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Civilization and Its Discontents

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  23,642 Ratings  ·  668 Reviews
"Civilization overcomes the dangerous aggressivity of the individual, by weakening him, disarming him, and setting up an internal authority to watch over him, like a garrison in a conquered town"

Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They
Paperback, 106 pages
Published September 2nd 2004 by Penguin (first published 1930)
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André The whole book has 148 pages, but the main part is only 100 pages. This is followed by an appendix and notes on the following 31 pages. Then two pages…moreThe whole book has 148 pages, but the main part is only 100 pages. This is followed by an appendix and notes on the following 31 pages. Then two pages of references and 13 pages of closing remarks not by the author himself.(less)

Community Reviews

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This book deftly delineates the dilemma in our civic society, where the struggle between our ethics and animal instincts continue, and the ‘prices’ we have paid in making our society safe and secure. It rejoins what Victor Hugo and Tolstoy and Steinbeck show in their works...

But, most of all, I think it acutely depicts the fate of our judicial system, conceived by men who thought punishment would be the detriment to crime, but which ironically turned out to be the incitement to more heinous crim
Nov 11, 2007 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone laboring under the illusion that they do not love freud
Shelves: groups-of-people
This may come as a surprise considering how much I complain about psychotherapy, but I LOVE SIGMUND FREUD. This is not just transference, and no, he doesn't remind me at all of my father; I believe Freud was a great genius, and far more importantly, that he was a fantastic writer and very interesting person. I also believe that Freud is one of the most unfairly maligned and willfully misinterpreted figures of the past hundred-or-so years.

If you haven't read him (HIM, not his theories), or if you
Oct 07, 2008 Mr. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
`Civilization and its Discontents' is Freud's miniature opus. It is a superficial masterpiece that stretches further than any of his other works; he is reaching for an explanation for human nature in terms of the id-ego-superego structure of the individual as he exists in civilization. For Freud, human beings are characterized by Eros (Sex Drive) and Thanatos (Death Drive), which remain in opposition to one another. This small book is filled with as many interesting ideas as any work of modern p ...more
Miss Ravi
فروید مواد تشکیلدهندهی تمدن را برمیشمارد. و اینها را در مقابل هدف انسان از زندگی یعنی سعادتمندی قرار میدهد ولی در این تقابل رابطهی مثبتی پیدا نمیکند. یعنی تمدن موافق سعادت هر فردی نیست. بلکه تمدن بیشتر نگاهش به جمع است. فروید میگوید اگر هر فردی به ابژهی عشق دست پیدا کند اصلا باقی دنیا برایش مهم نیست. اجتماع برایش ضرورتی ندارد. میتواند بدون هیچ جمعی با ابژهاش تا ابد زندگی کند. قشنگ نیست؟ برای من چرا ولی تمدن این را نمیخواهد اما ابژه عشق را هم لازم دارد. تا خیالش از تمدید نسل بشر مطمئن باشد! شبیه ...more
Apr 03, 2010 C C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book explains why the average man--someone like you--is always pissed off, as if there is a cauldron of anger boiling just beneath his--and your--clothes. This book explains why you could be standing behind that scruffy ponytailed hipster in the checkout lane at the grocery store, with his artisanal pickles in one hand, and his smoking hot girlfriend in the other, and suddenly feel the urge to lunge at him and tear the larynx out of this throat, but don't. Instead you grit your teeth and ca ...more
Roy Lotz
There’s something unbelievable about Freud. If he was some ancient Greek or Medieval thinker, his ideas might not seem as strange. But the man was a contemporary of Albert Einstein, John Maynard Keynes, and F.D.R. He lived through the Great Depression and World War II—two events that continue to haunt the present day. Yet his theories seem so remote from our positivistic era, it’s difficult to even take them seriously.

Nonetheless, he remains one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th centu
The Price of Civilized Security

“Civilized man has traded in a portion of his chances of happiness for a certain measure of security.”

Sometimes it is worth reading the original source of an idea that now should be taken for granted in our culture. Not this time. While there are a few gems in this work, I am mainly reminded why Freud is no longer taken seriously. Here we receive his view of an entire civilization based on his experience with those few neurotic patients who can afford his services.
Jan 01, 2011 Belal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
أكثر استفادة لي من الكتاب ،أنه غير لي نظرتي السطحية ،لأطروحة فرويد الخاصة ،بعقدة قتل الأب الأصيلة ،فأنا كنت أردها دائما بالحجة العادية ،أنه إذا كان الذنب ،قد جاء من القتل ،فكيف تكونت هذه القابلية أصلا ،للشعور بالذنب ؟،ولكن تحليل فرويد لها ،وادماجها في منظومته التفسيرية كان أقوى من التعامل معها بصفتها خيال جامح
يقول جورج طرابيشي المترجم ،أن السؤال الذي يجيب عليه فرويد هو ""لماذا لا يحظى الإنسان بالسعادة التي ينشدها مهما قارب أن يكون الها؟"" ،يمكن القول بأن الإجابة على مدار الكتاب هي "لإن الإنسا
Pooya Kiani
از آخرین کتاب های فروید، و اولین کتابی که من ازش خونده م.
بسیار بسیار ارزشمند. متن کاملا خودبسنده ست. تازه و ساده شروع می شه، خوب ادامه پیدا می کنه و با مختصری تکرار مکررات به پایان می رسه.
فروید واقعا نبوغ داره. چه دوستش داشته باشیم چه نه.
رد پای تفکرات نویسنده ی این متن رو توی هر نحلهی فکری امروزی می شه دید. چه اون هایی که قبولش دارن، چه اون ها که نه. چه اون ها که بهش ارجاع می دن، چه اون هایی که اسمی از فروید نمی آرن.

سخت و صعب، ولی لذتبخشه. در صورتی که کشتی گرفتن با تفکرات کسی همپایه فروید رو م
Nov 06, 2009 Stela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Undoubtedly, Sigmund Freud is a classic. Consequently, he shares the fate of any classic: everybody knows of and few read him anymore. After all, what is to discover we didn’t already learn? That he explained every evil or deviation in human behaviour by some repressed sexual urges generated mainly by the Oedipal complex. That he founded the science of psychoanalysis, but many of his theories and methods are obsolete today. That he influenced the Modernist movement, especially regarding some fam ...more
Mar 17, 2013 Omneya rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A tedious read, Freud's essay is mundane at worst, general knowledge at best.
Freud had this tendency to make pretty obvious and minor premises and then jump to big and somehow unrelated conclusions depending on said premises.

It's already known that Freud and his disciples were treading a deserted land which is psychoanalysis in their times, which calls for far more caution and far more-in this case, very welcomed-pedantry.

Nevertheless Freud writes with uncalled for confidence, mixing facts with
Read in 2000. Too long ago for me to review, but I will say that the impression I'm left with is that Freud may be more relevant today outside of his discipline than in it.
...the development of the individual seems to be the product of two trends — the striving for happiness, which we commonly call ‘egoistic’, and the striving for fellowship within the community, which we call ‘altruistic’. Neither term goes much below the surface.


Having just re-read ‘Brave New World’ (1932) and realising how influential Freud’s work had been on it this time around (having previously read it as a Freud-less teen...) I was keen to

I've got nothing against Freud, really, but whatever it was I was looking to find I didn't find it here.

It may have been a bad translation but the prose was leaden, uninteresting and seemed way to weighed-down with self-importance and near-myopic pedantry.

I read it because of course its a seminal classic and one of his central texts but was mildly disappointed to see that there wasn't all that much "there" there.

I've always been intrigued by Freud and I would like to get some of the finer points
Mar 05, 2017 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At one time it was wrongly believed that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny (i.e. the embryonic stages mirrors the development stages of the species). Similarly Freud thinks the phases that an individual goes through mirror the same phases that civilizations have gone through. Freud uses that theme to explain his psychoanalysis in describing individuals and the societies in which they live as mirror images of each other.

Yes, Freud does believe some weird things and he restates them in this book su
Mohamedridha Alaskari محمد رضا العسكري
I was reading this book very carefully due to Frued's reputation in my society but I find this evil!
The man extremely intelligent especially explaining the most complicated "human being activity in certain societies based on Nerotics psychonalysis"
This book made me understand some most important items in the civilization like: good, evil, love, hate, frustration, ego, super-ego and remorse"
And why he ought to kill father, what is the relation between the sex and happiness I mean what we call (p
Aug 05, 2010 Michael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Intellectual Historians, Psychology students, Freudians
Recommended to Michael by: Richard Beyler
This is one of those "seminal" books that shows you why so much of Western thought is totally screwed up. The premises and logic of Freud's argument are utter nonsense from beginning to end, yet he somehow taps into a vein of unconscious imagery within the contemporary Zeitgeist that still resonates 80 years later. Certainly, for anyone studying the early 20th century, the ideas in here will seem eerily familiar; Freud isn't so much creating a new argument here as speaking aloud what was in ever ...more
Léonard Gaya
Nov 23, 2014 Léonard Gaya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Freud rédige ce petit livre quelques mois avant la grande crise économique de 1929. Il s'agit, au départ, d'une étude sur la souffrance, qui tire son origine de la relation de l'homme à la nature et à autrui, et sur les moyens de ne pas la ressentir : stupéfiants, méditation, sublimation, religion, amour, beauté...

Mais assez vite Freud s'interroge sur le rôle de la civilisation dans l'économie libidinale. Ce que l'homme obtient à travers la culture, c'est précisément de se prémunir contre les ag
Aug 13, 2012 Bruce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was interested in reading this short work at this time because Freud herein addresses, inter alia, the creation of art as sublimation of libido in society. In this text Freud addresses several issues and introduces or expands on concepts that he introduced elsewhere, and it is interesting to see the evolution of his own thinking. Among other things he discusses ego differentiation and the development of religion as a means of addressing the fear that the superior power of fate brings, but that ...more
May 14, 2008 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with an intrigued reaction to its title
It's impossible to read "Civilization and Its Discontents" and not come away with the impression that Freud is a genius. His ability to trace out cause and effect in human psychology is unparalleled. Most of his conclusions are convincing, and even the ones that aren't are at least thought-provoking.

The main weakness of this book is its desultory style. The first seven of its eight chapters read like an anthology of things Freud was thinking about this week, very loosely themed around the source
Erik Graff
Apr 27, 2008 Erik Graff rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Freud fans
Recommended to Erik by: Edward Erickson
Shelves: psychology
Many high school friends were a couple of years older. One of them, Ed Erickson, was particularly admired for his erudition, radicalism and interesting mother and sister. When he went away to the University of Illinois' flagship campus, I, still in high school, was honored to be invited to visit him on what amounted to a first overnight trip to a college.

Taking the Illinois Central downstate was an adventure in itself, another first. So, too, were the experiences of the ugly but enormous campus
Yazeed AlMogren
الكتاب غير مفيد وغير مفهوم لسبب لا أعلم ماهو، هل هو سوء الترجمة أم أن أسلوب فرويد التحليلي هو السبب
Jul 20, 2013 Monte rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
First and foremost, The Standard Edition of this book does not have 160 pages. Sigmund Freud's psycho-analytical thoughts begin on page 10 and end on 112. The pages after that are the Bibliography. So in the 102 real Freud pages, I have decided that he is not quite as much of an "inspiration" as I thought he was. Beginning on page 70, he begins to analyze the pros of the Communist System in which I regard is a means to destroy the exact definition of civilization that Freud portrays: that it dep ...more
Sep 16, 2015 ZaRi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, psycology
سرچشمه های رنج

" رنج از سه جهت ما را تهدید می کند: ١- از طرف جسم خودمان که محکوم به تلاشی و اضمحلال است ٢- از طرف جهان بیرون و طبیعت که با نیرویی چیره، بیرحم ویرانگر ما را مورد حمله قرار می دهد ٣- نهادهایی که روابط میان انسان را در خانواده، دولت و جامعه تنظیم می کنند" ( ص٣٥)

پذیرش مورد اول و دوم هموارتر به نظر می رسد. در مقابل چیرگی طبیعت و قدرت ویرانگرش و نیز ناجاودانگی و فنای بدنمان مقاومت چندانی نمی توانیم نشان دهیم و به رشد علوم و دانش بشری که در این زمینه ها تا حدی کمکمان می کنند دلخوشیم اما
Arjun Ravichandran
A penetrating (no pun intended) masterpiece of pessimism, by that great seer of the human soul, written in his depressed and fed-up old age. Civilization is always a compromise between our instincts for freedom (in all senses of the world) and the need for order that will at least guarantee some measure of human flourishing. Thus, civilization (for the individual human being) necessarily involves pain, sacrifice and neurosis. To put it in Freud's language, there is always going to be a tension b ...more
[Name Redacted]
How this book manages to be so popular, I'll never know. Then again, I have the same problem with Marx's polemics cum evangelical tracts. Like "The Future of an Illusion", this is basically a faux-dialog between Freud and an absurdly credulous strawman. I recommend comparing his fascinating (but unintentionally hilarious) "Moses & Monotheism" with Emile Durkheim's "The Elementary Forms of Religious Life" if you want some actual insight into the same topic.

My verdict? He was far more successf
May 03, 2015 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do love me some Freud. His theories seem too speculative at times, but his insights on basic human psychology are enlightening. Although he spent most of the time trying to disabuse his readers of that ultimate "delusion," religion, I'm afraid it had the opposite effect on me. His expert construction of the ultimate human dilemma only strengthened my belief in and need for God, for which I thank him.
Мартин Касабов
Не знам защо бях толкова предубеден към Фройд. Може би училището е виновно.
Aug 03, 2014 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

In chapter 1, to account for the ‘oceanic’ feeling that some of his friends report and attribute to the 'oneness of the universe', Freud constructs a very beautiful metaphor comparing the human mind with a city; just as a city’s past buildings remain as dust, and just as wars may leave physical marks of destruction that remain for centuries, maybe our earliest experiences stay with us in some unconscious form as well. In his view, this may explain the mystical feeling of 'oneness with the univer
Jan 11, 2017 Williwaw rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So there's this gas-bag named Siggie, and he proposed that there's an inverse relationship between civilization and happiness. In other words, as we become more civilized, we become less happy. Oy vey! What do about this? Psychoanalyze dat sivillization, o'course!

Problem was, he forgot to define his terms. What is C? What is H? And he failed to propose a mathematical formula to describe that inverse relationship. Say H = 1/(C squared) for example.

Another large problem is that Siggie was merely a
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CHAPTER 3 7 152 Apr 27, 2017 06:49AM  
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Freud was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, who created an entirely new approach to the understanding of the human personality. He is regarded as one of the most influential - and controversial - minds of the 20th century.

Sigismund (later changed to Sigmund) Freud was born on 6 May 1856 in Freiberg, Moravia (now Pribor in the Czech Republic). His father was a merchant. The
More about Sigmund Freud...

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“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.” 1137 likes
“It is impossible to escape the impression that people commonly use false standards of measurement — that they seek power, success and wealth for themselves and admire them in others, and that they underestimate what is of true value in life.” 357 likes
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