Monday, May 5, 2014

Discussion Questions

1. Would we naturally repress our own sexual desires without a civilizing force?

2. Why does civilization necessarily oppose sexual freedom?

3. On page 109, Freud cites a passage from Faust in a footnote, in which the description of evil coincides with his idea of destructive instinct. Faust is literature work rather than a patient's account. Do you think it can be treated as a source of knowledge about human nature?

4. Freud rejects the practice and institution of religion as delusional, but he frequently make references to Jewish history. Do you think it's contradictory?


  1. In answer to #4: While I don't agree with Freud's views on religion, I don't really think his references to Jewish history are contradictory. Jews make up an ethnic group. It is not only a religion. Besides, he grew up Jewish, didn't he? His disbelief with religion does not invalidate his ability to reference Judaism, especially since he references it in its historical context, bringing up concrete examples, things that actually happened rather than things that are highly contested.

  2. To answer number 1: I don't think that without civilization man would repress his own sexual desires. There would be no need to repress anything, because there would be no consequences for anything. Civilization puts rules on what is acceptable and not acceptable, and man expresses his sexuality to comply with society. If that means repressing some kind of sexual impulse, man will repress it. If there were no expectations for how man would have to act, then there would be no repression. He would be free to express his drives in whatever way he desires.


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