Most of Sigmund Freud’s theories have been debunked or rejected by today’s psychological fraternity. It was Freud who developed the concepts of the id, ego and superego; the development of a child’s psyche; and particularly that the two chief driving forces of humanity were eros and thanatos – sex and death. It is this last theory that I began to modify last night, during the regular Friday dance at the Mustang Bar.

I have been wondering what hobby I should take up next: at the moment it’s a choice between hang-gliding or target shooting (handguns for preference). During the evening, alternating between contentment and despair – meeting attractive girls then recalling that I wasn’t the boyfriend of any girl; dancing but being out of practise – I also found myself oscillating between the two sports. When I felt upbeat, hang-gliding had my vote; feeling blue, I was drawn to the firing range.

And the connection to sex and death? Hang-gliding is an activity I want to do but target shooting doesn’t really attract me; however, knowing that I can consistently get a four-inch grouping of 25 shots at 25 metres would provide me with enough maleficent self-esteem to ride over any lack of respect from other people.

As I may have mentioned in previous posts, people have two essential needs: to be loved and to be respected (This was taken from Dr Larry Crabb’s book Inside Out). We can’t make people love us (although we try fame and looks and money to create its facsimile) but we can gain respect through making or doing something impressive. If we can’t do this, the only other way to get respect – it will be notoriety – is through destruction. That’s the death aspect.

But sex as a driving force? I think it would better be called life: the other way that we seek to gain respect. This means that the life force seems to be not only more positive but also more powerful. If we feel we can gain significance through creativity, we’ll take that way. But this is a generalisation: it depends on the degree of significance we believe we’ll gain through creation or destruction and also on what we naturally prefer.

So Freud mightn’t have been far off the coconut after all.

copyright Troy Grisgonelle 2008