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Where's The Happy State: A Comparative Literature Analyzing Freud And Rousseau

1936 words - 8 pages

We have always been led to believe that civilization is something favorable for humans to have over the "savage" and "inferior" species. However, before taking the greatness of civilization for granted, we should speculate upon the validity of this belief. After all, the very entity that teaches "obvious" fact to us is our civilized society! The two great thinkers, Freud and Nietzsche, question and contemplate the benefits that society imposes on us and conclude that civilization actually does more harm to society than benefits it, although they disagree on how this occurs. Even though both Freud and Nietzsche believe that civilization is based on the taming of human instinctual life with ...view middle of the document...

Nietzsche claims too that civilization represses the aggression of the people, especially the strong, so that the undeserving weak can survive. Despite the parallel about the taming of civilization, the purpose of this suppression is quite different between the two thinkers.Freud claims that civilization is the struggle between the human instincts, death drive and Eros, and its ultimate goal is to prevent self-guilt and achieve security from the aggression of others. The death drive is the compulsion to return to inanimate state. Freud states that "The aim of all life is death," clearly indicating our instinctual tendency to end life. The Eros, in contrast, is the sex and love drive, which resembles life and being with others. According to Freud, the entire development of evolution is based on the struggle between these two instincts. Aggression and any kind of destruction behavior represent the death drive as it directs it compulsion of death outward. Freud states that aggression is a "primary mutual hostility of human beings" and "an original, self-subsisting instinctual disposition in man" that "constitutes the greatest impediment to civilization." He believes that aggression is in our natural instinct that disrupts our society's harmony. However, unlike Nietzsche, he also identifies that along with this desire to destroy, one also develops the need for love.Freud believes that the fear of losing the love from the father inhibits an infant's aggression. "His aggressiveness is introjected, internalized" as his Eros prevails over his death drive and plants the seed of the superego. The Eros is what binds a family or society together as the primitive family formation is based on the husbands need for regular sexual satisfaction and the woman's need for protection against the aggression of others. In primitive families, the father set up rules to satisfy all his Eros and aggression needs at the expense of the instinctual desires of the children by having all the females in the family. According to Freud's story of "Totem and Taboo," a band of brothers slay the father due to their release of suppressed aggression and their need for sex. The band of brothers then decides to make taboos, or laws, to prevent the aggression between each other and allow each person to satisfy his sexual need by prohibiting incestuous sex. Aggression and some Eros is restrained in order to achieve security and fair satisfaction. Thus, the first civilization is formed in society.In contrast to Freud, Nietzsche believes that the restraining function of civilization is the result of spiritual revenge from the weak to inhibit and prevail over the strong. Nietzsche claims that during the aristocracy period, morality was defined by what the powerful and rich were. "The judgment 'good' did not originate with those to whom goodness was shown! Rather it was 'the good' themselves, that is to say, the noble, powerful, high-stationed and high-minded, who felt and established...

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