[FOUNTAIN]Freud and ChungSigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, said that humans have not only an instinct to live but also an instinct to shed a tough life and be calm forever. If he had analyzed the suicide of Chung Mong-hun, the chairman of Hyundai Asan Corp., he might have found a tug-of-war between the instinct to live and that to die, in which the latter won.
Karl Menninger, a psychoanalyst from the United States, developed Freud’s theories. He explained the death instinct with a three-part theory: suicide or murder, a desire to be killed and unconscious suicide.
There was a housewife who wanted to kill her husband, but the superior power of the husband, her conscience that forbids murder and the fear of punishment frustrated her action. As a result, she turned the object of her destructive impulse from her husband to herself. Let’s assume that Mr. Chung was oppressed by someone. He wanted to remove the politicians, their advisers, the special counsels and the investigators that pushed him to the wall, but he lacked the ability. Finally, he choose suicide instead of the murder.
There was a man who spent all of his fortune in gambling. His mother died of anger; he had no money to pay the hospital expenses for his wife. He wanted punishment to ease his conscience and sentenced himself to death. Let’s assume again that Mr. Chung was blaming himself. He thought that he drove the company to the verge of bankruptcy and jeopardized the North Korea projects. His guilty conscience impelled him to suicide.
There is an employee who was insulted by his boss. In a rage, he drove his car recklessly, crashed it and died. He took his life unconsciously. Let’s make a last assumption about Mr. Chung. He was under stress because of his trial, the investigation and his business. With the help of alcohol, he jumped from his office window: unconscious self-destruction.
Speculation about his death instinct did not stop after the funeral. Perhaps all three of Dr. Menninger’s theories might have been at play. He might have restrained the death impulse if someone told him this story:
A group of hares decided to drown themselves, deploring their fate as prey. When they arrived at the pond, they found that frogs were jumping into the water, frightened by the hares. They said, “They are weaker than we; how strong we are compared with those frogs.” They returned to the mountain.
by Lee Gyu-yeon
The writer is a deputy city news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.