Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents (1930)
* Georges Bataille, “The Pineal Eye” (1927-1930)
First Paper Due: What is Freud’s central thesis in Civilization and Its Discontents? What evidence does he use to support his argument? How might Bataille’s work confirm or refute Freud’s central argument(s) in Civilization and Its Discontents? Using Freud’s book as a methodological tool, analyze and interpret Bataille’s writing—what does it demonstrate or suggest about the fate of the psyche in the modern world?
In one respect, there is no difference in Sigmund Freud’s “Civilization and Its Discontents” (1929), and in Georges Bataille’s “The Pineal Eye” (1927-1930) in that both authors display interest in the disciplines of the mind. On the contrary, a far cry from each other as Freud, a scientist and a materialist, and Bataille, a writer who attempts to break the existence of materialism, yet influenced by Freud's works on psychoanalytic methods and therefore developing his Surrealistic ideas, merely butt heads as each envision their interpretation of emotions that motivate us. Freud’s principle idea for writing his paper is found in his very first statement: “The impression forces itself upon one that men measure by false standards, that everyone seeks power, success, riches for himself and admires others who attain them, while undervaluing the truly precious things in life” (p. 2). The term “impression” in this statement is used to imply a falsehood of interpretation amongst those who place more value on “forms,” something that Freud disbelieves deserves much value. In other words, there are other elements in life that Freud believes are far more valuable than the force of mental influence that places value on “things.” Hence, Freud in this particular essay thinks on the grounds of a scientist, he is a materialist in the sense of a psychologist first then a philosopher. In other words, he takes a scientific method approach when determining...
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