Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Nietzsche & Freud & Bed & Breakfasts

Artist Federico Solmi
Nietzsche and Freud both talked about Trieb.* They define humans as having egoistische (selfish) Trieb (urge) which society forces us to control, turning us into neurotic (Freud) or weak (Nietzsche) beings. But this is looking at this dynamic system from an individual's point of view. We can look instead at the bridges that are established between individuals, social constructions.  

A couple of weeks ago I went to stay in a Bed and Breakfast in Montreal. My host left in the morning to go to work before I arrived. She left her keys in the letterbox. I could have made out with all her possessions, or trashed her place or nosed around her belongings. It felt good to be trusted as I had trusted her place would be agreeable and that she would make a good host. We had taken the risk of meeting the primitive Trieb of the other person and of being taken advantage of. But the gamble paid off. 

She was generous. I did my best to respect her space, and I befriended the cat. We didn't interact as neurotic individuals who had repressed their pulsions through morals. We were enjoying that we had proved trust can still exist in our world of electronic badges and identity checks.

And we're seeing more and more of that happening, as a countering action against our culture of security and profit. Airbnb, couchsurfing, rideshares. Our neighbors now range the globe.

*German for urges, or pulsions in French