Suffering & Civilization
Suffering, or pain in this sense, is a basic affective experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with harm or threat of harm in an individual. It constitutes the negative basis of affective states such as emotions, feelings, moods, sentiments, while pleasure or happiness constitutes the positive basis. Suffering may be called physical or mental, depending on whether it is linked primarily to a body process or a mind process. Examples of physical suffering are pain “as a sensation”, nausea, breathlessness, and itching. Examples of mental suffering are anxiety, grief, hatred, and boredom. The intensity of suffering comes in all degrees, from the mild to the unspeakably insufferable. Sigmund Freud discusses three sources of human suffering in Civilization and discontents which were the human body, the world, and social relations. The human body causes suffering because it is feeble and weak. Because humans are mortal, it leaves us susceptible to pain. Freud explains how the world is a source of suffering because of the superiority of nature and its natural catastrophes. Freud goes on to discuss how nature is a necessity for human life and our inability to control nature causes suffering. Lastly, Freud blames social relations because society, social legislation and other human beings limit the satisfaction of one’s pleasure. It seems that humans can only avoid suffering due to social relations. However Freud argues that even this cause of suffering is unavoidable because a piece of nature lies behind social conflict. Therefore mankind cannot avoid suffering. In regards to civilization being a cause of suffering, Freud explains how humans have a subliminal hostility towards civilization. Even though civilization purpose is protect man from nature, regulate relationships and many other rules that are set in place to enhance the overall quality of life, Freud believes that there are negative aspects of civilization that produces...
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