Freud and Nietzsche on Human Nature and Society

1411 words 6 pages
Freud and Nietzsche on Human Nature and Society

After intensive analyzation of reading Civilization and It’s Discontents by Sigmund Freud and Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche, I feel as if both Freud and Nietzsche offered virtually identical views of human nature and of the society in which they lived. In my paper I intend to prove how this is so. The Freudian view of humanity is quite pessimistic. According to his ideology, people act only in order to satisfy their needs, regardless of how noble their intentions may seem. Their actions stem either from hunger, which is the internal need to preserve the individual/ego, or from love, i.e. when a person utilizes external objects to satisfy his desires. And even
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When it came to religion, neither philosopher was very fond of the subject. Freud, for example, was known to say that a person’s sense of guilt is nothing more than their expression of anxiety, and its lack of diagnosis is common in everyday life. The role that Christianity then plays, is to allay that sense of anxiety, by ‘resolving’ one’s self of sin, i.e. guilt. Furthermore, he claims that the construct of religion was made in response to the obvious superiority of Nature, and is nothing more than a defense mechanism relating to the egotistic need for protection. And lastly, Freud questions the validity of the logic behind this religion, specifically the concept of “love thy neighbor as thyself”. This concept, he claims, directly contradicts the inherent nature of man, which is not loving, but rather aggressive and selfish. One way or another, Freud did not like this religion (or any other, for that matter). Nietzsche has a slightly different opinion on the subject. He asserts that Christianity is the method in which the “lesser people”, those who live predominantly by their creature instinct, validate their suffering, without using it to rise to new heights. It keeps the masses in a state of constant suffering and weakness – instead of using it as fuel to evolve into something greater. In fact, Nietzsche states that “almost everything we call ‘higher culture’ is based upon the spiritualization


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