Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Review of Civilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud

It stands as a brilliant summary of the views on culture from a psychoanalytic perspective that he had been developing since the turn of the century. It is both witness and tribute to the late theory of mind—the so-called structural theory, with its stress on aggression, indeed the death drive, as the pitiless adversary of eros.

Civilization and Its Discontents is one of the last of Freud's books, written in the decade before his death and first published in German in 1929. In it he states his views on the broad question of man's place in the world, a place Freud defines in terms of ceaseless conflict between the individual's quest for freedom and society's demand for conformity.

Freud's theme is that what works for civilization doesn't necessarily work for man. Man, by nature aggressive and egotistical, seeks self-satisfaction. But culture inhibits his instinctual drives. The result is a pervasive and familiar guilt.

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Recommended: Yes.

                                About Civilization and Its Discontents
Recommended Ages: 15 and Up
Kindle Edition: 107 pgs.
Published: December 22, 2013 by Amazon Digital Services
 For This Review:  *Self-Provided Kindle E-book copy for Review*

I return to another look into Sigmund Freud's mind. After being away from his inner thought process after 9 years in other words when I was 12 years old and read Interpretation of Dreams.

I must say I loved reading his all over the place thought process in this one. Unlike my previous experience of his work. 

Sigmund Freud begins by relating the discontents most people have that actually spring forth out of our search for happiness all superimposed with a vast level of complexity. In this there are several paths open to people and whether they succeed in gaining happiness or a lowering of pain in their life in the end depends on them and their natural constitution.

Next Sigmund Freud goes into great detail on how civilization developed. He makes it aware that to get to where we are there were likely many sacrifices for man and in turn there are still many. Many of these cause mental and emotional disturbances for us and are seemingly stoked thanks in part to too many restrictions by society. One of the main ones that Sigmund Freud brings up is civilized sexual morality. Which in opinion, while it does have some truth I also think this is only but one of several factors in that discussion.

Amongst his heavy use of harsh realistic truths he still invariably comes off as impartial. Something I couldn't help but sense. And I wonder if I was the only one? The thing that worried me was whether this impartiality came from a pure sense of wanting to be like that or if he had perhaps given up on humanity. I seriously hope it was the former rather than the latter.

Even so, I heavily enjoyed further reading from Sigmund Freud. A lot of what he touched upon gives clearer insight into the ways of life for us now and not to mention his predictions are spot-on, but most important of all a lot of it was full of logic. 

Overall: Amazing read! 
Genre: Non-Fiction

About Sigmund Freud

Freud was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, who created an entirely new approach to the understanding of the human personality. He is regarded as one of the most influential - and controversial - minds of the 20th century.-Goodreads.com

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