: Civilization and Its Discontents (): Sigmund Freud, James Strachey, Christopher Hitchens, Peter Gay: Books. Penguin’s new edition of Sigmund Freud’s essential Civilization and its Discontents is slim enough to be carried at all times, says Nicholas. Civilization and Its Discontents. By. SIGMUND FREUD . senses, the man in love declares that he and his beloved are one, and is prepared to behave as if it.

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It presupposes the possession of special dispositions and gifts which are far from being common to any practical degree.

Civilization and Its Discontents

But why is man unhappy with himself and the world? We will therefore turn to the less ambitious question of what men themselves show by their behavior to be the purpose and intention of their lives. There is one thing that Freud and I agree on immensely: The ego of the child forms over the oceanic feeling when it grasps that there are negative aspects of reality from which it would prefer to distance itself.

Freud used this horrific imagery to posit that all religious thought is based upon perversity and hatred. View all 4 comments.

He will be punished but for what? There comes a point in one’s existence, after all, at which one begins to suspect that any book that could not be renamed or sub-titled Civilization and its Discontents is going to be more or less a complete waste of time.

Civilization and its discontents.

In it he states his views on the broad question of man’s civlisation in the world, a place Freud defines in terms of ceaseless conflict between the individual’s quest for freedom and society’s demand for conformity. Quotes from Civilization and His theories seem too speculative at times, but his insights on basic human psychology are enlightening.

Freud – Civilization and its Discontents

Nietzsche will say the guilt is not real, Heidegger says it is because of the debt we owe to the future because of the one absolute truth we always know our own impending deathand Freud says we have the guilt always but we repress it thus leading to our neurosis. The answer to civiliwation can hardly be in doubt.

Freud states that when any situation that is desired by the pleasure principle is prolonged, it creates a feeling of mild contentment. World War I undoubtedly influenced Freud and his central observation about the tension between the individual and civilization. The book ends with two presumptions: I don’t have the quote exactly, but I think its fairly close to what he was getting at. The second chapter delves into how religion is one coping strategy that arises out of a need for the individual to distance himself from all of the suffering in the world.


Given his views, the need for comfort and reassurance was sufficient for him to smoke himself to death. Freud developed the theory that humans have an unconscious in which sexual and aggressive impulses are in perpetual conflict for supremacy with itx defences against them. Life and civilization, then, are born and develop out of an eternal struggle between these two interpersonal forces of love and hate. In abolishing private property we deprive the human disconents of aggression of one of its instruments, certainly a strong one, though certainly not the strongest; but we have in no way altered the differences in power and influence which are misused by aggressiveness, nor have we altered anything in its nature.

Exploring what Freud sees as the important clash between the desire for individuality and the expectations of society, the book is considered one of Freud’s diecontents important and widely read works, and one of the most influential and studied books in the field of modern psychology.

He had started to work this out in his essay, “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” – but that work, while perhaps even more ground-breaking than this one, was less accessible, being more defended by thickets of psychoanalytic jargon. This work should be understood in the context of contemporary events: Certainly, for anyone civilisxtion the early 20th century, the ideas in here will seem eerily familiar; Freud isn’t so much creating a new argument here as speaking aloud what was in ever This is one of those “seminal” books that shows you why so much of Western thought is totally screwed up.

Freud had this tendency to make pretty obvious and minor premises and then jump to big djscontents somehow unrelated conclusions depending on said premises. Too long ago for me to review, but I will say that the impression I’m left with is that Freud may be more relevant today outside of his discipline than in it.

Men are proud of those achievements, and have a right to be. The ethical bar racks up and up like some kind of bizarre Ethico-Olympic pole-vaulting challenge. Freud is not “anti-civilization,” of course, and wants to believe that the eros-principle can be integrated into a healthy psyche without a complete return to nature, but this seems to contradict his own logic.


In this, his psychical constitution will play a decisive part, irrespectively of the external circumstances.

Civilization and Its Discontents s title page German edition. Psychology’s loss is philosophy and literature’s philology’s? Freud lays all of this stuff out in this book. The suffering which comes from this last source is perhaps more painful to us than any other. One feels inclined to say that the intention that man should be ‘happy’ is not included in the plan of ‘Creation.

Civilization and Its Discontents – Wikipedia

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. As far as the Alphas and Betas go, unhappiness keeps sneaking through. These include, most notably, the desires for sexand the predisposition to violent aggression towards authority figures and sexual competitors, who obstruct the individual’s path to gratification.

Freud, an avowed atheistargued that religion has tamed asocial instincts and created a sense of community around a shared set of beliefs, thus helping a civilization.

The result is a pervasive and familiar guilt.

These aggressive energies develop into the super-ego as conscience, which punishes the ego both for transgressions committed remorse but also for sins it has only fantasized about guilt. Freud notes that while love is essential for bringing people together in a civilization, at the same time society creates laws, restrictions, and taboos to cigilisation to suppress this same instinct, and Freud wonders if there may not be more than sexual desire within the term ‘libido’.

The central thesis of Freud in this book relates to an discontentss dilemma of Civilization: Here we receive his view of an entire civilization frrud on his experience with those few neurotic patients who can afford his services. Still the unavoidable awfulness for which we are all responsible, the lingering painful consequences of economic growth and development, our Kafkaesque guilt – it works for me, or doesn’t maybe.

In the last analysis, all suffering is nothing else than sensation; it only exists in so far as we feel it, and we only feel it in consequence of certain ways in which our organism is regulated.

I read it because of course its a seminal classic and civilisatuon of his central texts but was mildly disappointed to see that there wasn’t all that much “there” there.