The Writings of Sigmund Freud Essay example

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The Writings of Sigmund Freud Sigmund Freud remains a figure whose influence it is hard to over-state. While many of his ideas in the field of depth psychology, a field he largely created, have been compromised and challenged over the course of the 20th century his influence remains palpable. We continue to use terms that Freud originated almost unthinkingly - concepts of frustration, aggression, guilt, anxiety, projection, defence mechanisms and the unconscious remain dominant. Few of Freud’s writings touch on matters of direct interest to international relations but those that do have not only provided compelling arguments on the origins of war, society and violence but continue to be of…show more content…
He recognised the conflict between the freedom of the individual and the order imposed by society. The emergence of civilisation is dependent on the repression of our instinctual drives. Like religion, society institutionalises systems of rules which affect us from our youngest days and imbue us with a counter-instinctual sense of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. The denial of our urges leads to the accumulation of aim-inhibited libinal energy which provides the necessary potency to bind individuals together in a social group and counter-acts their violent desires. What is important for Freud is that the drive to aggressiveness is as natural and immutable in human nature as the sex drive. He observed that individuals can, and do, derive satisfaction from violent action when circumstances conspire to remove social restrictions*. The internalisation of aggression produces guilt and discontent which can only be mitigated by directing aggression outwards against another as violence. He writes that for individuals “their neighbour is…not only a potential helper or sexual object, but also someone who tempts them to satisfy their aggressiveness on him, to exploit his capacity to work without compensation, to use him sexually without his consent, to seize his possessions, to humiliate him….to torture and kill him”[1]. Man is wolf to man. Civilisation then, if it is to

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