Humble Book Review: Civilization and Its Discontents

Civilization and Its Discontents is a brilliant summation of most of his former works. His explanations for human nature involving the id, the ego, and the super-ego structure pairs up with the individual’s struggle to exist in a civilization.

According to Freud, we are defined by opposing forces Thanatos (death drive), and Eros (sex drive). These internal struggles lead to human aggression, showing itself either internally or externally, depending on the makeup of your idand super-ego. These individual discontents eventually manifest themselves into human aggression on the civilization level, and the question is posed whether we will ever be able to overcome these frustrations.

This was a very engaging read, primarily because it opened up and formally collated many disjointed notions of the world I’ve held before. My thoughts on civilization and my micro-frustrations towards it, along with the way the world is, were only fleeting across my consciousness. But I knew they existed. Having read this text, I can at least bundle them together and assign them as something that we all supposedly go through, which provides more comfort.

Will we ever be able to overcome the aggressions Freud discussed? It’s a weighted question. Given that these aggressions tie to our fundamental human nature, it seems very unlikely to change.

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