The book Civilization and Its Discontents is a very famous yet controversial writing by Sigmund Freud in 1930. In the essay, Freud shared his opinions and research about humans and society. From my understanding, Freud’s main assertion is that all societal injunctions repress innate human behaviors resulting in an overall repression of happiness. After reading its contents, I can say that I both agree and disagree with Freud’s views based on my knowledge. Freud does make some good points. However, they are all only supported by his personal experiences, which is not credible source of evidence.
I agree that society sexually confines us. A lot of people repress their happiness to appeal to the norm of a heterosexual relationship. We are heavily influenced by social norms before we even are born into the world. Other means that society uses to restrict happiness are religion, economy, and even little things clothing. The main implied idea of Freud that I disagree with is that humans are aggressive by nature. If all humans are aggressive by nature, then we wouldn’t have laws to prevent aggression. The need for the laws implies that there are a good amount of people who dislike the aggression of others. Therefore, laws do not restrict the happiness of all humans. They may restrict the happiness of some, but they protect the happiness of others. For example, sexual desires are human nature. Acting on those desires without consent of both parties may please one, but it harms the other.
In the end, my experience is limited to the 20 years I have been alive, and restricted to the world I know now. The only opinions I can create about the past are influenced by the writings left by people of that time. Of course, I can recognize that there are problems in society and maybe try to pinpoint the source, but without concrete evidence, I can only make inferences about the solutions.
A realist passing through…