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Freud Class Notes

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 232
Catherine Lu

October 15 FREUD: CIVILIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS  Critical of Marxist view of emancipation-limits to happiness  Application of clinical experience- empirical psychology  Should we think of civilizations like people?  Deep pessimism, disillusionment  Present-day men don’t feel happy with their god-like powers  One way of being happy- avoid pain and “un-pleasures”  Seek intense pleasure or avoid pain- but Freud doesn’t think both are equal- only true happiness is intense pleasure  Intense pleasure that is episodic- meaning doesn’t last that long- we derive most happiness from a contrast  He’s talking about orgasms let’s be real here  Close view to Hobbes- seeking power  Pleasures of art, etc. isn’t enough of a substitute for intense pleasure  3 sources of unhappiness:  1. Body, if harmed, damaged etc.- doomed to decay- but you need it bc warning signals  2. External world- nature  3. Relations to other human beings  We become more modest in seeking these pleasures as we grow up- it is not the foreground  Seek to lessen pain inflicted by others by drawing into solitude  Intoxication= withdraw from pains of the world  Universal tendencies but large differences between people and societies  Everyone must discover for himself how he must achieve salvation  Thinks God is just made up by humans  God is substitute for satisfaction  Thinks religion is a barrier to understanding ourselves  If you can recognize your illusions, then they won’t control you and eventually make you unhappy  Each person should take an active part in their own cure  Most people resistant to even acknowledging social source of suffering even esists  Then are our social institutions wrong? No, this malaise will always be present  Personifies civilization- the sum of regulations etc. that distinguish us from animals  Protect against nature and relations with each other  Replacement of individuals with society is most important step  Justice- law made won’t be broken if in favor of an individual  Sacrifice some liberty to have security- built on renunciation of instinct and non- s
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