Civilization and its Discontents - Ebooks for all | Free ebooks downloadFreud believes that religion, belief, and delusion or misplaced belief play an important role in individual and social regulation. In essence, religion helps individuals to feel guilty about certain things, and codifies this guilt in different ways as a means of regulating human actions for the good of larger social groups. This Rule has become a part of individual and social moral codes because it is a socially-advantageous formulation, however—it allows individuals and societies to regulate human aggression, and to direct that aggression inward, into a sense of guilt for failing to live up to an impossible moral ideal—rather than outward, against another person or group of people. Freud argues that all religions channel human aggression inward, into the position of the super-ego , which mimics the kind of control the state wishes to have over people—in order to manage individual wants and prevent people from killing each other, having sex with each other indiscriminately, or otherwise destroying society. Thus civilization and its development are utterly bound up in the development of the super-ego, and the guilt that the super-ego wields over the ego. Without these psychological forces, there can be no society, and without society, there can be no psychological forces. Freud argues that the two arenas, individual and social, are entirely intertwined.
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Freud, S. Civilization and Its Discontents. Riviere Trans. The Hogarth Press. This introduction to the text discusses some of the main themes. View a summary of Civilization and Its Discontents here.
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Civilization and Its Discontents is a book by Sigmund Freud. In this seminal book, Sigmund Freud enumerates the fundamental tensions between civilization and the individual. The primary friction stems from the individual's quest for instinctual freedom and civilization's contrary demand for conformity and instinctual repression. Many of humankind's primitive instincts for example, the desire to kill and the insatiable craving for sexual gratification are clearly harmful to the well-being of a human community. As a result, civilization creates laws that prohibit killing, rape, and adultery, and it implements severe punishments if such commandments are broken. This process, argues Freud, is an inherent quality of civilization that instills perpetual feelings of discontent in its citizens.