Thanks for this, LMNO and Q.G.
Self-destruction is, out of necessity, an interest of mine. I've suffered from dermatophagia and dermatillomania since the age of three. I don't think OCD was really defined back then. I doubt it was much in the mainstream if so.
I understand this piece is explicitly not about OCD, but it's hard for me to avoid seeing a few parallels between Akrasia and biting the hell out of my fingers until I'm barely able to perform everyday tasks. It's probably dangerous to conflate the two, despite what appear to be parallels, so I guess this is sort of an ego-driven derail in a way. Apologies if that rankles anyone.
It was around the time I first read the Principia that I had an epiphany: if I did this to anyone else's fingers, I would be locked up in a cell right now. But apparently it's acceptable to do it to my own? It's... odd, watching my coworkers actively ignoring my band-aids, pretending I don't have a problem, because it's a pretty disgusting problem to have and I suppose it's socially easier to just ignore it? If nothing else, I'm grateful said affliction helped me better understand society and the concept of reality tunnels.
And then there's my HMO's primary care provider, who, when I told him I suffer from dermatophagia, replied with a straight face: "That's just Latin for skin eating," as though translating the fucking word for me would make the problem go away. As though I didn't already know it was Latin for skin eating. I'm not sure I've ever wanted to punch a face more than that moment. Nothing like, "oh the DSM-5 might be addressing that soon," or "I know cognitive behavioral therapy is helpful for similar problems. Let me refer you to a therapist." No help, no sympathy. Just a fucking smartest guy in the room explaining my own problem to me in words my presumably stupid brain could understand.
One facet of my personal philosophy is that every human has creative and destructive tendencies, and that sometimes the destructive tendencies are directed outward, and sometimes they are directed inward/self-afflicted. Again, I don't mean to confuse my specific quirk with the bigger picture, despite the parallels. Like the piece says, "I wish there was a conclusion to all of this," but there isn't. There is only considering the implications and doing one's best to integrate one's flaws and foibles into one's life while trying to improve them, trying to get on despite them, trying not to let the self-destruction go too far.