What is the connection between the expansion of the universe and sadomasochism? Why is everything in the world striving for decay? How can one realize this and effectively resist self-destruction, at least on an individual level?

The peculiarity of this book is that the author tries to make broad generalizations, referring to various scientific disciplines. Unfortunately, scientists are too often concentrated on narrower scientific issues. On the other hand popularizers of science and philosophers lack the depth of knowledge in various fields for such generalizations. As a rule, such attempts are naive and far from the true state of affairs. Thus, it is rarely possible to meet a fairly wide discussion of problems concerning all levels of the structure of the universe.

This book discusses self-destruction at all levels, from cosmology to the human psyche, in which self-destruction is considered a deviation from the norm. However, the book shows that self-destruction is characteristic of all levels of the universe, starting from the emergence of the universe, the origin and development of life, and to the individual level of each person.

Ignoring this fact leads to misconceptions that most people tend to act for the benefit of themselves and society.

The book does not try to answer the question of why self-destruction is laid in the foundation of the universe.

Read about the possible causes of the contradictory structure of the world in another book by the author, “Guide to the Creation of the Worlds.”

The book titled “The Philosophy of Self-Destruction”, which you are going to be introduced to, discusses ways to resort to self-preservation and stop self-destruction. Moreover, it tries to show how important it is to stop interfering and taking revenge on those who try to deter us from self-destruction. How to refuse to follow the disastrous ways of self-destruction, to understand that this is nothing more than a misunderstanding, a rudimentary legacy given to us by nature, and how to abandon this voluntary madness.


Since time immemorial, thinking people have noticed that a person often acts to his own detriment, consciously, and more often unconsciously, worsening his position both in small things and in such extreme cases as self-incrimination, self-inflicted injuries and even suicide.

In some situations, this behavior is explained by an attempt to extinguish mental pain, replacing it with physical suffering. But more often it is believed that self-destruction is a deviation from the norm, and a person who suffers from it is just an “idiot”, since he wants to harm himself.

The observations accumulated over centuries allow us to say that we are all such “idiots” to one degree or another, since we all in this or that way tend to harm ourselves. Moreover, it is difficult to find a person who does not harm himself. For example, even if he cares about health and safety, he may be harming himself in his personal life or career, or in some other area.

In any case, throughout the years, the author has repeatedly observed certain self-destructive tendencies in all the people he met, including those who would argue vehemently with him about it and claim that they certainly were not engaged in self-destruction.

Anyway, even such a venerable master as   Dostoevsky put into the mouths of the characters of his novel with the saying name “Idiot” the statement that “the law of self-destruction and the law of self-preservation are equally strong in humanity”!

Ignoring the presence of self-destructive motivation in an individual inevitably leads to an erroneous general idea about ​​his personality and does not allow foreseeing his actions. However, in the vast majority of cases (politics, economics, jurisprudence, personal life, career), basic self-destructive inclinations of people are usually not taken into account.

It is assumed that a person usually acts for the benefit of himself, as well as for the benefit of loved ones, society and humanity as a whole, and self-destructive tendencies are so rare that they can be neglected, being left exclusively to psychology or, at worst, psychiatry, as if the desire for self-destruction is not a normal and very pronounced tendency not only in human behavior, but also in nature in general.


The initial basis of self-destruction processes can be traced back to the physical processes that characterize our world. Of course, it can be argued whether we understand them correctly, but in practical terms, these laws have been convincingly and repeatedly proved by at least the instruments and experiments available to us.

The self-destruction of everything in the world is dictated by the physics of nature itself and can be described by the concept of “entropy”. The second Law of Thermodynamics, postulating entropy, lies at the heart of our understanding of the physical world and has not yet been convincingly refuted by anyone.

Entropy is a measure of disorder in a closed system. We consider a closed system a certain system into which and from which no energy comes. Inside this system, an increase in disorder occurs, in which energy is distributed uniformly throughout the system until all its elements reach the lowest energy level, that is, destruction. This happens while the total energy of the closed system remains unchanged, which is the essence of the First Law of Thermodynamics, namely the Law of Conservation of Energy. According to this law, energy cannot be created or destroyed; it is transferred from one system to another and turns from one form to another, for example, turning into matter and back.

Here comes A. Einstein’s greatest equation as a triumph of the power and simplicity of fundamental physics


( “E” is energy, “m” is mass, and “c” is the speed of light in vacuum).

Matter has its inherent energy. Mass can be converted (under certain conditions) into pure energy, and energy can be used to create matter that did not exist before. This method of reflection gives us the opportunity to discover the fundamental particles that make up our Universe, use our knowledge of nuclear energy to invent nuclear weapons, and discover the theory of gravity that describes the interaction of all objects in the universe. The key to finding this equation was a modest thought experiment based on a simple assumption: that of conservation of energy and momentum. The rest turned out to be an inevitable consequence of the basic principle of the device of the Universe.

So, self-destruction is laid in the very foundation of matter that can completely disappear, turning into energy. We will discuss examples of such processes later when we approach the issues of the mutual destruction of matter and antimatter.

Now we must nevertheless note that there are no ideal conditions for checking the laws of thermodynamics, and when we speak of an absolutely closed system, we must understand that such can hardly exist.

Even such powerful gravitational traps as black holes are not isolated systems. If you imagine that they would be in absolute vacuum and they would not get a photon of radiation from other astronomical objects, all the same, thanks to quantum tunneling, black holes should emit particles. This tunneling process lies in the fact that a quantum particle overcomes any forces. In this case we are talking about gravitational forces, but in other cases – for example, in the process of thermonuclear fusion – particles overcome the force of electromagnetic repulsion of positively charged protons. If there were no tunneling, they could not have overcome the barrier that does not allow them to get close enough to activate nuclear forces operating at a very short distance. Without such tunneling, no matter other than hydrogen could have existed.

So, the tunneling process does not allow a black hole to remain an absolutely closed system. Thus, the concept of a black hole as an object that does not emit anything, but can only absorb matter, is valid only as long as quantum effects are not taken into account. And thanks to them, as we saw by the example of thermonuclear fusion, there exist a diversity of all natural elements. Colossal pressure alone and millions of degrees in the center of the stars would not be enough for nuclear fusion. Quantum effects are also needed here.

As for the universe as a whole, we cannot say anything definite about it and we certainly cannot say that the universe as a whole is an isolated system, although the majority of cosmologists most likely see the universe as such. (For more details, read the author’s book, “Uncertain Universe: In Search of the Limits of Human Cognition.”)


When two particles, identical in mass and all other characteristics, but with different charges, collide, annihilation occurs. This is the reaction of the transformation of particles and antiparticles upon their collision into radiation.

The most studied is the annihilation of an electron-positron pair. Simply put, when an electron and a positron collide, such an annihilation reaction gives two photons in the final state. That is, roughly speaking, matter completely disappears and turns into light. Of course, these processes are much more complicated than the author can describe in the framework of this work. The process of interaction of matter and antimatter is the most energetically productive process in nature, when one hundred percent of the mass can be converted into energy. But in this case, we are interested in the fact that the disappearance (mutual self-destruction) of matter completely occurs.


Modern cosmological representations, of course, may turn out to be erroneous, as it has already happened many times. But in our reasoning we will try to rely on generally accepted cosmological theories, without giving arguments in favor of their fidelity or fallacy.

So, according to modern cosmology, immediately after the so-called “Big Bang”, as a result of which, as it is believed, our universe arose, the substances and antimatter were equally divided. That means, in theory, that all matter, having arisen together with the universe, would have to immediately and completely self-destruct.

But it is believed simultaneously that there was a slight asymmetry: namely, the ordinary substance turned out to be a little more and so it later became all the existing substance in the universe. Again, here it seems necessary to make two reservations.

The first one presupposes that to speak on topics such as the emergence of the universe in a common unscientific language, is at least naively. The second presumes that the scientific community was often mistaken in its conclusions.

But, in any case, it is difficult to refrain from citing here such a striking cosmological example as the theory of the emergence and mutual destruction of matter and antimatter.


We do not know whether the theories of the “Big Bang”, the expansion of the universe, and even more so it’s accelerating expansion, are true. To many, this seems as obvious as the fact that the Earth is a sphere. However, in relation to the universe, despite the fact that there is a lot of evidence in favor of these theories, and the fact that they have somehow been held in science for almost 100 years, it is possible that they will become history, because periodically the data is received that these theories appear to be unable to explain.

However, it is impossible to resist the temptation to cite the expansion of the universe as an example of self-destruction laid down in the very foundation of its existence. To make it clear to the reader, imagine your body in such a way that its constituent parts fly apart at a speed exceeding the speed of light. (Yes, such a thing, as modern cosmology claims, is possible, because this is not about moving in space, but about expanding the space itself).

So, imagine you are expanding in such an explosive way … It is difficult to say that there is something more similar to the destruction of your body than such an expansion. Even being blown up by the most powerful bomb, you will not be able to collapse so profoundly. Moreover, pay attention – no external bomb is supposed here at the universe. We are talking about the so-called “dark energy” embedded in the very nature of space, or at least located inside the universe and not just being an integral part of it, but making up the vast majority of the energy in it.

Is it not something like a “super-self-destruction”?! And we are still “surprised” that someone destroys health with alcohol… Sorry, the author could not resist the temptation to express irony.


After we talked about such “incredible” things as the self-destructing universe, the fact that all the stars, including our sun, systematically destroy them, will not seem surprising at all.

Stars are formed as a result of the gravitational collapse of matter (mostly huge hydrogen clouds of gas). As a result of the uneven distribution of mass in the cloud, condensation regions first appear, or under the influence of other massive objects, the mass is redistributed in the cloud in such a way that one of the regions begins to distort space so that other parts of the cloud start to rotate around this center of mass. Finally, the gas nebula turns into a dense star, in the core of which such pressure and temperature are created that the protons, of which the hydrogen nuclei are, merge in different ways, forming helium nuclei consisting of two protons and two neutrons. This releases a lot of energy and some particles. (We will not go here into details: this process is extremely complex, and, let us remember, impossible without quantum tunneling, as we noted earlier).

So, the fate of the stars is, so to say, not enviable. Depending on the mass, if it is small, then they lose most of their “bodies” and become white dwarfs, or explode like supernovae. After their collapses there remain neutron dense and very quickly rotating stars of a very small size. Or, worse, they turn into black holes if the stars are so massive that the density of the substance that their nuclei consist of cannot stop the collapse.


Thanks to God, science does not know such processes as a result of which a planet or an asteroid could explode on their own, without interacting with another astronomical object. However, one should not forget about the volcanic activity discovered at some astronomical objects, such as the planet Venus and the moon of Jupiter Io.

There are extinct volcanoes on Mars, including Mount Olympus, the largest of those discovered in the solar system. The height of Olympus is almost 26 km, which is more than 3 times higher than Everest.

Martian Olympus occupies such a large area that it is impossible to see it completely from the surface of the planet (the distance necessary to view the volcano is so great that it will be hidden due to the curvature of the surface). Accordingly, if you stand at the highest point of the volcano, then its slope will go beyond the horizon.

Olympus is an extinct volcano, formed due to lava flows that erupted from the bowels and froze on the surface. One can imagine how destructive these eruptions were.

But the volcanism of Mars that has gone down in history fades in comparison with the huge fields of red-hot lava on Venus, the atmosphere of which, perhaps due to volcanism, and only then due to the greenhouse effect, turned into hell with a temperature at the surface of more than 400 degrees Celsius and pressure, at 100 times the atmospheric pressure on the surface of the Earth.

Self-destruction of planetary surfaces is obvious, and the cause of this destruction lies in the planets themselves, and not only in meteorites and asteroids falling on their surface.



Radioactive decay – (“radioactivity”) – a spontaneous change in the composition or internal structure of unstable atomic nuclei by the emission of elementary particles, gamma rays and / or nuclear fragments.

Even relatively small mass nuclei have radioactive isotopes, not to mention the massive nuclei of radioactive elements, such as uranium and plutonium. Again, everything is much more complicated, but for the purposes of our story, this information is enough. The source of the radioactive decay of matter is not any external influence; it is embedded in the very nature of the atomic nucleus of certain elements and their isotopes.


It is not necessary to go far for examples of self-destruction in wildlife. At the molecular and cellular level, self-destruction processes are well known. The process of self-destruction of a tissue, cell or part of a cell is called autolysis. This process takes place under the influence of enzymes, which are produced by special lysosomal organelles inside the cells themselves, as part of the process of cell death.

The reader of this book is also most likely aware of the concept of death. The self-destruction of body is inherent in it – for example, in the forms of aging and various diseases associated with malfunctioning systems. Just as in some modern devices, developers lay down mechanisms that incapacitate them after a certain service life in order to stimulate sales of new devices, living beings seem to be made as if for sale and so as if expect their own warranty periods…

At the level of biological species, the facts of self-destruction as a result of certain mutations, as well as the suicidal behavior of individuals, manifested for various explainable (like, for example, overpopulation), as well as inexplicable to the end reasons (f. ex. whales being washed ashore), are well known.

With the help of death, nature, like by a giant eraser, clears a place for a new form of life. And all this seems “beautiful” and even to some extent “harmonious” right as long as self-destruction does not concern us personally.


As we noted at the beginning, the tendency to self-destruction among people was noticed a long time ago. S. Freud was not the first to talk about this, but he is famous for his theory of the “death drive”. According to his theory, the death drive was opposed to the life drive, which included sexual instincts and self-preservation instincts. “If we take it as an exception-free fact,” S. Freud wrote, “that all living things die due to internal causes, return to inorganic, then we can say: the purpose of all life is death, and vice versa – the inanimate was earlier than the living … Once upon a time some completely unknown forces awakened in an inanimate matter the properties of the living … The tension that arose then in the before non-living matter tried to balance itself: this was the first desire to return to the inanimate.”

In his works S. Freud used such concepts as “death instinct”, “attraction to destruction”, “attraction to aggression”, “attraction to destruction”.

Self-destruction of a personality (or self-destruction) encompasses thoughts, emotions and actions of a destructive nature, which are directed towards oneself consciously or unconsciously. In psychology, the term “auto-aggression” is often used to refer to such intrapersonal phenomena. The biological nature of living things naturally involves aggression on external stimuli (emerging dangers, threats, etc.) But the tendency to self-destruction (self-destructive behavior, etc.) is always declared to be the prerogative of human nature, which is more often defined as pathology. Nevertheless, as it is demonstrated above, it seems to be rather a natural continuation of the self-destruction inherent in the nature of the world.


Thus, nature supports the principle of self-destruction, starting from the very foundations of the universe up to the development of humanity. Why does she need this and what is “nature” – questions that will remain beyond the scope of our discussion, otherwise we risk going too far from the main topic. Those who are interested in such issues, the author refer to his book “Guide to the Creation of the Worlds.”

According to S. Freud, all human behavior is guided by the instinct of Eros (preservation of life) and the instinct of Thanatos (destruction of life), and tension constantly exists between Eros and Thanatos. To ease this tension, in the human psyche, mechanisms are turned on that direct the energy of Thanatos outward, in the direction from the “I”. Being brought out, destructive energy (aggression) falls upon others. However, aggression can be directed inside the person, and then the person self-destructs. In 1940, in the Essay on Psychoanalysis, Freud noted that if a person restrains aggression by preventing it from splashing out, he inevitably becomes ill.

So, according to Freud, aggressiveness is not only inherent in man from the very beginning (for her source is the innate instinct of death), but it is inevitable: if man did not take Thanatos’s energy out of the unconscious outward, this would lead to self-destruction. At the same time, sexual interaction and destruction have something in common: both serve to defuse drives.

Although S. Freud’s theory of the death drive met a very wary reception among many of his contemporaries, the idea that aggression was originally inherent in human nature, that it was an innate property of man, was extremely widespread.

One way or another, on the basis of the knowledge gathered by mankind, we can say that the process of self-destruction lies at the core of the universe. Therefore, its manifestation in a person is more a regularity than an exception to the rule. Public consciousness does not take this possibility into account. Perhaps the only area of ​​knowledge that pays attention to searching the roots of self-destruction is psychology. Other areas, as we noted, almost completely ignore the person’s desire for self-destruction and therefore we deal with repeated and uncountable manifestations of political and economic crises, inefficiency of law enforcement, taxation and all other social systems even in the most successful countries of the world.


Self-destruction has a high degree of rationality, following certain logic. Existence is filled with suffering, boredom, vulgarity. Any joys and pleasure can be perceived as either a temporary absence of suffering, or as attempts to end it. Death is associated with the cessation of suffering, in any case, with a qualitative change, a transition to another state (dead or that of the “afterlife”, or another life).

Directly, perhaps, a person cannot immediately kill himself: the desire for self-preservation has tremendous power. Otherwise, all living things, having been born and faced with pain and suffering, would immediately kill themselves, subject to the desire for self-destruction, and no life would be possible at all. Thus, in order to overcome the instinct of self-preservation, a person has to destroy himself imperceptibly for him and others, at least in the beginning. He needs to bring himself to such a state that someone helps him in this (provocation of strong opponents, risky actions, etc.), or so that his life becomes so painful for him that suicide would seem the only way out.

First, self-destruction manifests itself in pride, in accusing others or in self-accusation, then in self-humiliation, self-infliction of bodily harm of varying severity up to suicide, and finally in self-destructive behavior (drunkenness, alcoholism, drug addiction, risky sexual behavior, choice of extreme sports, dangerous professions, provocative behavior) .

Self-destruction has also been deeply embedded in the collective consciousness since ancient times, as demonstrate numerous popular expressions and sayings in the style of “screw my pride”, “tear me apart”, “strike me thunder”, “rot for age in jail”, “I hope I die”,“ God damn me ”,“ I’ll go to hell”, “cross my heart and hope to die”,“ burn me in hell ”,“ let be empty for me”. They may object to us that these are vows aimed at ensuring that all this does not happen. But one way or another, in the human mind these words give rise to images of voluntary self-destruction under certain conditions.

For which particular purpose does nature need a person throughout his life to wish himself harm? There is no obvious benefit either for the person himself, or for those around him, or for nature. Nature, in general, does not need a person to live in suffering and destroy himself. It is enough for her to leave offspring and cease to exist in time, being killed by illnesses and injuries or dying of old age. Nature has nothing against people not engaging in self-destruction. But we inherited self-destruction from nature itself, so it is necessary, if possible, to set ourselves the goal of freeing ourselves from this evil inclination. Recognize and stop self-destructing.

Of course, there are various religious explanations for self-destruction, but, again, within the framework of this book, it is impossible to discuss all of them in a proper way.


If with examples of obvious self-destruction, it would seem all the more or less obvious (in such cases, at least a psychologist or introspection can help a person), then in cases of hidden self-destruction, neither a person nor a specialist can realize that it is really about nothing else but self-destruction.

For example, a person incorrectly interprets the causes of a crisis situation, in which he himself is to blame. Trying to satisfy his conceit and find peace at the moment to the detriment of the future, a person tries to blame others for everything, and in this case he will never acquire the necessary knowledge and skills so that the situation does not happen again.

Such a mechanism leads to recurring financial problems, divorces, layoffs, quarrels with friends, problems with the law and failures in business and creativity.

But on the other hand, we should not blame ourselves either. We should say not “I’m bad and worthless,” but rather “I lack certain knowledge, skills,” and so on. This is constructive self-criticism and it does not have a self-destructive effect.

A person must be aware of the tendency to self-destruction, search and find in himself such hidden motivations or inclinations that are difficult to identify.

They are the main launching pad for feelings of dissatisfaction with life, lack of a sense of fullness of life and happiness.

When someone else is to blame all the time, then nothing can be done. After all, it is like an external aggression against you, on which you cannot have influence. You can only defend yourself. While the true cause of the crisis is not just in others, but in you.

Again, self-denunciation can be destructive. You should calmly, with sympathy for yourself, consider your situation, establish your role in its unsuccessful development, or either consciously look for means of change in yourself, or an explanation of why it is more prudent not to change anything. But blaming others, even if they are guilty, inevitably leads to self-destruction through anger, revenge, irritation, despair, and most importantly, the inability to learn how to solve such problems in a more positive way in the future. As they say, what does not kill us should make us stronger. But if you do not understand that the root cause of the trouble did not lie at all outside, but in the person himself, then no matter what tests he endures, he will not become stronger, or at least smarter.

As an extreme form of hidden self-destruction, one can blame fate, karma, or God for everything. This will not help much, even if you are sure that they are really to blame. Even if you think that this world was created full of pain and imperfection, and no matter how hard you try, nothing can be changed; the only thing that can still be changed is our attitude to this world. At least try to make your worldview less self-destructive.

Attempts to rectify this world, the desire for justice, punishment of offenders and so on, also lead to self-destruction.

In fact, anything can become the impetus for more serious self-destruction, and at any moment we can rush under the car, having lost either health or life, yell at a loved one, seriously quarrel with him or force him to break off your relationship, quit, after having got naughty to boss, or scold subordinate so that he leaves, slamming the door. All this can lead to serious crises in our lives. But our fault in them is not at all obvious. We deeply hide from ourselves our self-destructive motives, bringing out the external causes of events.

We do all this with an enviable frequency. And then, so as not to suffer regrets, we convince ourselves that we allegedly acted in good faith, in fairness, out of high motives, or because of a completely intolerable insult. And only after a long time we realize the irreparable loss and the mistakes made. But, not realizing the self-destructive inclinations in ourselves, we will inevitably repeat these mistakes.

There are people who can miraculously turn to good any rash acts of their own. Hence the saying: “there is no silver lining.”

This only strengthens such people in the belief that no matter how they act, somehow everything will be fine. Meanwhile, this does not at all sometimes cancel the significant destructiveness of their actions. At some point, it comes to the realization that it will not be possible to make up for the fatal error, a person does not understand that everything happened due to the self-destructive inclinations inherent in nature and in him. Until this is realized, a person cannot avoid deep disappointments and regrets.

However, regrets can also be destructive. Awareness of destructive behavior should be taken as an opportunity not to repeat it.


The desire for self-preservation is a natural obstacle to self-destruction. Therefore, directly, at least at first, a person cannot begin self-destruction without resorting to self-deception.

However, the human mind can convince its master of anything, however paradoxical these beliefs are.

If reality does not provide enough food for self-deception, then the mind completes whole plots and pictures in its imagination. So there are non-existent threats, groundless grievances and so on, so on, so on.

Thus, self-preservation loses all sorts of landmarks of reality and a person begins to defend himself earnestly from non-existent dangers, becoming defenseless against real ones. More often than not, the greatest danger to humans is themselves.

Very often, it is not the aggressor who kills us, but our inadequate reaction to aggression. An example is anaphylactic shock, when in response to contact with a harmless substance (allergen), the body brings itself to shock and even death.

It can also happen in other areas. The mechanisms of self-destruction, which nature has installed in us, begin to act not when nature would like us to leave the race and give way to others, but much earlier. And this must be avoided.


You can’t argue against nature, although it is so desirable! She makes you be born, suffer, strive for sex, give birth to children, take care of them, and when they grow up, obediently grow old and die. None of the previously living has escaped death. (Again, we leave out of the mind religious opinions that do not agree with this statement).

Nature communicates with us using, so to say, “gingerbread and whip”. “Gingerbread” is the pleasure of what, according to nature, we need to do for its universal purpose. “Whip” is pain and other troubles, designed to help nature, in order to protect us from those actions that do not correspond to its plans at one time or another. Of course, when we say “nature” we do not mean a person with a club, but obviously the existing system of the universe and our being in it.

If there was no pleasure in absorbing food and suffering from its absence, would it have occurred to us to kill another living creature (say, a cow) and eat it, sticking in its alien burnt flesh?

No way! But the pleasure of satiety and the suffering of hunger make us do this.

We can give an example of other human life functions in accordance with the same principles. All these functions in themselves are unpleasant and absurd, if we consider them outside the context of pleasure and punishment established by nature.

So, it is logical to conclude that since nature is interested in our timely self-destruction, the process of self-destruction must also be a pleasure.

Yes, on the one hand, nature makes us frantically cling to life, but at the same time beckons with the pleasure of self-destruction. This is where nonsense comes from, as pain gives pleasure. Since nature was reluctant to come up with another mechanism for the reward for pain, she associated it with the most powerful of pleasures – sexual pleasure. If modest women and Puritans object, we would remind them of an experiment with animals that could, by pressing a key, stimulate the department of their own brain responsible for sexual pleasure with an implanted electrode. As a result, those animals constantly pressed a key, refused food and drink and finally died of exhaustion.

So, pain in some cases is associated with sexual pleasure. One might argue here that masochism is a kind of deviation. Perhaps, but it is difficult to find another explanation of how nature could relate pain and pleasure if she did not need it. After all, pain is a guard, notifying the body that something is wrong with it. And here is such a rash step on the part of nature…

We do not know whether a deer gives masochistic pleasure when wolves tear it to pieces. But nature doesn’t care. She needs it, and it is important for her that the deer does not really resist the wolves, but falls into a stupor as soon as it is caught.

In some cases, self-preservation forbids hurting oneself, and then sadism arises, as a substitute for self-destruction. That is, a sadist hurts another and feels pleasure from it on the same principle as a masochist. Therefore, often sadism and masochism meet together and are inextricable.

Well, when direct infliction of pain on oneself or another is impossible or boring, then substitution, sublimation is used. Sadomasochism spills into the midst of social, economic, political, military and religious relations.


As we noted when speaking of sadomasochism, the desire to harm oneself is replaced by harming another, or vice versa, the desire to harm others is replaced by harming oneself.

  1. Freud, in accordance with the concepts of his theory, described sublimation as a deviation of biological energy, primarily sexual drives, from their direct goal and its redirection to socially acceptable goals. Sublimation was seen by him as an exceptionally “good” defense, conducive to constructive activity and to relieve the individual’s internal stress. Such an assessment of sublimation is retained in any therapy aimed not at liberating a person from internal conflicts, but at searching for their socially adaptive resolution (in particular in psychoanalysis).

At the present moment, sublimation is usually understood more broadly – as a redirection of unacceptable or unsatisfactory impulses in general, regardless of their nature.

According to E. Fromm, aggression should be understood as any actions that cause or have the intention to cause harm to another person, group of people or animals, as well as causing damage to any inanimate object in general.

The manifestation of aggression is very diverse. There are two main types of aggressive manifestations: targeted aggression and instrumental aggression. The first acts as the implementation of aggression as a pre-planned act, the purpose of which is to cause harm or damage to the object. The second is accomplished as a means of achieving a certain result, which in itself is not an aggressive act.

Aggressive behavior can have the following structure:

  • By orientation: outward aggression; self-directed auto-aggression.
  • By purpose: intellectual; hostile.
  • By method of expression: physical; verbal.
  • By severity: direct; indirect.
  • By presenting impulse: initiative; defensive.

Aggressive action is a manifestation of aggressiveness as a situational reaction. If aggressive actions are periodically repeated, then in this case we should talk about aggressive behavior. Aggression itself implies a situational, social, psychological state immediately before or during an aggressive action. Each person must have a certain degree of aggressiveness, since aggression is an integral characteristic of human activity and adaptability.

  1. Klein believes that aggressiveness has certain healthy traits that are simply necessary for an active life. This is perseverance, initiative, persistence in achieving the goal, overcoming obstacles. These qualities are inherent in leaders. Aggression can be considered as a biologically appropriate form of behavior that contributes to survival and adaptation. On the other hand, aggression is regarded as evil, as behavior that contradicts the positive essence of people.

The psychoanalytic theory of aggression considered aggression from the point of view of the innate death instinct. According to S. Freud, aggression originates in the death instinct, which is innate and directed at its own carrier, that is, aggression is the death instinct, projected outward and aimed at external objects;

The evolutionist theory of aggression as a source of aggressive behavior considered another innate mechanism – the instinct of struggle inherent in all animals, including humans. One of the followers of this theory, K. Lorentz suggested the existence of a long evolutionary path of development.

The socio-biological theory of aggression considered aggressive interactions with competitors as one of the ways to increase the success of reproduction in an environment with limited resources – lack of food or mating partners.

Theories of motivation singled out, as a source of aggression, the urge, or motivation, caused by external causes, to harm others. The theory of frustration-aggression is one of the theories of motivation, according to which the motivation for aggression arises in an individual who has experienced frustration (a person’s difficult experience of his failure, accompanied by a sense of hopelessness). Often, aggressive actions are aimed not at a true frustration, but at other objects with respect to which aggressive actions can be carried out freely and with impunity (displaced aggression).

Cognitive theory focuses on considering the emotional and cognitive processes that underlie aggression. The basis of aggression, according to this theory, is the comprehension or interpretation by an individual of someone’s actions as threatening or provocative, which has a certain effect on his feelings and behavior.

Theories of social learning consider aggression as a social phenomenon and a form of behavior learned in the process of social learning. In this regard, in order to understand the causes of aggression, it is necessary to take into account the way in which the aggressive behavior model was learned, the factors that provoked its manifestation and the conditions that contributed to the consolidation of this behavior model. It is suggested that aggressive reactions can be absorbed by observing manifestations of aggression.

The self-destruction sword intended for a person himself is often redirected by him to others. Thus the desire for self-preservation compromises and forces one to divert the danger of destruction from oneself to others.


Sublimation takes many different forms. For example, they say that sadistic desires can be sublimated by performing surgery or becoming a jailer, policeman, judge or even a teacher, and an excessive attraction to sex can be replaced by art, primarily visual. The sublimation mechanism transforms unwanted, traumatic and negative experiences into various kinds of constructive and demanded activities.

  1. Freud believed that everything we call “civilization” arose, perhaps due to the sublimation mechanism … “Psychoanalysts believe that most outstanding works of art are the result of the sublimation of energy from frustration associated with failures in personal life (most often rejected or lost love, unsatisfied sexual instinct, etc.). Freud himself cites Leonardo da Vinci, a great painter, scientist and engineer, as an example. He created the almost impossible for one person, in everything, no matter what he took, he reached perfection. At the same time, he noted a complete lack of interest in sex. Leonardo even said that if we could look with a detached look from the side, we would see how ugly it all looks. S. Freud believes that Leonardo became outstanding precisely because he had complete sublimation of sexual energy, even without internal struggle . By the way, Freud justified in the same way a similar own position and considered his amazing performance also the result of conscious complete sublimation of sexual energy at the age of forty. Being an atheist, he shared the Jewish moral in this matter that sex was “decent” only for the purpose of procreation.

 “Biographical psychoanalysis” shows that most of the outstanding works were created at a time when their authors had either a loss of love, or some kind of disappointment, or the inability to meet the object of love. Energy found a way out in creativity. In the works, the fantasy completes what is missing in real life.

Psychoanalysts like to cite the example of A. Pushkin’s “Boldinsky autumn”, when he was eager for a wedding with his future spouse Natalie, but was detained in quarantine in Boldino, where in a short time he created a huge number of amazing works – “The Belkin’s Tales”, part of “Eugene Onegin”, part of “Boris Godunov” , many famous poems. Although there may be a more prosaic reason.

Pushkin was such a gambler that he wrote: “If I had to choose not to play or not live, I would prefer not to live” or “There is only one true passion – this is a game.” He played a lot and recklessly, lost crazy money. His publisher Pletnev gave Pushkin money in advance, and the poet owed him incredible amounts. And in Boldino, nobody and nothing distracted Pushkin – there were no women, no gambling house, and he showed miracles of creative productivity. However, the element of sublimation of unrealized love desire here, undoubtedly, also took place.



First of all, the following types of self-destruction should be distinguished:

Physical auto-aggression (mutilation, injury, scarring) – dominates against all other varieties, because it is the most accessible, understandable and creates quick effects of relieving internal stress and suffering.

Verbal auto-aggression (self-accusation, self-humiliation, presenting oneself in an unfavorable light to others) – also allows you to remove internal stress and create conditions for removing external criticism.

Self-destructive (deviant – deviating from normative) behavior includes suicidal behavior, drug addiction, alcoholism, sexual excesses, eating disorders (bulimia, anorexia, etc.) Here human actions are not aimed at personal growth and harmonization, but rather, at the destruction of self.

How to recognize a person’s tendency to self-destruction?

It can be very difficult to see in a person a tendency to auto-aggression, as people tend to hide such problems because of fear of public condemnation. A. Rean proposed the concept of “auto-aggressive personality pattern”, in which the author identifies four subunits:

Characterological: includes such character traits, as demonstrativeness, pedantry, introversion, neuroticism and depression.

Self-esteem: reflects the relationship of self-esteem with auto-aggression (the higher the personal auto-aggression, the lower the self-esteem of physical, cognitive and self-reliance abilities).

Interactive: expresses the ability to social adaptation and the success of interpersonal interaction (the level of auto-aggression, as a rule, is inversely proportional to the degree of sociability).

Socio-perceptive: determines the characteristics of the perception of other people (the presence of auto-aggression is not associated with a negative perception of other people, but is directly proportional to the positive perception of “others”).

What are the consequences of auto-aggression?

The consequences of such self-destruction are always negative: moral and physical suffering, real mutilation and ugliness, psychosomatic diseases (peptic ulcer, oncology, migraine, and hypertension), even suicide.

How to cope with self-destruction?

First of all, for a person identification and self-knowledge are essential. It is very important for each of us to find our “I” and our place in society. The development of consciousness and reflective abilities will help the harmonious development of personality. Do not suppress your emotions and feelings to infinity, try to understand them.

Reduce stereotyping of thinking and perception in order to be able to give a more objective assessment of reality. Person with self-destructive behavior is poorly able to build an individually-reflective assessment of the situation or others: the subject is either idealized to give himself a negative and terrible assessment, or fake qualities are attributed to the subject to make him hateful.

Reduce emotional addiction: highlight your addictions that are truly damaging to you. Think about whether it is time to part with them (quit smoking, stay up late at work or on the Internet). Work on gradually all your destructive addictions. This will allow you to feel more confident, healthy, cheerful and positively inclined.

Naturally, when such a powerful mechanism of pleasure from self-destruction as vengeance is involved, a person takes revenge on anyone who tries to protect him from himself.

That is why the people say “do not do good, you will not get evils.” Often, no matter how strange it sounds, a person does not wish himself well, but someone intervenes and imposes this good on him. (Hence the modern joke: “to do evil good”). A person may ask you for a service or help, but this does not mean that he really wants to receive them! He can do this in the expectation that you will refuse, or because it is customary, but in reality he can revel in his pain or problem.

The fact is that our world still involves the destruction of anything and everything, the change of generations of people, animals, the extinction of biological species, the death of life on Earth, and then the death of the planet itself as a result of the expansion of the sun in the final stages of its evolution, and then destruction other stars, galaxies, and ultimately the universe itself. These are modern scientific ideas, and not the game of the author’s inflamed imagination. It is important for nature to clear the place for “new games”. Or, perhaps, our universe was made by a creator for sale and, upon the expiration of the warranty period, is subject to self-destruction so that “goods do not lie down” – other universes created by him. The author apologizes here for black humor…

Is it really so important, whether we are destroying ourselves or is someone helping us in this, but certain is one thing: we do hate those who prevent us from destroying ourselves.

Thus, we fall into voluntary madness.

As it has been already noted above, the only rational justification for self-destruction is the presumably existing opportunity to cease to exist, to end the painful process of being. Or, if you are not an atheist, then you may believe in the “afterlife” or the “transmigration of souls”. But if something good waited for us beyond death, why is it so stubbornly hidden from us? Not single obvious news from the other world! This just cannot speak only of its absence, but on the contrary, an absolute ban on the disclosure of objective information about it.

So we can confidently dismiss the arguments about the rationality of the desire for death on an individual level, because striving for the unknown is much worse than staying in a world more or less familiar to us. And then, it turns out, self-destruction is not in our interests again!

A startling discovery! The author here teases himself. “Discovering” obvious things is now in trend. Most of the modern “discoveries” are either false or obvious, but that’s not the point.

We do not take into account religious beliefs about the “benefits of suffering”.

Assuming that some creator or demon put into us the desire for self-destruction does not change things. Considering this, self-destruction is still not in our interests. And it doesn’t matter whether we are talking about a “good creator” who sends us temptations so that we can become stronger in the fight against them, or Satan pushes us to death, or these are any other forms of struggle between light and darkness, evil and good.

Any beliefs justifying self-destructive inclinations are only accomplices of self-deception, drowning out the voice of our self-preservation.

It should be noted that to never exist is better than to exist. Enter the pros and cons of existence into the computer and it will objectively confirm that nonexistence is preferable. Man cannot objectively answer this question. He will begin to talk about the beauty of heaven and love, which the nonexistent will never know. Alas, the philosophical analysis of these arguments will not leave a stone unturned.

But the person will be right in declaring that since we already exist, the continuation of existence is preferable to the transition to non-existence. For the known is always preferable to the unknown.

That is, it is necessary to realize and abandon the pleasure of self-destruction laid down in us by nature, to refuse it, like cheese in a mouse trap! Especially, since self-preservation is also inherent in us. Why not help self-preservation and stop self-destruction? And, moreover, it is essential to stop interfering and taking revenge on those who try to keep us from self-destruction! Refuse to follow the road of self-destruction, understand that this is nothing more than a misunderstanding, and so reject voluntary insanity!