Social Psychology and the Beliefs Essay

Download this Essay in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Essay:

According to Freud, human societies require people to give up many of their most natural instincts and to replace their natural desires with the need to satisfy the "false standards of measurement" such as the "power, success and wealth [that they seek] for themselves and admire & #8230; in others, and that [as a result,] they underestimate what is of true value in life." Fred suggested that the need to live up to the standards and expectations set by society causes "too many pains, disappointments and impossible tasks" and that "to bear it we cannot dispense with palliative measures." By that, Freud meant that all of the psychological mechanisms, substitutions, and escapes that cause psychological problems and that often prevent human happiness. These ideas introduced by Freud about the psychological price paid by people living in society would later be part of the views of several other 20th century sociological theorists and used in their concepts of anomie and strain theory. They consider disappointment of people and unequal economic success and upward social mobility to be major factors in understanding social and class conflict in modern society.

Freud also questioned the value of the so-called "Golden Rule" that was very important to much of Mill's political and philosophical positions. Specifically, Freud argued that "the commandment, 'Love thy neighbour as thyself', is the strongest defence against human aggressiveness…" but also suggested that this commandment is impossible to fulfill because it requires "… such an enormous inflation of love [that it] can only lower its value, not get rid of the difficulty. By that, Freud seems to suggest that the main value upon which Judeo-Christian societies depend is little more than a false standard that only redirects the instincts it was intended to control.

More importantly, Freud goes on to argue that "…anyone who follows such a precept in present-day civilization only puts himself at a disadvantage vis-a-vis the person who disregards it." This means that human beings are naturally selfish and self-centered and that they only do what they believe is in their own interests and that these selfish impulses are much stronger than any external values from society to act differently from those instincts. Therefore, the person who chooses to give up his selfish desires just to follow those artificial values from society for the benefit of other people will always suffer from that choice simply because others cannot be counted upon to do the same.

To Freud, modern civilization provides many benefits to the individual but only at a tremendous cost. Living in society and with all of the benefits of government protection from the selfishness of others is a benefit. However, the fact that our natural goals and values are change and that we must accept, on a psychological level, the persona dictated by society causes a lot of the psychological pain and trauma that people suffer from in society.

Personal Response and Conclusion

There is great value as well as some weaknesses in the positions of both Mill and Freud. Mill's view that the most important function of modern society and of government is to protect individuals from harms caused to them by others is valuable. That is a belief that is consistent with personal freedom and rights because recognizes the right to be free from threats from others. Mill's analysis might have failed to fully define the rights to which we are all entitled but it fully supports the idea that people are much better off living in civilized societies than they would ne fending for themselves in the wild.

Freud's position also has tremendous value, such as in the idea that some of the psychological problems of people are caused by society. However, Freud's view of the relative uselessness of the Golden Rule may be less helpful, because it assumes that the rule cannot be enforced effectively by modern social institutions. In that respect, Freud's analysis might fail because it assumes that the only way a person can benefit from living in society is by following the Golden Rule blindly. Mill would argue, successfully, that it is unnecessary for every individual to love every other individual, as long as government can guarantee the equal protection from the selfishness of people toward one another if they do not genuinely "love" one another in…[continue]

Cite This Essay:

"Social Psychology And The Beliefs" (2012, December 11) Retrieved December 5, 2016, from

"Social Psychology And The Beliefs" 11 December 2012. Web.5 December. 2016. <>

"Social Psychology And The Beliefs", 11 December 2012, Accessed.5 December. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Social Psychology

    Social Psychology Statement of the learner intends to research What I would like to be informed about regarding social psychology is all the ways and applications in which this concept can be understood and applied. Not just in scholarly situations but in every-day activities, among friends, at work, or in social situation. Having a good understanding of any aspect of psychology for a student (or any alert person) in these times is

  • Social Psychology Examining the Principles of Persuasion Influencing...

    Social Psychology: Examining the Principles of Persuasion Influencing Group Behavior Introduction & Outline of the Research Evaluation Concepts of Social Psychology Attitudes and Persuasion Social Identity Theory Social Influences Cultural and Gender Influences Social Psychology: Examining the Principles of Persuasion Influencing Group Behavior Introduction & Outline of the Essay Social psychology deals with different aspects of social life and social behavior. People not only have feelings and opinions about nearly everything they come into contact with, but the argument has

  • Social Psychology Bringing it All Together

    Social psychology is a very broad field that takes in the many varieties of group dynamics, perceptions and interactions. Its origins date back to the late-19th Century, but it really became a major field during and after the Second World War, in order to explain phenomena like aggression, obedience, stereotypes, mass propaganda, conformity, and attribution of positive or negative characteristics to other groups. Among the most famous social psychological studies

  • Social Psychology Social Beliefs and

    I have had friends that I've known since I was in grade school. Our initial interaction occurred because of our attraction toward one another. We had so many things in common, such as the same favorite television shows and the same favorite sports. Our proximity to one another also aided in the development of this attraction toward one another. We all lived on the same block and therefore had

  • Social Psychology View What Ensures That Women

    Social psychology view: What ensures that women are treated fairly in office settings in the United States? One of the most prudent applications of social psychology within contemporary settings are those that relate to gender. Gender issues can become exacerbated when they are viewed within particular social constructs, such as the work environment. Due to the fact that the majority of the world was initially a patriarchal society (particularly in the

  • Social Psychology

    Social Psychology There are two roots from which Social Psychology is derived: sociology and psychology. Sociology is the study of how groups of people interact with each other. Psychology is the study of how individuals think and act on their own. Combining these two areas of study led to the development of social psychology. Social psychology does consider the things sociologists consider, including how large groups work together and what members of

  • Social Psychology Self Efficacy When

    They perceive their self-worth mainly in connection with those achievements and their confidence in social situations is largely dependent on the knowledge that others recognize them for those attributes (Branden, 2007). The Shift from False Confidence to Self-Efficacy I experienced a period during my later childhood and adolescence where I now realize I had substituted unjustified fears and apprehensions with unjustified confidence and positive beliefs about myself that exceeded my actual

Read Full Essay
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved