MUST INCLUDE 4 CONCEPTS FROM READINGS THE MANIFEST: EROS/CIVILIZATION, HAPPINESS/CIVILIZATION, DRIVES/INSTINCTS, NATURE OF HAPPINESS
Self-definition: How does Freud
revise our previous understanding of the source of human desires? What are the human drives and how do they manifest themselves in our lives?
, there is a general trajectory in the development of our most important desires for life / eros / sex and death / aggression.
returns in part to the ancient view that there is a human nature that underlies the variety of particular human desires.
emphasizes the ways in which we come to have unique and distinctive sexual and aggressive desires. There is little or no basis in Freud
for criticizing our particular desires from the standpoint of their connection to something higher than or outside ourself. But Freud
does point out that certain ways of pursuing the satisfaction of our basic desires are better or worse, because they allow for a greater degree of instinctual satisfaction.
suggests that unhappiness will always be the human lot.
The greatest pleasure requires some pain in the damning up of our desires before their sudden release.
If this does not occur, then our pleasure will only be mild, not intense.
points out the difficulties of various lives.
The life devoted to instinctual gratification leads us to neglect the preservation of the means by which we live.
The life devoted to instinctual renunciation may lead us to avoid pain but gives us little pleasure. And, it may also be ultimately impossible to attain.
The life devoted to love makes us vulnerable to the fickleness, not to mention the death and illness, of those we love.
The life devoted to sublimation may bring us pleasure, but not the most intense pleasures that we get from sex.
also points to the tensions between instinctual gratification and civilization. See below on politics.
ultimately differs from the Ancients is in two respects.
First, he insists that we can explain what even he calls our higher ends (love, intellectual work) in terms of our lower ends (sex).
But, even Freud
wavers on this point in his later account of eros.
gives greater emphasis to the distinctive desires of individual and the difficulty of changing them.
Our particular nature is shaped in part by the outcome of the Oedipus complex. In the classic situation:
We seek exclusive possession of the opposite sex parent.
But we fear punishment from the same sex parent. Our fear of punishment arises in party because of our own aggressive feelings towards the same sex parent.
Thus we give up our desire for the same sex parent and, instead, come to identify with them. (Identification replaces object love.) In doing so, our ideal of our selves (the ego-ideal) and the moral standards to which we adhere (the super-ego.)
(iv) The aggressiveness we have to the same sex parent is turned back against us, giving the superego its power.
points to new limits to freedom, psychological processes that limit our ability to understand the world and ourselves. To what extent can these limits to freedom be overcome? He also points out that we will always have to set limits on our desires. Discuss the nature of reasons for these limits?
returns, in part, to the ancient view. For the ultimate lack of freedom for Freud
is human irrationality as seen in neurotic symptoms. Neurosis makes us incapable of understanding or controlling what we do. It is, however, only the most extreme kind of internal lack of freedom. For Freud
, knowing ourselves?knowing the nature and source of our own desires?is necessary for the fullest freedom to rationally shape our own lives. Where Freud
differs from the ancients is precisely in that he also would insist on the importance of the characteristically modern kinds of freedom, including the freedom from government repression, from mind forged manacles and from material want. He would, however, point out that Marx?s notion of conquering nature entirely is an utter fantasy.
is sensitive to the harms of bourgeois, commercial society, especially that which comes from poverty. Yet he tells us that communism is impossible because:
Human aggression is ineradicable.
The human preference for those we love, that is, for our family, is ineradicable.
D. Politics: What goal does Freud
set for of political and social life? How can politics find some balance between too much and too little repression of our desires?
also points to the tensions between instinctual gratification and civilization. Eros
Eros / sex leads to civilization:
Men seek to form families in order to have steady sexual partners.
Eros / sex is repressed by civilization.
Sexual desire must be repressed if human beings are to work hard.
Sexal desire must be repressed if human beings are to love their spouses and children and if they are to be tied to various groups of people as well as to their own political societies.
sexual love, groups solidarity, and patriotism are all based upon the sublimation of sexuality
Aggressiveness is partly repressed by civilization since human political communities can only survive if we limit the expression of aggression. Aggressiveness is useful to civilization.
It enables members of political communities to fight against others.
Aggressiveness is repressed by means of aggressiveness turned inwards, which is how conscience or super-ego is created.
The content of our conscience is determined by the ideals we are given by our parents.
The strength of our super-ego is determined by the amount of aggression turned inwards.
Easygoing parents who provide a lot of love for their children often find that their children have a strong superego. Such children are especially fearful of losing the love of their parents because of their aggressive feelings in the oedipal crisis. So more of these aggressive feelings are turned inwards.
Strict parents who do not provide a lot of love to their children often have children with weak superegos. Such children are less afraid of expressing aggression against their parents because they do not fear the loss of love of their parents. Too much creates unhappiness both in individuals and in members of whole communities.
Too much aggression turned inwards creates guilt, represses sexuality, and create neurosis and unhappiness.
It also creates the rigidity in political and social life that accompanies widespread repression.
Another outcome of too much aggression turned inwards can be political explosions in which that aggression is suddenly turned outward in war or against a scapegoat as relief form the guilt engendered by a strong superego. This is part of a Freudian explanation of the rise of Nazism and fascism.
Another outcome of too much repression of eros can be explosions of eros and the decline of sexual standards and family ties. This is part of a Freudian account of the sexual revolutions of the twenties and sixties.
Too little repression of eros and aggression makes civilization impossible.
Too little repression of sexuality and aggression undermines political communities. (This is part of a Freudian account of the moral breakdown of contemporary societies.)
Sexual liberation can lead to the breakdown of the family which means the children are not cared for.
Children that are not well cared for a likely to be aggressive towards other people, leading to crime.
1Freud again returns part way to the ancient world. He does show us how reason can give us an understanding of human nature. And through psychoanalysis, reason can help us understand our own particular nature and the best way for us to seek happiness.
had the greatest doubts about the capacity for human reason to direct us either individually or as members of a political community.
He argued that human beings often suffered from one or another kind of irrationality as individuals.
And political and social life was often lead into difficulties by the power of our less than rational erotic and aggressive instincts.
did have some hope that we human beings could come to recognize and master our irrationalities
[ Order Custom Essay ]
[ View Full Essay ]