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The third chapter of the book addresses a fundamental paradox of civilization: it is a tool we have created to protect ourselves from unhappiness, and yet it is our largest source of unhappiness. People become neurotic because they cannot tolerate the frustration which society imposes in the service of its cultural ideals. Freud points out that advances in science and technology have been, at best, a mixed blessing for human happiness. He asks what society is for if not to satisfy the pleasure principle, but concedes that as well as pursuing happiness, civilization must also compromise happiness in order to fulfill its primary goal of bringing individuals into peaceful relationship with one another, which it does by making them . Civilization is built out of wish-fulfillments of the human ideals of control, , , order, and especially for the exercise of humanity's highest intellectual functions. Freud draws a key analogy between the development of civilization and development in the individual, which allows Freud to speak of civilization in his own terms: there is anal eroticism that develops into a need for order and cleanliness, a sublimation of instincts into useful actions, alongside a more repressive renunciation of instinct. This final point Freud sees as the most important character of civilization, and if it is not compensated for, then “one can be certain that serious disorders will ensue.". The structure of civilization serves to circumvent the natural processes and feelings of human development and eroticism. It is no wonder then, that this repression could lead to discontent among civilians.

In this book, Sigmund Freud enumerates what he sees as the fundamental tensions between civilization and the individual. The primary friction, he asserts, stems from the individual's quest for instinctive freedom and 's contrary demand for and repression of instincts. Freud states that when any situation that is desired by the pleasure principle is prolonged, it creates a feeling of mild contentment. Many of humankind's primitive instincts (for example, the desire to kill and the insatiable craving for sexual gratification) are clearly harmful to the well-being of a human community. As a result, civilization creates laws that prohibit killing, rape, and adultery, and it implements severe punishments if these rules are broken. Thus our possibilities for happiness are restricted by the law. This process, argues Freud, is an inherent quality of civilization that gives rise to perpetual feelings of discontent among its citizens.

“This is an excellent edition of Civilization and its Discontents and will be particularly helpful in teaching contexts for both undergraduate and graduate classes. The translation by Gregory C. Richter is quite accessible and includes helpful footnotes which add to the readability of the text. … The three appendices included in the volume speak to the strength of this edition as one which can be utilized at multiple teaching levels. The culling of texts from Freud’s own work in the first appendix (A) which address similar themes to those found in Civilization and its Discontents, is particularly helpful and well chosen. The third appendix (C) which addresses the central scholarly responses to this text make this edition ideal for advanced undergraduate or graduate courses.” — Athena V. Colman, Brock University

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Study Questions: Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents. 1) Freud proposes a radical reevaluation of the value of culture and Essay Topics For Civilization And Its Discontents civilization. Instead of representing

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Civilization and Its Discontents study guide contains a biography of Sigmund Freud, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, character descriptions, and

Civilization and Its Discontents Summary & Study Guide

Civilization and Its Discontents study guide contains a biography of Sigmund Freud, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, character descriptions, and

Civilization and Its Discontents study guide contains a biography of Sigmund Freud, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, character descriptions, and

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The Impact of Technology on Civilization :: Cause …

Civilization Essay Topics For Civilization And Its Discontents and Its Discontents study guide contains a biography of Sigmund Freud, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, character descriptions, and


Human Kinds Ultimate Struggle According to Sigmund Freud’s essay, Civilization and Its Discontents, human kind has been confronted by many different struggles.

Study Essay Topics For Civilization And Its Discontents Questions: Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents. 1) Freud proposes a radical Essay Topics For Civilization And Its Discontents reevaluation of the value of culture and civilization. Instead of representing

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