Monday, September 25, 2006


What drives people to commit acts of masochism, be they physical or emotional, against their self interests? Why are some people just driven to repeat the same negative patterns over and over and over again? What is it about the human condition that refuses to learn from even personal history, let alone shared, collective, societal history? Why are some nations, like human beings, driven almost from a desire to engage in collective maschochism? And how does one purge masochistic memories from one's mind, be it personal mind or collective conscience of a society? How does one heal, move on, and start on a fresh path? Is there ever any real healing, or are we all just bound to repeat the same mistakes over and over and over again?


Jason H. Bowden said...

A lot of modern masochism has to do with the decline of the humanities and liberal education. As a result, millions no longer can see their place in the cosmos and think everything is about themselves. Rather than just being, some want to give themselves meaning and join quixotic movements more often than not myopic in scope.

That's why socialism tragically will never die, no matter how many times it fails. As long as people remain committed to an imaginary future to give their lives purpose, meaning, and all of that other hocus pocus, they continue to denounce the present and try to build a better society. Most of the religions at least situate their followers in the world and get them to reconcile the fact that their lives on Earth are finite.

Thomas Forsyth said...

JHB> So basically, masochism is narcissistice in nature? I can see that.

I am not religious, but I see an economic value to it, as long as religion is kept in its place. Of course, some have masochistic tendencies at times, like monks flogging themselves, though usually it is only ascetics and peopel with callings doing it, not the average joe.

"What is it about the human condition that refuses to learn from even personal history, let alone shared, collective, societal history? "
I'd say it is a refusal to accept certain facts, though I imagine there is a hell of a lot more than just that. Emotions are strong things and can override good judgment. Pride is another factor. Then of course peopel can be chided for avoiding bad situations. When younger I invited firends to go swimming, but I often forgot to clean up and I made that mistake a lot incurring my mother's wrath. I instead decided to not invite my buddies so the mess could be avoided, but my mother chided me for that, too. Then again, that is my mother who probably looks for things to criticize her son (and reminder of her ex-husband) about. After I first got out of the Army, I eventually moved back in with her which is masochistic, and a sign I forgot why I joined the Army in the first place. Now I will need to remind myself that spending more than five days with my mother always leads to problems. Granted there was a financial reaosn for me to live with her and she pressured me into returning, but I think it is because she had no male pets around to neuter