Lessons · Ramblings

Eros / Thanatos

Life Instincts / Death Instincts

A Yin and Yang of sorts, created by famed Dr. Sigmund Freud. It’s the theory that humans have two instincts that ultimately decide what a person does. Eros, being Life Instincts, makes a person desire things such as food, sleep, and (of course, being Freud) reproduction. Thanatos, being Death Instincts, makes a person desire things such as endings and death. They, supposedly, work as a team and yet cancel each other out–a person will want to reproduce (Eros) because of the inevitability of death (Thanatos) in the end.

I want to talk about them, but mainly the latter: Thanatos.

While Sigmund Freud was a little loopy from time to time, he was also an abstract artist of the mind. While he wasn’t right about everything he theorized, he had many of the right ideas, and the Eros and Thanatos theory is (probably) one of them. Humans are acutely aware of their desires to survive, but to also finish things for the inevitability of our death.

We, humans, struggle with death. That’s why there are so many religions, after all. We don’t want a real, actual dead end point, so we created many religions that don’t have any. For example, Hinduism is based around the belief that people are rebirthed after death over and over until they finally achieve Moksha–or nirvana–a peace of the soul and cosmic self, there when finally being let into Heaven.

If you’ve been on my blog for any length of time at all, you’ll know that I believe in Christianity–in case you’ve been living under a rock, the belief that the Son of God, Jesus, died at the cross and rose again to pay for humanity’s sins, so that whoever believes in Jesus will have their soul taken to Heaven after they die. I don’t just believe in this, but hell, I’m counting on it.

Which leads me into what many people, specifically religious people, don’t typically have the opinion of: I’m afraid of going to Heaven.

Well, kind of. I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of going to Heaven, but just that living forever, for some reason, scares me. I’ve never heard of anyone else having this opinion unless talking about the popular hypothetical question of “if you could live forever, would you?”

Most people would say no to that question, stating that they would have to watch their loved ones die over and over again. I would agree.

The thought of living eternally in a Heaven is a popular concept and hope–if I die, I would want to go to Heaven, whatever that may be. The view of the Heaven, of course, being a magical place where there is no pain, sorrow, or death. You’ll find that concept in most, if not all, regions throughout the world. The prize of going through life, full of suffering, most would want an end goal, a truth, a meaning at the end. Is life really just an extremely small probability that happened but doesn’t change anything in the end? Is there any meaning to this all? That is where a Heaven and a God come in.

We want our lives to have meaning, even if we just live a short and average one. We don’t want our death to be, well, a real death. We don’t want it to be a real end. We’re scared of that.

I’m scared of that, too. I want to be remembered, even if it’s only by one person. I want to change the world, somehow, preferably in a good way. I want my life to have a purpose.

But, for some reason, I’m scared of continuing on. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to be face to face with people like Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Anne Frank, etc. I don’t want to compare myself because the reality is that no matter what I do, in my heart I believe, I know, I won’t change anything.

People talk about following your dreams, and becoming a role model, and changing the world, and blah blah blah. These things are what everyone strives for, whether they do anything to go forward to them or not. It’s what humans hope to do. It’s what I hope to do. But in my heart, I know that I won’t be a revolutionary. I won’t care for others like Mother Theresa. I won’t make the right decision like Abraham Lincoln. I won’t change the entire world like Martin Luther King Jr.

Of course, I want to. But in the back of my mind, whether it be my Depression, insecurity, rationality, realism, what have you, I know that it’s just not in my destiny. I don’t deserve eternity. I want to do my job as a human and live as a human and die as a human. Maybe I want people to eventually forget about me, because then they’ll forget about all the dumb choices I made and all the things I didn’t do and how selfish I was.

Maybe I don’t want life to have meaning because I don’t believe my life has meaning. Maybe I don’t want life to have meaning so I don’t have to feel bad about the mistakes I’ve made and know I’ll continue to make. Maybe I don’t want life to have meaning because I know mine won’t.

Maybe I don’t want life to have meaning because I can see that mine won’t, so I won’t feel bad about it.

As depressing as all of this is, when I think about death, it only makes me work harder. It used to be the opposite–Why try to make my life have meaning if I’ll end up dying at the end? Well, maybe because I want those who will come after me to have better lives, so that their own short, maybe meaningless lives, are a little better. In the end, no matter what happens afterwards, we do die in the physical sense. So we might as well have fun and make sure everybody else does too.

Man I can be so depressing sometimes.


4 thoughts on “Eros / Thanatos

  1. Jesus often compared death to being asleep (Matt 9:24, John 11:11). Sometimes the only thing that makes life tolerable is the break that comes at night when life momentarily stops for a few hours.
    You’re not alone in these thoughts. But you sure do know how to convey them. I hope I’m not the first person to tell you that you are a really good writer.


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