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Reflections on War and Death (LibriVox Audiobook)

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Anyone, as Freud tells us in Reflections on War and Death, forced to react against his own impulses may be described as a hypocrite, whether he is conscious of it or not. One might even venture to assert—it is still Freud’s argument—that our contemporary civilisation favours this sort of hypocrisy and that there are more civilised hypocrites than truly cultured persons, an Anyone, as Freud tells us in Reflections on War and Death, forced to react against his own impulses may be described as a hypocrite, whether he is conscious of it or not. One might even venture to assert—it is still Freud’s argument—that our contemporary civilisation favours this sort of hypocrisy and that there are more civilised hypocrites than truly cultured persons, and it is even a question whether a certain amount of hypocrisy is not indispensable to maintain civilisation. When this travesty of civilisation, this infallible state that has regimented and dragooned its citizens into obedience, goes to war, Freud is pained but not surprised that it makes free use of every injustice, of every act of violence that would dishonour the individual, that it employs not only permissible cunning but conscious lies and intentional deception against the enemy, that it absolves itself from guarantees and treaties by which it was bound to other states and makes unabashed confession of its greed and aspiration to power. For conscience, the idea of right and wrong, in the Freudian sense, is not the inexorable judge that teachers of ethics say it is: it has its origin in nothing but “social fear,” and whereas in times of peace the state forbids the individual to do wrong, not because it wishes to do away with wrongdoing but because it wishes to monopolise it, like salt or tobacco, it suspends its reproach in times of war. The suppression of evil desires also ceases, and men, finding the moral ties loosened between large human units, commit acts of cruelty, treachery, deception and brutality the very possibility of which would have been considered incompatible with their degree of culture.


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Anyone, as Freud tells us in Reflections on War and Death, forced to react against his own impulses may be described as a hypocrite, whether he is conscious of it or not. One might even venture to assert—it is still Freud’s argument—that our contemporary civilisation favours this sort of hypocrisy and that there are more civilised hypocrites than truly cultured persons, an Anyone, as Freud tells us in Reflections on War and Death, forced to react against his own impulses may be described as a hypocrite, whether he is conscious of it or not. One might even venture to assert—it is still Freud’s argument—that our contemporary civilisation favours this sort of hypocrisy and that there are more civilised hypocrites than truly cultured persons, and it is even a question whether a certain amount of hypocrisy is not indispensable to maintain civilisation. When this travesty of civilisation, this infallible state that has regimented and dragooned its citizens into obedience, goes to war, Freud is pained but not surprised that it makes free use of every injustice, of every act of violence that would dishonour the individual, that it employs not only permissible cunning but conscious lies and intentional deception against the enemy, that it absolves itself from guarantees and treaties by which it was bound to other states and makes unabashed confession of its greed and aspiration to power. For conscience, the idea of right and wrong, in the Freudian sense, is not the inexorable judge that teachers of ethics say it is: it has its origin in nothing but “social fear,” and whereas in times of peace the state forbids the individual to do wrong, not because it wishes to do away with wrongdoing but because it wishes to monopolise it, like salt or tobacco, it suspends its reproach in times of war. The suppression of evil desires also ceases, and men, finding the moral ties loosened between large human units, commit acts of cruelty, treachery, deception and brutality the very possibility of which would have been considered incompatible with their degree of culture.

30 review for Reflections on War and Death (LibriVox Audiobook)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jon Nakapalau

    interesting perspective on the balance between war and injustice - and how society 'weights' that balance even as the scales start to break down - as the individual is forced to make progressively violent choices that will destroy any hope of reconciliation. interesting perspective on the balance between war and injustice - and how society 'weights' that balance even as the scales start to break down - as the individual is forced to make progressively violent choices that will destroy any hope of reconciliation.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    Probably the most interesting thing I've read by Freud. It starts off giving a tepid defense of Germany during ww1, and an anti-war shpiel, which sounds both libertarian-humanist and reactionary-revisionist-nationalist to modern ears. Then goes on to discuss death itself and how we think about it, from a number of different perspectives. Death in war vs death in normal life. Death of a loved one which traumatizes us, vs other deaths which we don't really care about it. Our own death which we ref Probably the most interesting thing I've read by Freud. It starts off giving a tepid defense of Germany during ww1, and an anti-war shpiel, which sounds both libertarian-humanist and reactionary-revisionist-nationalist to modern ears. Then goes on to discuss death itself and how we think about it, from a number of different perspectives. Death in war vs death in normal life. Death of a loved one which traumatizes us, vs other deaths which we don't really care about it. Our own death which we refuse to seriously consider. And then perhaps some more controversial things. The unconscious desire to kill under certain conditions. And perhaps to die. He of course largely connects the way we think about death to the way in which primitive man deals with it. They, he thinks, just want to kill things which inhibit them from fulfilling their natural human impulses. So our instincts drive us to hate and kill and thats just how it is. Yet, we dont like it when certain specific people die, so we act like death itself is bad. So theres some kind of contradiction there. Which comes to a fine point when you consider war. Blahblah.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Luke Poff

    I almost laughed out loud at his analysis of the Doctrine of Original Sin.

  4. 5 out of 5

    T

    "The very emphasis of the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' makes it certain that we spring from an endless ancestry of murderers for whom the lust for killing was in the blood, as possibly it is to this day with ourselves" In the first section on war, Freud, using psychoanalysis, reflects on society's disillusionment with WW1, noting the hypocrisies of nation states, which demonise the Subaltern and the enemy, controlling the individual and forcing him to fight and die, whilst repressing him an "The very emphasis of the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' makes it certain that we spring from an endless ancestry of murderers for whom the lust for killing was in the blood, as possibly it is to this day with ourselves" In the first section on war, Freud, using psychoanalysis, reflects on society's disillusionment with WW1, noting the hypocrisies of nation states, which demonise the Subaltern and the enemy, controlling the individual and forcing him to fight and die, whilst repressing him and monopolising resources. In the second section Freud moves on to discuss death, religion and the illusions we create around death. Here we see a precursor to Freud's later work 'Beyond the Pleasure Principle', a key work which focuses on the instinctual death drive. Freud's theorises that death isn't contained in the unconscious. The Unconscious id is concerned only with pleasure, and since thoughts or acceptance of death would prevent the animistic spirit, the unconscious rejects death (it doesn't repress it, the belief simply isn't there). It is this bizarre relationship with death that causes us to imagine ghosts and demons, afterlives and such. We cannot imagine 'nothingness', we as humans are naturally destructive and pleasure seeking, and our own death would be evolutionary counterproductive, therefore it does not compute. Arising from this are a strange set of fetishisms around death and the deceased, but underlying it are instinctual death wishes and a misunderstanding, by the Unconscious of death. Freud's thoughts on War certainly pale in comparison to his thoughts on death, but both are insightful, and offer another great instalment of Freud's sociological and cultural critique. There are a couple of problems with Freud's theorising, regardless of how attractive and useful it is. He relies heavily on an appeal to nature fallacy, and he cannot move from his fixed idea of human nature. Rather than seeing human nature as flexible, he maintains the view that the Unconscious has not just animalistic and human instincts, but fixed 'instinctual impulses' which is problematic, and brought into question by rivalling anthropologies like Engels' and more modern takes such as Chris Ryan's work on sexuality (compared to this work, influenced largely by Freud's earlier 'Totem and Taboo'). There can be ways of reconciliation, but these must be added in. Nonetheless, a great work by Freud.

  5. 5 out of 5

    8314

    If Goodreads allow book reviews to have their own titles, I would entitle this review to be "The Disappointment of War as a therapeutic text". Calling the two essays by Freud, the other entitled Our Attitude towards Death, as "reflections" does a tremendous injustice to these two essays, especially the first, for they are, in their nature, not logical deductions which can be obtained by the individual alone, but dialectics. One is happening between Freud and an imagined citizen of the world, the If Goodreads allow book reviews to have their own titles, I would entitle this review to be "The Disappointment of War as a therapeutic text". Calling the two essays by Freud, the other entitled Our Attitude towards Death, as "reflections" does a tremendous injustice to these two essays, especially the first, for they are, in their nature, not logical deductions which can be obtained by the individual alone, but dialectics. One is happening between Freud and an imagined citizen of the world, the other, more subtle, between Freud and himself. A few things to clear up before I march into my main point: this Reflections was published in 1918*, a singular time for psychoanalysis. It is singular for multiple reasons: first, in his early years Freud was obsessed with the idea that he would die at 51. When he turned 51 and nothing happened, he then believed that he'd die at 61 or 62 (cf. Peter Gay's biography on Freud). Now do a little math, and wiki, to find out how old Freud was at 1918 — this explains the more introvert tone of the second essay, where Freud seemed to be less engaged with the intended reader. The word "citizen", which he used to address his intended readers, occurs 10 times in Disappointment, and none in Attitude towards Death. When Freud finally turned to his readers at the end of Attitude, he took up a less cordial tone and called them "layman", and assumed their attitude to be less welcoming (from "unknown to layman", "make the impression on the layman" in the first essay, to "as a rule layman refuses to believe" and "takes his aversion" in the second). This is essentially because Freud was not exactly working through the readers' problem, but his. He must have realized that his fixation on death is, in itself, a dab of death wish; and the uncanny thing is that the Gods granted his death wish not through his own death, but through WWI. The sense of guilt accompanied by this realization must be really hard to handle. Equally uncanny is the fact that Si vis vitam, para mortem worked like a prophecy on Freud. Psychoanalysis' reputation didn't really take off until post WWI, for it was able to predict many post-war psychological diseases according to its theory. Before that, psychoanalysis is mostly sidelined and portrayed as a sex-addict-cult, no thanks to the philistine interpretations from loud Americans. This is the reason why the term "libido", so critical to psychoanalytic theory, never showed up in the text at all, and the importance of sexuality is only being hinted at between the lines of Disappointment. Here we start to get a glimpse of the strategic complexity of Disappointment. To those who are already familiar with Freud, who is arguably the most adorable Cynic in the 20th century — aye, Foucault, you heard me — the content of Disappointment is yesterday's snow. The formality, the therapeutic literary devices Freud deployed, however, is the true holy grail that seemed to be eluding from every Goodreads review. In short: Freud mimicked the procedure of psychoanalytic therapy in Disappointment. ———————————————— It is often times overlooked that Freud is a mighty writer: his clarity is celebrated by many, but sometimes people would experience the curing effect Freud's writing could bring, and realize the fact that this guy still delivers even after his death. Very, very few writers in history could do that. The therapeutic might of Freud is amplified when he made it clear that he aimed to treat, and started his essay with an attempt in forming a transference. The paragraphs where he described the European Ideal are his moment of going out of his way to be poetic. In doing so, Freud is leading the reader-citizen on, to identify with him, despite that a second read would suggest that Freud himself didn't buy at all what he wrote. But even this identification was more complicated than it let on, for Freud cunningly slipped some dissonance into this harmony: before the identification-snare, a hint at the Jewish conditions ("there were certain remnants of races that were quite universally disliked"); after it, some brief reminder from "voices which warned [...] wars were unavoidable". These unsettling omens, seemingly marginal to the European Ideal, led to a sudden sharp turn in the affect of Freud's writing. The poetic exhaustion of European heritage is gone; the tranquil tone of picturing a more "civil" war turned into harsh, and indeed cynical accusations against the moral decadence of the nations at war. This is the ambivalence that Freud was stringing the reader along to experience, to act out, even before he pointed it out. Moreover, the way Freud deployed his texts is in exactly the same fashion as the emergence of a repressed traumatic experience. The most typical of which, sexual traumas. The memory of the trauma would not come forth for years, even decades; the person would look like as though they have forgotten about it completely. And then, just like the dissonance Freud slipped into his text, bits and pieces of it would surface into the consciousness (like the Jewish condition); at one point, one might even realize, purely from an intellectual perspective, that such-and-such an episode once happened to them. Such realization could be experienced calmly (just like "voices which warned"), until one day, the repressed affectual implication was ignited by an accident or a trigger. Only then the tsunami of primitive emotions rises, and the outburst of a psychological disease finally visible. The outburst is also the beginning of the curing process, for repression is finally removed and the treatment could start to take place. And start it did in the text. Freud performed a classical working-through in the text, starting with places where his now tormented citizen-reader would meet with him, and patiently directed his text to the cynical and Cynical (that is, in line with the spirit of ancient Cynics, living in agreement with nature) truth that psychoanalysis has to offer. A reader familiar with Freud would have seen the same argument laid out by him elsewhere; however, the familiarity of content does not discount the novelty, and importance of the formality Freud chose to deliver. The affect of the text is still oscillating between "Hans, are we the baddies?" and "being loved by others is still good, civilization is still desirable", but of smaller scale, which indicates that the working-through is moving forward. At the end of the day, Freud successfully led his argument to his destination: uncovering the false sense of universality that the European Ideal put forth, which is, in itself, a form of hypocrisy and an illusion, and pointing to the true universality that is the primitive affectual condition of mankind. The citizen-reader, or rather, the patient-citizen-reader, finds themselves in a situation of "neither-nor": In reality they have not sunk as deeply as we feared because they never really rose as high as we had believed. [...] If we have thus come to a fresh understanding of our estranged fellow citizens we can more easily bear the disappointment which nations have caused us, for of them we must only make demands of a far more modest nature. And thus is the repressed material successfully integrated into the consciousness. If that ending tone doesn't sit right, should one be expecting a "happily-ever-after" optimism like William James' the Moral Equivalent of War, just keep in mind that it's typical Freud: [M]uch will be gained if we succeed in transforming your hysterical misery into common unhappiness. With a mental life that has been restored to health, you will be better armed against that unhappiness. — Sigmund Freud, Josef Breuer, Studies in Hysteria And judging from history, Freud was not wrong. It wasn't happily-ever-after. *Erratum: Reflections was published in 1915. Nevertheless, I think most of my analysis still stands.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Hind

    What's good about this essay dating back to the breakout of WWI is that it's one of the very first writings addressing the problem or the suffusing case of disillusionment at that time which became the key emotion or state of being and mind that people in Europe were suffering from; it is also one of the elemental features that spread all over works of Modernist Literature. It was interesting to take Freud's look into account and see the war through his perspective since I'm writing a lengthy an What's good about this essay dating back to the breakout of WWI is that it's one of the very first writings addressing the problem or the suffusing case of disillusionment at that time which became the key emotion or state of being and mind that people in Europe were suffering from; it is also one of the elemental features that spread all over works of Modernist Literature. It was interesting to take Freud's look into account and see the war through his perspective since I'm writing a lengthy and detailed essay about all that. A very good read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Valeriya

    While I have no strong opinion on Freud's reflections on war (I felt almost in a haze while reading them - now as if I hadven't remembered a word of it), I was quite impressed on his writings on death. The best impression made on me was by the quote: Death is, of course, not deferred through our sensitiveness on the subject, and when it occurs we are always deeply affected, as if our expectations had been shattered. We regularly lay stress upon the unexpected causes of death, we speak of the acci While I have no strong opinion on Freud's reflections on war (I felt almost in a haze while reading them - now as if I hadven't remembered a word of it), I was quite impressed on his writings on death. The best impression made on me was by the quote: Death is, of course, not deferred through our sensitiveness on the subject, and when it occurs we are always deeply affected, as if our expectations had been shattered. We regularly lay stress upon the unexpected causes of death, we speak of the accident, the infection, or advanced age, and thus betray our endeavor to debase death from a necessity to an accident. A large number of deaths seems unspeakably dreadful to us. We assume a special attitude towards the dead, something almost like admiration for one who has accomplished a very difficult feat. We suspend criticism of him, overlooking whatever wrongs he may have done, and issue the command, de mortuis nil nisi bene: we act as if we were justified in singing his praises at the funeral oration, and inscribe only what is to his advantage on the tombstone. This consideration for the dead, which he really no longer needs, is more important to us than the truth and to most of us, certainly, it is more important than consideration for the living. Because isn't that exactly what's happening? When we confront the reality of death - or more like of losing a loved one - we confornt it with a great deal of pain, but after the initial realisation we seem to once again covince ourselves of the immortality of ourselves and our loved ones until we inevibitaly loose them.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amira K.

    Very interesting and depressing.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Barry Belmont

    A two part review for a two part book. The Disappointments of War. "[T]he state forbids [the citizen] to do wrong not because it wishes to do away with wrongdoing but because it wishes to monopolize it" – if only this sentence were to resonant with others the way it does with me. Our Attitude Towards Death. May, when the time comes, some eulogy for me contain the first seven paragraphs of this work. A two part review for a two part book. The Disappointments of War. "[T]he state forbids [the citizen] to do wrong not because it wishes to do away with wrongdoing but because it wishes to monopolize it" – if only this sentence were to resonant with others the way it does with me. Our Attitude Towards Death. May, when the time comes, some eulogy for me contain the first seven paragraphs of this work.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kriti Andhare

    Whilst certain points seem sound, a majority of the psychoanalysis is baseless and an unnecessary stretch in imagination. The reliance on Greek Mythology as insight into the human psyche is highly repetitive and not substantive. Nevertheless, an entertaining read when viewed as the cocaine filled ravings of a pride filled man.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Stahl

    An excellent, more philosophical reflection from Freud on the events on the Great War.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alejandro Teruel

    An early forerunner to Civilization and its discontents, in this pessimistic essay Freud dismisses the disillusionment felt at the outbreak of World War I as the (predictable) collapse of an illusion about the nature of civilization. For Freud, society had made up an unsustainable illusion about the nature of man, denying and repressing people´s true feelings about death. In particular, just beneath the veneer of civilization, the unconscious mind is, according to Freud, particularly liable to w An early forerunner to Civilization and its discontents, in this pessimistic essay Freud dismisses the disillusionment felt at the outbreak of World War I as the (predictable) collapse of an illusion about the nature of civilization. For Freud, society had made up an unsustainable illusion about the nature of man, denying and repressing people´s true feelings about death. In particular, just beneath the veneer of civilization, the unconscious mind is, according to Freud, particularly liable to wish death to any object that thwarts its desires; thus its ambivalent attitude towards loved ones. Throughout his life, Freud would come back to the idea of the death wish, struggling to place its importance in his theories. Was it simply a wish? Was it much more than that, Thanatos, a death or destructive instinct as important as and counterweighing Eros? What was its relationship to the ego and the libido? Was it an important weapon in the superego´s arsenal, to be used in threatening and carrying out self-punishment? In this essay, Freud barely scratches at the surface of this idea; he intuits the importance of the death wish, argues at the strength with which is repressed and at the hypocrisy that entails politely downplaying it or pretending its non-existence and wonders at the extent to which such attitudes underlie civilization itself: Thus there are many more hypocrites than truly civilized persons -indeed it is a debatable point whether a certain degree of civilized hypocrisy be not indispensabe for the maintenance of civilization...Freud clearly implies that we have to acknowledge the death wish to face reality: Is it not for us to confess that in our civilized attitude towards death we are once more living psychologically beyond our means, and must reform and give death its due?but concludes stoicly and over-harshly: If you would endure life, be prepared for death.Well worth reading.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chandrashekar BC

    Are we hypocrites? That's what Freud argues in this book. He analysis (again) the WAR we fought and the way we manifests DEATH through the eyes of subconscious. Along the path of the civilization ,we have even let the hypocrisy creeping in our subconcious and hence in the daily life. He argument he tells that the current civilization there are more hypocrites than the cultured persons. This civilized society has let people do the permissible amount of cunningness, treachery, cruelty, deceptions Are we hypocrites? That's what Freud argues in this book. He analysis (again) the WAR we fought and the way we manifests DEATH through the eyes of subconscious. Along the path of the civilization ,we have even let the hypocrisy creeping in our subconcious and hence in the daily life. He argument he tells that the current civilization there are more hypocrites than the cultured persons. This civilized society has let people do the permissible amount of cunningness, treachery, cruelty, deceptions for the self gain. ( May it for individual, Govt or Nation). He draws examples from the current events and the history. In the second section he explains more the manifestation of DEATH by the current world. He compares its understanding among the humans from prehistoric periods, middle ages and modern world. We are far away from understanding the truth behind death, and this wrong understanding of death is letting more cruelity and blind believes grow within us. Though Freud rationalizes quite effectively all these points , still it opens many doors to the readers to question his view points, which is normal to any new theory ( Especially the psychology ones)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Israa

    This book was an introduction to Freud for me. In part I of the book, he argues that human beings are not inherently good and that many of us who do good, do so for selfish purposes. In his opinion, this suppression of our "natural state" is dangerous. In his reflections on death, he describes the ways in which we are too far removed from death. He argues that "If you wish life, prepare for death". I continued to be disturbed by his use of the words "civilized" and "primitive" and it was definit This book was an introduction to Freud for me. In part I of the book, he argues that human beings are not inherently good and that many of us who do good, do so for selfish purposes. In his opinion, this suppression of our "natural state" is dangerous. In his reflections on death, he describes the ways in which we are too far removed from death. He argues that "If you wish life, prepare for death". I continued to be disturbed by his use of the words "civilized" and "primitive" and it was definitely a shock to me reading the following so near the beginning of the book: "We expected that the great ruling nations of the white race, the leaders of mankind, who had cultivated world wide interests, and to whom we owe the technical progress in the control of nature as well as the creation of artistic and scientific cultural standards—we expected that these nations would find some other way of settling their differences and conflicting interests." Overall an interesting read and well written.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Phoenix

    "We remember the old saying: Si vis pacem, para bellum. - If you wish peace, prepare for war. The times call for a paraphrase: Si vis vitam, para mortem. - If you wish life, prepare for death." War and death, tied, entangled to their very essence until... "Only the dead have seen the end of war." "We remember the old saying: Si vis pacem, para bellum. - If you wish peace, prepare for war. The times call for a paraphrase: Si vis vitam, para mortem. - If you wish life, prepare for death." War and death, tied, entangled to their very essence until... "Only the dead have seen the end of war."

  16. 4 out of 5

    Adrian Sprague

    "The state demands the utmost obedience and sacrifice of its citizens, but at the same time it treats them as children through an excess of secrecy and a censorship of news and expression of opinion which render the minds of those who are thus intellectually repressed defenseless against every unfavorable situation and every wild rumor." It's crazy how relevant this is in today's society "The state demands the utmost obedience and sacrifice of its citizens, but at the same time it treats them as children through an excess of secrecy and a censorship of news and expression of opinion which render the minds of those who are thus intellectually repressed defenseless against every unfavorable situation and every wild rumor." It's crazy how relevant this is in today's society

  17. 4 out of 5

    Zachary

    I did not read this particular edition, but rather the one in the Penguin series of freud's works. I'm reviewing the each text separately because it would be absurd to review each individual work as a whole. I did not read this particular edition, but rather the one in the Penguin series of freud's works. I'm reviewing the each text separately because it would be absurd to review each individual work as a whole.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jamadagni Pariti

    An interesting insight into the psyche of the hukan mind, the book by the greatest psychoanalysist of the century, gives you a glimpse into the workinga of your mind in regarda to war and the concept of death.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Schuschu

    Basically, Freud thinks that, if people didn’t deny their own violent tendencies, they would be more true to themselves; but, at the same time, he thought, why does it happen even in the most cultured of us?

  20. 5 out of 5

    Vigneswara Prabhu

    "A State at war will make free use of every Injustice, every act of violence, that would Dishonor the individual" In his Lifetime, Little would Freud have known just how true his words rung in the annals of History. Or perhaps he foresaw them, as clear as we remember those times. In the Disappointments of War: Freud Lived in a time in history where westerners considered themselves, being the most 'Civilised' of the world population, as the custodians of peace and righteousness. As time would prov "A State at war will make free use of every Injustice, every act of violence, that would Dishonor the individual" In his Lifetime, Little would Freud have known just how true his words rung in the annals of History. Or perhaps he foresaw them, as clear as we remember those times. In the Disappointments of War: Freud Lived in a time in history where westerners considered themselves, being the most 'Civilised' of the world population, as the custodians of peace and righteousness. As time would prove they thought the age on incessant, unnecessary wars and conquests to have come to an end. After all, they mused the world was moving towards a more Industrialized, trade based economy; and war would only hurt their progress. Gone were the days of Empires Blazing and razing their neighbor in fits of glory. Freud, as an Impartial observer noted the same. Ironically, his own nation would be the catalyst to THE most bloodiest and terrorizing war and genocide ever known to man till that point. A German by Nationality Freud seemed to hold an to a Wistful Hope to the outcome of the war, In favor of Germany. "Man acts civilized and well behaved so long as it serves his selfish desires" Another take on the overused analogy of people and masks, Freud is right to detail the true nature of man. once his raiment of accomplishments, compulsion imposed by society, and fear of persecution is removed in such special circumstances we are to test the true mettle of that which we denote as nobility and humanity of the soul. More often than not, an individual will succumb to their basal primal instincts, and morality becomes merely a concept. as detailed in Lord of the Flies in fiction and The Stanford Prison Experiment for Real Life. He ends his discourse, reminding us quite morosely to expect less from our fellow humans as the perceived Morality is a quality unduly Inflated. our society is not that Noble as we perceive. Even Noble selfless Endeavors are marred in Self serving Indulgences. II Our attitude towards Death: Humans Choose to Ignore the concept of Death; whether it be in regards to self or their loved ones. Which is why its sudden arrival shocks and traumatizes us. Death is an eternal truth looming over our existence since the dawn of life. On some primal and instinctive level we all are cognizant of its hold and ever pervasiveness. Our Numbness to death, also allows us to carry out acts of Murder, Genocide and even Patricide. Citing the Bible and the Original Sin, Freud argues 'the presence of the commandment, Thou shall not kill' enlightens that we are descendants of those who engaged in said acts; perhaps with reckless abandon. And as we are prove often times, even in contemporary world, we still hold the same instincts. Be it the Indoctrinated child soldiers of some oppressive warlord, a pathological Murderer, or be it highly trained Soldiers. The dynamic of our mind and thought with the concept of death is one of duality. while acknowledging its existence, there is a part of us buried in deep layers of brain matter which wishes to be in denial. choosing to believe in life after death, reincarnation and retribution to their actions. There are those still willing to dirty their hands with the act of murder and harm if it proves beneficial to self. still unable to cope with the reality of what they done, they seek justification and redemption; or conversely freedom from persecution and possible retribution from the perceives wronged soul. War and death go hand in hand in such as, war strips away from your average man, the pretense of appearing to be civilized and any faux nobility imposed with it. and is taken over by his basal instincts. war provides a field in where man can behave as his forefathers did, with reckless abandon unmindful of judgement, prosecution and the shackles of morality. An Alternate take on the power provided by the Mob. this time united under a perceived Higher goal and standard of national desire. to reconcile one must accept our nature as it is. and not be hoodwinked by the perceived reality that we construct for ourselves. the only reprieve, if you have won the draw of the lottery, in out post modern world chances are the gravest threat to our mortality are often those brought about by our own actions and lifestyle. as we live in a time, where people are more concerned about their mundane social existence and on average far from such disengaging elements of the populace. And go about living with the notion "If you Wish life, Prepare for Death"

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tosin Fagbami

    I thought this was going to be a boring read but it was actually quite interesting. When looked at in modern day context some of his ideas about the state seem absurd but within the frame of WW1 it makes perfect sense.

  22. 4 out of 5

    NN

    Though the core of Freud's mature thought can be seen here in embryonic form, it is too short and superficial to be of significant interest. Though the core of Freud's mature thought can be seen here in embryonic form, it is too short and superficial to be of significant interest.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Josiah Richardson

    War.. War never changes.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Aidan Hart

    good contents

  25. 5 out of 5

    sara

    “if you’re willing for peace, then prepare for war” ok no.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Sparks

    Written after ww1. Shows its age but still feels insanely relevant due to recent social collapse. Dude was reaching out through time to explain some things to me - thanks Sig.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Pritchard

    Fascinating set of essays, particularly when read in the context of WWII.

  28. 5 out of 5

    batuhan_a_kocak

    It was the best Freud book I've read but it was still bad. His excessive reliance on ancient Greek literature was unsupported and the racist undertones were disturbing. It was the best Freud book I've read but it was still bad. His excessive reliance on ancient Greek literature was unsupported and the racist undertones were disturbing.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Hillel

    Decided to pick this up for free on the amazon kindle store. The reflections on death were definitely more interesting/relevant than those on war. Freud admits to not being familiar with the psyche of the soldier, but this doesn't stop him from making claims about their level of evolution from barbarians that have not held the test of time. In other parts, his views on death anxiety have been expanded upon and turned into near-complete theories of human behavior by later existential thinkers. Th Decided to pick this up for free on the amazon kindle store. The reflections on death were definitely more interesting/relevant than those on war. Freud admits to not being familiar with the psyche of the soldier, but this doesn't stop him from making claims about their level of evolution from barbarians that have not held the test of time. In other parts, his views on death anxiety have been expanded upon and turned into near-complete theories of human behavior by later existential thinkers. Though Freud acknowledges that death anxiety has far more of an impact on behavior that we might think, he quickly dismisses death anxiety as a secondary defense without much explanation. If anything, it would seem simpler to conceptualize aggression as a defense against a primary death anxiety, but Freud doesn't do so. Was his relegating it secondary defense status is why most non-existentially oriented analysts stay away from these issues?

  30. 5 out of 5

    Seamus Mcduff

    A jolly little number. Some good gags here. Seriously though, folks, I think Sigmund gets a bad rap. Many who probably have never read spread these errors that he relates everything to sex and subconscious desires to have sex with your mother and all sorts of nonsense. A key theme here though is the way in which we have changed little from Primitive Man, especially in the area of our subconscious, our attitudes to death and killing. How true. Sigmund hits the nail of the head at many points in his A jolly little number. Some good gags here. Seriously though, folks, I think Sigmund gets a bad rap. Many who probably have never read spread these errors that he relates everything to sex and subconscious desires to have sex with your mother and all sorts of nonsense. A key theme here though is the way in which we have changed little from Primitive Man, especially in the area of our subconscious, our attitudes to death and killing. How true. Sigmund hits the nail of the head at many points in his arguments and make some insightful observations, framing things in such a clear and new way that it made me sit back, eg. human history is more or less nothing but a series of race wars. Anyway, I have little hope of summing up a book like this adequately or really giving it an intelligent review, but I'm glad I read it, and would be interested to explore more of Freud.

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