Sigmund Freud on the Effects of War

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

Below please find some question written by your classmate,  Elizabeth Adler, on the selections from Sigmund Freud’s writings, “On Human Nature,” which you can find on pp. 294-303 of The Shaping of the Modern World. Elizabeth’s questions focus especially on the section, “The Disillusionment of War.” Remember to respond with an answer of at least a paragraph.

The brutality of warfare during World War I deeply shocked the supposedly “civilized” Europeans. How did this brutality relate to Freud’s ideas about “the transformation of instincts” in this reading? What do you think about Freud’s idea about “civilized behavior” originating from a tension between internal and external factors? To Freud, how did World War I affect this dynamic? Why does he believe these effects could be around for years to come?

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1 Comment

  1. Aroosa Altaf

     /  December 11, 2012

    Whenever human beings are exposed to extraordinary circumstances such as war then they become stripped off the constructive behavior or an artificial nature that has been imposed on them by the society and state. And they start exhibiting their natural, instinctual, and uncivilized self. When we see human beings exhibiting their real, uncivilized self, we become shocked. And this is what had happened during WWI, it was because of their constructive nature was gone and they were showing their natural instincts. So for us to think that how can civilized people behave such way, it’s only a destruction of illusion.


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