: 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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I was keen to follow up immediately with some re-reading of Freud.

Review: Civilization and its Discontents by Sigmund Freud | Books | The Guardian

This is not viscontents transference, and no, he doesn’t remind me at all of my father; I believe Freud was a great genius, and far more importantly, that he was a fantastic writer and very interesting person.

There must always be a reason for everything because reason makes us feel better in knowing that we are still in control.

Again because this is a late essay, and perhaps one reason why Freud sees it as unoriginal is that it feels like a medley of his greatest hits – Man creates God in his own disxontents, specifically of an angry Disconents, the brothers overthrow the father, but internalise him as conscience.

In the photographic camera he has created an instrument which retains the fleeting visual impressions, just as a gramophone disc retains the equally fleeting auditory ones; both are at bottom materializations iys the power he possesses of recollection, his memory. I suppose in freid sex-starved society he never imagined sex itself filling these roles, especially the role of intoxicant. That he is always relevant, no way a mere fossil frozen in time to remind of obsolete periods in our culture.

This suggests that while some sexual freedom may beneficial, more is not necessarily better. Fuelled by unlimited pornography, sex has become, in the words of his fellow intellectual luminary, an opiate for the masses. Freud says that this actually happened, and he “proves” it by pointing to various ancient myths in various cultures that can be seen as allegories for this objectively real event.

But I am able to recognize that the psychological premises on which the systems based are an untenable illusion. After a century, these insights are not, of course, surprising or new. Unhappiness is much less difficult to experience. For the notionally civilising influence of Christianity, he reserves his most exquisite scorn: Yes, Freud does believe some weird things and he restates them in this book such as the early infant’s whole world is the mother’s breast and thus we end up fetishizing the breast when we grow up, our time in the womb means we always are looking to return to an abode of some kind, something about the anal fixation and how it never leaves us and unrepressed sex desires lead to our anxieties and other such things that sound weird to our modern ears.


In the sixth chapter, Freud reviews the development of his concept of libido to explain why it must now be separated into two distinct instincts: Anyhow that was the younger Freud inmaking an effort to get his voice heard.

The suffering which comes from this last source is perhaps more painful to us than any other. Civilization is built out of wish-fulfillments of the discontnts ideals of control, beautyhygieneorder, and especially for the exercise of humanity’s highest intellectual functions. He concludes with a discussion of human aggression, which manifests itself in the form of communalized human aggression. If private property were abolished, all wealth held in common, and everyone allowed to share in the enjoyment of it, ill-will and hostility would disappear among men.

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.

That part of the argument is sensible enough that the publishers see fit to include it on the back cover. The interest of work in common would not hold it together; instinctual passions are stronger than reasonable interests.

Kindling the fire of knowledge

I do love me some Freud. As far as the Alphas and Betas go, unhappiness keeps sneaking through. Freud approved the overall editorial plan, specific renderings of key words and phrases, and the addition of valuable notes, from bibliographical and explanatory. It is no wonder if, under the pressure of these possibilities of suffering, men are accustomed to moderate their claims to happiness — just as the pleasure principle itself, indeed, under the influence of the external world, changed into the discohtents modest reality principle —, if a man thinks himself happy merely to have escaped unhappiness or to have survived his suffering, and if in general the task of avoiding suffering pushes that of obtaining pleasure into the background.


Many of the translations were done by Strachey himself; the rest were prepared under his supervision.

Civilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud

But, since we’re on the topic, let’s not neglect the, er, pervasiveness of these rather fervently observed pastimes Apr 03, C C rated it really liked it. Unfortunately, Freud sees sex behind everything. InFreud went to Paris as a student of the neurologist Jean Charcot.

Who in the face of all his experience of life and of history, will have the courage to dispute this assertion? But he has a good point about universal love: The man who sees his pursuit of happiness come to nothing in later years can still find consolation in the yield of pleasure of chronic intoxication; or he can embark on the desperate attempt at rebellion seen in a psychosis.

Civilized man has exchanged a portion of his possibilities of happiness for a portion of freeud. Please correct page ajd 4 25 Jul 26, Man has a constructive, or libidinal, impulse Eros and a destructive, or aggressive, impulse death. Certainly, for anyone studying the early 20th century, the ideas in here will seem eerily familiar; Freud isn’t so much creating a new argument civilisaion as speaking aloud what was in everyone’s heads at the time.

View all 19 comments. 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. Why Violence Has Declined makes a much better case for the importance of suppressing our natural tendency to violence.