up until the age of sixteen and after that he commanded his army like they had been a game. Taking risks with soldiers as well as ignoring precise information that would have been critical to his plans; and also the ignorance of British and US tolerance. He was a psychotic man who is a very good example of how far a man with destructive purpose can rise.
Trying to explain aggressive behavior, there is focus on a core issue, instincts. Going through animal behavior and comparing it with human behavior and how similar our instincts are. There is also focus on examining primitive tribes. The object of these findings were to find out how warlike the tribes are. In the hunting-gatherers tribes, war is not as popular and profitable as in modern society. Two reasons for this is that these tribes don’t have most valuable items and there is no shared type of currency to take. In these tribes, war was infrequent and not lead by permanent leaders. As opposed by modern days. What also differs is the conquest to kill as many of the enemy as possible.
Aggression is ruled into several categories, such as Benign aggression which is one of a defensive type and malignant aggression which actually roots into other conditions. Premises, necrophilia, cruelty and destruction. The joy of destruction and abuse of it.
Destructiveness rest not only in acts but as worships. There is a case of idolatry, a man totally devoted to the monster of destruction. Kern, von salomon. A man like this and his acts are by no means normal, and supposedly caused by the world he knows, all morally, socially, honor, obedience is lost. The aggression takes control for many reasons. Although an extreme case of aggression, we see what may be societies cause on it’s own people. Such a thing is a window to this picture.
Another focus would be on Milgram’s electric experiment. Here he explored consciousness and conscience of the mind. In the experiments, some showed signs of hesitation in continuing to hurt the subject with the electric shock. As only 35% gradually broke off and stopped. Yet these people did not all together stop at one point, they had to contemplate whether to or not to in their heads. Most everyone showed signs of nervousness, trembling in the fingers and strain on their very mental and moral selves. Then regret afterwards. There were though a couple of people who had stayed quite calm during this experiment and showed very little signs of regret and strain. In the end we can see that every man has his breaking point, and those points can be controlled to a certain element. Making a smiling man into a torturer, all by the words said to him.
This text is filled with much information that I had no previous knowledge to. Although I realize the sadistic qualities Hitler had. I didn’t know the causes, the reasons why, and what kind of person was shaped from such events. There is also insight given to why man acts so self-destructive. A preconceived notion was one that as man expands into more civilized ways, aggression goes down. However research on primitive tribes shows that they were less aggressive than our now civilized man. So these two contradict each other and the trends would have to be different.
I think they could have included more individuals in examples of aggression and necrophila. Just to get a better understanding and how different and similar influences made their paths. On the research for food-gatherers: cruelty was at a minimum, and now we are becoming more civilized and violent, I just wonder if we are to destroy ourselves as we do become more civilized. It’s said quite the opposite statement will happen, that we all grow in such means that the world will become a utopian place.
The book helps to show constant problems in behavior and the causes that pollute a man to this condition. From this I think society may take into account these causes and actually take them in and deal with them. In the psychological community this may help to pinpoint and find newer information and apply it. For the people who read this book, they will take in and should understand better the human self. Why it is so hard to comprehend each other now, we must now give consideration to more factors. This will help to understand the factors and lead to other roads into the human mind. One thing to help would be to regard each other as co-species. Research was done in finding how animals and humans regard our own species. Animals for the most part identified their similar parts. They are more instinctive then us; they perceive smell, form, certain colors etc. to identify their own, as we are more wrapped up in language, clothes etc. We regard others, who live right near to us as strangers. We might take in from this that we do not have as strong instincts as animals, yet we don’t identify with our fellow man as well either.
My personal feelings toward these findings are that I cannot totally agree with them as this is only one source of information. There might be 5 other books that contradict his, yet that does not necessary mean he is wrong. I think what he explains is rather logical and it is something to take in and see why we all act the way we do. I for the most part can accept these findings and not feel threatened like most other close-minded individuals. In a way I am only threatened by the fact that we as a society discloses the obvious, that because we do, we are oblivious to the real world and it’s future. It can be encouraging that we are finding out what we really are about. Getting one step closer to the make-up of our complicated systems. Because of this research we may find out how to control our aggression and stop constant violent acts showing up. On the other hand all of this may be put into the hands of “the next Hitler” and he may very well use this information to expand our hatred and create havoc. So to a point it is also threatening. I would like to see “reduction in aggressiveness” techniques used. To create a more calmer world, and not have any other necrophilics running around, but one or two would be a good balance. I found all this information interesting. I know I will do more research on topics that branch off from aggression, now that I have a little better understanding on it.
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