Prior to reading Freud, I had no knowledge of him. Maybe that’s my fault for not being quite familiar with him or his writing styles, or his beliefs and what not.. but I didn’t know anything about him really. With that being said, I did however, find that his writing style wasn’t too difficult to read through. That he did bring up quite a few intriguing and interesting spins of particular topics. To be brutally honest here… I definitely expected some wordy, fancy, and elaborate essay of some sort, and the fact that this piece of writing actually appeared to be normal—made reading Freud less daunting.
In my opinion, Civilization and its Discontents was in my opinion, a pretty good read. I feel like I didn’t really “jive” well with the other philosophical texts that we have read thus far, (Arts One made me rethink my desire to potentially major in Philosophy…) but this one wasn’t too bad for me to handle. I found that one most predominant concept here in Freud’s essay, is repression to one’s self. I found his opinions though perhaps a bit flawed or open to interpretation, were captivating to learn of.
“The whole thing is so patently infantile, so foreign to reality, that to anyone with a friendly attitude to humanity it is painful to think that the great majority of mortals will never be able to rise above this view of life.”
In more depth, I found the way in which he described religion to be particularly fascinating to me. Having come from an immensely religious family, full of devote Catholics, and having gone to a Catholic school my entire life.. Freud’s views on the subject of religion, and its impact and importance to people immediately struck my interest. Freud touches on the idea that religion, and the way we rely on it for different things—be it to blame when things do not go our way, or as something to hold onto and believe in; to confide in. In spite of coming from, as I said, a pretty religious family… my brothers and I didn’t really adopt that same devoutness I guess you could say. We are religious, but not nearly to the same extent that my mom and my relatives are. Essentially what I’m saying, is that I am not practicing. However, (there’s a point to this.. I swear!) when Freud discusses religion, it hits home. A religion is there to have belief in something, as a means of comfort… when times get a bit difficult, one’s religion is their rock; their shelter. However, Freud states that religion, and belief in God, or a different religious figure as a mere fault of humanity; which is what screws us up as individuals. I don’t really take what philosophers say to heart, but all in all, I did find his arguments overall (in spite of their flaws) to be pretty solid.