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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Relevant Today
Civilization and its Discontent was first published in 1930 and despite all the criticism of Freud over a long period of time the essay contains profound truths and is still relevant today. The essay's range is broad as it goes beyond Freud's psychoanalytic theory and delves into the process of socialization, culture, and the struggle between natural human instincts and...
Published on 6 Mar 2010 by Herman Norford

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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars eminently readable, but limited freudian theory
great book, great writing, suitable length, clear prose, limited theory. drives and power craze is not all there is to life
Published on 14 Aug 2010 by sanyata


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Relevant Today, 6 Mar 2010
By 
Herman Norford "Keen Reader" (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Penguin Great Ideas : Civilisation and Its Discontents (Paperback)
Civilization and its Discontent was first published in 1930 and despite all the criticism of Freud over a long period of time the essay contains profound truths and is still relevant today. The essay's range is broad as it goes beyond Freud's psychoanalytic theory and delves into the process of socialization, culture, and the struggle between natural human instincts and the mechanisms in society, such as religion, work and the arts, to keep them at bay.

The main concern of Freud is how people find and maintain happiness. Freud thinks that life is so hard to bear that human beings need a palliative. Palliatives could take the form of religion, the arts or work. In order to sustain his argument about the reasons that keep us happy, Freud uses a wide array of concepts. Many of these concepts such as the Id, the Ego, the Superego, the Libido, the Pleasure Principle, and the Reality Principle are to be found elsewhere in Freud's great oeuvre but ironically it is these very concepts that make for a difficult read, in some passages, of this great little book.

Many of Freud's views has long been criticised as lacking empirical evidence, as being sexist and/or Eurocentric. Some of that criticism stands. However, on the other hand, I think some of that criticism has been over stated. For example, take the issue of Eurocentricism, what Freud stated all those years ago I now see many non European people striving to achieve in the search for happiness - for example, the palliative of materialism.

I began by stating that the book is still relevant today so let me conclude by giving two examples as to why it is relevant. Some 80 years on from publication human beings are still faced with a lot of aggression and wars. Freud stated that: "The reality behind all this, which many would deny, is that human beings are not gentle creatures in need of love, at most able to defend themselves if attacked; on the contrary, they can count a powerful share of aggression among their instinctual endowments." The second example, this time to do with sexuality, is one in which as a society, almost universally, we are still uptight about sex so Freud's statement that: "Present-day civilization makes it clear that it will permit sexual relations only on the basis of a unique and indissoluble bond between a man and a woman, that it disapproves of sexuality as a source of pleasure in its own right and will tolerate it only as the device - for which a substitute has still to be found - for the increase of mankind" has a ring of truth about it today.

Civilization and its Discontents is still a great read with some relevant and profound truths.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine Kindle version of a classic, 8 Sep 2011
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This is a marvellous essay as people have commented elsewhere. This Kindle version appears to be complete apart from bibliographic material and I'm enjoying it a lot.
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two strong essays about happiness and sexuality, 10 Mar 2003
This book features two papers written in different times. The first one is from the 1930’s, and is a very mature analysis of the ways civilisations and individuals go in order to achieve happiness as it is. The second one, written in the 1900’s, is about ‘civilised’ sexuality and mental illnesses, and allows us to see how a whole new science emerged.
I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in psychiatry and psychoanalysis, and especially in Freud. I read other works by this author, and I think this one keeps up with the overall quality of the others.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, but do not part with cash!, 13 July 2014
By 
Larissa Kuefer (Markl am Inn, Bayern) - See all my reviews
Sigmund's books are always incredibly insightful and relevant even to this very day, however DO NOT pay for any of his work.

It is all out there, intentionally free for you to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perceptive, 9 Jan 2014
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Freud is always worth reading and this essay is perceptive and worth returning to. I strongly recommend this work which also has the virtue of brevity.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great, 30 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Penguin Great Ideas : Civilisation and Its Discontents (Paperback)
Great and fast delivery. Book is in perfect condition.
Very very happy with this purchase. I will happily use the same dealer!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love and sex: culture and civilization, 8 May 2012
By 
W. Rodick (Cheshire, England) - See all my reviews
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Only 83 pages for 1.76, but you will not find a more satisfying read in such a small space.

Religion is 'so patently infantile.' Voluntary loneliness: 'the happiness found along this path is that of peace.' I have never put so many Bookmarks or Underlined so much as I have in Sigmund Freud's 'Civilization and Its Discontents.'

I had started on my exploration of 'civilisation' in Henri Charriere's Papillon when the word was so clearly dirty and untrustworthy when compared to the purity involved in 'crime' and the 'underworld.' From there I enjoyed A Brief Guide to Classical Civilization with its analysis of Greek and Roman literature as illuminating as its insights into architecture and politics.

So I could not resist a television documentary made in the 1960s called Civilisation : Complete BBC Series (4 Disc Box Set)Lord Clark won me over with his report of capitalism's 'monstrous proportions.' I want to watch this documentary right through a couple of times before I consider reviewing it.

With Freud civilisation and culture are overlaid. It is a straight fight between the individual and civilisation. The sexual urge and the community. 'Civilised man has exchanged some part of his chances for happiness for a measure of security,' very sad. He analyses the quest for something we call happiness. When he relates happiness to the 'enjoyment of beauty' I was reminded of the fact that I had read Freud a very long time ago.

There are many paths to Sigmund Freud whether they are from lying down with a psychiatrist or, like me, you like to walk just for the view; I highly recommend 'Civilisation and Its Discontents' on the train or in the bedroom.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sigmund Freud, Civilization & it's Discontents, 20 Feb 2011
great product, thank you th ework it's self I stuggle to get to grips with in parts, I need more reading!
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars eminently readable, but limited freudian theory, 14 Aug 2010
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great book, great writing, suitable length, clear prose, limited theory. drives and power craze is not all there is to life
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Penguin Great Ideas : Civilisation and Its Discontents
Penguin Great Ideas : Civilisation and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud (Paperback - 2 Sep 2004)
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