Man’s Unbecoming in Civilization The central project of Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents is to understand man’s unhappiness in civilized society. More precisely, Freud’s work analyzes the conflict between man and the world outside of himself, namely “civilization.” While civilization is the objective of man’s efforts, it is at the same time the source of his instinctual dissatisfactions, hence his unhappiness. Civilization creates the superego, a control agency that imposes a sense of guilt on the individual and prevents the realization of his instinctual demands. Thus, man becomes an instinctually self-prohibiting and unhappy being that is in the service of civilization. Unlike Freud, Kant views this unhappy and self- controlling man as an ideal that is an expression of his moral philosophy.
This, in his view, helps maintain a governing body of authority that will provide peace and security. When he talks about the nature of man from chapter 13 of Leviathan, he positions that there are three principle causes of argument or differences of man which are competition, hesitancy and splendor in a state of nature which he professes to be ultimately the worst situation to be in in society. He speaks of how man will invade to achieve gain, safety and reputation. He concludes that man will use violence to be on top of the social ladder having power over other men’s property (land, wives and children) and in doing so, will defend to keep that power all the while making a name for himself for self-interests. Hobbes and his social contract may be ideal where order is necessary but how he approaches this grand scheme of absolute monarchy is not achievable to keep people in check because of the abuse of power being granted to one person.
Hobbes says that the life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. Hobbes also believed that men are all selfish and men are supposed to be evil to survive. Hobbes didn’t believe man can be good but men are born to be evil. In the other hand Locke believed that the life of man is solitary and poor. Locke believed that men are governed by reason.
Hobbes’ unorthodox thinking sparked debates with many intellectual adversaries, particularly John Locke, who argued that men were innately social creatures who could cooperate and coexist peacefully. Ultimately the works of Hobbes set the stage for a new topic of thought amongst philosophers of his era – man’s innate state of nature and its relevance to the governing of society. In Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, He argued that in the natural state of nature, without society or a governing body, man is innately evil. Hobbes believes that without the constraints of order or a common authority, men are driven into a state of chaos, conflict, and war against each other. Hobbes states that there are three principals in the innate state of nature which can cause such chaos and conflict; “…competition, diffidence, and glory.” Furthermore, Hobbes argues that this chaos and conflict is further motivated by man’s moral obligations, religious positions, and their respective rights to property.
In addition, Jung maintains that the goal of man should be to become a total whole individual. He can achieve this through the individuation process. Individualization is self-realization. Jung argues that man is so taken by the materialist aspect of life that he ignores the greater part of himself, which is his essence. He also argues about modern man giving up on his individuality to state mass mindedness.
Emerson states that a man to become an individual must question every orthodox belief that he faces and must decide what he believes to be true, not what society thinks to be true. Emerson writes in this persuasive rhetoric to try and convince the reader of the potential dangers of conformity as society will harm the individuals. "Society everywhere is a conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members." Emerson states that man must be self-reliant and trust themselves in order to be an individual. "Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string."
The society in Robert Bolt’s A Man For All Seasons is one where self-advancement, expediency and pragmatism are more effective means of survival than acting solely in compliance with personal morals and principles. The demise of Sir Thomas More is, in effect, the demise of true morals and loyalty in the society. The Act of Supremacy simply highlights the corrupt nature of the society and the irony that a man of such admirable traits cannot survive while remaining true to himself, ultimately a martyr, renders him ‘too good’ to live and function in society. As More’s morals and sense of self are so closely intertwined “a man’s soul is his self!”, he feels that if any man compromises his own self in betraying their morals and perjures himself then “he needn’t hope to find himself again.” He would not be able to live at peace with himself if he perjured himself and swore to the oath, and hence has no option but to die. “ While More’s humanness is certainly apparent, particularly his idealism- he sees extending his silence to his family as “only a life-line” and is sure he will be safe in the “thickets of the law”- “we shan’t have to use it but it is comforting to have, is nowhere near the questionable traits of expediency and self-advancement as displayed by Richard Rich, his supposed “friend” who ultimately perjures himself to provide fabricated evidence to lead to More’s death “He said ‘Parliament has not the competence.’ Or words to that effect.” More, however is “more sorry for your [Rich] perjury than my peril”, further highlighting his true integrity and the fact that he is above the other members of society- he is thinking of Rich’s soul when he is about to be sentenced to his death, which he knows has been unfairly issued “the law is not an instrument of any kind.” Once realising that in the corrupt society that the court won’t “construe according to the
The ego epitomizes “the conscious voice of reason” (Ayres) that struggles to maintain a socially adequate position while acting as a safety cushion between the id and super ego. The ego seeks the consent and approval to become more amiable to man. The super ego represents the innate force that preserves the “social, political, and religious rules and norms in an individual” (Ayres), and opposes the internally impulsive id. Moreover, the id intends to decimate all rules and order to gain power over others while the ego tries to maintain peace by controlling the impulsive id from beating on the defenseless super ego. The id represents hedonistic instinct that may cause many conflicts with the ego and super ego.
Machiavelli was a philosopher of power. He continually preached and argued that good ends justify bad things. He believed people in society should conform to their leaders. Machavelli is believed to be a teacher of evil. The policies that Machiavelli created for new rulers were often considered cruel.
Hobbes argues that the only way to establish such a power is for men “to conferre all their power and strength upon One Man, or upon one Assembly of men, that may reduce all their Wills by plurality of voices unto one Will.” In short, Hobbes argues that man leaves the state of nature in order to gain personal security which is achieved through the creation of a civil society, with a governing body. Although this is a reasonable cause for the creation of government, John Locke is more specific about why this creation is needed. Of course, Hobbes and Locke have very different views on what the state of nature is, but they do both agree on one point: the need for security. Hobbes’ theory demands the need for security of one’s life, whilst Locke’s requires security