Since Freud believed that aggression is man’s natural state, it follows that such aggression can function outside of the realm of the ownership of private property.

Furthermore, since aggression, according to Freud, is innate, it comes before the idea of ownership. As Freud (1961) stated: “Aggressiveness was not created by property. It reigned almost without limit in primitive times, when property was still very scanty, and it already shows itself in the nursery almost before property had given up its primal, anal form; it forms the basis of every relation of affection and love among people…” (p. 71).

Freud continued: “It is always possible to bind together a considerable number of people in love, so long as there are other people left over to receive the manifestations of their aggressiveness” (p. 72).

Historically, man’s aggressive nature has afforded him the opportunity to form communities by protecting and differentiating one group from another. For example, Freud pointed to the persecution of Jews by Christians during the inquisition of the Middle Ages, as well as the annihilation of the bourgeoisie in Russia by the Communist Party.

According to Solomon, Greenberg, & Pyszczynski, people gather in groups to confront and alleviate their fear of death. The security of homogenous populations enhances individual self-esteem, which tends to buffer one’s anxiety about mortality. They suggested that this fear of death is actually what drives prejudice between groups.

Similar cultural world views, Solomon, Greenberg, & Pyszczynski suggested, are an inoculation against aggression and war. They observed that: “This awareness of death creates the potential for debilitating terror, managed through the development of cultural world views: humanly created belief systems that are shared by individuals in groups and function to minimize anxiety engendered by the awareness of death.” (Solomon, Greenberg, & Pyszczynski, 2000, p. 133)

Because cultures differentiate in their particular belief systems in relation to the afterlife, for example, people that have similar ideas gain a sense of security from one another.

Solomon, Greenberg, & Pyszczynski noted that: “The awareness of mortality is a potentially terrifying by-product of human consciousness. People manage this potential for terror through the development of culture, which confers the sense that they are valuable members of a meaningful universe. Self-esteem serves to buffer anxiety, and reminders of mortality intensify striving for self-esteem and defense of the worldview. Mortality concerns contribute to prejudice because people who are different challenge the absolute validity of one’s cultural worldview. Psychological equanimity is restored by bolstering self-worth and faith in the cultural worldview, typically by engaging in culturally valued behaviors and by venerating people who are similar to oneself and berating, converting, or annihilating those who are different.” (p. 137)

When groups of different cultural world views collide politically, religiously, or racially, they fall back on their innate aggression to annihilate those groups with differing perspectives, so as to enhance their own feelings of sameness and security. Greenberg added: “Many studies have examined the effects of mortality salience on reactions to others who support or threaten participants’ religious or political views” (as cited in Solomon, Greenberg, & Pyszczynski, 2000, p. 135).

Even if all things were equal, and man was totally free to be his natural, sexual self, his aggression would still be a part of his natural instinct.

Equality for human beings is nowhere present in nature, and Freud (1961) noted that even “if we do away with personal rights over material wealth, there still remains prerogative in the field of sexual relationships, which is bound to become the source of the strongest dislike and the most violent hostility among men who in other respects are on equal footing.” (p. 71).


Angel, J. (2008) Exploring the mind-brain connection. Bloomington, IL: Xlibris.

Freud, S. (1962, c1961). Civilization and its discontents. (J. Strachey, Trans.). (1st American

ed.). New York : W.W. Norton.

Panksepp, J. (1998). Affective neuroscience: The foundations of human and animal emotions.

New York: Oxford University.

Pinker, S. (2002) The blank slate: The modern denial of human nature. New York: Penguin.

Solomon, S., Greenberg, J., & Pyszczynski, T. (2000). Pride and prejudice: Fear of death and

social behavior. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 9, 200-204.


  • Dr. Gail Gross

    Author and Parenting, Relationships, and Human Behavior Expert

    Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and member of APA Division 39, is a nationally recognized family, child development, and human behavior expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to difficult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems. Dr. Gross is frequently called upon by national and regional media to offer her insight on topics involving family relationships, education, behavior, and development issues. A dependable authority, Dr. Gross has contributed to broadcast, print and online media including CNN, the Today Show, CNBC's The Doctors, Hollywood Reporter, FOX radio, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Times of India, People magazine, Parents magazine, Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine, USA Today, Univision, ABC, CBS, and KHOU's Great Day Houston Show. She is a veteran radio talk show host as well as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS program, “Let’s Talk.” Also, Dr. Gross has written a semi-weekly blog for The Huffington Post and has blogged at since 2013. Recently, Houston Women's Magazine named her One of Houston's Most Influential Women of 2016. Dr. Gross is a longtime leader in finding solutions to the nation’s toughest education challenges. She co-founded the first-of-its kind Cuney Home School with her husband Jenard, in partnership with Texas Southern University. The school serves as a national model for improving the academic performance of students from housing projects by engaging the parents. Dr. Gross also has a public school elementary and secondary campus in Texas that has been named for her. Additionally, she recently completed leading a landmark, year-long study in the Houston Independent School District to examine how stress-reduction affects academics, attendance, and bullying in elementary school students, and a second study on stress and its effects on learning. Such work has earned her accolades from distinguished leaders such as the Dalai Lama, who presented her with the first Spirit of Freedom award in 1998. More recently, she was honored in 2013 with the Jung Institute award. She also received the Good Heart Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International, Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame Award, the Great Texan of the Year Award, the Houston Best Dressed Hall of Fame Award, Trailblazer Award, Get Real New York City Convention's 2014 Blogging Award, and Woman of Influence Award. Dr. Gross’ book, The Only Way Out Is Through, is available on Amazon now and offers strategies for life’s transitions including coping with loss, drawing from dealing with the death of her own daughter. Her next book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, is also available on Amazon now and teaches parents how to enhance their child’s learning potential by understanding and recognizing their various development stages. And her first research book was published by Random House in 1987 on health and skin care titled Beautiful Skin. Dr. Gross has created 8 audio tapes on relaxation and stress reduction that can be purchased on Most recently, Dr. Gross’s book, The Only Way Out is Through, was named a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Silver Medal finalist in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the categories of Death & Dying as well as Grief. Her latest book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, was the National Parenting Product Awards winner in 2019, the Nautilus Book Awards winner in 2019, ranked the No. 1 Best New Parenting Book in 2019 and listed among the Top 10 Parenting Books to Read in 2020 by BookAuthority, as well as the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Gold Medal winner in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the category of How-To. Dr. Gross received a BS in Education and an Ed.D. (Doctorate of Education) with a specialty in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. She earned her Master’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus on Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Gross received her second PhD in Psychology, with a concentration in Jungian studies. Dr. Gross was the recipient of Kappa Delta Pi An International Honor Society in Education. Dr. Gross was elected member of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta.