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Civilization And Its Discontents Paperback – Aug 3 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: WW Norton; Re-issue edition (Aug. 3 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393304515
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393304510
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.5 x 21.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #33,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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.


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Sigmund Freud, whatever the variations in his posthumous reputation, remains the most compelling, daring, and persuasive analyst of the human condition we have. His psychoanalytic theories of sexuality, sublimation, repression, etc., offer original insights that profoundly influenced the course of Western consciousness in the 20th century. In addition to his gifts as a thinker, Freud was a master stylist, a man whose luminous prose and skillful argumentation make reading him a genuine pleasure.
"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.
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Format: Paperback
No, you don't have to agree with Freud. But this is one of those books that a person who wants to be, or to be seen by others as, well educated does need to know.
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While I agree that Civilization and Its Discontents has some kernels of truth within it, I cannot recommend it either as a persuasive piece or as an introduction to Freudian thought. I do not know if, in his longer works, Freud actually supports any of his statements with more than the weak ancedotal proofs he gives here; nor do I know if he actually works through his arguments to a logical conclusion instead of relying on sensationalistic statements with no basis in his evidence. Suffice to say he does not meet the minimum requirements, in my opinion, for philosophical or scientific excellence, in this book. Furthermore, the rambling, vague, and disorganized nature of this book makes its usefulness as a mere introduction to Freud extremely weak. I would only suggest using it as a companion to such other works as Five Lectures on Psychoanalysis, or as an immediate overview and introduction to The Future of an Illusion (which, though written earlier than Civilization, more fully elucidates many of the principles Freud touts here). As a long-time student of classical thought, philosophy, and ethics, not to mention the fundamental principles of logic, I found myself highly unimpressed with this work, and saw no great haven of Truth within it. Further, having been raised by Secular Humanists, I am less than convinced of the practical merits of Freud's ideas. Read it if you like, but don't expect to find salvation or much enlightenment out of these few pages...
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By A Customer on June 30 1999
Format: Paperback
As a staunch member of the class of people Freud addresses, I recommend this work to anyone on the path of self-realization, man or woman. Admittedly, I was once a Freud-basher, before I learned the art of forgiveness (stemming from psychological insight). In the end, I am personally indebted to Freud for this particular book, not for all its contents, but for one single, solitary phrase (believe it or not), a phrase that changed my life forever, and for the better; that one phrase being "Writing is the voice of an absent Person." Capitalization mine, for the Person is not a human, but an Inner Figure, which is to say, my Anima (Jung), and deeper still, my Soul (Hillman). For what it is worth, that has been my Path, my Journey to -- not Wholeness -- but Togetherness. This from one of my guiding dreams: Mandorla, not mandala; togetherness, not wholeness.
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To whoever is interested in Freuds "Civilization and It's Discontents" I SAY READ IT! An excellent book which depicts civilization for what it is. In this book Freud discussed a varity of topics such as religion, sex, happiness and human suffering (listed in no particular order). I think that the entire purpose of the book was to show humans that civilization is not any better than times before it occured. We tend to think of ourselves better than pre-civilized times however, nothing has changed because reality is constant. Human nature is focused on beauty, instinct and will.
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Format: Paperback
Frued discribes the human animals (primarily males) reason for action within a society constructed to maintain order as the quid pro quo for supressing sexual desires (this is Frued). In this topic Frued sticks to his topic without getting too wacky with unsupported assertions (except in the footers). His arguments are mostly sound and should provide food for thought for those who are interested in discovering what makes them tick. A good Frued primer and also a must for true Hesse, Maugham, and Nietzche fans. Not too abstruse or confuted.
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