Sigmund Freud's Definition Of Civilization

797 Words 4 Pages
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, civilization is “the condition that exists when people have developed effective ways of organizing a society and care about art, science, etc”. Despite the positive cognition that comes with civilization, Sigmund Freud, a neurologist and initiator of the concept of psychoanalysis, acquainted civilization as being something inadequate. According to Freud, civilization enables the human race to feel genuine happiness by outlawing actions that come instinctively by our individual psyche.

Sigmund Freud believes that the human race was born inherently savage. He believes that each individual has inborn instincts that make you barbaric. “The element of truth behind all this… is that men are not gentle
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According to Freud, people are not kind-hearted and good, but instead are naturally aggressive and evil. The desire to be repulsive overpowers the desire to be good. The main purpose of life isn’t to feel cherished, but instead to be tempted into wrongdoings. It is our natural instincts as human beings to behave in this manner.

Conforming to Freud’s beliefs on intuition, our instincts are brought upon by our individual psyche. According to Freud, our personality is made up of id, ego, and superego that each foster at different paces in an individual’s life. Id is responsible for our instincts and impulses and is the first form of personality developed in human beings. It strives for an immediate response in order to feel pleasure and if the pleasure isn’t fulfilled, the individual feels immediate disatisfaction. Id is associated with irrational thinking. Unlike id, ego functions by reason and is responsible for decision making. Ego takes into consideration possible consequences and tries to figure out a way to satisfy id through a reasonable way. Ego is also responsible for self-control over impulses. Id and ego are similar in that they both desire to acquire pleasure. Ego is in the middle
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Also, according to Freud, as humans we are born to be instinctively savages. Taking this into consideration, he states, “Civilization has to use its utmost efforts in order to set limits to man’s aggressive instincts..”( 69-70). Civilization creates restrictions for its citizens. It creates restrictions through the law. Since our instincts are to be grotesque individuals, civilization created laws against murder and other acts of violence and aggression. Due to these laws, individuals aren’t allowed to act the way they were born to act which is being savages. If individuals pursue their acts of savagery, they are punished for their behavior. Due to limitations in behavior, individuals are discontent with civilization. Freud views civilization as a negative thing because we are prohibited to live the way our instincts want us to live.

Freud disliked the idea of civilization due to his theory of instincts and of the individual psyche. He concluded that individuals are deprived of the freedom to be truly happy through his theory of instincts. By having laws outlawing certain behaviors, individuals cannot act a certain way. Through his theory of the individual psyche, he emphasizes why people act the way they do and how they do not have control over it because it takes place in an individual 's mind. Due to this, civilization makes people live in

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