The great courses writing and civilization and its discontents

Theater itself is a profoundly social art form. It possessed a religious character for the Greeks and its staging of values and crises are still resonant today. You learn that theatrical literature makes visible the conflicts and wars of culture in ways other forms cannot manage, because theater is founded on the agon, the struggle between disparate subjectivities and voices. Notions of self, human relationship, and meaningful action are debated, forged, actualized, and undone before our very eyes.

The great courses writing and civilization and its discontents

Excerpts from Digitized Original at the Internet Archive. Paragraph numbers apply to this excerpt, not the original source. This English translation was published in This contention holds that what we call our civilization is largely responsible for our misery.

The word "civilization" describes the whole sum of the achievements and the regulations which distinguish our lives from those of our animal ancestors and which serve two purposes - - namely to protect men against nature and to adjust their mutual relations. In each, it continues to carry on its function of binding together considerable numbers of people, and it does so in a more intensive fashion than can be effected through the interest of work in common.

When a love-relationship is at its height there is no room left for any interest in the environment; a pair of lovers are sufficient to themselves, and do not even need the child they have in common to make them happy.

In no the great courses writing and civilization and its discontents case does Eros so clearly betray the core of his being, his purpose of making one out of more than one; but when he has achieved this in the proverbial way through the love of two human beings, he refuses to go further.

If this were so, civilization would not have to withdraw any energy from sexuality. But this desirable state of things does not, and never did, exist.

Reality shows us that civilization is not content with the ties we have so far allowed it. It aims at binding the members of the community together in a libidinal way as well and employs every means to that end.

the great courses writing and civilization and its discontents

It favours every path by which strong identifications can be established between the members of the community, and it summons up aim-inhibited libido on the largest scale so as to strengthen the communal bond by relations of friendship.

In order for these aims to be fulfilled, a restriction upon sexual life is unavoidable. But we are unable to understand what the necessity is which forces civilization along this path and which causes its antagonism to sexuality. There must be some disturbing factor which we have not yet discovered.

Yet it is certainly not very old; even in historical times it was still strange to mankind. Why should we do it? What good will it do us?

But, above all, how shall we achieve it? How can it be possible? My love is something valuable to me which I ought not to throw away without reflection.

It imposes duties on me for whose fulfillment I must be ready to make sacrifices. If I love someone, he must deserve it in some way. I leave out of account the use he may be to me, and also his possible significance for me as a sexual object, for neither of these two kinds of relationship comes into question where the precept to love my neighbour is concerned.

He deserves it if he is so like me in important ways that I can love myself in him; and he deserves it if he is so much more perfect than myself that I can love my ideal of my own self in him.

But if he is a stranger to me and if he cannot attract me by any worth of his own or any significance that he may already have acquired for my emotional life, it will be hard for me to love him.

Indeed, I should be wrong to do so, for my love is valued by all my own people as a sign of my preferring them, and it is an injustice to them if I put a stranger on a par with them. But if I am to love him with this universal love merely because he, too, is an inhabitant of this earth, like an insect, an earth-worm or a grass-snake, then I fear that only a small modicum of my love will fall to his share—not by any possibility as much as, by the judgement of my reason, I am entitled to retain for myself.

What is the point of a precept enunciated with so much solemnity if its fulfillment cannot be recommended as reasonable? Not merely is this stranger in general unworthy of my love; I must honestly confess that he has more claim to my hostility and even my hatred.

He seems not to have the least trace of love for me and shows me not the slightest consideration. If it will do him any good he has no hesitation in injuring me, nor does he ask himself whether the amount of advantage he gains bears any proportion to the extent of the harm he does to me.

Indeed, he need not even obtain an advantage; if he can satisfy any sort of desire by it, he thinks nothing of jeering at me, insulting me, slandering me and showing his superior power; and the more secure he feels and the more helpless I am, the more certainly I can expect him to behave like this to me.

If he behaves differently, if he shows me consideration and forbearance as a stranger, I am ready to treat him in the same way, in any case and quite apart from any precept.

And there is a second commandment, which seems to me even more incomprehensible and arouses still stronger opposition in me. If I think it over, however, I see that I am wrong in treating it as a greater imposition.

At bottom it is the same thing.

the great courses writing and civilization and its discontents

I hope he will not have the same objective grounds for doing so, but he will have the same idea as I have. One is irresistibly reminded of an incident in the French Chamber when capital punishment was being debated.

A member had been passionately supporting its abolition and his speech was being received with tumultuous applause, when a voice from the hall called out: As a result, their neighbor is for them not only a potential helper or sexual object, but also someone who tempts them to satisfy their aggressiveness on him, to exploit his capacity for work without compensation, to use him sexually without his consent, to seize his possessions, to humiliate him, to cause him pain, to torture and to kill him.

Who, in the face of all his experience of life and of history, will have the courage to dispute this assertion? As a rule this cruel aggressiveness waits for some provocation or puts itself at the service of some other purpose, whose goal might also have been reached by milder measures.

In circumstances that are favourable to it, when the mental counter-forces which ordinarily inhibit it are out of action, it also manifests itself spontaneously and reveals man as a savage beast to whom consideration towards his own kind is something alien.During these later years Freud built on ideas from ’s Totem and Taboo and fully expanded his psychological analysis into a philosophical and cultural theory in books like The Future of an Illusion, Civilization and its Discontents, and Moses and Monotheism.

For those who have primarily encountered Freud in intro to psych classes, these. A: They will receive an email from The Great Courses notifying them of your eGift.

The email will direct them to If they are already a customer, they will be able to add the gift to their My Digital Library and mobile apps. Sigmund Freud Civilization and Its Discontents () Translated by James Strachey.

Excerpts from Digitized Original at the Internet Archive. (NB. Paragraph .

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The Great Courses Customer Favorites Non-English Audiobooks Their perspective, gained after a lifetime of thinking and writing about the history of humankind, is an invaluable resource for us today.

conflicts, and consequences of society. Written in the aftermath of World War I, Civilization and Its Discontents advances the idea that.

Civilization itself, thus, is "conflicted," the product of antagonistic drives and impulses. The types of civilization that arise can reflect different blends of these two drives, so that societies themselves, or cultures, might be seen to have a particular or peculiar psychologically determined "character." VII.

Freud remarks at the end of Civilization and Its Discontents that the “fateful question for the human species seems to me to be whether and to what extent their cultural development will succeed in mastering the disturbance in their communal life by the human .

Civilization and Its Discontents (Audiobook) by Sigmund Freud |