Freud’s “Civilization and Its Discontents” give some great hints to the true realities of our society. I believe he makes some realizations that invoke thought to the reader and give great insight to the flaws of society. Starting off, he mentions common ways we look at society and the pressure it puts on us. He basically says that the common man cannot be happy due to the regulations placed by soceital standards, hindering us from being our true selves and aggressive in nature like we should be. The rules and regulations put in place are to prevent us from reaching superiority over others through being outwright aggressive; this may entail violence like killing others or hurting them to assert power. By preventing citizens from doing this, we become miserable in the life we live. I believe he makes a great point with this, although I do not completely agree. I do not truly believe all humans are inherently aggressive in nature and I do not think that regulating what humans can do is going to make us miserable. Yes, it does suck to know that what you want to do may not be viewed as correct or as something you should do by others, but it does invoke a sense of right and wrong. I do believe that many of the societal standards set by those in power do prevent people from be truly happy though. Not only do the regulations in place have harsh guidelines, many laws do not allow people to simply even live comfortably under those standards. In today’s American society, there are so many rules citizens have to follow, even if that leaves them in an uncomfortable position. People then become repressed by the government and all of the requirements they have to complete.
My one true disagreement with Freud’s writing is his thoughts on the aggressiveness of the human nature. I, personally, would not say that humans are aggressive, but selfish. Selfishness has been a true quality I have seen constantly in humans. Humans and other animals tend to think of themselves before thinking of others in many situations. I think if humans could truly be selfish, there would be a strong decrease in the repression the government put on them. With all of the things that the government requires citizens to complete, citizens would not have to think about how that affects those around them and therefore, could be more selfish. This could also lead to more repression however. If the government looks through the same lens and has the same ideas, selfishness could end up exploiting more citizens in order to benefit themselves as well; this can be seen by making citizens pay more taxes or requiring them to complete more tasks that originally seen before. Freud’s thoughts on the repressive nature of government is a very valid idea and can be seen in many societies and governments around the world. I do not think there would be any sure change soon, without the correct people to step up and make it happen.