Freud's Writing by Socrates and Socrates' Writing by Freud
Socrates Commenting on Freud's Civilization and its Discontents
Sigmund Freud presents a very interesting set of principles in his work Civilization and its Discontents. Here, he describes his belief in the true identity of the nature of man. More than anything else, man is aggressive. This aggression is essentially caused out of the tension and conflict between innate primal desires and the demands of social mores. Such aggression is often channeled through the death drive, the primal need to destroy which must be released in one way or another, even in a modern context.
In this view, society then attempts to civilize that aggressiveness so that we can live together without killing each other. It redirects primal and sexual energies into more positively viewed energies and behaviors. In Freud's view, religion serves as an institute of society, and aims to tame the naturally wild and aggressive state humans are born into. Thus, Freud stresses the inseparable relationship between society and the individual that I simply cannot agree with. Civilization makes men unhappy, but it is a necessary evil to enjoy some of the finer rewards living in society has to offer. In this, Freud rightfully believes that the price of civilization is simply too high,
Yet, this is where I am personally lost, as morality and ethics do not stem from a common consensus within a society, but rather from the individual and his or her own actions. According to Freud, society restricts man, but I believe that the individual does have responsibility towards other people and the society in which one resides in. Essentially, the individual is the city; our individual identities are entirely wrapped up with the context of the cities we live in. Therefore, breaking with the city is like breaking with oneself. As I show in "Crito" in Plato's Five Dialogues, this belief is in stark contrast with Freud's concept of how the city and civilization only restricts the individual and how the individual is not happy within those restrictions. Yet, I believe in adhering to the laws of one's society out of my moral obligation to do what is right. I stand true to this belief, as I always have done, and am willing to risk my life in order to uphold the laws of my dear city, Athens.
Moreover, the value of inquiry is an important element in Freud's work which I can also actually agree with. The reality principle is the concept that human beings try to avoid suffering through regulating their pursuit of pleasure. Inquiry is an important step to understanding the world around us and therefore creating the reality principle and how it maintains our own individual desires and emotions. This keeps us more in tune with the external world. It is an important concept in Freud's psychoanalysis that the individual should spend great effort in understanding the self as well, in order to help ease the tension of repressed memories and experiences. Another element that I do agree with Freud on is our unconscious selves as determining the path of our own inquiries. Freud posits the concept of the subconscious. At first glance, it is unknown to us; yet, with continual inquiry into its strange idiosyncrasies as exhibition of our repressed memories and experiences we begin to understand more of ourselves. My personal philosophy is that we have a connection to an immortal soul. Once again, at first glance, its conditions are lost to us. But then we continuously recollect knowledge and truth from our immortal soul, which is very similar to Freud's concept of the unconsciousness. The unconscious Id holds a number of repressed experiences that hold a wealth of knowledge into why we are the way we are. It is a crucial element in psychoanalysis to unravel that mystery, just as it is an important element within the context of my own philosophies.
Part II: Freud's Response to "Sermon on the Mount"
Even I must admit to this being one of Jesus' most influential sermons in all of the New Testament. It is one of the sermons which truly reflect the founding principles of Christianity. It features the "Lord's Prayer"…