Civilization and Its Discontents (Paperback)
Reprint of the 1930 American edition. In this seminal book, Sigmund Freud enumerates the fundamental tensions between civilization and the individual. The primary friction stems from the individual's quest for instinctual freedom and civilization's contrary demand for conformity and instinctual repression. Many of humankind's primitive instincts (for example, the desire to kill and the insatiable craving for sexual gratification) are clearly harmful to the well-being of a human community. As a result, civilization creates laws that prohibit killing, rape, and adultery, and it implements severe punishments if such commandments are broken. This process, argues Freud, is an inherent quality of civilization that instills perpetual feelings of discontent in its citizens.
About the Author
Sigmund Freud was born in 1856 in Moravia; from 1860 until Hitler's invasion of Austria in 1938 he lived in Vienna. He was then forced to seek asylum in London, where he died the following year. He began his career as a doctor, specialising in work on the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system. He was almost thirty when his interests first turned to psychology, and during ten years of clinical work in Vienna he developed the practice of what he called "psychoanalysis." This began simply as a method of treating neurotic patients by investigating their minds, but it quickly grew into an investigation of the workings of the mind in general, both ill or healthy. Freud demonstrated the normal development of the sexual instinct in childhood and, largely on the basis of an examination of dreams, arrived at his fundamental discovery of the unconscious forces that influence our everyday thoughts and actions. Freud's ideas have shaped not only many specialist disciplines, but have also influenced the entire intellectual climate of the last century.