Freud….Cynic or Critic


In “The future of An Illusion”, many citizens are left to fend for themselves on a path of self-destruction. Freud believed that the most pivotal assets to having superior mental abilities can be attributed to a good set of morals as well as art and ideals. Freud believed that the physical yields of a society as well as the skills and actions of a society are the “Narcissistic Ideal.” A society based on these ideals has a clear and definable direction to which that society is going. He also believed that religion clearly outlines, as well as supports, a proper moral path for citizens to follow.

It is asserted in various religions that the individual is the enemy of society in various definitions. It is wrong for a citizen to give in to his/her more primal urges such as sexual acts or envy. Should these individuals renounce these primal urges, some sort of divine reward is secured for themselves. Freud believed that these urges, though they can be recognized, cannot be completely renounced. Citizens believe in religion for various reasons. Most simply, religion stemmed back from our ancestors and it is wrong to question the elder. Freud believes that it is our duty as citizens to question what our ancestors are informing us with, especially if it really is fact.

Freud also has a theory that Gods are needed to explain the natural terrors, and satiate our fears of natural phenomena that citizens are unable to control, death and natural disaster just being a few examples. Citizens are able to project the shortcomings of the world around them on religion because he/she/it would be an overlying fated power. In many monotheistic religions, God is seen as an omniscient and omnipotent father figure in the way that it would lead citizens through the greater challenges life presents them with.

In all, Freud hopes that in the future of civilization, “science will go beyond religion, and reason will replace faith in God.” Although, his reasoning is understandable, one must also respect that this theory could be viewed as cynical to those who follow religious practices. Freud attempts mainly to separate from any blurred lines of reality as much as possible. Such psychoanalysis of citizens of his time, as well as separation of his theories from spirituality is quite distinct from other writers we have studied thus far this semester and should be noted.

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