An Enemy of the People, Waiting for Godot and Civilization and Its Discontents

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Science and Human Values in Ibsen's An Enemy of the People, Beckett's Waiting for Godot and Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents

Throughout the centuries, society has been given men ahead of their time. These men are seen in both actual history, and in fictional accounts of that history. Aristotle, Copernicus, Galileo, Bacon, and even Freud laid the framework in their fields, with revolutionary ideas whose shockwaves are still felt today. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, and so society has also possessed those how refuse to look forward, those who resisted the great thinkers in science and civilization. The advancement of science and technology is like the flick of a light switch; research may be
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Civilization, sustained by technological breakthroughs, gives rise to aggression and the death instinct. This instinct opposes the desires of Eros, which bring man together in love relationships. If aggression between individuals is allowed to dominate, civilization is threatened, and so restrictions are placed on man. These restrictions destroy happiness in civilized man, who can no longer gratify his instincts. In responses, man's goal becomes attaining happiness in spite of civilization's restrictions. To this end, energy is put into art, religion, addictive habits, and scientific advancement. This scientific advancement is a double-edged sword; while it offers happiness to the individual responsible, it may serve to advance civilization and further restrict man. While Freud offers the attainment of happiness as the balance against the destructiveness of civilization's advancement, his is not an optimistic outlook. The best that can be hoped for is that Eros can keep up with the death instinct, even as love gives more opportunity for aggression.

In Beckett's characters Didi and Gogo one sees examples of the discontent of civilized man. They have no outlet for their energy, built up by the restrictions of civilization. They seek to simply amuse themselves as best they can as life passes them by. They can find no reason for living within themselves, but decide to hang themselves come tomorrow, if they are

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