Sunday, June 10, 2012

Quick Book Review: Freud's "Civilization + It's Discontents"

Yes, I read books like this for fun. It's more to learn something new, but yes, for pleasure as well. Freud's "Civilization + Its Discontents" is a short bookt hat feels like a long New Yorker article. Freud was a master fo projecting his own feelings onto everyone else. Ia dmire his work, and think the man was brilliant. With that said, he was a stereotypical Jewish boy in the normal Jewish boy father-mother-first son triangle of tension that he then projected onto every other man from evey other background with his famous Oedipus Complex. In this book as well as others, he use his atheist beliefs to look into why religion is around, why it creates problems and blah blah blah. Now nearly 100 years after Freud, it is comical the parade of atheists born into Jewish homes (who always have that touch of anger towards religion) that have marched across our TV screens and newspapers as pundits and experts. Freud migth have been the first. What a groundbreaking man!

Sadly, I expected more from this book. I understand where the idea of civilization requiring us to suppress pure instinct and desires that rise from the animal part of us to have a functioning society. It makes sense. I understand how religion fits in there, but I expected more from Frued on how comfortable civilzation had become, yet how dissatisfaction was always under the surface in society. He was very focused on the part of religion, where he seemed to have a blind eye towards the material comfort civilization provided, including lower crime. Freud was writing in the 1920s after the Industrial Revolution, as well as the rise of a massive middle class in early 20th century Europe. I expected him to tackle that. I enjyoed the critique of religion and its possible roots. I just expected more.

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