Literary Analysis : Civilization And Its Discontents

1497 WordsSep 26, 20176 Pages
Need intro, thesis Freud and Zhuangzi both think worldly happiness is fleeting and brief, but Freud thinks happiness can only be temporarily achieved and never to its fullest extent on an individual basis. In contrast, Zhuangzi believes happiness can be found in oneself if one understands the contentment of the Dao and is secure in the knowledge that everything is relative. In his book Civilization and Its Discontents, psychologist Sigmund Freud argues that every human’s purpose is to “strive after happiness….to become happy and to remain so.”42 Freud defines happiness as “an absence of pain and unpleasure, and…the experiencing of strong feelings of pleasure.” 42 This seems to be a difficult pursuit, as human pleasure is subject to the…show more content…
Conversely, one can fulfill some of these wants by loving another person and being loved in return, but if and when the love ends or isn’t reciprocated, painful heartbreak ensues.52 One can attempt to shift the aims of the instincts and throw them into something else, like art or sport, or find satisfaction in appreciation of beauty, but the pleasure gained from those will never be as strong as the pleasure obtained from the baser instincts.48 None of these solutions is endorsed as the better by Freud; he believes that “every man must find out for himself in what particular fashion he can be saved.” 54 Freud admits that “the programme of becoming happy…cannot be fulfilled…By none of these paths can we attain all we desire” but in spite of this, he insists “we must not-indeed,we cannot-give up our efforts to bring it nearer to fulfillment by some means or another.” Additionally, both religion and society itself “restrict this play of choice and adaptation” 56 by regulating the ways that humans can acceptably obtain their happiness and avoid suffering. This could be a reason why people so often choose to inundate themselves with society and religion; they partially fulfill and concurrently inhibit the desires to be happy. In Zhuangzi Speaks: The Music of Nature, while the Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi never
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