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Civilization as a Source of Unhappiness: Freud

Soci 350 Seminar Presentation

Amanda Juhasz

on 31 January 2013

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Transcript of Civilization as a Source of Unhappiness: Freud

4. Civilization Limits Sexuality. Civilization dictates both sexual expression and places strict restrictions on acceptable forms of sexuality. Why does it produce Discontent? What are some of the Negatives of Civilization? 2. Civilization limits the freedoms of the individual. " The development of civilization imposes restrictions on [liberty], and justice demands that no one shall escape those restrictions." 3. Civilization demands we reject instinct. Humans, according to Freud, are egocentric and driven towards satisfying our instincts. Regulations within society function to control to what extent humans are able to satisfy these primal urges resulting in dissatisfaction. This sacrifice of pleasure leads to what Freud calls "Cultural Frustration". Civilization and its Discontents- Freud Negatives of Civilization Positive of Civilization What is the Purpose of Civilization? 1. Protects Humans from Nature Rotate axis and drag frames
to change balance 2. Adjusts and Regulates Human Relations: Establishes conventions for interactions. 3. Improves "Quality of Life" through: Beauty, Cleanliness, and Order Bottom Line When humans enter into the bonds of Civilization, they sacrifice part of their happiness for the greater good. We trade immediate gratification for long term stability. We feel limited by civilization, that our drives and instincts are inhibited, but we sacrifice these for the predictability of society. 1. The Power of the individual is sacrificed " The power of this community is then set up as 'right' in opposition to the power of the individual, which is condemned as 'brute force'." Protection against these strong individual's brute force is provided for those within the community. The individuals with the most power make the greatest concessions for membership as they are marginalized. Freud, 2005 Freud stipulates that nobody within a society is free from the restrictions of civilization.
The realization that civilization limits, rather than endorses and protects our freedoms, can be the cause of dissatisfaction and discontent. "Civilization is built upon a renunciation of instinct, [it] presupposes precisely the non-satisfaction of powerful instincts." "Taboos, laws, and Customs impose ... restrictions, which affect both men and women." Examples of these within society include the insistence upon heterosexuality, monogamy, fidelity and gender based sexual expression norms. According to Freud, the freedoms of sexuality are renounced in the name of the greater good, with the reason for these restrictions focusing on the need for "psychical energy" needed for the economic development of society as a whole. "Not all civilizations go equally far in this, and the economic structure of the society also influences the amount of sexual freedom that remains." "Cultural frustration" is the dissatisfaction with society resulting from the suppression of powerful instincts.
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