S.P. Semenov

V.A. Kasatkin

Myocardial infarction, stroke, neoplasms, alcohol and drug addiction, immunodepression and the resulting increased morbidity, suicides, traumatism - what do all these, apparently so different pathological problems, have in common?



Saint-Petersburg, 2007, BBK 53.57 С302

Semenov S.P., Kasatkin V.A. - ANTHROPOPTOSIS. Universal mechanism of the socially conditioned self-liquidation of humans. St. Petersburg: TAT, 2007. - 64 pages. ISBN 5-98796-013-4

Reviewer: B.D. Karvasarsky – doctor of medical sciences, professor, honored worker of science of the Russian Federation, head of the Department of Neuroses and Psychotherapy of the St.-Petersburg V.M.Bekhterev Scientific Research Institute.

© Semenov S.P., Kasatkin V.A., 2007, © make-up by "ТАТ" CJSC, 2007


The book explains the author's concept of the socially conditioned death of a person. Psychosocial deprivation is regarded as the basic psychological factor launching the mechanism of self-destruction. Main guidelines of possible psychoprophylaxis and psychotherapeutic assistance are specified. The book is intended for doctors, psychologists and students of relevant high schools.

Keywords: apoptosis, anthropoptosis, autonecrosis, vegetative nervous system (VNS), vegetative deregulation, genesis, genesotonia, deprivation, logotherapy, pathological condition, psychosocial autodeprivation, genital function, thanatos, thanatotonia, thanatocracy, purposeful system, eros.


In process of natural aggravation of competition, relations between separate individuals, between an individual and the society, become ever more formal. A lot of people are actually deprived of opportunities for wholesome social and reproductive (procreational) self-realization. This situation causes a great deal of neuropsychic and psychosomatic diseases. Their progressive expansion demands for the search of adequate preventive and psychotherapeutic measures. The book describes an integrative approach to understanding and solution of this problem, which has been used by the authors for many years. Since our own experience convinces us of correctness of the formulated concept, it would be expedient to share our ideas and discoveries with colleagues working in the same field.


Myocardial infarction, stroke, neoplasms, alcohol and drug addiction, immunodepression and the resulting increased morbidity, suicides, traumatism - what do all these, apparently so different pathological problems, have in common? - According to the concept in the basis of our developed approach, all of them often express the same thing: anthropoptosis - socially conditioned self-liquidation of a person. One of the major factors launching the mechanism of such destruction is psychosocial deprivation - a condition in which a person is psychologically deprived of needed connection with the social organism and cannot realize his/her natural mission. In most cases this condition has sociogenic nature. As the relevant discussion far exceeds the frameworks of psychotherapeutic field, this book states the necessary sociological ideas in form of theses only. Whereas for the anthropoptosis and psychosocial deprivation, the content of these terms, being of key importance both for psychodiagnostics and for an adequate psychotherapeutic intervention, is revealed with enough detail.

The word anthropoptosis (Greek ανθρωποσ - man, πτωσις - falling, destruction, dying) is a neologism used by us to designate a phenomenon similar to apoptosis (Greek απο - meaning termination of action in complex words, πτωσις - falling, destruction, dying) – one of the most investigated kinds of programmed destruction of cells. The term of ‘apoptosis’ received its actual meaning in 1972 when Kerr with co-authors published his article in the British magazine Cancer [24]. In 1997 V.P. Skulachev suggested to use the term of ‘phenoptosis’ to designate the same genetically programmed death of metaphytes [17]. So, formally, it would be possible to consider the anthropoptosis as a particular case of phenoptosis – the phenoptosis of humans. However, from the positions of the evolutionary theory being the basis of modern biology and medicine, the phenoptosis hypothesis may concern rare species only, because the program of self-liquidation of a metaphyte could be fixed in a genome only with a unique combination of phylogenetic circumstances. In our opinion, it is erroneous in general if referred to Homo sapiens: unlike other living essences, a human is a potential long-liver [15]. Due to this circumstance, the term ‘phenoptosis’ is not used hereinafter. Our point of view at features of the genetic program of humans is given below with enough detail. Of course, the death of people similar to the apoptosis of cells exists undoubtedly but the program of such self-liquidation is not determined genetically but socially and psychologically. To make the analogy between the anthropoptosis and the apoptosis clear enough, before discussing it in psychoprophylactic and psychotherapeutic aspect, it is necessary to describe this form of cellular suicide in a brief way.

What is apoptosis?

First of all, one should note that, in case of the apoptosis, it concerns self-liquidation of a cell, instead of its death owing to any harmful action, which is called necrosis. The apoptosis is a genetically controlled process that can be launched by various external and internal factors. Its realization is connected to activation of the special (killer) genes responsible for synthesis of the substances causing cell destruction [21].

The factors launching the genetic program of self-liquidation are different for cells of various tissues. However, in terms of psychophysiological analogy, only the most general mechanisms causing the apoptosis regardless the tissue type of cells are subject of interest. One of such most general mechanisms is the dysfunction of regulatory influences by the organism by means to which the cell has a normal structure and functions in normal way. This occurs, for example, due to lack of some hormones, factors of growth or other cellular stimulators in a tissue. The apoptosis development can also be caused by simple loss by a cell of contact with other cells or elements of intercellular substance … [19]

Another general mechanism launching the program of self-liquidation refers to the influence of physiological inducers [2] - special substances produced by the organism with the purpose of activation of killer genes, i.e. just to force a cell to suicide.

Both above-mentioned mechanisms have full analogs in the anthropoptosis pattern. To make this obvious enough, it is expedient to consider realization of some biological processes where the role of apoptosis is especially significant. Such processes include: embryonic development, old cells liquidation, mature tissues involution, development of some degenerative and infectious diseases, tumor growth.

Role of apoptosis in embryonic development

- Formation of an organism in the course of embryonic development is connected to production and destruction of a great amount of various cells. In this way, for example, provisional organs appear and then disappear completely, while the formation of permanent organs envisages first the production of excessive cellular mass and then the disposal of anything unnecessary. The cells having finished their work are destroyed mainly by means of the apoptosis. It covers the cells within precise sites of forming rudiments and organs at specific stages of their development. If, by any reason, the tissues or organs to be destroyed still remain, the handicaps occur. Therefore, we can put it in this way: apoptosis is an obligatory process of normal development of the organism.

Old cells liquidation

- Although the average life expectancy of cells in various tissues varies from several hours (white corpuscles) to many years (heart cells and neurons), their ageing, normally, always terminates with the apoptosis. There are grounds to consider that launching of the killer genes occurs due to decrease of sensitivity of an old cell to stimulating signals from its neighbours and from the organism as a whole. Timely updating of the cellular structure is a guarantee of longevity of the organism and the normal realization of the apoptosis is a requisite for that.


- The reverse development is especially manifested in the tissues whose structure and activity strongly depend on hormones. In this way, for example, after the termination of lactation the cellular mass of lactiferous glands decreases quickly; women at advanced age have their uterus diminished, while men have the same for the prostate. In all these and many other cases, the cells no more necessary to the organism stop their existence by means of the apoptosis.

Apoptosis in the course of embryonic development, apoptosis of old cells, apoptosis for involution of mature tissues – all these are examples of physiological destruction of cells. However, the apoptosis can also be connected with a lot of disease processes [10]: some of them are expressed in inappropriate activation of the program of self-destruction of cells, others in the oppression of this important mechanism of tissue homeostasis.

As to the pathological activation of apoptosis, there are grounds to believe that it can underlie such hard illnesses as parkinsonism, Alzheimer disease, Huntington disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and a lot of other degenerative diseases characterized by drastic reduction of quantity of basic functional cells. It has been also established that the apoptosis can be started by cells contamination. For example, the clinical pattern of AIDS is determined basically by the apoptosis of the immune system cells.

As to the apoptosis oppression, this phenomenon no less pathogenic than its inappropriate activation. So, for example, preservation of embryonic cells in the organism is fraught not only with various handicaps but also with some kinds of tumors. By the way, we should note that the tumor cells often have the apoptosis-launching genes inactivated. Only the cells having lost the interstitial and inter-tissue homeostatic control can become potentially tumorous and give rise to an indefinitely proliferating autonomous cellular population – to malignant growth. [25]

In conclusion to this brief digression into the problem of programmed cell death, we should also draw your attention to the fact that the apoptosis is a physiological, normal phenomenon. As soon as a cell ceases to meet its functional purpose in the organism, after receiving the corresponding signal from the latter, it commits suicide. In this way the cellular structure is updated, which is necessary to maintain health and longevity of the organism … To make it clear, why the anthropoptosis is a real phenomenon but it is impossible to regard it as a direct analog of the apoptosis, we should address our key idea of the organism as a purposeful system.

Organism AS a purposeful system

Since the times of Claude Bernard (1878) and Walter Cannon (1929) the organism has been mainly represented by physiologists as a system capable to maintain constant its composition and structure. Indeed, the concept of homeostasis formulated by W. Cannon is one of the basic for modern physiology [22]. However, the concept that the organism is a purposeful system during all its existence should be no less important; in other words – that it has a certain designation...  [16] This is obvious enough from positions of the evolutionary theory, according to which the organism of any living essence is a historical fruit of natural selection. As it is known, the latter results in the fact that, in conditions of permanent struggle for existence, only the individuals that have been adapted enough to an inhabitancy survive up to the age of sexual maturity and transfer their attributes to posterity... When using the concept of natural selection as the explanatory principle of perfection of living essences and features of their structure, it is important to pay attention that the selection mechanism functions with regard to any useful properties and attributes only on condition that an individual is capable to have descendants. Therefore, the basic system-forming function is actually the reproductive function. Thus, the relevant formula is the following: life is a purposeful and purpose-subjected existence, where the natural biological purpose consists in genus extension; the genital function cements all organism and conformity to it means a guarantee of normal course of life and achievable longevity. S. Freud in his time proposed the term ‘Eros’ (Greek εροσ - love) to designate the set of relevant appetencies. *) By using it, the same formula may be simplified as follows: organisms of living essences are fortified by their erotic basis... A clear evidence of its validity is the fact that life expectancy of most species of living essences exceeds insignificantly their reproductive age. As soon as an individual loses ability to continue its genus, its general viability falls sharply. This is especially obvious with the example of Pacific salmon and other fish species, which spawn once in their life only: soon after that the producers die. [5] It seems that the case with higher animals and humans is different. However, it is necessary to take into account that, unlike the salmon, reproduction of humans does not at all finish with childbirth, because man is an not only a biological but also cultural and social essence. Outside the human culture and outside the human society (in other words – as an animal) man is poorly viable. Therefore, the genus extension (realization of erotic function) for humans also assumes, firstly, the education up to the age when a descendant can exist independently; secondly, transferring to him/her the culture, i.e. the information without which our species is unviable; thirdly, keeping and development of social structure. It appears from here that the humans are potential long-livers because their organisms have been designed evolutionarily to solve all these problems. And the latter reach far beyond the genital age. There is enough evidence that for a person occupied with solution of these problems, the natural death is by no means a rigidly programmed event and comes as a result of accumulation in the organism of incorrigible breakages only. A similar situation, which launches the apoptosis at cellular level, develops at the human level only when a person ceases to correspond to his/her mission at all, i.e. loses genital, cultural and social functions altogether.

Unfortunately, the present social system puts a lot of people in this situation. Now the psychosocial deprivation considers not only individual citizens or apatrides but whole social layers and, consequently, can be one of the principal causes of premature death of a significant part of the population. Indeed, it can be put in this way, if there were mechanisms of self-liquidation of humans similar to the apoptosis. - Unfortunately, there are grounds to assert that they do exist. They are psychophysiological by their nature.

PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGICAL mechanisms of anthropoptosis

Possible difficulties in comprehension of psychophysiological mechanisms of the anthropoptosis, however, same as for many psychosomatic disorders, are connected with the idea deep-seated in neurology about division of the nervous system into two sections, one of which manages external functions of the organism and mentality, and the other one – its internal processes. The well-known French anatomist, physiologist and physician Marie François Xavier Bichat who lived at the end of the 18th century was the first to formulated this idea. It was Bichat who suggested to consider the nervous system as consisting of two sections – animate and vegetative systems. He regarded as the animate nervous system the sections of nervous system which establish certain mutual relations between the organism and the surrounding environment; and as the vegetative nervous system – the sections managing internal processes of the organism.

The following stage in development of this divisionary idea is connected with the name of one of the major English neurophysiologists John Langley who suggested the terms ‘independent nervous system’ and ‘somatic nervous system’. Now the term ‘independent nervous system’ is accepted in the International Anatomic Nomenclature as exclusive to designate the relevant anatomic formations. In this way, the idea of the nervous system division into two subsystems is actually fixed in the scientific perception. Nevertheless, the character of mutual relations between the somatic nervous system and the independent nervous system remains unclear in many respects. Additional complexities in comprehension of their mutual relations arose in the days of domination of the doctrine of our well-known neurophysiologist I.P. Pavlov. His idea of dominating importance of the cerebral cortex to effect all functions of the central nervous system appeared naturally in the foreground, as it was excellently coordinated with the social system of that time. It has seemed for rather long time that just the cerebral cortex is the higher integrative instance not only of the somatic nervous system but of the vegetative nervous system too. However, to tell the truth, the same sociopolitical circumstances, which have led to domination of I.P.Pavlov’s doctrine, have also promoted the development of a wholesome approach to researching the nervous system. L.A. Orbeli's theory of the adaptative trophic function of the sympathetic nervous system may be considered one of directions in such approach. According to this theory, the sympathetic nervous system regulates the exchange, physical and chemical processes in all tissues and organs according to the needs of the whole organism. It is important to note that such regulatory influence is also distributed among all levels of the central nervous system, including the cortex of the big cerebral hemispheres. Here, actually, the tool carrying out the maximum integration of the organism is not the somatic nervous system and not the cerebral cortex but the vegetative nervous system. Further research of the central mechanisms of the vegetative regulation has shown that the major neuronal structures responsible for that are located in the brain stem and in the hypothalamus. Here is an approximate list of just a few regulatory functions of this small section of the brain: enabling the homeostasis in general and in tissues in particular; accommodation of cardiovascular and respiratory systems to various psycho-emotional conditions; thermoregulation; regulation of motor and secretory activity of the gastrointestinal tract; regulation of hematogenesis and immunity; regulation of the endocrine glands activity; regulation of protein, carbohydrate and fat metabolism; regulation of the sleeping–wakefulness rhythm; regulation of all reproductive functions (menstrual cycle, spermatogenesis, sexual activity, maintaining pregnancy, childbirth, lactation)… Now ever more evidence appears to confirm the idea that it is necessary to consider both the cerebral cortex and other higher sections of the somatic nervous system as individual objects of vegetative regulation. The behavioral acts connected to their activity, no less than the higher mental functions, are regarded as naturally integrated in the organism, dependent on it and counter-influencing it. That's where we come to understanding of the psychophysiological posibility of the anthropoptosis. Since the organism is not a homeostat (the term proposed by W.R. Ashby in 1948) but a purposeful system, its vegetative regulation is carried out in compliance with its mission and if the purpose is lost, it is inevitably deregulated – regardless the reason having caused the deprivation. Such deregulation may cause not only various dysfunctions of separate organs and systems but also pathological activation of the apoptosis, either its blockage, and many other potentially disastrous processes, as well as suicidal behaviour…


The word deprivation has late Latin origin and initially meant ousting of an ecclesiastic from his post. Now it is widely used both in colloquial speech and as a scientific term which, regardless the area of the application, means mainly a condition of losing something very important and necessary. In biology, for example, the term food deprivation designates forced starvation, the term motor deprivation - loss of capability to move. Sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation are psychological terms used to designate corresponding deprivations. In developmental psychology, the word ‘deprivation’ designates deficiency of sensory and social incentives which is fraught with distortion of intellectual, emotional and personal development of a child. The term social deprivation is usually used to designate either haplessness when it deals with distribution of social benefits and opportunities, or isolation in learning, educational or penitentiary institutions. We suggest to consider as psychosocial deprivation a condition when an individual is, by any circumstances, deprived of possibilities to perform his/her genital function … This condition as itself is not only a deprivation but also frustration of a lot of relevant needs. In view of the above-stated concerning the Homo sapiens reproduction features, it is reasonable to distinguish two basic frustration components in the structure of psychosocial deprivation: frustration of erotic appetencies and frustration of social appetencies. [14]

If a person is deprived of something necessary for his/her normal vital activity, the latter would be, certainly, deregulated. Therefore, any deprivation is inherently pathogenic. The question is only the importance of what a person is deprived of. Deprivation of air, water and food leads to fast death. Sleep deprivation is almost equally pernicious. All this is rather obvious. The need of a person for constant information interaction with an environment is much less obvious. High significance of this need was established for the first time in the middle of the XX century by the American scientists from McGill University. Later numerous experiments on sensory deprivation have confirmed the fact discovered by them: constant sensory stimulation is necessary for normal functioning of the brain. As to the importance of social contacts for a person, this is clearly testified by the stories of children grown-up in separation from human society. As it is known, in none of such cases it has been possible to provide such a humanoid with truly human properties. This means that social stimulation and constant contact to other people are obligatory factors for normal development of a person, while the social deprivation excludes them.

If we take into consideration the above-stated reasons of the fundamental system-forming role of the genesis continuation function, it is easy to understand how great is the value of continuous communication with other people and with a society for an adult person as well. In fact, realization of this natural mission is possible with presence of such communication only. The social deprivation is faced by people of various ages and for various reasons. It concerns almost everyone, for example, after retirement, when working communications interrupt and there is a sensation of uselessness.  For prison inmates, isolation from the society is an ordeal no easier than that of famine, thirst or pain. Apparently, the military service is a similar ordeal for many young people… [4] All this is quite obvious but it is necessary to note once again that the psychosocial deprivation is not at all identical to the social deprivation. For example, an eremite, i.e. a person for whom God is the supreme symbol of over-individual organization, by self-isolation from the society (which means social deprivation) actually consolidates connection with it, so he has no psychosocial deprivation. Unfortunately, the situation of eremite is practically unique and there are many more examples of opposite character, when obvious attributes of the social deprivation are absent, while the psychosocial deprivation declares itself. V.E. Frankl's studies [18] testify convincingly that often the loss of sense and purpose of existence is connected to a world outlook of a person, which predetermines development of the psychosocial autodeprivation as a reaction to any social incentives or to their loss. Here we return again to the fundamental concept of genital function. And it is relevant to note once again: the mission of human being is not at all reduced to birth of children and their bringing-up. It assumes permanent constructive interaction with relatives and with society when a person, by realizing his/her individuality, acts for the benefit of others and gets satisfaction from own efforts. Drastic deprivation of this possibility to be useful and to receive signs of recognition of own usefulness launches the anthropoptosis.

Basic directions of anthropoptosis

The anthropoptosis, as self-destruction of human body, assumes two possible ways: suicidal (self-destructive) behaviour and autonecrosis (Greek αυτος - self; νεκρωσις - mortification). The term ‘autonecrosis’ is quite suitable to designate the mortal processes of internal destruction which express the dysfunction of vegetative regulation and are started by psychological factors. Distinction between these two ways is obvious enough: with self-destructive behaviour, a person acts as a self-killer, whereas with the autonecrosis he/she plays the role of moribund.


Of course, a human being, unlike animals, is capable of real suicide, i.e. the actions directed at self-deprivation of life. This ability expresses two fundamental features of our nature. The first of them consists in relative weakness of instincts, so that even the instinct of self-preservation is not a primary factor among those determining a person’s behaviour. The second feature is that humans are highly social essences. This makes each of us dependent on surrounding people and on the society. As the hypnosis practice demonstrates, the degree of this dependence is extremely high. By effecting hypnotic influence, one person can not only incite another one for any actions but even alternate his/her physiological processes. By taking into consideration that another’s image is a subjective reality only, it is easy to understand how it is important – how great the force of human autohypnosis is. And if for any reason this alter ego becomes an enemy ordering “die!”, a person either commits suicide or dies from some fatal illness developing immediately. In all appearance, in most cases such an "order" given to oneself in any form or received in a veiled form from the society is just the psychological reason of the anthropoptosis…

As to the self-destructive behaviour, as well as behaviour in general, it can be both conscious and unconscious. Let's consider first the conscious acts of suicide. 


Conscious (deliberate) suicide (Latin sui – self; caedere – kill). Seemingly, the suicide can be launched by various external and internal factors, however, in fact such killing is, certainly, conscious in all cases. [23] Not just consciousness by itself but the consciousness disordered owing to loss by the person of the purpose of further existence is involved in this. It does not mean, of course, that any deliberate self-deprivation of life testifies presence of a mental disorder but there is a frustration of consciousness expressed in loss of its adaptive function…

By taking into account the features of basic psychological mechanisms, all suicide acts may be, with a certain reserve, presented in two groups. The first group includes all cases when suicide takes place for the sake of some over-individual purpose. One can state as examples tremendous facts of self-immolation of Russian religious dissenters, of French Cathars, death of the “Popular Temple” sect in Guyana, Japanese kamikaze, the Arab terrorists who brought down planes in New York, war heroes. It is quite clear that such suicides in most cases are not a form of anthropoptosis because they simply reveal a person’s ability of sacrificial behaviour.

The second group is formed by the suicide acts expressing just the anthropoptosis. It includes, on the one hand, various forms of autoaggression when the suicide is caused by aggressive (Latin aggressio – attack) attitude to oneself and to own life; on the other hand – the suicide acts connected with depression or other suffering, when self-liquidation is a way to get rid of it.

A vivid example of simple autoaggression is harakiri. By cutting himself the belly, a Japanese Samurai carries out the program of self-liquidation meaning for him inadmissibility of his further life if it has ceased to correspond to the mission strictly determined by the Samurai code of honour which contains the instruction on this matter…

Psychologically, the suicide appears, of course, quite different, if the subject decides to kill himself/herself due to threats, cruel treatment or regular abasement of his/her dignity (article 110 of the Penal Code of the Russian Federation - “Incitement to suicide”). Here the self-liquidation expresses the condition when the further struggle for life, meaning further suffering, seems inexpedient and senseless to the person and the instinct of self-preservation appears weaker than this conscious decision. The pattern is nearly the same in the event that not the actions of any specific people but general conditions of the society lead to the suicide. One can judge of its conditions in today’s Russia by statistical data. According to the standard criteria, the level of suicides in a country is regarded as high if the number of completed suicides exceeds 20 among 100 thousand people. For this country, this parameter has increased by several times since 1985 and now makes over 40 throughout Russia, while in some regions – over 150 among 100 thousand people [11]. Having taken the fifth place among the reasons of death of citizens of the Russian Federation, the suicides have become a real problem because there are all grounds to believe that the primary factor launching this variant of anthropoptosis is the progressing break of communications with the social environment. The problem is aggravated considerably by the ever greater washing out of the idea of the border between life and death by the masscult, which especially affects teenagers. Whereas the cult of cruelty and violence spread by mass media actually perverts the protective and defensive instinct.

Of course, there is an evident growth of number of suicides under the pressure of any obvious external circumstances, however, the suicides are committed even more often in the state of depression. If a depression is a symptom of an endogenous process, the suicide caused by it can hardly refer to the category of anthropoptosis. If the depression has arisen for psychologically clear reasons and has ended with a suicide – this is a typical anthropoptosis. Development of such depressions in adult people is caused most frequently by the following circumstances: death of relatives (especially of a single child); separation with beloved ones; loss of sense and purpose of existence in connection with loneliness; position of a derelict, a stranger; position of a person who necessary to nobody; loss of home, exile from the native land… Most part of these circumstances can be referred to the category of psychosocial deprivation, which is described further on.

According to WHO, two million people on the globe fall in depressions each year. In addition, at least 2% of children under 18 and about 5% of teenagers suffer from depressions of various degrees. As forecasts tell, by 2020 the depression will become the “illness number one” by its prevalence, by overtaking infectious, cardiovascular and oncological diseases. [3] When estimating the contribution of various depressions to the total number of suicides, one should take into account that prevalence of depressions is much greater than reflected by statistics of their diagnosed forms. Firstly, the depressions are often hidden by means of any kind of psychotropic substances (medicines, alcohol, drugs). They enter our everyday life ever widely and have become practically indispensable attributes of the modern way of life. Secondly, which deserves special attention, the depressions appear somatized (Greek σωμα - body) in many cases, when a person makes complaints mainly for muscles, joints, any internal organs, but there are no real attributes of any somatic disease. In this case, the emotional disorders as such can be revealed by a special-purposed research only. Certainly, a suicide attempt against the background of such depression looks hardly motivated.


We have discussed to this point the variants of real suicide, i.e. the conscious and deliberate self-deprivation of life. However, the everyday medical and psychological practice provides a lot of facts testifying that a person’s behaviour is guided significantly by factors that he/she may not realize at all. This concerns various kinds of activities and actions, including the mortal ones. One should again recollect the hypnosis here: a person performs an order received from a hypnotist without understanding that he/she performs someone's order. It seems to him/her that he/she operates fully by his/her own will. In most cases, the action is performed mechanically, i.e. without comprehension of its purpose and expediency. The unconscious affection to deprive oneself of life takes place in quite a similar way. We could give a lot of examples of involuntary (inadvertent) suicidal behaviour [7] but we will consider just two of them: drug addiction and the so-called ‘autocide’.

Drug addiction 

- Whatever experts in narcology and psychology engaged in this problem would tell, the fact is that the drug addiction is a kind of mortal behaviour when a person acts consciously enough and refuses help obstinately. Of course, the drug addiction is a special form of mental disorder and, similarly to depression, it requires efficient medical intervention. But the question here is not the way of treatment but why it is inefficient. We believe that the reason is that the drug addiction is a fruit of powerful social incitement, a sort of mortal program which, through all information channels, takes root in young people’s mentality. Some of them appear to be unable to oppose its realization… Actually, the narcogenic influence of social environment to the person is similar to the influence to a cell of small dozes of harmful factors, which cannot lead to its death (necrosis) themselves but can launch the apoptosis, i.e. the genetically determined program of self-destruction. We observe somewhat very similar in the case of drug addiction. - A person receives the information forming a temptation to try drugs from childhood, alongside with the information on fatality of drug use. However, upon achievement of the age of emancipation from parents, one part of young people resists the temptation whereas the other part starts to take this poison and, naturally, perishes. If it is just like this with the drug addiction, i.e. the death from it is a kind of anthropoptosis, the picture looks rather pessimistic. This disease already looks like a pandemic and, for the reasons connected with the system crisis of our civilization, spreads ever more widely. One may, certainly, believe that the death of young people unable to survive in the environment sated with drugs is a kind of physiological phenomenon: purporting that only those will remain who is capable to ignore the drug temptation. However, our moral feeling rises against that, being not the least argument in search for the truth. - We believe that drug addiction as anthropoptosis is similar to pathological activation of the apoptosis, i.e. which leads not to perfection of the social organism but to deepening of its yet unhealthy conditions. Overcoming the drug addiction as mass phenomenon requires reorganization of the society itself...

In connection with discussing the drug addiction, we should also mention other toxicomanias: alcoholism, smoking, cannabism – all these are, certainly, forms of behaviour harmful for health and longevity, however, unlike the drug addiction, one may hardly see the anthropoptosis in them. The only exception is, perhaps, a pernicious alcoholism. We observe such kind of disease when it begins at a very young age and also when an alcoholic, due to fatal predilection for alcoholic drinks, loses normal social communications. By the way, the latter variant ends with a suicide quite often. [6]


- Usually this non-medical term is used to designate a driver’s death as a result of road accident when there are bases to doubt in randomness of his/her actions. Certainly, the autocide is a combined category because it includes cases with different degree of expressiveness of self-destructive tendencies. As long as the road and transport factor is permanent for most people, it is reasonable to assume that, if the above-mentioned tendencies exist, the probability to die as a result of road accident is essentially higher than by another way. We believe this to be one of the main ways of inadvertent suicide not only for drivers of vehicles but also for pedestrians. The risk of dying in road accident is rather great when a person, seemingly accidentally, suffers from this kind of incidents in a regular way. Understanding of the fact that it may deal not simply with bad luck but with psychological features of the sufferer, has come to us from the psychoanalysis. Today it is well known that a person can trend unconsciously to cause himself/herself any harm for various reasons. Therefore, hard traumatism in its extreme way, i.e. ending with death, is certainly a kind of anthropoptosis. We can give as an example a case of a 56-year-old woman who met with two road accidents within three years. Her husband, who repeatedly warned her to be more attentive when crossing a road during a quarter of century of their life together, had died six years before. Fortunately, there were no accidents within all those years. Nine months after her husband’s death, her single son and all his family (wife and children) died in a road accident. Her developed depression began to decrease no sooner than in a year. But then she was run over by a car when crossing a street outside pedestrian area. She got her leg broken and hard bruises. One year later there was a new road accident. This time she was brought down by a car when stepping out of a tram. As a result – half a year of treatment more. She applied for the psychotherapeutic assistance in connection with bad general state of health without any real physical diseases that could lead to such conditions. During a purposeful conversation, a latent depression has been revealed. After the death of her husband, son and grandsons and after her retirement, practically all her meaningful social communications have interrupted. The life has lost sense. When telling about the last road accident, the patient estimates her own role quite sensibly: "I didn’t even look at the road … So it’s my own fault…”. We consider everything to be clear in this story: the reason of high traumatism consists not in insistent warnings of her husband as it could seem, but in the depression, loss of sense and purpose of further existence… The words of her husband and the way of death of her son with his family have just specified possible direction for the anthropoptosis. Unfortunately, there is a lot of similar stories, although usually they are, of course, not so obvious.


As it is known, life is a dynamic balance of two permanent processes: birth and death, "Genesis" (Greek γενεσισ - birth) and "Thanatos" (Greek θανατοσ - death). Unlike the world of dead things where constructive and destructive origins operate rather independently from each other, in the world of live essences they form an organic unity, providing permanent updating of their bodies and thus their adaptation to changeable life circumstances. At subcellular level, this updating is carried out by means of metabolism and energy, at tissue level – by means of apoptosis of old cells and birth of new ones. At every instant an infinite number of various molecular structures inside and outside the cells are destroyed and myriads of cells die. At the same time, new things are created instead of those destroyed and dead, so for a human being the birth and death coexisting in his/her body are practically unobservable. One should pay a special attention to the circumstance that the balance between birth and death is dynamic: in some conditions of the organism they really counterbalance each other and then it is seemingly invariable; in other ones – either the vital origin, genesis, or thanatos prevails. During all period of the organism’s growing-up and realization of its genital function, the constructive origin dominates – there is genesotony (Greek γενεσισ - birth, τονος - tension). Thanatos starts dominating in process of withering of the ability to childbirth. As long as the organism is a purposeful system where both constructive and destructive origins are subordinated to the patrimonial function (Eros) during all life, normally, regardless the strength of both, the leading process is, certainly, genesis, while thanatos simply follows it. If the organism loses its mission (erotic intention), its vegetative regulation becomes disordered rather unequivocally: the constructive process concedes its leadership to the death and it comes as any kind of mortal illness. 

Certainly, the risk to be captured by thanatos is the most high after termination of the genital function. Probability of onset of mortal thanatocracy (Greek θανατοσ - death, κρατος - power) is especially high at transition from a stage to a following one, when the organism purposefulness undergoes the most serious ordeals. Now very few elderly people understand clearly enough what is the mission of a person after the end of the reproductive period. The adequate social instincts expressing postreproductive erotism are oppressed by pathogenic influence of the society in crisis…

In view of the above-stated, we can present the teleological (Greek τελειος - achieving purpose, λογος - doctrine) understanding of the anthropoptosis as the following formula: Self-liquidation of the organism starts owing to vegetative deregulation caused by the loss of the erotic purpose of existence… The basic mortal illnesses of our time (myocardial infarction, stroke, neoplasms) meet this formula quite obviously.

What is a heart attack or a stroke? 

- According to the above-stated formula, both are variants of crisis in the development of autonecrotic process (atherosclerosis in this case). As we know, practically any serious illness has its crisis meaning a radical change of conditions caused by achievement by the organism of some essentially different ratio between the forces of life and death. In the best case, the vital origin overcomes and the patient recovers after having passed the crisis; in the worst case the illness aggravates. A heart attack or a stroke, certainly, only aggravate the atherosclerotic process which, in essence, may be a particular expression of thanatocracy.

What is cancer? 

- Similar to the atherosclerosis, the tumor process is also a kind of autonecrosis and a particular expression of thanatocracy consisting in tissue homeostasis dysfunction. It may seem to be somewhat different: a tumour is a fruit of multiplication of relevant cells, i.e. a sort of amplification of the constructive origin… Of course, the carcinogenesis is also a kind of genesis, which has, however, lost its purpose and become an obedient instrument of death. Nevertheless, modern researches demonstrate that even a manifested tumor process can be restrained by mechanisms of antineoplastic protection of the organism for quite a long time and its malignization occurs due to a certain crisis. This crisis means relative amplification of thanatocracy which can be a consequence of either actual amplification of thanatos or weakening of the vital origin.

Mechanisms of anthropoptosis (SUMMARY)

To sum up, according to the point of view presented above, the most widespread mortal illnesses of modern mankind are nothing else but autonecrotic processes expressing the conditions of thanatocracy when the organism is deprived of the erotic purpose or its erotic intention is essentially weakened. In this connection, we should return once again to the question of how the organism’s purposefulness is effected and how it is deregulated. It is obvious that it is effected at neurophysiologic level by means of the vegetative nervous system because, as already mentioned above, the VNS regulates the functions not only of internal organs but also the brain structures responsible for the higher nervous activity. In other words, the systems of the organism providing homeostasis, systems providing its interaction with the environment and systems providing mental activity are conterminous in the context of regulation. Owing to such organization, any behavioral acts of a person, no less than his/her mental functions, are naturally integrated into the organism, dependent on it and counter-influencing it. It is this counter-influence on the vegetative nervous system from the part of neuronal structures that provides for realization of genital function and subordinates the organism to the latter. As long as for humans the genus extension is not reduced to childbirth and assumes an active service to the society with all completeness of own qualities (creative work, social activity, creative activity, translation of culture, etc.), the satisfaction of relevant needs is no less important than of the so-called vital needs (water, food, etc.). The lack of social demand is almost equally pathologic as the social interdictions: in both cases the organism loses the possibility of being a purposeful system and to realize itself as such. Therefore, psychosocial deprivation/autodeprivation, aggressive pressure on the part of any person or social environment and the psychological factors causing depression – all these are risks of appearance of thanatocracy and, hence, development of any autonecrotic process…

As one can see, all the kinds of anthropoptosis discussed (autodestruction, autonecrosis) are launched by the circumstances which, in essence, are similar to the circumstances launching the apoptosis at cellular level… However, unlike the programmed destruction of cells, the anthropoptosis is an unhealthy phenomenon inherently: a human being both can and must be a long-liver. The situation is different today, which is determined, firstly, by inhumane arrangement of modern society; secondly, by the fact that the society itself is in a deep system crisis; thirdly, by domination of ideologies predetermining the development of psychosocial autodeprivation.

Pathogenic factors of commercial civilization

Since the modern civilization is based upon the principle of exchange, sale and purchase, it is reasonable to call it commercial (Latin commercialis – related to exchange, trading), commodity-money civilization. The ideologists devoted to the existing social structure call it consumer society, asserting that it focuses at whole satisfaction of human needs. However, in practice, such social system has enrichment and profit-making as the main motive of economic activities… Of course, any goods and services are designed to satisfy any needs of either private persons or social groups. But all this is produced not at all to satisfy but to receive money. The latter, being a universal equivalent of work, possesses no consumer value in itself: it is impossible to satisfy any real need directly with money. For this reason, it is impossible to be sated with money, so the enrichment has no measure and the profit is the true engine of progress. The problem, however, is that, firstly, the scope of human needs is limited and, secondly, each of them has a measure of its satisfaction. This limitation of our nature obviously contradicts to the strive for profit, which is unlimited in its essence. This contradiction was discovered long ago and becomes ever sharper in the course of time. However, as we know, refuse of the fundamental principle of social system assumes a social revolution, which is yet impossible for a lot of reasons. Therefore, existing civilization will evolve for an uncertain period of time. There is the only way open for such evolutionary development – the way of destruction of the limited human nature. [12] This is, unfortunately, possible, because man is an essence social to the core: All human needs are formed by education… Because the normal needs (corresponding to biological inclinations and to the genetically determined erotic orientation) have long become a stumbling-block for further expansion of the market, formation of abnormal and perverted needs becomes ever more profitable: in highly denaturized food, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, dangerous entertainment products… Due to this, the word ‘consumer’ is already becoming a synonym of ‘sick’… [13] The plan of this book does not assume discussion of all the scope of unhealthy phenomena developing for the socio-psychological, cultural and psychological reasons, therefore, only a few basic factors obviously launching the anthropoptosis are examined below: cult of profit, image of an enemy and individualism.


Even the basic motivation of modern business activity is fraught with anthropoptosis. The matter is that, normally, the purposeful activity of a person is rather altruistic, because it presumes expenditure of significant share of vital forces for realization of genital function and for service to the public benefit, while the cult of profit obviously contradicts to this. The absurdity of this situation is demonstrated convincingly in the study by one of the most respected psychologists of the last century Erich Fromm "To Have or to Be?". Indeed, many people now, by realizing the principle "to have", are engaged in enrichment so selflessly that their life, being reduced to accumulation, has become contradicting to the natural life mission. And this, as demonstrated above, is fraught with onset of thanatocracy. The risk of occurrence of this pathological condition is especially great at advanced and old age. Today's social structure, certainly, only aggravates this risk. In fact, social vulnerability of a person growing old strongly predisposes him/her to an accumulation deprived of any erotic sense. In case of necessity, an adequate psychotherapeutic intervention should be, firstly, systematic and, secondly, based upon some altruistic idea… Here, naturally, there is a question of where the psychotherapy ends and spiritual tutorship begins.  We agree with V. Frankl in answering it: "Medical service does not deal with ‘soul saving’. This cannot and should not be its objective. It is rather occupied with the health of man’s soul. And the soul of a person is healthy until the latter remains what he/she is by internal essence, namely, an essence understanding own responsibility, actually – a receptacle of consciousness and responsibility”.

Image of Enemy

Apologists of the existing social order, by asserting its principles, specify a particular social value of concurrence, which leads allegedly to competition. No doubt, the concurrence strongly accelerates the progress. However, in effect, this is not at all a competition but rivalry and struggle which, in process of its exasperation, becomes a “fight to the death”, turning into a universal war when each person, social classes and peoples – all see an enemy in each other. Nowadays, as never before, the Latin expression ‘homo homini lupus est’ – man is wolf to man, dog eat dog is true… Actually, each our contemporary is compelled to wage incessant war with everybody, using the Christian words about love and mercy as a cover only. But a person proving even a latent hatred to another person is inevitably autoaggressive and, hence, dangerous to oneself. - The image of enemy, being a subjective reality, is an integral part of the aggressor himself/herself. In addition, the greater is the hatred to the opponent, the harder it hits the person recklessly abandoned to this feeling. Whereas the hatred to an implicit opponent hits even harder because the nearest other for each person is his/her own body. This is certainly true, for a person as subject is actually limited to own receptors and, hence, major part of the body is nothing but an external object for him/her… 

In general, now, in the situation of total hatred, it is likely high time to recollect a commandment of Christ: “Love your enemies…” [Mt 5, 44]. Unfortunately, it is, firstly, practically powerless; secondly, puts its follower in a vulnerable position… The matter is that the principal mindset for struggle and aggression, naturally, actualizes the image of absolute Enemy who is represented by the devil in Christianity. Today this "personage" and his angels are almost the most popular "characters" of films and books... In this situation the commandment “love your enemies” creates the risk to launch anthropoptosis: There is only one step from the condition determined by domination of an obviously pathogenic image to the thanatocracy… Presently another Christian commandment looks much more valuable and psychotherapeutically significant: “Love thy neighbour as thyself…” [Mt 22, 39]. - It corresponds much better to the vital erotic origin…

Since high degree of aggressive feelings is a consequence of the general world order, it is hardly possible to lower it essentially by means of psychotherapeutic measures. However, it is both possible and necessary to make these feelings much less dangerous, by simply changing their orientation: one must not hate a person or hate people… - the out-of-date social structure generating mutual hatred is the only subject to denying. It's a paradox, but the believers may use as a means for reduction of aggressive feelings also the image of devil (“prince of this world”) personifying this social structure… Such is his function in the modern art…


A person devoted to individualism suffers a pathogenic extremity in mutual relations with the society. This mindset puts its adherents in the position of singles who cannot satisfy a natural human need for empathy and love expressing erotic-purposed organization of life. The result is depression accompanied by ideas of absurdity of existence and admissibility to amuse oneself in any way. Moreover, their life often comes to an end prematurely – either from abusing anything, for example food or delicacies, or from using unnatural substances. Quite often the end of such absurd existence is suicide… All this is quite obvious. Connection between the extreme prevalence of individualism and the principle of a profit is much less obvious, whereas it is direct in reality. As already mentioned above, in process of the civilization development and the market saturation with goods intended for satisfaction of natural needs, commodity producers need to transgress the natural limitation of human nature ever more. The sermon of individualism (under the mask of freedom!) is, basically, a standard way of protection against remorse. If a man recognizes another one as his brother and loves him, he cannot do him any harm: manufacture dangerous for health or highly denaturized products, pervert, poison with alcohol, tobacco, drugs... Individualism as an ideology allows all that -  “everyone is responsible for oneself only!”. It allows to some people to make harm for the sake of self-interest; to others – to be the victims... The fact that individualism radically contradicts to the purposefulness of human nature is quite obvious. This is a major factor for anthropoptosis. The psychological correction practice should focus at possibly more wide and full comprehension that actually humans are highly social essences. Life should base upon the principles of collectivism and love…

CONSOLIDATING the purposeful organization

It appears from all the abovt-stated that one of valid directions of the psychological correction practice both can and must be putting the way of life in conformity to the formula: “organism is a purposeful system”.The problem, however, is that at various stages of individual development the purposeful organization looks differently and the way of life should be harmonized to genetic features of that particular stage to which a person relates by age. The plan of this small book does not include a description of a developed program of such staged improving correction, therefore only the most important general directions of correction of erotic mindsets are specified below.

• Infancy (from birth to 1 year) 

- During the early childhood the organism as a system aims at achievement of the condition when a child will be capable to move in space independently and use not only mother's milk but also other products for food. The infantile way of life rests in everything upon the mother who has to organize it in view of the basic features of this stage of development. One of the most important of them is that, for normal development of true human psychosocial abilities, a live dialogue with mother is absolutely necessary for a baby. Mother is the first experience of love, mutual understanding, correct perception of physical and psychical warmth... Erotic experience of infantile relations with mother predetermines strongly the substantiation of corresponding prototypes at all other ages. The modern culture almost everywhere deprives babies of mother’s breast, by substituting it with a dummy and milk substitutes, of experience of “licking” the anal area, by substituting it with pampers. - When having an opportunity to influence a mother’s behaviour, a psychotherapist should bring to her mind an idea of extreme importance of preservation of all natural relations with an infant…

• Childhood (from 1 to 11 years)

- In childhood the organism as though grows into the environment, tending to adapt to it in the most complete and best way on the basis of its genetic inclinations... This quite complete participation in the world around, fitness to natural, cultural and social environment is the purpose of development during all childhood. The more the conditions of life and education of a child correspond to this purpose and his/her dialogue with parents, peers and nature is wide and full, the more perfect, complete and strong the psychophysical organization of a person will be. Fragility and morbidity of our contemporaries are determined in many respects by any possible deviations from this purpose.

As to the erotic part of the matter, the psychoanalytic practice has long made obvious the extreme importance of adequate relations of the child with parents and other members of the micro-social environment. The relevant psychological recommendations are widely known, so it is pertinent to specify here only the possible value of psychosocial deprivation for development of latent forms of autodestructive behaviour. As we know, accidents, poisonings and traumas are the main reason of child death from the age of 3 years. [8] There are grounds to assume that such death is not accidental in large percent of cases.

• Teen age and youth (from 11-12 years to 20-21 years)

This is the period of sexual metamorphosis and maturing – submission of all organism to the sexual function.

Ability to childbirth is formed in several stages, each of them having its physical and psychological features. Basically, they are well-known; however, when discussing the possibility of anthropoptosis at these stages of the way of life, it would be expedient to refer to them just briefly.

- Changing of the hormonal structure at the start of teen age leads to occurrence of unconscious psychosexual tension on the basis of which the sexualization of all organism – its submission to the sexual function – takes place. The essence of this process is in the following: the psychosexual tension is a component of the general psychological tension which decreases to a certain extent after satisfaction of any need or realization of any vital function. As the psychological tension amplified by that psychosexual is subjectively burdensome, adolescents tend to abuse unconsciously some of numerous functions of the organism. If such tendency highlights any function from a series of others, this can create a problem for later development. So, for example, in connection with the forced cult of consumption, the tendency to abuse delicacies or food in general takes place ever more often and it is fraught with adiposity or pathogenic acceleration… If the story takes a long run, formation of a relevant distortion of erotic inclinations is possible. Such condition, as a matter of fact, means the erotic autodeprivation with all following consequences... A similar unconscious concentration or affection can also take place concerning any other function of the organism (breath, defecation, urination...) - should only it give any satisfaction or discharge... As long as the experience of unconscious manipulation with various vital functions of the organism to ease the tension remains for all life of each person. An adult person, in case of the expressed sexual dissatisfaction, can address it too. The following disorders often develop in this way: adiposity, intestine disorders, urological disorders and other psychophysiological dysfunctions... Taking into account all the importance of this stage of erotic development, it is necessary to consider that the best means to reduce psychological tension at this age are sporting games with peers, supposing moderate physical loads... In this case the risk of pathogenic distortion of erotic inclinations is minimal, for an individual remains open to other people and to the society … The worst, pathogenic variant of reduction of latent psychosexual tension is what the modern masscult offers to teenagers. Practically the main harm here is pornomusic (Greek πορνη - whore; μουσικη - musical art, singing) – an extremely sexualized, roaring, ugly music... If a teenager resorts to such "art" during all period of establishment of the sexual function, there is a serious risk of formation of a certain deviation of erotic inclinations, when ugly musical and song constructions become somewhat like a sexual partner... Since the psychosocial deprivation is also present here, there are grounds to believe that such a distortion may launch the anthropoptosis. - Suicides among young people happen ever more often… [9]

Besides the pornomusic, the unconscious psychosexual tension is efficiently reduced by some toxic substances, medicines, drugs; in particular, by tobacco and alcohol... Therefore, if a teenager starts to use them, a pathological dependence forms quickly. Various narcological diseases at teen age represent a huge problem now. Taking into account that production and selling of drugs, alcohol and tobacco is one of the most profitable businesses, one may easily imagine how great is the threat of anthropoptosis in the form of relevant disorders.

- At the next stage of teenage development, the most expressed phenomenon is the displacement of interests into the internal plan and erotic imaginations. What are the dangers of this stage? - If a teenager is brought up separately from peers, his/her imaginations can appear unhinged from reality. In fact, at later ages each person stick in some measure to the ideals generated at this stage. Divergence of the reality with an ideal, if it is essential, may cause a lot of problems in sexual interaction and, hence, a serious health disorder. Accessibility of video films makes this problem rather sharp, because now fantastic cinema characters very often become subjects of erotic imaginations... When bringing up teenagers, one must not isolate them from a live human communication with peers of both sexes. The Internet, certainly, cannot replace such communication but is a mere substitute for it. This is a very serious risk too…

- The third stage of puberty is the actual formation of genital sexuality. At this age a person already starts to receive sexual satisfaction just from manipulation with genitals. At two previous stages the satisfaction is reached by means of reduction of the psychological tension (amplified by that psychosexual) by unconscious reference to various functions of the organism: at the first stage – to corporal, somatic; at the second stage – to psychological ones. At the third stage, the satisfaction already takes place by means of manipulation with genitals and by comprehension of that. There are many "hidden agendas" here, because the form of manipulation with genitals which becomes habitual may also appear the basic one. If the acquired habit strongly contradicts to the natural orientation of erotic inclinations, in the course of time it can lead to vegetative deregulation and, probably, to the anthropoptosis as the worst case. A regardful sexual education and normal sexual environment are the tasks always to be solved as one of implicit duties of parents. A psychotherapist consulting a family with a teenager, should tell them about that.

The period of puberty comes to the end with formation of normal sexual feeling and achievement of a physical structure characteristic to adults and the person enters a new state – maturity.

  Maturity (from 21-22 to 50-55 years)

- At the mature age all organism as a whole subordinates to one biological purpose – childbirth, therefore the need for sexual intimacy is imperative. For the organism of an adult person, the sexual intercourse in some way confirms the normality of his/her organization, therefore, when there is no such confirmations, the higher regulatory centers have a sort of deficiency of information and the whole condition appears unstable... The sexual dissatisfaction in some cases may cause various corporal illnesses, in other cases – psychological disorders. Taking into account all the above-stated concerning the anthropoptosis, it is easy to understand that normalization of the sexual function is the obligatory precondition for any treatment at adult age… One could hardly overestimate the role and value of psychological correction here.

Proceeding from features of sensual structure, we may divide all genital period into three stages.

The first stage concerns the youthful age when the childbirth is possible but the maturity has not come yet. This stage is characterized by the fact that a person is quite egoistic when organizing the own life and relations with sexual partners because receives sufficient satisfaction simply from the sexual intercourse. Youngsters suffer from cases of falling amorous when they believe it to be a real love. There is no serious risk for health either in the sexual egoism of young people or in their love sufferings. However, the modern culture causes an extreme prevalence of young people’s fixing upon sexual satisfaction as end in itself and quite often it leaves traces on all future matrimonial life. Some risk is also concealed in the fact that the questions of sense and purpose of existence, definition of own mission, arise at this beautiful age… If the discovered answers provide a young person with a normal erotic and social self-realization, everything is all right. Unfortunately, as already mentioned above, in the circumstances of crisis of the modern civilization, the opinions that life is absurd spread ever more widely. Having apprehended such point of view, a young person strongly risks to enter into a pathogenic contradiction with own erotic and social nature due to psychosocial autodeprivation. If necessary, a psychotherapeutic intervention should be systematic and performed from a precisely verified erotic position.

The second stage concerns the young mature age. It is characterized by the fact that simply self-affirmation and sex cease to satisfy a person: a search of harmony in private relations, a search of love begins... If love is unrequited, the story, as we know, can come to an end with anthropoptosis. Now this risk is essentially amplified by domination of individualism and by commercial smearing of ideas of the border between life and death… When providing the psychotherapeutic assistance, it is necessary to consider this circumstance.

The third stage differs from previous one by the fact that, with a normal erotic mindset at this age, the love to children and aspiration to have them becomes the dominating feeling, when even love relations appear unsatisfactory if they are fruitless... The birth of children and bringing them up – this is the basic vector of life activity of a mature person. Now, unfortunately, in connection with the propaganda and domination of individualism, many people do not feel a natural need in children and this puts them on the brink of anthropoptosis. An adequate psychotherapeutic assistance assumes restoration of conformity of the way of life to its natural state.

• Advanced age (from 50-55 to 70-75 years) 

- This stage of life starts with climax. As we know, ‘climax’ literally means step, however, it looks like a step in women only, when the menstrual cycle stops critically and the ability to conception disappears... In men, the relevant reorganization of the organism occurs rather gradually. During advanced age, both in women and men, the need for sexual relations gradually dies away but the need to have by side a beloved person and children (grandsons) remains and sometimes increases. The genetic mission of this stage of development consists, most likely, in transferring the accumulated life experience [16, p. 48-50]. An elderly person is an instructor for youngsters, tutor of grandsons and an active member of the society. The risk of anthropoptosis connected with psychosocial deprivation in line with this natural erotic component is essentially higher if an elderly person tries to maintain the organization of sexual life characteristic for the genital age. Of course, sexual relations are possible and natural at the advanced age as well, but their frequency should correspond to physiological capabilities of the organism. Unfortunately, in the circumstances of socially-conditioned impossibility of erotic realization conformable to the age (in a role of instructor, active citizen), the sexual intercourse remains a sole possibility to reveal the erotic organization of life for most of advanced age people.  The psychological correction practice should aim at restoration of the natural order.

• Old age 

This is a sacral (from Latin sacer - sacred) age. There are grounds to believe that organization of the final stage of development expresses availability in the genome of our species of a special block of genes determining the ability of a person to comprehend the nature of internal unity of the universe and to transfer this most important experience to younger people. Studying spiritual realities and wise assistance to descendants – this is, most likely, the purpose and core of life at the old age. Certainly, the modern (commercial) arrangement of the society hardly favors such understanding. However, substantial similarity of biographies of well-known spiritual Teachers [1] says for the this point of view. An old person's life finishes either when the organism exhausts its reserve of adaptive opportunities and it cannot cope with accumulated dysfunctions any more or when his/her spiritual mission is completed…

"To sum up, from a psychologist’s point of view, it is not so important if a person is young or old … much more important is the question whether his/her time and soul are filled with activities to which this person can devote own life at the moment… the critical question is whether this activity awakes in a person, despite an old age, a strong desire to exist for anyone or anything”. [18]


Anthropoptosis is a natural phenomenon, however, it is not physiological but pathological, expressing the presence of any erotic dysfunction. If there is a request for psychotherapeutic assistance, the latter should be verified by erotic and social reference points of the patient’s age. The main treatment and prophylactic action is reduced to the rational psychotherapy aimed at explanation of the purposeful nature of life and of the necessity to correspond strictly enough to the features of own age. If it is required for solution of the problem, the psychoterapist should take up a role of spiritual and psychological instructor capable to answer any world outlook questions. The particularity of the humanistic psychotherapy, focused at genetic determinants of human organization, consists just in inculcating to the patient’s personality of the erotic laws ennobling the Homo sapiens above the world of limited animal nature. Reality of long-term advanced age and no less long old age – these are two telling arguments for the opinion that man is a potential long-liver. Everyone is free to determine the borders of own existence independently and the task of the psychotherapist (spiritual and psychological instructor) is to assist the patient to extend these borders in every possible way. The anthropoptosis is remediable!


1. Brosse Jacques. Spiritual Teachers. / Transl. from French by S. Vasilyeva and N. Multatuli. – St. Petersburg: “Academic Project”, 1998. - 336 p.

2. Bykov V.L. Cytology and General Histology (Functional Morphology of Cells and Tissues of Man) / V.L. Bykov. – St. Petersburg: SOTIS, 2002. – p. 97.

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4.  Litvintsev S.V. On the Problem of Aggressive and Autoaggressive Actions of Military Men / Litvintsev S.V. et al. // coll. "Modern Approaches to Diagnostics and Treatment of Nervous and Mental Diseases”. - St. Petersburg: 2000. — p. 167-168.

5. Salmonidae // Biological Encyclopedic Dictionary / chief ed. M.S. Gilyarov. – 2nd ed. - Moscow: "Soviet Encyclopedia", 1989. – p. 330.

6. Lushev N.E. Forecasting Suicide Risk in Alcohol Addicts. Studies of the Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry of the Ministry of Public Health of Russia. — Moscow, 1986, p. 131–136.

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10. Programmed Cell Death / under the ed. jf pof. V.S. Novikov – St. Petersburg : Nauka, 1996. – p. 121.

11. Psychology and Psychotherapy in Russia. – 2000 : ref. publ. - St. Petersburg, 2000 - 251 p.

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Emanzipation Humanum, version September 2008,Criticism, suggestions as to form and content, dialogue, translation into other languages are all desired