Sigmund Freud's Theory Of Civilization

1319 Words 6 Pages
Sigmund Freud approached his theory of civilisation and its discontents through a rather direct and pessimistic tone throughout the book; to attempt to rather hastily explain how civilisation is the main reason of individuals’ unhappiness in society due to the restrictions society places on civilisations. He furthermore explains his theory through psychoanalysis as well as religion and how they relate to individuals in society.
The first chapter of Freud’s book struggles with the idea for many people religion has given them an ‘oceanic feeling’. He exclaims the ‘oceanic feeling’ is "a purely subjective experience, not an article of belief." Freud uses psychoanalytic explanation to explain the phenomenon and thus focuses on the ego, where
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the wars. Freud further talks about the limitations of a modern society and how that limits our instinctual freedom this he explains is through leadership and oppression. Furthermore in chapter 6 he goes on to explain ego instincts and object instincts. After quoting Schiller, first opposed the idea of “hunger and love are what moves the world” but later Freud came to consider the phenomenon of sadism and how that is both a love and object instinct thus the two are interrelated. Moreover Freud suggests the development of civilisation is a struggle between Eros and the death drive as the death drive causes problems in society. Chapter 7 explains how one of the primary roles of society is to restrain mans’ aggression and Freud expresses how civilisation plays a big part on individuals’ happiness. He further argues that through the super-ego, aggression instincts are turned into a sense of guilt but individual happiness in society is distributed only in favour of consensus and unity. The struggle of the libido is also found in society when individuals fluctuate between egotism and altruism; personal happiness and the want of social unity. In addition Freud talked about the cultural super-ego and how that creates more restraints to individuals’ aggression and therefore could result to unhappiness .Freud found the analogy between individuals and …show more content…
As a result of his direct tone he does not go into depth nor does he explain his theory more so the reader can understand him better, therefore for some they may find the book confusing or hard to understand in some parts, rather than it being straight forward and simple. Therefore it is recommended for future readers to read or have some knowledge of psychoanalysis before reading Freuds book, in order to understand the book and his theories better. Also some of his ideas the readers might not understand or agree with for example when Freud talks about love he says it mainly in terms of self love which differs to how most readers would see love to be thus it can be argued that some views of his are rather bizarre and uncommon to the majority therefore some readers may find it hard to grasp or get their heads around it. Nonetheless as far as consistency, Freud has been rather consistent throughout his book; he regularly refers back to the main theme of civilisation when discussing his theories and ideas for example guilt and happiness. As well as staying within the theme of the book and not going off topic, he also uses his theory of psychoanalysis frequently in the book when discussing his points and ideas

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