Civilization and its discontents:
• Why are men attracted to religion and feel an oceanic sense in its regard?
• Since men are born, through the pleasure principle, avoid the pains and unpleasant sensations
→ tendency from the ego to dissociate everything that can give rise to pain. → enables him to
defend from threatening painful sensations.
• Nevertheless, even though they are repressed, the original kind of feeling survives alongside
the later one which has developed from it → Roman Empire example. → past survives inside
• Thus, the oceanic feeling is relatable to the early stage in ego feeling → the derivation of a
need for religion from the child’s feeling of helplessness and the longing it evokes for a
father, which can be maintained alive in a man’s life through the fear of what superior power
of fate will bring.
• Life is too hard and entails too much pain and disappointments for men → men need
gratifications or remedies in order to be able to deal with it.
• Men seek happiness → main goal in life: become happy and remain so → difference
between Freud and other philosophers such as Hobbes or Locke who considered men’s search
for personal security his principal aim.
• Positive and negative side for men to get happiness → human activities branch in 2 different
o Positive: he aims at the experience of intense pleasures
o Negative: tries to eliminate or avert pain and discomfort.
• Suffering has 3 roots → because of them it is so difficult for men to be happy:
o Body: destined to decay and dissolution, cannot even dispense with anxiety and pain
as danger signals. → hence the use of alcohol or other substances to intoxicate
oneself to slip from the oppression of reality; and also through the use of libido
o Outer world: can rage against us with the most powerful and pitiful forces of
destruction. Inadequacy of our methods of regulating human relations in the family,
community and state→ In this sense, satisfaction is obtained through illusions, which
try to make the individual independent from the outside world.
o Relations with other men → one and only enemy and sources of all suffering →
hence, the hermit turn his back on the world, and tries to recreate it through
eliminating the most unbearable features and replacing them by others corresponding
to one’s own wishes. → man can develop a hostility to civilization.
• Love is the center of all things → happiness is anticipated from loving and being loved. →
yet we are never so defenseless against suffering as when we love.
• Religion succeeds in saving many people from individual neuroses, but at the cost of the
imposition of mental infantilism and inducing a mass delusion.
• What man has achieved by science and practical inventions → not anymore a weak member
of the animal kingdom. → A country has attained a high level of civilization when we find
that everything in it can be helpful in exploiting the earth for man’s benefit and in protecting
him against nature. Dirt of any kind on the other side, seems incompatible with civilization.
• The ideals man has formed, his conceptions of the perfection possible in an individual, in
people, and in humanity as a whole → these creations if his mind are not independent of each
other → they are closely interwoven and this complicates the attempt to describe them and to
trace their psychological deviation.
• Human life in communities only becomes possible when a number of men unite together in
strength superior to any individuala and remain united against all single indivi→ The
strength of this united body (right) is then opposed against the strength of any individual
(brute force). • Substitution of power of a united number for the power of a single man → decisive
step towards civilization. → the members of the