Freud – Civilization and Its Discontents

Freud’s Point

 Where to start, WHERE TO START!?

To put a pin on Freud’s point is worse

Than to operate on an open heart!

But let’s start

With one main point:

The relationship between Eros and Death.

Freud spoke of “the struggle between

Eros and Death.”

He related this struggle to society,

As well as to the individual,

And even stated that it “revealed the secret

Of organic life in general.”

But let us solely tackle the former one: society.

So, Sigmund, if I understand you well,

Did you truly intend to tell

That the reason why one should love (“Eros”)

Is to comfort and lessen our fear of Death?

For you said, “The evolution of civilization…must

Present the struggle between Eros and Death,

Between the instinct of life and the instinct of destruction,

As it works itself out in the human species.”

Freud, I will admit, your words soar above

Much of my comprehensive ability.

Yet, I am determined to use my heart

To discern which of the things you say

Are fictional ideas or, in fact, reality.

Your words did, however, easily sum up the message:

“This struggle [between Eros and Death] is what all

Life essentially consists of, and the evolution of

Civilization may therefore be simply described as

The struggle for life of the human species.”

Oh, Sigmund Freud, your education was vast:

You quote Shakespeare, Scripture, poetry, and much more.

Oh, Sigmund Freud, though difficult to decipher,

Your words at least inspire

Me to continue to seek a good education,

That I might share in the jubilation

Of deep thinking and knowledge of intellectual beauty.

But where we will always differ, Freud, is that

I worship God.

In Him is neither aggression, nor guilt, nor remorse.

In Him is Eros, for He is Eros, and He trampled

Down Death!

*Citations, in order: pp. 104, 81-2.

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