Freud and Happiness

             Born in 1856 in a small European town, Sigmund Freud would grow to be one of the most important thinkers in recorded history. From a young age, he attempted to understand the human mind and explain its tendencies. In doing so, he successfully managed to make countless enemies and critics. His ideas in response to the puzzles of human existence often conflicted with those of his audience, and I am in this number. In his novel Civilization and Its Discontents, Freud presents theories on happiness, none of with which I agree. Freud describes happiness, understood by us as pleasure, as everyone's main goal in life. According to Freud, all humans "strive after happiness; they want to become happy and remain so"(25). Mankind struggles in everything to avoid feelings of displeasure and pain while attempting to experience feelings of joy and delight. Freud named this concept the pleasure principle, and he thought it to be the gist of life. I, on the other hand, do not believe that the pleasure principle is everyone's driving force. First of all, people have different goals in life, starting with the most basic goal of survival. Besides that, though, people seek love, praise, wealth, and reproduction. However, different people do not hold these goals in equal esteem because no one is the same. Secondly, the need for happiness is important, but not vital. We can survive if we are not always experiencing pleasure, but for some individuals, sterility is devastating, and for others, the loss of love can lead to suicide. Freud believed that the pleasure principal is prevalent in humans at all times but can never be satisfied. He said that the "principle dominates the operation of the mental apparatus from the start"(25). Right when we are born, the pleasure principle is working inside of us. As infants, we cry if we are hungry or in pain, and we enjoy the warmth and security of our mother's arms. Day in and day out...

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Freud and Happiness. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 16:00, April 17, 2024, from