Louis Althusser, a man who once collected intellectual laruels and honours like some collect stamps, was a profoundly tragic figure. His tragedy is chiefly that at one time his genius was idolized, but, with age, he became ravaged by mental illness and decended slowly into utter madness and detachment from the world.
While this quotation is profound, I see it as a chance for us all to confront the sheer terror of existence, guided by a man who, when he wrote this, was slowly loosing his own terrifying war with madness.
“Humanity only inscribes its official deaths on its war memorials: those who were able to die on time, i.e. late, as men, in human wars in which only human wolves and gods tear and sacrifice one another. In its sole survivors, psycho-analysis is concerned with another struggle, with the only war without memoirs or memorials, the war humanity pretends it has never declared, the war it always thinks it has won in advance, simply because humanity is nothing but surviving this war, living and bearing children as culture in human culture: a war which is continually declared in each of its sons, who, projected, deformed and rejected, are required, each by himself in solitude and against death, to take the long forced march which makes mammiferous larvae into human children, masculine or feminine subjects.”
In many ways this sentiment is the embodiment of the darker, flip side of the coin I touched on in my post “The Life Warrior”.