Was Freud Right?

Sigmund Freud’s essay “Civilization and Its Discontents” argues that any form of government is repressive of human nature. He makes this argument on the premise that certain laws or societal norms prohibit true happiness in its citizens, thus creating discontent within those individuals. These laws that Freud claims creates discontents in its citizen are mostly laws that prohibit rape, incest, adultery etc. In such a case, there are of course consequences that come along with breaking these laws in which he feels society only follows for group status or social standing; wanting to fit in for “selfish” reasonings and or religion and not experiencing true love. 

First, Freud is atrocious. Freude states, “The love which founded the family continues to operate in civilization both in its original form, in which it does not renounce direct sexual satisfaction, and in its modified form as aim-inhibited affection. In each, it continues to carry on its function of binding together considerable numbers of people, and it does so in a more intensive fashion than can be effected through the interest of work in common. The careless way in which language uses the word ‘love’ has its genetic justification. People give the name ‘love’ to the relation between a man and a woman whose genital needs have led them to found a family; but. They also give the name ‘love’ to the positive feelings between parents and children, and between the brothers and sisters of a family, although we are obliged to describe this as ‘aim-inhibited love’ or ‘affection’. Love with an inhibited aim was in fact originally fully sensual love, and it is so still in man’s unconscious. Both -fully sensual love and aim-inhibited love -extend outside the family and create new bonds with people who before were strangers. Genital love leads to the formation of new families, and aim-inhibited love to ‘friendships’ which become valuable from a cultural standpoint because they escape some of the limitations of genital love, as, for instance, its exclusiveness. But in development, the relation of love to civilization loses its unambiguity. On the one hand love comes into opposition to the interests of civilization; on the other civilization threatens love with substantial restrictions” (Freude). I know that was a very lengthy quote but trust me, this is the whole basis of his argument. I personally think that this way of thinking about love is detrimental. To begin, how is it that one can say without any shame that laws protect individual’s rights or even think it would be okay for a parent to love their child or any adult for that matter in a sexual way. I am disgusted. Truly. I genuinely do not understand how his example of ‘love’ equates to justice.  

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