The United States versus Great Britain…
PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS
On Saturday, 2 events received much mainstream media attention.
One was the coronation of King Charles III, with all the British pomp and circumstance accompanying the large public crowds out in inclement weather. It seemed to go off without much of a hitch, perhaps other than the uncomfortable unofficial and family conflict status of his son Harry, who attended but did not participate much.
At about the same time in the United States, we had yet another mass shooting in Texas, our 199th of the year. At a mall, scores of individuals were killed or injured, while others left in terror. Moreover, these mass shootings are our tip of the iceberg of everyday under-the-radar shootings. It is as if the Wild West is still playing out.
Historically, we are tied together. The United Stated evolved as a breakaway nation from England, founded in winning a firearm-based war. We achieved freedom, but part of that freedom included gun violence to Native Americans and the brutal control of the African slaves.
Freud talked about Thanatos as a drive of aggression, sadism, destruction, violence, and death. In Greek mythology, Thanatos is a figure who represents death. According to Freud, our life instincts and death instincts are often in conflict.
Besides Great Britain having a non-political monarchy—the only exception being the last Queen Elizabeth coming out against apartheid in South Africa—the other big difference is gun ownership and violence.
Perhaps Freud’s ideas need to be reconsidered to see if they can be of help. How can we resolve more of our society’s life and death conflict toward life, and mentally healthy life at that? When I finish this terribly long series on our Mayday crises, I will try to provide some recommendations that could help. We also welcome your social therapeutic ideas.
Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. He is an advocate for mental health issues related to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times.