Essay Example on Civilization And Its Discontents
Freud made the observation that this aggressiveness would one day lead to human kind’s ultimate conflict, the demise of civilization. Freud makes his point very clear when he writes of instinct and aggression. This point is exemplified when Freud says that it is natural for human beings to be so aggressive towards one another that it will eventually lead to their downfall. Freud uses primitive society as an example when he says that the leader of the family felt no guilt in spreading and expressing his aggression towards his own family.
This paints a deeper picture for the reader, what Freud is basically saying is that this leader can just as easily be the leader of a society, instead of expressing his instinctual rage upon his family, it would be just as easily expressed upon society as a whole. Freud further backs up his statement by saying that humans originally entered society in order to shun the aggressive aspects of life; however in time people began to feel unhappy and guilty because their instincts were not being fulfilled. According to Freud this would make them rebel against the civilization that they created.
This rebellion would be built upon the irony that humans created a civilization to escape the aggressive instincts that consume them, but in the end the rebellion caused them to be filled with an aggression that is even more dangerous than that which they started with. Freud illustrates this point when he says, “In all that follows I adopt the standpoint, therefore, that the inclination to aggression is an original, self-subsisting instinctual disposition in man, and I return to my view that it constitutes the greatest impediment to civilization (p. 1). Freud then further backs his point as he says “In consequence of this primary mutual hostility of human beings, civilized society is perpetually threatened with disintegration (p. 69). Both of these quotes exemplify the heart of Freud’s argument. I believe Freud is correct in his assessment that human kind’s ultimate conflict is the instinctual aggressiveness that we inherit at birth.
Freud’s argument is very logical, especially in his example, which shows how humans suppress their instinctual traits so much that after a certain amount of time, those traits resurface at a greater strength. Another element that convinced me to take Freud’s side was his excerpt on how civilization was formed to manage the instinctual aggressiveness, but as unhappiness spread and rebellions occurred, the aggressiveness that was meant to be extinguished returned, but this time alongside of rage.
All of these elements combined allow me to safely say that I agree with Freud about this conflict. It is said that as long as there is competition and new ideas, conflict will always live. With this in mind, it is safe to assume that conflict is instinctual. There are many conflicts that plague human kind; however Freud has proved, through his essay, Civilization and It’s Discontents, that as long as human kind carries the instinctual aggressiveness, civilization will always be in danger.