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Freud and Happiness - Essay Example

There are those who may consider happiness as the concept of their own well-being including self-satisfaction, their own preservation and promotions and their safety. Others view happiness as the well-being and comfort of their loved ones, their society or the human race in general. Sigmund Freud in Civilisation and its Discontent argues that true happiness is not achievable in civilisation (Freud 22). Today, it is evident that humankind is surrounded or is living in civilisation and it is almost impossible for man to survive without it. According to Freud mankind can only attain security both physically and psychologically through civilisation. He says that civilisation through science helps man overcome his naturally aggressive form that ensures that he does not hurt others and others do not hurt him. In this sense, man feels protected and more secure and thus gets some form of happiness and contentment. Freud puts across his idea of happiness by showing that sexual pleasure is the highest form of happiness an individual can experience (Nicholi 11). It might seem controversial but it has some sense in it and thus he argues that the most fundamental thing for man to do is search for happiness in the very path they first came across it. The mystery persists because the overcoming of man’s aggressive nature limits his happiness that is attained through fulfilling his instincts. Civilisation limits man’s instincts and drives thus greatly reducing his chances of being happy. In Freud’s version of man’s instincts and drives, man is somehow aggressive and arrogant. This type of aggression and arrogance cannot be allowed in civilisation. He gives an example that civilisation demands that man marry and have sex with only one woman whereas man’s desires and drives are erotic and aggressive and would want to sleep with as many women as he would want. In this case, he argues that civilisation affords man security and freedom from pain (which brings limited happiness) but it enslaves him in inevitable quietness and unhappiness. Freud further says that there is no any definite or standard single source of happiness in this world and this is why to a great extent he does not agree with religion especially Christianity as a source of happiness (Nicholi 28). He however says that one being part of civilisation does not deny him all chances of happiness. He points out that somehow man would be consistently happy living without civilisation but also says that there would automatically be instances of pain and suffering due to absence of security and safety. Christianity provides that the only source of true and lasting happiness be in GOD, but, Freud find this misplaced because he argues that the religious man is limited by religion and cannot fulfil his desires (Freud “The Future…“210). He says that the non-religious man is free to pursue his pleasure and happiness. The question that lingers in my mind is how life would be like be like in a Freud’s fashion world where everyone is in pursuit of their own happiness without caring what impact it would have on other people’s life and happiness. Freud views civilisation and human rules and regulations as the greatest impediment towards attaining ultimate happiness. Someone once said that the purpose of life is usefulness and happiness, and the question of the purpose of life has been asked severally, and probably attracts debates, and relative answers depending on who answers the question and their understanding and perspective. If we just divert our attention to the more fundamental thing of observing how men behave with their ...Show more
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Summary

Most people desire to be happy in life and this proposition can be viewed as definitive and true. Yes, the desire for happiness in life is paramount and the vast majority would say that the ultimate purpose for life is happiness…
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