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Unhappiness In Human Lives According To Freud Sigmund (Essay Sample)


In Civilization and Its Discontents, Freud defends the proposal that life under the conditions of civilization is a source of discontent or unhappiness. Write an essay discussing Freud's view. In your paper, you should address the following issues:
a. What according to Freud, are the principal sources of unhappiness? To what extent does civilization, on Freud's view, mitigate or exacerbate these causes of unhappiness?
b. How and why is civilization supposed to frustrate natural human instincts? In particular, what instincts does Freud see as frustrated, and what is it about civilized life that makes the satisfaction of these instincts problematic? (In answering this question, it may be useful to consider whether, for Freud, the goals of civilized life are in tension with our primal instincts.)
c. Do you agree with Freud? Why or why not? (If you disagree with Freud, what specifically do you disagree with, and how would you convince someone to share your view? In answering this question, it might be helpful to consider how Freud's view compares with other conceptions of the pros or cons of life in civilized society that we have seen, e.g. Aristotle's, Hobbes', Rousseau's.)


Unhappiness in Human Lives according to Freud Sigmund


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In Civilization and its Discontents, Freud presents a pessimistic view of the world and he argues that human beings can never be happy in their lives. Human beings are in pursuit of happiness in their lives and therefore, when Freud says that human beings can never be happy, it appears somehow controversial. Freud also goes further to highlight the three main causes of unhappiness in the lives of human beings. In page 86, he says, "the superior power of nature, the feebleness of our own bodies and the inadequacy of the relations which adjust the mutual relationships of human beings in the family, state, and society" (Freud 1930, p86). The human body, the nature of the world and social relations cause unhappiness in our lives. He also says that the first two that is human body and nature of the world cannot at all be controlled since they are associated with nature. The human body is weak and immortal and as such it causes suffering to human beings. In terms of nature, Freud says that human beings do not have the ability to control nature and it can cause suffering since nature has a number of factors that cannot be changed. The third cause of unhappiness that is social relations are under human control since as human beings, we have the ability to control the people that we interact with so that they cannot be the source of our unhappiness. Social relations refer to the interactions of an individual with the society such as relatives and friends. In page 30, he says that our relationships with human beings may be the worst of these causes of unhappiness. He says, “we are never so defenseless against suffering as when we love, never so helplessly unhappy, as when we have lost our loved object or its love” (Freud, 1930 p.82). In terms of civilization, Freud argues that civilization is responsible for human suffering since it makes human beings to organize themselves into a civilized society so that they can escape suffering but suffer again hits back upon us.
Freud defines civilization as achievements and regulations which have been put in place to protect man against nature so that they can adjust their mutual relationships. Freud says that civilization makes one sacrifice their power for the sake of the group. People who are strong in the society feel marginalized and they are forced to make great concessions. When we establish institutions, we believe that they should promote our liberties but unfortunately, they limit our freedom and as such, they cause displeasure to us.

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