There is a haunting paradox about human nature that I have often contemplated, and it became particularly pronounced tonight when I found myself confined to my bathroom. It is as though we, as human beings, are drawn to the very things that may harm us, even when we have the knowledge, tools, and foresight to avoid them. We walk the tightrope between our conscious desires to live and the inexplicable forces that seem to pull us towards self-destruction. Freud called this act the “death drive,” and I encountered it that night.
Sitting in my bathroom, regretting a meal chosen out of impulse rather than wisdom, I pondered how easily we are led astray. Why do we often allow ourselves to be swayed by fleeting desires, peer pressure, or even the sheer thrill of the unknown when our better judgment tells us otherwise? Was it merely hunger or perhaps a deeper yearning for connection and shared experiences with my friends that led me to that ill-advised choice?
There is a broader question here, beyond my food-related predicament: What do we, as humans, truly want? We chase after ephemeral pleasures, squandering our resources, time, and energy on things that often do not serve our higher purposes. We know the pitfalls, we are well aware of the risks, and yet, we dive headlong into them. It is as if there is a magnet inside us that attracts us to the very things we should evade.
There is an ancient saying, “There is nothing new under the sun.” How apt it feels as I reflect on how we, generation after generation, continue to replicate the mistakes of our fathers. Maybe it is a form of inherited memory, or perhaps it is a testament to the cyclical nature of human history. Whatever it is, the scale seems grander now, with our mistakes amplified and broadcasted for all to witness.
But hope isn’t entirely lost. For with every tug from the death drive, there is a counter pull, a life drive if you will, urging us to seek light, happiness, and fulfillment. This life drive reminds us of our inherent worth, pushing us to make choices that resonate with our soul’s true calling. It tells us to embrace those robes of dignity, to light our path with the flames we have access to, and to run from the shadows.
I yearn to align myself more with this life drive. It is a conscious choice I want to make, even as the death drive lurks in the background. For every moment I spend in darkness, I want countless others bathed in light. Every time I paint myself with the mud of poor decisions, I want to wash it off with the water of clarity and purpose.
In that quiet bathroom, in the middle of the night, I made a promise to myself: to strive, to seek happiness, and to run – not toward inevitable doom but toward life, light, and love. The battle between the death drive and the life drive will continue, but I am determined to tip the scales in favor of life.