Civilization and its discontents summary

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  • Publicado : 26 de enero de 2011
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Chapter 1 of Civilization and Its Discontents begins with a concept of humans and an “oceanic feeling.” This concept expands on the basis of a person's ego, or individualism, towards the outsideworld which refers to everyone but him or herself. Freud indicates that his colleague would refer to “oceanic” as a feeling of 'eternity', limitless, and being unbounded (11). As a result, humans act uponthese sentiments and associate it with religion. However, Freud disagrees that this feeling is created by religion, but rather becomes “an article of faith”, which means that humans associate it withchurch only because these religious institutions use it in their system. Since Freud cannot identify himself with this feeling, he attempts to explain it scientifically by describing itspsychological signs. According to Freud, these psychological signs are the reason for a created ego, which helps humans detach from pain, and unpleasant circumstances; the only exception being love. When inlove, the ego becomes permeable and forgets about the boundaries set between the self and the outside world. The ego is created as a method of assurance, since “there is nothing which we are more certainthan the feeling of our self” (12). Humans tend to differentiate themselves, or form an ego, to be able to cope and avoid troubles that are not within. Ironically, the concept of an “oceanic feeling”and ego is later dismissed at the end of the chapter by Freud, who states that this concept is not the reason for religious sentiment, but instead an infant's need of fatherly protection.
The end ofChapter 1 left me confused. I began to understand the concept of ego, and its connection with religion, but as I reached the end of the chapter, Freud concludes with a different point. He statesthat even though, he does not exactly believe in this “oceanic feeling”, he does not refuse its existence, but also does not believe it to be the reason for religious sentiments. Instead, he reasons it...
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