Psychoanalysis

Destructiveness And Groups

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“Some men just want to watch the world burn.”
– Alfred Pennyworth

We can simplify the discussion around destructiveness and groups down to the idea that any group of which you have ever been or will ever be a part is at bottom either productive or destructive, it seeks to either further the cause of life or further the cause of death.

A destructive group might attract its members through ideology but it keeps these members by providing them with ample opportunities to act upon private, usually unconscious destructive urges and by providing them with ample ideological rationalizations to justify these acts. Very few destructive people are consciously aware that they’re destructive, and in fact reaction formation tells us that they’re likely to fashion themselves as just the opposite, as righteous and productive. Since destructiveness as a world orientation is not socially desirable, and since most people who are destructive have become alienated from their true Selves yet know at some level of their beings that they have turned into twisted versions of what they were supposed to be, they repress their destructive urges.

But repressed urges don’t go away they simply go underground, waiting for the chance to be channeled into acts and thereby find release.

The more sophisticated the group the more sophisticated the ideology and with this sophisticated ideology comes a plethora of rationalizations for acts. When we let ourselves get caught up in the web of ideology we can lose track of the fact that it’s exceedingly easy to see whether the true goals of a group are to further life or to further death, whether its true values are centered around love or hate, around productiveness or destructiveness. This is simply to pay attention to the concrete acts of group members rather than the purported reasons for these acts.

A destructive group carries mostly destructive actions in its wake and a productive group carries mostly productive actions in its wake and this is the only criteria that really matters. As far as members go you can’t blame the surface ideology for their actions, not completely, since someone with a basically productive orientation will leave a destructive group before long even if they’re not consciously aware of why they needed to get away and someone with a basically destructive orientation will leave a productive group before long even if they’re not consciously aware of why they needed to get away. If you’ve just read this article then you know why. It’s to seek out opportunities and rationalizations for the release of productive or destructive urges.

Greetings I'm Michael, the owner of Evolution Counseling and the author of all the articles on this site. I got my master's degree from Seattle University in community mental heath counseling and have committed myself to advancing my knowledge of psychology and to evolving my own philosophical system ever since. In addition to the content on this site I offer online coaching using Skype. If you'd like to learn more about it click on the online coaching tab or if you think you'd like to set up a session send me an email at evolve@evolutioncounseling.com.

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