Discussing Sigmund Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents (1930) on the human condition. For Wes Alwan's summary of this book, go here).
What’s the meaning of life? For Freud, an objective purpose rises or falls with religion, which he thinks a matter of clinging to illusion, so his question would be: what do we want out of life? To be happy, of course, yet Freud sees happiness as a matter of fulfillment of pent-up desires, meaning it’s by its nature temporary. Yet we can’t shake off its pursuit, and so we’re in a bind, and have a number of strategies for obtaining some satisfaction: some compensation for what we have to repress in order to live in a society that forces us to repress our innate desires.
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Running Time: 2 hrs., 5 min. Recorded: September 5, 2010. Participants: Mark, Wes, Seth.
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Sheldon L Richman –
I enjoyed the discussion, although as a classical liberal and an Aristotelian I see society as ideally liberating rather than as repressive. One comment, however, on Seth’s tangential point about autism. He says autistics see things in themselves more truly than others because they notice details about things rather than seeing things as members of classes (concepts). Since things indeed have at least family resemblances to certain other things (chairs differ from refrigerators in significant ways), I don’t see why the autistic perspective is somehow superior to the non-autistic perspective. Why should obliviousness to seeing things as members of categories privileged over the way others see things? This not to mention that non-autistics can focus on the details of a thing and see it as a member of a category as the occasion warrants.
Charles Crawford –
A graceful review of some of the key themes. But no serious discussion at all of the many powerful well-researched arguments that Freud was a charlatan, liar, creep and so on?
How as a matter of fact when there is no Popperian falsifiability available are we philosophy types (and normal people) meant to distinguish between ‘interesting’ claims/ideas and pure ingeniously presented cocaine-induced morbid sex-crazed reductionist quackery?