: 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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He wonders as to whether or not human beings will be able to overcome this drive. Guilt and the neurotic repression discoontents instinct are simply the price we pay in order to live together harmoniously in families and communities. And if he is prepared for that, he probably could have spared himself the detour he has made.

Kindling the fire of knowledge

It hopes to prevent the crudest excesses of brutal violence by itself assuming the right to use violence against criminals, but the law is not able to lay hold of the more cautious and refined manifestations of human aggressiveness. Anyway, if I were to stay up all night long talking and doing lines with any figure, alive or dead, throughout human history, there is no question in any structure of my mind who it would be. Paperbackpages. Civilization also demands that its members devote some of their energy to its upkeep.

Fascinating book and very well written. When that is so, fate can do little against one. Similarly Freud thinks the phases that an individual goes through mirror the same phases that civilizations have tis through. It’s totally void of meaning and I think the DSM V doesn’t use it at all as a category for that reason. When trying to grapple with something as abstract as a mind, it seems that thinkers discontrnts to an analogy.

Freud – Civilization and its Discontents

However, the love instinct used by the society to keep its members together is counteracted by the aggressive instinct. The whole sexual liberation movement drew inspiration from this sexually repressed Austrian. Moreover, Freud places sexuality in the center of his system.


Freud’s theme is that what works for civilization doesn’t necessarily work for man.

A tedious read, Freud’s essay is mundane at worst, general knowledge at best. The question of the purpose of human life has been raised countless times; it has never yet received a satisfactory answer and perhaps does not admit of one. Freud draws a key analogy between the development of civilization and libidinal development in the individual, which allows Freud to speak of civilization in his own terms: When away from the couch or the consulting room, he was as penetrating and beguiling a thinker as Montaigne.

Civilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud

After St Paul had made universal brotherly love the foundation of his Christian community, the extreme intolerance of Christianity towards those left outside it was an inevitable consequence.

I’ll challenge you to read any recent biography because you”ll almost always see the author slip into Freudian speak e. This is followed by an appendix and notes on the following 31 pages. Inhis major work ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’ was published in which Freud analysed dreams in terms of unconscious desires and experiences. There must always be a reason for everything because reason makes us feel better in knowing that we are still in control.

InFreud was appointed Professor of Neuropathology at the University of Vienna, a post he held until Nevertheless Freud writes with uncalled for confidence, mixing facts with A tedious read, Freud’s essay is mundane at worst, general knowledge at best.

The ethical bar racks up and up like some kind of bizarre Ethico-Olympic pole-vaulting challenge. We must not forget, however, that in the primal family only the head of it enjoyed this instinctual freedom; the rest lived in slavish suppression.

There are still popularities and prejudices and jealousies. Freud, an avowed atheistargued that religion civiliation tamed asocial instincts and created a sense of community around a shared set of beliefs, thus helping a civilization.


On his return to Vienna the following year, Freud set up in private practice, specialising in nervous and brain disorders. Page numbers cited from the Norton edition. And while the love instinct eros can be commandeered by society to bind its members together, the aggressive instinct runs counter to this tendency and must either be repressed or be directed against a rival culture. Freud concludes that if those were abolished from mankind, man would no longer be ill-minded or hostile towards his neighbour.

But this view is not tenable either, for there are many animals of which man can make nothing, except to describe, classify and study them; and innumerable species of animals have escaped even this use, disckntents they existed and became extinct before man set eyes on them.

He collaborated with Josef Breuer in treating hysteria by the recall of painful experiences under hypnosis. After World War One, Freud spent less time in clinical observation and concentrated on the application of his theories to history, art, literature and anthropology. How potent an obstacle to civilization aggression must civklisation if the defence against it can cause as much happiness as the aggression itself!

Life and civilization, then, are born and dsicontents out of an eternal struggle between these two interpersonal forces of love and hate.

I had the sense freeud if Freud had not existed, it would have been necessary to have invented him as a cultural and social critic, poking beneath the surface of our accepted realities, an example here.