15. Freud on Sexuality and Civilization

Prof: Good morning.
I have to get started because
there is, of course, a lot to be said about Sigmund
Freud. Actually it’s a shame I have
only fifty minutes for it and not two or three lectures.
Just before I get into Freud,
I just want to tell you that I did send the questions already;
emailed it to you. So if you check your email,
you have the questions for next Thursday.
And I strongly encourage you to
attend the lectures and the discussion sections.
Those questions are not
necessarily very easy. So you may want to get more
exposure beyond the readings to have a good handle on it.
And let me just very,
very briefly come back to Nietzsche, before we go on to
Freud. Though I have enough on Freud,
more than enough for today. But I would like to still kind
of wrap it up and to say what the bottom line is.
And the big question is,
to start with, what is genealogical method?
What is new in Nietzsche’s
approach? And it should be clear from the
writings and from the lecture, and I think from the discussion
sections– right?–that what he’s
suggesting, that in the genealogical method you will
take an ideal and a moral principle,
what you think is the right idea, and then he will show that
one can think about this idea differently;
and historically they did think differently.
And his major example is good.
You think an idea of what good
is; it’s uncontestable,
easy to agree? Well I will show you that in
history the notion of good–and it’s opposite,
what is not good–has been constructed differently.
So the point of departure,
first of all: well, there is the
Judeo-Christian morality of good and evil.
I will show–I will go back to
time, I’ll go back to the antiquity–and I will show that
the notion of good was completely different.
That is the genealogical method.
But to do it consistently,
he really should be claiming that going back to the
antiquity– I’m not suggesting that the
good in antiquity was the real good.
It’s just a comparative study,
which relativizes the idea of good in your mind today,
to make you aware that good has been thought about differently
in different times. And, in particular,
of course, his main focus is on the notion of morality in modern
society. And he said well there is
something unique about this modern society;
namely that morality somehow is internalized into us,
and we kind of accept our own subjugation and our oppression
because these values are so deeply invested into us.
So that is, in a
way–right?–the genealogical method;
not to have, as I said in the lecture,
a critical vantage point. Try to get a way that I will
give you the real universal definition of good,
and I will criticize any question of morality from a
universal concept of morality. That’s not what he does. Right?
His major aim is to show that
all moralities, all conceptions of
moralities–all conceptions what is justice,
what is fair, what is humane–has been
manufactured– right?–in the workshop of
ideals. And this workshops of ideals is
a dark place where actually coercion, torture,
is being used to manufacture these seemingly great ideas.
It’s all about control over
humans. That’s in a
nutshell–right?–what Nietzsche is trying to do.
So let me just make a step back
to Marx and foreshadow a step forward to Freud.
So this Nietzsche has really
little disagreement with Marx’s theory of alienation.
He said, “Well,
as long as Marx is saying that in the modern world we are
alienated because we are not masters of our own fate,
I agree with him.” Right? We are alien in this world and
we do not have power over our life.
External conditions act like as
if it were nature, a thunderstorm,
and determines our life. He agrees with this
diagnosis–right?–of modernity. His problem with Marx is that
Marx comes to a solution. Right?
Marx says, “Well,
I know what human emancipation will be.
I know what good society will
be, and I know who will get us there.” Right?
“The proletariat.”
And he said,
“This is churlish; that’s no good.” Right?
“I won’t do that.
I won’t fall into this
trap.” Right? “I will not manufacture
another ideal, because my workshop,
where ideals would be manufactured,
would be also a workshop which smells”–
right?–“and which is full with coercion,
and I would subject others to torture–
mental or physical torture? In the good old days it was
physical torture. Today it’s worse:
it is mental torture.” Right?
That’s in a
nutshell–right?–what he’s trying to achieve.
And, of course,
there is no Freud, there is no Weber,
and there is no Michel Foucault;
there is really no modern and post-modern social theory
without Nietzsche’s insight. This is a radicalization of
critical theory. Right?
Critical theory–we talked
about this, from Hegel to Marx–was a critique of
consciousness; that what is in our mind is a
distortion of the reality. Right?
And therefore they were trying
to subject human consciousness to critical scrutiny.
Nietzsche does it the most
radical way. He said, “I am capable to
show”– right?–“the shortcomings
of our consciousness, without showing you what is the
right consciousness.” Right?
That’s the project.
Now Sigmund Freud has a lot of
similarities with this. Right?
He’s also a critical theorist,
and he says, “Well, what is in our mind
comes very deep down from the repressed.
And I will show
you”–right?–“how, if this causes you neurotic
responses, I can actually cure you, by the way;
just I let you understand what has been repressed in your life
experience, and then you can do something about yourself.”
So that’s in a nutshell Sigmund
Freud’s contribution. So it basically follows closely
to Nietzsche’s ideas. And in the piece particularly
what I asked you to read today– one of the pieces,
right?–Civilization and its Discontents,
he’s struggling very much with the problem Nietzsche is
struggling with. He shows modern civilization as
repression. Right?
At the same time he does not
want to reject civilization. Right?
And he’s tormented–right?–how
to evaluate civilization. Right?
And well he probably is not
going as far as Nietzsche, Nietzsche does.
We will see that when it comes.
Okay, this is Sigmund Freud.
And it’s good advertising:
don’t smoke. You have his cigar.
He has actually oral cancer.
He was suffering from it during
the last twenty years of his life, and eventually committed
suicide; and the cancer obviously had
something to do with his cigars. So don’t smoke. Right?
Well Freud was one of the
giants of nineteenth and early twentieth century thought.
Many people who would name the
intellectual giants of this time,
nineteenth century, would name three names:
Charles Darwin, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud.
These are the three thinkers
which made us rethink ourself– who we are, where we come from,
and what is the nature of the society we live in?–
the most radical ways. Okay, let me talk very briefly
about Freud’s life. He was born in 1856,
in what is now the Czech Republic, Moravia,
southern part of the Czech Republic, in a small city called
Freiberg. His father was a Jewish wool
merchant; he was already married to his
third wife–was about twenty years his junior.
He was a pretty dominating
figure. The mother was,
on the other hand, a very sensitive human being.
In some ways Freud’s troubled
relationship with the aging authoritarian father,
and with the soft-spoken, kind, forthcoming,
and warm mother, does explain a lot about his
thinking about human life. Very soon after he was born,
they moved away from Freiberg. First briefly they were in
Leipzig and then they moved to Vienna, and this is where
Sigmund Freud received his education.
In 1873 he enrolled at the
University of Vienna. He was studying law for awhile.
He got very bored with it.
So he shifted into medical
school, and received his medical degree in ’81,
and worked in the major university hospital in Vienna,
which is called General Hospital.
In ’85, very briefly he went to
study to Paris. And this was very crucial for
his change because he became interested here in neurology,
and especially became interested in a therapy what
French psychiatrists was use, and that was hypnosis,
to treat hysteria. And sort of he came back to
Vienna and he decided that he will now become a neurologist,
interested particularly in hysteria,
and will use hypnosis as a therapy.
He also married in ’86–it was
a lifelong and, you know, very peaceful
marriage–Martha Bernays, who was a granddaughter of the
chief rabbi of Hamburg. So he’s coming from a deeply
Jewish family, but he himself had very little
faith in his life. He began to practice
psychotherapy, and he set up an office in
Bergstrasse 19; 19 Bergstrasse in central
Vienna. Here it is the house today
where Sigmund Freud started to practice, and practiced there
until 1938. And this is where
psychoanalysis was born–so an important house.
So after ’86–right?–he began
to collaborate with another psychologist,
Joseph Breuer. And Breuer was not using the
hypnotic method. What he did,
he did something what he called “the talking cure.”
This is something what you
occasionally do, or your friends do with you.
If something is on your chest,
then you call your friend and you say, “I need somebody
to talk to.” Right?
There is some real big trouble
in you; you want somebody to listen.
Now this is exactly what Breuer
did. He did ask his patients to talk
to him. Right?
And it turned out that this
talking cure was very effective, as you’ve probably all
experienced. Right?
When something is on your chest
and you have a good friend who’s willing to listen and does not
rush to give you advice– right?–this is whom you want.
Just to listen and nod,
to be sympathetic, and try to understand you and
let you talk, and ask the good questions,
but not to give advice. Right?
That’s what Breuer discovered.
Well in 1895 they co-authored
the book Studies in Hysteria.
And now they actually in the
book suggest that there must be a new therapy.
Don’t put people asleep but
make them talk and let them freely associate,
and through this free association you throw words in.
And then they’re beginning to
freely associate to this world, you actually can
uncover–they’re beginning to use the term–unconscious.
There is an unconscious level
in each individual, and with this free association
you can dip into the unconscious.
And, in fact,
it was Freud who, in doing this,
practicing this with patients, also began to understand that a
lot of stuff in the subconscious has something to do with
sexuality; that it is, you know,
unsatisfied, unachieved sexual desires,
which are kind of repressed into the subconscious.
And when, through these free
associations, he was digging into the
unconscious, he began to discover a lot of sexual stuff.
And then one year later it
is–right?–a very important day in the history of modern social
thought. In 1896 he finally has a name
for what he does, and he calls it psychoanalysis.
And here it is.
If you have not seen this
picture yet, you should. This was the famous couch.
That’s where the patient had to
lay down, and Freud was sitting in an
armchair and listening to what they got to say,
and asking just a couple of probing questions.
But the essence of
psychoanalysis is–right?–that you do not solve the problem for
the patient. The patient has to find its own
solution. The psychoanalysis will know
what the problem is eventually, will lead you there,
bring it from the subconscious into the conscious,
and then it is, as it becomes conscious,
you suddenly realize you can deal with it.
Now about the later work,
just very briefly; it’s voluminous.
In 1899 he published a book
which is called Interpretation of Dreams.
And it’s to a large extent his
analysis of his own dreams, but also the dreams of some of
his patients. His father just passed away,
and with the death of the father he had a great deal of
guilt, why he had this hate feeling of his father.
It was a hate/love
relationship, but strongly motivated by hate.
And he began to analyze himself
and trying to figure out what his problem with his father was,
and what his relationship with the mother and father was.
And Interpretation of
Dreams is a very important step in this direction.
And the fundamental idea in
this path-breaking book, that in fact dreams are not
accidental. Dreams are the time of this
little window of opportunity when some of the stuff from the
unconscious tries to come up into the conscious.
So therefore what he did,
he made people to remember their dreams,
and then he tried to help them, from the material which was
surfacing from dreams, to understand their
subconscious. In 1905 there is another major
breakthrough. He’s publishing The
Pathology of Everyday Life in which–you all know this
term–the Freudian slippage; when somebody,
just by accident, got something wrong,
slips his tongue and says something differently than it
should. Freud does show that very often
it’s actually also the subconscious putting his head
up; and it’s an indication what is
in your subconscious, what is repressed in you.
It was just not an error what
you did. Right?
Beyond these errors he can see
the subconscious coming up. And then, of course,
the same year another major breakthrough–
probably next to the discovery of psychoanalysis,
the most important breakthrough–the “Three
Essays on the Theory of Sexuality”.
And now he is moving towards
what some will say–call a pan-sexualist understanding of
the mind. Well it’s probably pushing it
too far; most who are do not believe in
Freud. But there are still many,
many people who do believe in Freud.
There are people who practice
psychoanalysis. You know, just ten,
twenty years ago, everybody has his analyst.
I think somehow this is a little going out of fashion.
But I think there are still
people– you must know
people–right?–who have their analyst–
right?–and they go every other week to the analyst,
lay down on the couch and they speak their mind,
and then they’re kind of relieved.
Well I would say if you have
problems of depression, why don’t you try it?
Actually I think it certainly
does you less damage than taking these bloody pills,
what can–no, not that psychoanalysis cannot
cause you trouble. Because these psychoanalysts,
of course, all know because of Freud’s
theory of sexuality, that all these problems in us
is depressed sexual desires, and everything has to do
something with our early childhood experiences;
for boys, with the love of your mother, and jealousy of your
father and–right?–and with girls, the other way around.
Well so if you go to an
analyst, in no time you will start figuring out why you
really, really hate your father, or you hate your mother.
And well I’m not so sure that’s
the best thing what can happen to you.
But anyway, that’s what he was
doing. And he–in fact,
he discovers I think an intriguing idea–
and I think psychologists to this day are struggling with it,
how much truth there is to it– the so-called Oedipus complex.
And you know what the Oedipus
complex is. King Oedipus,
by accident, marries his own wife–own
mother–and it turns out own mother–and that’s of course a
big tragedy. Right?
You are not supposed to–this
is incest, which is–virtually all civilizations prohibit
incest. Well, and this is Oedipus
complex, that we are always in love with our parents of the
opposite sex, and jealous of the other
parent. Right?
And the Oedipus complex also
means that we have a desire to kill our father in order to have
the love– in fact, sexual love–of our
mother, if we are boys,
and vice-versa for girls. Well I think everybody would
agree this probably pushed the idea a bit too far,
but there is clearly an interesting–
a very important insight in the argument.
Then, in the later work,
he is moving more towards metapsychology.
Now he tries to explain the
functioning of society, rather than just individual
psyche. The first major step in this
direction is 1913, when he published the book
Totem and Taboo. And this is about the origins
of a fairly primitive society–the transformation from
a kinship network to a tribal, larger tribal society.
And he explains in this book
the origins of first complex society as the brothers come
together and they kill their father.
And the father exercised in the
kinship relationship absolute power.
And in fact he also believed
that in these early kinship-based societies,
there was even no incest taboo. So the father actually could
have sex with his daughters as well.
Now the brothers come together,
they kill the father, and they create the first
civilization. They’re beginning to repress
desires and share power among themselves.
That’s Totem and Taboo.
Then he writes two important
conceptual pieces, “Beyond the Pleasure
Principle”, 1920, and “Ego and
Id”. And I asked you to read some of
it, 1923, which are kind of important conceptual elements.
And I think this all cumulated
in his Civilization and its Discontents,
1930, which arguably, if you are not interested in
individual psychology but the theory of society,
this is his most important book. It was a very big success and
has not been out of print ever since.
’38, he has to leave Vienna.
He had a similar hate/love
relationship to the city of Vienna as towards his father,
as many people did. But by ’38, the Nazis took it
over. Gestapo actually interviewed
his daughter, beloved daughter,
Anna, and sort of he saw the writing on the wall.
It’s time to leave;
if you are Jewish, you don’t want to live in the
Third Reich. And he moves to London,
and just a year later he actually commits suicide.
It is an assisted suicide.
His doctor helped him to get
rid of the pain he was struggling with for a very long
time. Well, a bit about the
psychoanalytic movement. Freud’s ideas were,
of course, outrageous ideas, very controversial.
Nevertheless very early on,
already in 1902, there were a group of very
young and able people, which included people like
Sandor Ferenczi and Carl Jung and Ernest Jones,
who wrote a wonderful biography of–
the definite biography–of Freud.
If you want,
of course, a very pro-Freudian perspective, but read it,
it’s a great book indeed. And they start together,
in Bergstrasse 19, in Vienna, every Wednesday.
This was called the Wednesday
Psychological Circle. Then in 1908 this becomes the
Vienna Psychological Society–a bit of a misnomer because in no
time it’s beginning to spread around the world.
And there are psychoanalytic
societies all over the world, until this very day.
And if you want to become an
analyst, it’s not enough to have a medical degree;
you have to go through years of very rigorous training,
what these psychoanalytic societies will monitor.
Freud was also a very difficult
person to get along. He basically had fallouts with
everybody. First, probably the most
important of his early associates, Adler;
already in 1911 they break up. Then with Jung.
Adler, Jung;
next to Adler are the dominant figures of psychology in the
first two or three decades of the twentieth century.
Then even later on he breaks
with Ferenczi, who was a pretty loyal guy,
was not easy to get a fallout with him, but Freud managed this
one. He could make enemies
everywhere. Okay, then really the person
who was running the show became his daughter,
Anna Freud, who lived a long life and held up the torch and
carried the cause of psychoanalysis.
So let me have a look at the
book on The Ego–not Ergo,
I’m sorry, it’s The Ego and the Id.
This is a Freudian slippage,
I have to correct this one.
Well there are,
he said–here is beginning to move.
The initial idea is there is
subconscious or unconscious and conscious elements what
constitute the human sexuality. And now he wants to have a
clearer conceptual apparatus to deal with this.
And he has, well our perception
system has three components. One is the ego,
the other one is id, and the third one is superego.
And we will deal with all of
this. Right?
And therefore what is
interesting, what is the interaction between ego,
id and superego. And Discontents and
Civilization deals with this a great deal.
He’s also talking about the two
classes of instincts, what guides life,
and that’s also important for Civilization and its
Discontents. Well he said initially we made
a distinction between the conscious and the unconscious.
And the idea of unconscious
came from the theory of repression, that we have
unconscious because some of the experiences we do not recall;
for instance, our sexual desire towards our
mother, which was prohibited, it’s pushed into our
subconscious; and other unpleasant
experiences in our life we want to forget and we put into
subconscious. That’s repression.
We repress undesired experience.
unconscious–right?–coincided with what is latent and what
wants to become conscious, wants to enter the conscious.
It’s only suppressed,
and it is psychoanalysis which helps you to bring this into
consciousness. But he said,
“well all that is repressed is unconscious.”
That’s quite true.
You know?
If you had bad memories,
you tend to forget it and put it into the unconscious.
But–the big discovery was–but
not all that is unconscious is necessarily repressed.
There are stuff in the
unconscious which was there before it was in consciousness.
He said the later,
which is unconscious only descriptively,
not dynamically–dynamically meant it was depressed.
But there is an element of
subconscious which is there only descriptively.
This is what he called
preconsciousness; before–it was never in the
conscious. Right?
It is just deep down in you.
And well and he said,
“We restrict the term unconscious to the
dynamically unconscious repressed.”
And now the two,
this repressed unconscious and the preconscious,
together will constitute, I suppose, the id.
Now we can now turn,
have different concepts now, Freud said, conscious,
preconscious and unconscious, and the question is what is the
relationship between those? So what is ego?
He said, “Each individual,
there is a coherent organization of the mental
process, and this is what we call ego.”
Well it is to this ego that
consciousness is attached. What is consciousness in us is
what is ego. He said, “It is also a
mental agency”– right?–“which supervises
and constitutes the process of thinking”;
he said, “which goes to sleep, but, at the same time,
exercises control even over your dreams.”
That’s your ego.
And the ego is the agents of
repression. The ego will repress stuff
which is in the way of the ego to act, that will push it into
the unconscious. Well he said,
“Therefore our therapy was to try to bring into the ego
what was unconscious”– right?–“and what was
repressed.” But there is something else
which is not repressed, which also has a very important
drive, and this is id. Right?
Id is what is deeply down in
your–those desires, the drives which come out of
you. And they are not– some of it
is not, has never been repressed.
It is just by nature in you,
for instance sexual drives. Right?
“So I propose to call the
entity, which starts out from the
system preconscious and begins by the preconscious,
the ego, and call the other part of the mind,
into which this entity extends and which behaves through it as
if it were unconscious, the id.”
It’s unconscious but not
repressed; or a combination of repressed
and preconscious. Well he said,
“The ego is very sharply separated from the id.
It’s really the id is below the
ego.” And that’s a very–this is
probably the best to grasp, what he said:
“The ego’s relationship to the id is like a man on a
horseback”– right?–“after the rider
is obliged to guide the horse where the horse wants to
go.” Right? This is the id. Right?
So the ego will be on the
horse–the horse is the id– but occasionally if you don’t
want to follow the horse, you let the horse go where the
horse wants to go. Right?
You try to control the horse,
but there is so much you can do, about the horse.
It’s a very important idea in
mature Freud. And then there comes the
superego. Right?
He said, “The ego is not
merely a part of the id.” Right?
“There also exists a grade
in the ego which may be called the ego-ideal,
or the superego.” Right?
And the part of this ego is
firmly connected to the consciousness.

And well the
superego–right?–is the, he said, “is part residue
of earlier object choices of the id,
but it represents an energetic reaction formation against those
choices.” It is what tells you what you
should be, not what you are. The ego tells you who you are.
The ego tests the world of
reality and tests what you can achieve under the conditions of
reality. Right?
The superego is that part of
your consciousness which actually will tell you that what
you should be. Right?
Adam Smith, you remember Adam
Smith, the theory of moral sentiment.
There is somebody inside of you
who is watching you and makes a judgment on you whether this is
right or wrong. The idea of superego is very
similar–right?–to this Adam Smithian idea.
Well psychoanalysis,
he said, was criticized for ignoring the higher values in
human life and talking only about sex and so on and so
forth. He said, “This is all
wrong; we are very aware of the
existence of the superego. And there is a complex
interaction between ego, id and superego.”
Well the ego is essentially
repressive. It essentially represents the
external reality, the external world as such.
The superego,
on the other hand, represents the internal world,
your own view what you would want to be,
though you cannot be, partially because your drives
are dirty– right?–and your ego does not
let you to achieve that. Right?
So actually what belonged to
the lowest part of the mental life–
right?–this suppressed stuff, is turned into what is the
highest in the human mind– right?–the superego.
Well there are also two classes
of instincts. One instinct,
what he discovered early in the work,
is what he calls libido–right?–the sexual
desire and the desire to live and survive and
self-preservation. But there is another instinct
in us; he discovers it somewhat later
in life, and this is the death instinct, Thanatos.
So there are Eros and Thanatos.
One is what makes us live.
The other is destructive,
wants to bring us to death. And the human life and the
human history can be understood as a struggle between the Eros
and Thanatos, as such.
Sadism is a good example of
Thanatos, he said. Okay, let me move to
Civilization and Discontents.
And there are the major
highlights: about ego development, religion and
purposes of life. Civilization as restriction of
sexual life. About ego development.
There is not that much I have
to add or interpret here. Well he said the ego eventually
evolves in us; it’s not just given in us.
It’s sharply differentiated.
I can say, “This person
has a strong ego.” You present your ego very
strongly, and your id is being hidden from, if I can put it
with Erving Goffman,–right?–the id is in
the back stage. You don’t show it–right?–the
id, but what you want to present is your ego.
But this evolves
gradually–right?–in the process of human development.
You can see as ego gradually
develops in a child and takes the form as it is.
And one important process in
this, as you move away from the pleasure principles to the
reality principle. Right?
“Is there a purpose of
human life?”, he asks.
“Well only religion can
answer, talk to you about the purpose of life.
I, as a psychologist or a
social analyst or social scientist, I cannot tell you
what the purpose of life is.”
What is the purpose of life now?
He comes very close to the
utilitarian idea. Right?
We almost hear John Stuart Mill
speaking to him. Happiness; we are all striving
to be happy. Right?
But unfortunately the problem
is it is much easier to be unhappy than to be happy.
And, because we are confronted
with the problems, that in fact unhappiness is
much likely to be our fate than achieve what we want to be,
happiness. This pleasure principle is
transformed into a reality principle.
We say, “Well,
that is the reality what we have to accept.”
And we have to escape this.
We need to have this reality
principle to bring our unhappiness under control.
To be able to survive the
sufferings, we have to have a sense of reality.
And this is the taming of the
ego. This now becomes very close to
Nietzsche, as close as Freud ever will be.
And the sublimation of
instincts–that’s all what civilization is all about.
The feeling of happiness is
derived from the satisfaction of wild intellectual impulses,
untamed by the ego. The blond beast–right?–that’s
where the real pleasure comes from.
But it has to be tamed. Right?
Here it comes. Right?
Very much the Nietzschean idea.
And this is happening through
the–if you want to escape it, then you do it,
you become maniac, or intoxicated.
If you cannot face the reality,
then you drink. Right?
It was too much,
so I go to the pub and I order a double scotch–right?–and
then I relax. Right?
Intoxication is the way how to
avoid reality; I get drunk.
Many people get drunk.
A very bad idea because
actually it will make it worse. Your unhappiness,
as soon as the first few minutes of happiness is past,
will be just worse. Well, and another way to do it
is sublimation– right?–of the instinct–to
suppress and ennoble in some ways these instincts that were–
actually you move into the sphere of fantasies;
you fantasize rather than live out your depressed desires.
And this is the mechanism of
fantasy, which creates art and science;
and the most noble human activities are actually
sublimated unsatisfied desires–right?–which came from
the ego–came from the id; the ego confronted with reality
and then suppressed it, and then was sublimated into
these higher elements. Well he has a very nice
quotation from Goethe on an unpublished poem,
and not surprisingly unpublished.
This says: “The people who
have science and art also do have religion.
Those who do not have either
science or art have to have religion.”
Well it’s a very interesting
idea. In fact, I don’t think it is
totally obvious how you have to interpret it,
especially the first part. I think there’s a way one can
interpret the first sentence: Wer Wissenschaft und Kunst
Besitzt hat auch Religion. It basically means well,
you know, science and art is a sort of a religion,
and if you are actually a scientist or an artist,
you have your religion; you even don’t have to be
religious. But if you have no science or
no art, in order to make sense of the life you need religion.
And that’s–I think it’s not
surprising that he never published the poem.
Well Freud pushes far.
He’s also anti-religious,
and he said well indeed religion is just mass delusion,
because it does create the impression–
right?–that you can actually mold reality;
that there is purpose of life–probably not on this earth
but beyond that–and you will be able to achieve that.
That’s why he calls it ‘mass
delusion’. You don’t confront reality.
You do not develop your reality
principle sufficiently. And, of course,
he also calls this infantile; infantile because you create
the figure of the god, the father god.
And he said this is exactly the
young infant’s reaction how to respond to danger,
and the reality, to hope that you will get
protections from your father. And he said this is exactly
what religions are calling upon. My–you know,
when you address God as “My Father.”
Okay, there are different
sources of unhappiness. First of all the nature is a
source of our unhappiness–is superior.
And one part of nature is
particularly a source of unhappiness: our own body.
And, you know,
if you are getting sick and old, like Freud did,
you will appreciate more and more how much unhappiness comes
from your body; what you don’t necessarily feel
right now, but wait fifty more years and you will.
Okay, and there is–the biggest
unhappiness actually comes from human relations.
It’s again something which
resembles very much the young Marx–alienation,
as alienated from your fellow human beings.
And, of course,
very much to Nietzsche–right?–that the
problem is in human relations. Well now the question is how on
earth we can solve this problem of human relations?
And because we have this big
problem–right?–in human relations, people start blaming
civilization, like Nietzsche did.
And well but he said it is,
in fact, conceivable that man in earlier ages,
rather than in modernity, actually were happier than they
are today. Well yes, noble
savages–right?–the happiness in the state of nature,
Rousseau. He said, “Well that’s not
an unreasonable argument.” But how does civilization
develop? Well he said–suggests,
he’s proceeding towards more and more control over the
external world, but also towards extension of
the number of people included in the community;
therefore more and more control over other people.
This is sort of civilization is
a technology, how to be able to control more
people; control nature and more people.
Yes, we already talked about
Totem and Taboo. You will see these on the
internet. Anyway, all culture,
all civilizations, are coming from repression.
And this is a very important
insight; very similar to Nietzsche’s
critique–right?–of morality. And in particular civilization
restricts sexual life. Well the important aim of
civilization, to bring many people together
into a society. And the limit of uninhabited
sexual love. Right?
It restricts sexual life.
He said this was–the high mark
was reached in Western European civilization.
It’s again almost–you read
almost Nietzsche–right?–here. A choice of an object is
restricted to the opposite sex, and most extra-genital
satisfactions are forbidden as perversion.
But even heterosexual genital
love is restricted. Only sexual relationship,
on the basis of solitary, indissoluble bond between one
man and one woman is what is accepted in Western
civilization, not in other civilization.
And that is the most repressive
system of sexuality. Right?
And there is actually more to
it, rather than repression of sexuality.
You know?
It has to restrict all other
kind of drives which is coming from the id.
It teaches you–right?–to love
your neighbor and even your enemy, which is in his
view–right?–impossible. But well we have to control
somehow aggressivity. Homo homini lupus;
man is the wolf of man. Right?
This is kind of Hobbesian
theory of human nature–deeply down we are actually.
There is also a critique of
Marx. Marx thinks there is an easy
solution. You eliminate private ownership
and homo homini lupus will be solved.
He said this is naīve,
this does not happen. Well I don’t have time to work
on this, though it’s a very interesting idea:
Nazism, and why you dislike particularly which is close to
you. Well I think I’ll probably just
have to leave this here, and just finish with the note
suggesting that he is actually very troubled.
He shows the repressive nature
of civilization, but he does not want to buy
into the Nazi anti-civilization. Right?
And he said,
“Well I am not suggesting the superego is not necessary–
superego is necessary–but I’m concerned about the superego to
be tyrannical.” Right?
“And let’s try to find a
middle way”–right?–“in
which let’s not be naīve. The id gives bad impulses and
they have to be controlled by the superego,
but the superego can go too far and too much.”
So kind of tries to walk a
narrow way between Marx and Nietzsche.
All right? Thank you.

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