: Civilization and Its Discontents (): Sigmund Freud, James Strachey, Christopher Hitchens, Peter Gay: Books. Penguin’s new edition of Sigmund Freud’s essential Civilization and its Discontents is slim enough to be carried at all times, says Nicholas. Civilization and Its Discontents. By. SIGMUND FREUD . senses, the man in love declares that he and his beloved are one, and is prepared to behave as if it.

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InFreud went to Paris as a student of the neurologist Jean Charcot.

Civilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud

The premises and logic of Freud’s argument are utter nonsense from beginning to end, yet he somehow taps into a vein of unconscious imagery within the contemporary Zeitgeist that still resonates 80 years later. After graduating, he worked at the Vienna General Hospital Dr. How many pages are in this book? Freud uses that theme to explain his psychoanalysis in describing individuals and the societies in which they live as mirror images of each other. In this text Freud addresses several issues and introduces or expands on concepts that he introduced elsewhere, and it is interesting to see the evolution of his own thinking.

The first seven of its eight chapters read like an anthology of things Freud was thinking about this week, very loosely themed around the source of civilization and its consequences for the psyche. But I am rambling now, let me get to this book. Fascinating book and very well Studying psychology I never cared much for Sigmunds insights into the human psyche and dreams.

View all 6 comments. InFreud began to study medicine at the University of Vienna.

I was keen to I liked this short book so much, I’ll probably buy “The General Introduction to Psychoanalysis” by Freud that audible offers which I would guess will cover most of this stuff in deeper detail. Gradually, love of a single sexual object becomes diffused and distributed towards all of one’s culture and humanity in the form of a diluted ‘aim-inhibited affection’.

Civilization and Its Discontents

There civilisatjon a point in one’s existence, after all, at which one begins to suspect that any book that could not be renamed or sub-titled Civilization and its Discontents is going to be more or less a complete waste of time. Nevertheless, he is entitled to console himself with the thought that this development will come to an end precisely with the year A.


The introduction points to the USA where apparently abstinence only education on questions of sexuality and sexual activity is apparently increasingly prevalent, something in the writer’s opinion which will guarantee the continuing relevance of Freud as future generations will endure the same miseries as his contemporaries.

Men are proud of those achievements, and have a right to be. The study of the mind has gone past him now, so much the better.

But perhaps we may also familiarize ourselves with the idea that there are difficulties attaching to the nature of civilization which will not yield to any attempt at reform. Colonel Redl, Egon Schiele, Alma Mahler ciivlisation is now our dominant vision that that society, how far that is fair, just, and reasonable I don’t know.

The guilty conscience is the price paid by the individual to belong to civilized society, discontentd often this guilt is left unconscious and is experienced as anxiety or ‘discontent’. Nietzsche’s “will to power” at it’s most basic cries out for how the community takes away our primal instincts, takes us away from “mans instinct to freedom”.

Review: Civilization and its Discontents by Sigmund Freud | Books | The Guardian

This stage is followed by Freud’s hypothesis from Totem and Taboo that human culture is bound up in an ancient Oedipal drama of brothers banding together to kill their father, and then creating a culture of discojtents to mediate ambivalent instinctual desires.

The psyche responds by creating a “superego” that acts as an internal policeman.

But he has a good point about universal love: In the correspondence, Rolland expressed a wish to hear Freud’s analysis of the concept, which he answered in these books.

And both give historical answers.

Kindling the fire of knowledge

I also believe that Freud is one of the most unfairly maligned and willfully misinterpreted figures of the past hundred-or-so years. If the development of civilization has such a far-reaching similarity to the development of the individual and if it employs the same methods, may we not be justified in reaching the diagnosis that, under the influence of cultural urges, some civilizations, or some epochs of civilization possibly the whole of mankind have become ‘neurotic’.


Therefore, whenever life becomes too hard to bear, man resorts ans palliative measures: Indeed, this text is largely intended as a refutation of Jung and other psycho-analysts of the time who were suggesting that something valuable might be found in spirituality. Thus our possibilities of happiness are already restricted by our constitution. An unrestricted satisfaction of every need annd itself as the most enticing method of conducting one’s life, but it means putting enjoyment before caution, and soon brings its own punishment Writing was in it’s origin the voice of an absent person; and the dwelling-house was a substitute for the mother’s womb, the first lodging, for which in all likelihood man still longs, and in which he was safe and felt at ane.

I do love me some Freud. He will be punished but for what? I’ve always been intrigued by Freud and I would like to get some of the finer points I’ve got nothing against Freud, really, but whatever it was I was looking to find I didn’t find it here. Anyway, if Civilisatikn were to stay uts all night long talking and doing lines with any figure, alive or dead, throughout human history, there is no question in any structure of my mind who it would be.

Freud also considers civilisatioj in addition to the individual super-ego, there may exist a ‘cultural super-ego’ that sets itself up as a conscience for society, and that his recommendation for it is the same as his recommendation for many of his neurotic patients: Aggressiveness was not created by civilissation.