November 20, 2018

Food for Thought

Freud had to invent the concept of “death drive” because the simplistic notion that we are all motivated by pleasure couldn’t explain many of our self-destructive behaviors. Something within us drives us to repeat things we know are bad for us. In that pursuit of excess, pleasure turns into pain but we keep going.

A cronut is a symbolic embodiment of this death drive. A butter-loaded croissant is not good enough; it needs to be deep-fried, sugar-coated, and topped with frosting. Wait. Even that’s not enough; it needs to be filled with cream too.

Repetition is a hallmark of death drive. Freud observed that traumatized soldiers tended to re-enact traumatic experiences, over and over again, like zombies. When you look at a cronut, you are reminded of this infinite loop; your self-destructive drive keeps going around and around in a circle, and it can never satisfy you because it just goes around a hole, a void, a lack. It never reaches any goal. It’s endless. The death drive wants to keep going forever.

Is it any wonder that cronuts are popular?

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