Civilization and Its Discontents - Broadview Press
Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents (The Standard Edition) “Life, as we find it, is too hard for us; it brings us too many pains, disappointments and. Buy Civilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud (ISBN: ) from Amazon's Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible. Editorial Reviews. Review. “Newly designed in a uniform format, each new paperback in the File Size: KB; Print Length: pages; Publication Date: December 22, ; Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC .. Shop Online in India.Reflections on Sigmund Freud's "Civilization and Its Discontents"
The possibility it offers of displacing a large amount of libidinal components, whether narcissistic, aggressive or even erotic, on to professional work and on to the human relations connected with it lends it a value by no means second to what it enjoys as something indispensible to the preservation and justification of existence in society. Professional activity is a source of special satisfaction if it is a freely chosen one — if, that is to say, by means of sublimation, it makes possible the use of existing inclinations, of persisting or constitutionally reinforced instinctual impulses.
And yet, as a path to happiness, work is not highly prized by men. They do not strive after it as they do after other possibilities of satisfaction. The great majority of people only work under the stress of necessity, and this natural human aversion to work raises most difficult social problems.
freud quotes: Sigmund Freud: Civilization and Its Discontents - Quotes
It is more correct to say: Originally the ego includes everything, later it detaches from itself the external world. The ego-feeling we are aware of now is thus only a shrunken vestige of a far more extensive feeling - a feeling which embraced the universe and expressed an inseparable connection of the ego with the external world. That feeling of oneness with the universe which is its ideational content sounds very like a first attempt at the consolations of religion, like another way taken by the ego of denying the dangers it sees threatening it in the external world.
The ordinary man cannot imagine this Providence in any other from but that of a greatly exalted father, for only such a one could understand the needs of the sons of men, or be softened by their prayers and placated by the signs of their remorse.
The whole thing is so patently infantile, so incongruous with reality, that to one whose attitude to humanity is friendly it is painful to think that the great majority of mortals will never be able to rise about this view of life.
Thus our possibilities for happiness are restricted by the law. This process, argues Freud, is an inherent quality of civilization that gives rise to perpetual feelings of discontent among its citizens. Freud's theory is based on the notion that humans have certain characteristic instincts that are immutable[ citation needed ]. 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.
Synopsis[ edit ] Freud begins this work by taking up a possible source of religious feeling that his previous book, The Future of an Illusionoverlooked: Freud categorizes the oceanic feeling as being a regression into an earlier state of consciousness — before the ego had differentiated itself from the world of objects. The need for this religious feeling, he writes, arises out of "the infant's helplessness and the longing for the father," as there is no greater infantile need than a father's protection.
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. 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.
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But at the same time as the ego is hoping to avoid displeasure, it is also building itself so that it may be better able to act towards securing happiness, and these are the twin aims of the pleasure principle when the ego realizes that it must also deal with ' reality '.
Freud claims that the 'purpose of life is simply the programme of the pleasure principle'  and the rest of the chapter is an exploration of various styles of adaptation that humans use to secure happiness from the world while also trying to limit their exposure to suffering or avoid it altogether.
Freud points out three main sources of displeasure that we attempt to master: Freud regards this last source of displeasure as "perhaps more painful to us than any other",  and the remainder of this book will extrapolate on the conflict between the individual's instinct for seeking gratification and the reality of societal life. The third chapter of the book addresses a fundamental paradox of civilization: People become neurotic because they cannot tolerate the frustration which society imposes in the service of its cultural ideals.
Civilization and Its Discontents
Freud points out that advances in science and technology have been, at best, a mixed blessing for human happiness.
He asks what society is for if not to satisfy the pleasure principle, but concedes that as well as pursuing happiness, civilization must also compromise happiness in order to fulfill its primary goal of bringing individuals into peaceful relationship with one another, which it does by making them subject to a higher, communal authority.
Civilization is built out of wish-fulfillments of the human ideals of control, beautyhygieneorder, and especially for the exercise of humanity's highest intellectual functions.
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: It is no wonder then, that this repression could lead to discontent among civilians. In the fourth chapter, Freud attempts a conjecture on the developmental history of civilization, which he supposes coincided with man learning to stand upright.
This stage is followed by Freud's hypothesis from Totem and Taboo that human culture is bound up in an ancient Oedipal drama of brothers banding together to kill their father, and then creating a culture of rules to mediate ambivalent instinctual desires.
Gradually, love of a single sexual object becomes diffused and distributed towards all of one's culture and humanity in the form of a diluted 'aim-inhibited affection'.