Civilization and Its Discontents

Civilization and Its Discontents
Overview
Key Terms
As a psychiatrist, Freud uses wisdom gleaned from more than two decades of clinical experience to psychoanalyze civilization itself—and concludes it is the main obstacle to happiness. Freud argues that
civilization restricts individual urges, leading to misery and neurosis.
Culture Turns People's Urges against them
Civilization tames sex and aggression by making people feel guilty about them.
Civilization Requires a Trade-off
People must give up their freedom to enjoy the benefits of living in a group.
Society's Demands Prevent Happiness
A civilization can be secure only when individuals suppress their own urges.
Life Drive
Also called Eros; a person's instinct for self-preservation and reproduction
Death Drive
Also called Thanatos; a person's instinct for aggression and destruction
Repression
Psychological defense; protects a person by blocking traumatic memories and feelings
Neurosis
Emotional disturbances caused by repression of natural drives for sex and aggression
Themes
Everything is about Sex
Religion is an Illusion
Women have Penis Envy
Freud's view of sexuality eventually grew to include love.
Freud thought religion stems from a wish for a cosmic father figure
Freud's detractors say he totally misunderstood female sexuality.
Author
SIGMUND FREUD 1856-1939
Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, is famous for his theory that repression of unconscious sexual and aggressive urges can lead to neurotic disturbances. The year before his death Freud was forced to flee to England from his native Austria when Hitler invaded and threatened Jews like Freud and his family.
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