Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents

Topics: Aggression, Conflict, Anger Pages: 2 (593 words) Published: September 16, 2008
Human Kinds Ultimate Struggle
According to Sigmund Freud’s essay, Civilization and Its Discontents, human kind has been confronted by many different struggles. Although these struggles do come in many shapes and sizes, there is one that stands out from the rest. This main struggle makes itself known through human kind’s everlasting conflict concerning instinct and aggression. This conflict has been made apparent through Freud’s timely argument that human kind’s primal instinct is to act aggressively towards one another. Freud made the observation that this aggressiveness would one day lead to human kind’s ultimate conflict, the demise of civilization. Freud makes his point very clear when he writes of instinct and aggression. This point is exemplified when Freud says that it is natural for human beings to be so aggressive towards one another that it will eventually lead to their downfall. Freud uses primitive society as an example when he says that the leader of the family felt no guilt in spreading and expressing his aggression towards his own family. This paints a deeper picture for the reader, what Freud is basically saying is that this leader can just as easily be the leader of a society, instead of expressing his instinctual rage upon his family, it would be just as easily expressed upon society as a whole. Freud further backs up his statement by saying that humans originally entered society in order to shun the aggressive aspects of life; however in time people began to feel unhappy and guilty because their instincts were not being fulfilled. According to Freud this would make them rebel against the civilization that they created. This rebellion would be built upon the irony that humans created a civilization to escape the aggressive instincts that consume them, but in the end the rebellion caused them to be filled with an aggression that is even more...
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