Civilization And Its Discontents Paperback – Aug 3 2010
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
About the Author
Peter Gay (1923—2015) was the author of more than twenty-five books, including the National Book Award winner The Enlightenment, the best-selling Weimar Culture, and the widely translated Freud: A Life for Our Time.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
It is impossible to resist the impression that people commonly apply false standards, seeking power, success and wealth for themselves and admiring them in others, while underrating what is truly valuable in life. Read the first page
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
"Civilization and Its Discontents," one of Freud's last works, remains one of his most vital and important. Don't be fooled by its brevity; this is a deeply complex and wide-ranging examination of Western civilization and its tensions. Freud speculates about the origins of our modern societies, the difficulties of assimilating ourselves to them given our own individual psyches, and ends the book with a rather pessimistic look forward. Clearly, Freud felt that civilization's "discontents" were an unresolvable fact of life.
What makes "Civilization and Its Discontents" so fascinating is Freud's application of psychoanalysis to Western society as whole. He examines how the factors at play in our own psyches--family conflicts, sexual desire, guilt, the "death instinct," and the eternal battle between our own self-interest and the interests of the human species at large--cause the problems that human beings encounter on a daily basis. As always with Freud, his ideas are put forward not as a final statement, but as a tentative first step.
This is one of Freud's indispensable texts, and its accessible and absorbing style make it an ideal introduction for those who are seeking to discover this colossal mind for the first time. A must read.
Man is an aggressive being and civilization is the means which humanity withholds its primal urges in check. At least Freud believes so and shows support for this thesis by referring to mankind's constant need to restrain its inherent passions despite all of the controls placed by society. I believe that Freud was definitely on to something with this point. He is right when he states that man is essentially an anti-social, anti-cultural being. One could look down through the pages of history and see war after war, violent act after violent primarily as a result of the inherent greed for power and a passionate thirst for more than one's own. This is one of the many reasons why communism is impossible, man is a selfish being and always desires more than he possesses. He will do what is necessary to increase his holding at the expense of his fellows. I believe that Nietzsche and Freud are in agreement at this point. However, Nietzsche believes that the masses attempt to quell this passion and label that as noble. I believe that Freud does not think it is possible to restrain this aggressiveness and mankind is only able to cover it up in a semblance of control which we label civilization.Read more ›
However, Freud's prose is something to be admired. I suspect his writing ability (and the bizarre but energetic cult of personality that surrounded Freud during his life) was the main reason for the success of the psychoanalysis movement. It certainly wasn't the arguments for they simply lack intellectual merit.
Once you peer behind the psuedo-scientific veneer of his theories, you cannot help but to feel Freud was yet another nihilistic hedonist attempting, not only to rationalize his degeneracy, but also foist his error onto a civilization that he found so dispicable. If you read this book with a sharp analytical mind, it will go a long way in helping to destroy the cult of psychology's greatest fraud. Otherwise, Civilization and Its Discontents remains strictly a historical curiosity, not unlike the idiotic screeds of Karl Marx.
Most recent customer reviews
With his culture theoretical documents Freud had essentially share at the development of the philosophical self-determination of mankind. Read morePublished on Oct. 4 2005 by FrizzText
I would have to definitely say that this is one read that has helped change my perception on reality, as well as give me deeper insight. Read morePublished on Feb. 4 2003 by James Carr
This book was a short one, but a difficult one. This book gives one the oppurtunity to start taking a critical look at where one's life is and the people around it. Read morePublished on July 29 2002 by A. Gorilla
There have been times in my life when I doubted that the ability to convince people that they are crazy was ultimately of any benefit. Read morePublished on Jan. 14 2002 by Bruce P. Barten
If you can find another translation of this seminal book (see my review of Freud's Gravida), then do so. Read morePublished on Dec 20 2001 by Craig Chalquist, PhD, author of TERRAPSYCHOLOGY and DEEP CALIFORNIA
Utopian and dysutopian thought pervade modern culture. Freud here wrote a book that attempted to bisect the horns of this dilemma by preserving a commitment to the Enlightenment... Read morePublished on Aug. 1 2001