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.

“Society” and the individual

Passage- “Above all we must avoid postulating “society” again as an abstraction vis-à-vis the individual. The individual is the social being.His manifestations of life – even if they may not appear in the direct form of communal manifestations of life carried out in association with others – are therefore an expression and confirmation of social life. Man’s individual and species-life are not different, however much – and this is inevitable – the mode of existence of the individual is a more particular or more general mode of the life of the species, or the life of the species is a more particular or more general individual life.”-From Marx’s manuscript

Karl Marx’s translated word for “society” actually stems from a German dichotomy which is a combination of society and community. This has a major influence on the passage we reviewed because it is important to understand clearly what the author was originally intending to say. Marx is telling the citizens to be aware that they are the society. We must not allow ourselves to separate this from the individual. The individuals are what makes up society as a whole. No matter how hard an individual may try, they will not be able to separate themselves from what society is, because it is the citizens which define it.

This can be viewed in a negative or a positive connotation. Personally, I see a majority of positive connotation. Citizens are never alone, and predominantly working for the greater good of his/her community. Individualism is clearly not lacking in this idea when other facets of Marx’s manuscript are referenced (as discussed in class). It is our duty as citizens to keep up with society and change it to fit ourselves as we see best fit for the whole.

We discussed the old attitude of “Well that’s just the way things are” when discussing discontent with the current society. We as individuals all have the power to influence what society is. We noted the example of recycling. If more and more citizens were to recycle, our society would change, as we have noticed it to over the course of the past 40 years or so. Changing a society does not have to be a monumental task if every citizen simply makes small changes in his/her way of life in regard to the bigger changes they want to see in the world.

Blake’s “The Chimney Sweeper” and Child Labor


William Blake published “Songs of Innocence” in 1789; child labor was very much exploited and lowly disputed against. Chimney sweeping child laborers specifically were subjected to low wages, deadly working conditions, and harsh punishments for not meeting standards. Blake was anti child labor. In his poem “The Chimney Sweeper”, Blake discusses his detest for the current regulations on child labor. Child labor laws of 1789 were inefficient to say the least. Children were allowed to work as young as eight years of age. One of the only restrictions was that the children must be washed once a week, and that they must not climb chimneys with a lit fire inside. Blake made note of this cruel abuse when he stated that “boys (and even girls) as young as five were apprenticed by their parents to master sweepers in what amounted to both child labor and involuntary servitude.” He compares the children to slaves by saying involuntary servitude because they are not able bodied for the work they are doing, nor are they able to decide their fate in this situation, as they are only children. Further into the poem, Blake continued on the severe working conditions. Young boys had to sleep on bags of ashes that they swept. He goes on to describe the narrow and soot filled chimneys as “black coffins” to imply digging themselves into an early grave and not living their lives as children should be. The children had high risk of getting trapped and choking to death in the chimneys. Finally, Blake brings into context the idea of a merciful angel bringing the child laborers to their early death. Death was something to look forward to when these children had such horrible lives. This mention of the angel really drives Blake’s point home, instilling in the readers a strong sensation of empathy for the poor children laboring themselves to death.

John Locke ….Revolution or Remodeling


Kimberly Leffler

Group 3

At first, one may be confused to read Section 159 of John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government because it is somewhat contradictory to the rest of the paper. The purpose of the paper as a whole was to criticize monarchial government and suggest a completely new form of government to take its place. In section 159 John Locke suggests a “moderated monarchy.” The monarchy would be limited in terms of political power though, which actually is a reasonable spring board to start from when considering the time period.

Locke recognizes that the government requires limitations. The Prerogative is the name of the chapter containing this section and it perfectly encompasses this idea. The monarch would obviously have the executive power and ability to change laws with the changing society. This fits in with the prerogative because though the monarch would have executive power, the government would also maintain checks and balances to check this power. A system of checks and balances maintains the government concern for the common welfare of all citizens. Though the executive branch would have a great deal of power, it is checked by another branch of government according to Locke, the legislative branch of government.

Although Locke claims to be very anti monarch, he is not. He is simply anti the current form of monarchy at that time. Locke’s ideas were truly visionary considering nothing had been in place under these terms before. Locke pioneered the pathway, which led to the US government as it stands today. Some of the core ideas Locke presented remain core ideas in the United States government. Although Locke’s ideas were innovative, they were nothing shy of a moderated monarchy. Locke’s idea of government was not actually a new form of government, simply a moderated one, proved in his section 159.

Locke, the Pope, and the Law

HUMN 221-09 Group 3:

ENCYCLICAL QUOTES: “where we ourselves have the final word, where everything is simply our property and we use it for ourselves alone. The misuse of creation begins when we no longer recognize any higher instance than ourselves, when we see nothing else but ourselves”.[13]

“The harmony between the Creator, humanity and creation as a whole was disrupted by our presuming to take the place of God and refusing to acknowledge our creaturely limitations. This in turn distorted our mandate to “have dominion” over the earth (cf. Gen 1:28), to “till it and keep it” (Gen 2:15). As a result, the originally harmonious relationship between human beings and nature became conflictual (cf. Gen 3:17-19).”

genuine care for our own lives and our relationships with nature is inseparable from fraternity, justice and faithfulness to others.” (70)


Sect. 6. “But though this be a state of liberty, yet it is not a state of licence: though man in that state have an uncontrollable liberty to dispose of his person or possessions, yet he has not liberty to destroy himself, or so much as any creature in his possession, but where some nobler use than its bare preservation calls for it. The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions…”

A right to dominion doesn’t include a right to tyranny, whether that be God’s gift to people or a people’s choice of leader.

We are all part of God’s creation, so none of us has the right the absolute control over another. Personal autonomy is important to fulfilling God’s plan.

RELATIONSHIP OF PASSAGE TO WORK AS A WHOLE: John Locke stated that all people should be considered equal. There are a set of natural laws which citizens live by. Citizens begin taking only what they need, but eventually slow to hoard and collect more and more. This creates bartering, and leads to money, as well as creating estates and property. The purpose of government was to protect the citizens and work for their benefit.

WHAT DIFFICULT ISSUES DOES THIS PASSAGE TAKE FOR US: We all live under a system of laws in which we must follow. We exist under a social contract, consisting of an agreement to consent to appointed authorities, therefore forfeiting many of our rights under natural law. In today’s world it is unclear how to decline this social contract because nearly all habitable land is controlled by a government or person. We have the right to overthrow our government but our government also has substantial power. At times this government has the right to infringe upon life, health, liberty, and possessions.

HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO THE ENCYCLICAL: John Locke is going over the system of laws that exist in nature while the pope is describing a set of laws we are morally and religiously supposed to subject ourselves to. The pope said that we all have a relation to each other in a familial manner, relating to, “yet he has not liberty to destroy himself, or so much as any creature in his possession” from the second treatise of government.

Like Locke, Francis calls on us to respect each other’s autonomy as we value our own by recalling our relation to each other as children of God.