Friday, February 8, 2013

Freud's Civilization's and its Discontents

In this essay, Freud refers more directly to the world that he lives in and how he thinks it is wrong. He implies  that no society can cure the aggressiveness that mankind naturally has. Neither communism nor free society, nor religion seems to have any effect on the aggressiveness that causes conflicts like WWI, the crusades, and monsters like Ghengis Khan and Tamerlane. He ultimately says that nationalism is the problem and that it causes the aggression in different people to come out and show itself. Ultimately, Freud has a contempt for society as a whole and the aggression that accompanies nationalism. Remarkably, Freud even predicted the coming of a person like Hitler, who would use his charisma to woo an entire nation and cause a wave of aggression to overcome the world.

3 comments:

Laura N said...

After reading frued's paper, I wondered why he viewed nationalism as dangerous and destructive for society. it might be because nationalism was partly why WWI started and after WWI, countries/ ethnic groups still felt prideful, and resentful and hostile towards one another. Nationalism also may be a collective over-excerize of the Id, the primal urges governed by the pleasure principle. To me, Nationalistic people are usually fanatically proud of their country's achievements and believe their country can do no wrong. It's all about them and their country/ people. So perhaps the id of nation, or a collection of people/ ethnicities is manifested through extreme nationalism.

Madeline Davis said...

I think Laura makes an interesting point about Nationalism as the Id of a nation. It also seems to me that in extreme nationalism, a certain mentality spreads throughout a nation and that nationalistic "us versus them" mentality becomes the nation's Superego. If Superego controls a person's sense of right and wrong to act in a socially appropriate manner, it seems that a nation's Superego would promote extreme Nationalism as a means of fitting in with society's ideals and promoting the society's pride as a whole.

Grant Reggio said...

Regarding agressiveness, when I think about it, the inclination we humans have for enjoying violence seems pretty central. Think about it, how much do we enjoy those explosions and fights in movies? We laugh when others hurt themselves, at least that is the initial reaction when we see it. Even, and especially children enjoy violence. More often than not, over the years, a child will play with his favorite toy until it's no longer usable. I remember having this stuffed cat when I was little, the last I remember, it was in desperate need of repair. Now this last example may not necessarily attest to violence or aggressiveness, but Freud also mentions that man wishes to exploit whatever he can for his enjoyment. In a sense, I, like many others, exploited my stuffed animal until I couldn't play with it any more. I know this all sound kind of weird, but it just kind of came to me.