“Capitalism wants your parents to die long, drawn-out, painful deaths from preventable diseases because managing slow, painful death is a hugely profitable enterprise employing tens of thousands of people. Don’t question what makes good-paying jobs, idiot. Fastest growing career sector.”
Maybe, that’s a tough one. After long thought George Orwell concluded that torture served one primary purpose: torture.
Not sure I understand George there, other than as a terse recitation of the idea that sadism is practiced to satisfy instinctive urges. Freud linked sadism intimately with greed, in which case your idea — torture for profit — is abundant with wisdom.
In “The Blathering Superego at the End of History”, to be found here:
LIBERALISM IS NOT working. Something deep within the mechanism has cracked. All our wonk managers, our expert stewards…lareviewofbooks.org
you can find this excerpt below, which hardly does justice to the entire essay:
“Sigmund Freud conceived of the superego as a normative instrument, but it is better understood as a censorious machine. Its strictures, after all, do not come from some interior wellspring; it is not a moral imagination. The rules — and they are rules, nothing more — are received from outside, then internalized and enforced. The superego, even in Freud, does not direct the ego toward high principle or even a particular sensitivity to injustice. “The super-ego can be thought of as a type of conscience that punishes misbehavior with feelings of guilt,” Freud wrote in Introduction to Psychoanalysis. When a transgression is detected, the superego inflicts a psychic wound. It is not a conscience so much as a fully automated priest. The mechanism is simple: sin goes in, censure comes out. Slip up too much and you’re excommunicated.”
The human social creature driven by a relentless morally blind automaton ? And nothing can be done about it ? A whole new depth of pessimism emerged with Freud, especially after the ‘Great War’ (quite a Freudian slip of the era there, as ‘great’ often means ‘good’) who readily acknowledged his deep pessimism concerning human affairs.
He thought remedies for cruel super-egos were to be found in enlightened child-rearing practice, though he was open to the idea that some people had a constitutional (genetic in today’s terminology) predisposition for cruelty.
Think of Charles Dickens’ character Scrooge, of ‘A Christmas Carol’, which overflows with insight into character. Scrooge is not only miserly and greedy. He is cruel. Or is his compulsion to hoard wealth simply something so powerful that he cannot resist it, and the cruelty an epiphenomenon thereof ? The story closed with Scrooge showing emotional growth at his grief over causing poor Tiny Tim and his family such irreparable suffering. But was it really growth ? Did Scrooge develop human empathy ? Or did he simply succumb to his own punishing and relentless superego ?
Dickens was well aquainted with interpersonal cruelty, having suffered greatly at the hands of his childhood protectors. Fortunately his great talent enabled him to act out his revenge upon his persecutors, and thereby present humanity with a great gift in the form of detailed depictions of his eras darkness.
Has anyone written a tale of Scrooge and Tiny Tim for these times of ours ? Maybe another dramatic re-enactment of ‘A Christmas Carol’ for these times of Trump.