Sigmund Freud's Civil Disobedience

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In his work, Civilization and Disobedience, Sigmund Freud assesses that civilization and its individuals overall aim is to be happy. Throughout his work, Freud often points out the differences and disagreements that come about between the two. These disagreements often arise due to the limitations that are set on man both by himself and by the civilization of which he is part. This work was published in the 1930s, which is considered to be the Great Depression Era, otherwise known as the time between World War I and World War II. In his work, Freud often describes man as striving to have a happy life, but is often unsuccessful due to civilization and mans own aggression. In man’s strive to happy Freud also introduces his theory of instincts…show more content…
He says that, “Reality shows us that civilization is not content with the ties we have so far allowed it. “ (Freud 65). He also states that the commandment of “love thy neighbor” is not true because men are aggressive and will always be aggressive. Freud states that men are not gentle; he then gives various examples of men’s aggression that date back to the invasion on the Huns. Freud also says that civilization itself is threatened by mans aggression. It cannot succeed if men continue to be aggressive, aggressiveness, which in this case is the opposite of being happy. Civilization, then in order to continue to survive then implies many rules in order to regulate mans aggression. It works out though, because men are willing to give up some of these liberties because it makes them secure and men would rather be secure than happy. But, Freud does also warn that civilization will never succeed if it does not help people gain individuality, which is necessary, Freud then goes on to give the example of American society and how our civilization is doing a poor job. All in all, Freud believes that civilization is needed but only to certain extent, if there are too many rules put forth from society, it creates for a failure in a person to be an individual. But, with too little regulations men become too aggressive because it is in their…show more content…
Though, to be fair it’s not actually possible for everyone in the civilization to be happy, there are far too many people with different individualistic ideas to be happy or unhappy uniformly with the civilization. Nonetheless, Freud then moves on to discuss that another reason why civilization is to blame for peoples overall unhappiness is due to the anxiety that is within a civilization. He says, “Anxiety is always present somewhere or other behind every symptom.” (Freud 99). In this case, Freud describes anxiety in the form of guilt. He says that guilt is hard to hide and that eventually it starts to eat away at a person. People then tend to turn to different forms of religion because religion claims to redeem people from the guilt that they are feeling through worship, prayer and sometimes ritual. Freud introduces his theory of instincts, in which he calls the id, the ego and the superego. The id, can be described as a persons unconscious desire, which can be described as oppressed feelings; the ego, is the conscience self, the part that we use to seek happiness. But, Freud’s main focus is on the superego, which he describes as the conscience, which is used to watch over the ego in things such as guilt. It is the superego that keeps man level. Fred in a way, says that the ego is mainly there as a balance between the super ego and mans aggressive abilities. The guilt

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