Where's The Happy State: A Comparative Literature Analyzing Freud and Rousseau.

Essay by YukaicUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, January 2006

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We have always been led to believe that civilization is something favorable for humans to have over the "savage" and "inferior" species. However, before taking the greatness of civilization for granted, we should speculate upon the validity of this belief. After all, the very entity that teaches "obvious" fact to us is our civilized society! The two great thinkers, Freud and Nietzsche, question and contemplate the benefits that society imposes on us and conclude that civilization actually does more harm to society than benefits it, although they disagree on how this occurs. Even though both Freud and Nietzsche believe that civilization is based on the taming of human instinctual life with some form of morality, Freud believes that civilization represses one's own instinct of aggressiveness and attempts to prevent suffering from one's self-guilt, even though it inflicts more self-guilt upon the individual. Nietzsche believes that in civilization, morality is imposed by the weak to suppress the aggressiveness of the strong and validate their own weaknesses.

Nietzsche claims that the dysfunctions of civilization become apparent when, by morality, the rightful strong are restrained. These can be alleviated if the strong starts to realize the truth. Freud, on the other hand, states that both the conflicting forces between the aggressive instinct and superego consciousness are of an innate nature and the individual, who is doomed between self-guilt and repression of his/her aggression, and cannot be fully alleviated by this dysfunction in civilization.

Although Freud and Nietzsche have very different methods of thinking, they have many parallels in their ideas. One important parallel is that they both claim that civilization is used to suppress instinctual life. Freud believes that in order to maintain stability, civilization inhibits the basic instincts of aggression and sexual desires. Nietzsche claims too that civilization represses the...