Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I Shall Not Fear


It has always struck me as ironic that the three great theorists of the last two centuries--Einstein, Marx, and Freud--all left us with theories which are deeply flawed. Einstein's relativity failed to account for quantum effects on sub-atomic particles; Marx's economic materialism failed to anticipate the ability of the market to evolve and dissipate revolutionary energies which grow alongside income inequality in the market system; and Freud's Psychoanalysis left us with a "talking cure" which doesn't cure.


And yet all three theorists left us some remarkable insights. You cannot underestimate the power of the Freudian insight (from his Introductory Lectures) that "The motive of human society is in the last resort, an economic one." Sounds Marxist, but it is Freud speaking.


In LeClezio's The Prospector, the reader follows a trajectory where the narrator's idyllic childhood is destroyed by economic forces brought to a head by the narrator's father's fear of not having enough money. From there, the narrator embarks on a futile search for gold, and treasure. Now, as this reader reaches the end, I find the narrator in the trenches of Ypres, and The Somme, in World War I.


Fear of money, in LeClezio's story, is an urge to death.


I can't help recalling the Bene Gesserit litany against fear from Dune:


"I must not fear.Fear is the mind-killer.Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.I will face my fear.I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.Only I will remain."

39 Comments:

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