FREUD & MARX ON REPRESSION.
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Essay on era Marx lived in, his opposition to violations of human rights, his view of repressive nature of Capitalism. Examines Freud's view of repression as a necessity to restrict the individual's untrammeled expression of natural instincts.... More...
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Essay on era Marx lived in, his opposition to violations of human rights, his view of repressive nature of Capitalism. Examines Freud's view of repression as a necessity to restrict the individual's untrammeled expression of natural instincts.
Freud and Marx on Repression The ideas of Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud had such influence on the Twentieth Century that it is hard to find any other figure to compare them with. Both were born Jews, became atheists, and criticized their societies as few before or since have done. Each was endowed with a brilliant mind, and followed the logic of their thinking to conclusions that brought them widespread derision and opposition, as well as zealous adherents. The political world has never been the same since Marx. And it’s fair to say we human beings will never see the immense and unexplored jungle in our own psyches the same way after Freud. Many people are awed by the work of great intellectuals, thinking their thought will be beyond comprehension. But the
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While Marx's concern with the plight of the exploited worker made himhighly sensitive to their alienated psychology, in Civilization and ItsDiscontents Freud leaves his natural ecological niche in the psyche andmakes a tentative foray into the social and cultural realm where Marx hadstaked his claim. Democracy lies in tatters. Freud and Marx on Repression The ideas of Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud had such influence on theTwentieth Century that it is hard to find any other figure to compare themwith. The "fear of revolt by suppressed elements [sex andaggression] drives it [the super-ego] to stricter precautionary measures". 1978.Freud, S. Politics istrivialized, falsified, propagandized. It no doubt reflects Freud's own culture and personal outlook onlife. Many people are awed by the work of great intellectuals, thinkingtheir thought will be beyond comprehension. The average American is anxious. Each was endowed with a brilliant mind,and followed the logic of their thinking to conclusions that brought themwidespread derision and opposition, as well as zealousadherents. Marx did not see repression simply from the point of view of economicexploitation per se. As Freud loved to do with his patients, we can read between the lineshis own rationalistic despair, and his equivocally romantic view of so-called primitive (non-Western) cultures. Its meansof control and oppression of the minds of the masses is something neitherMarx nor Freud ever considered, because modern mass media existed only inembryonic form in their day - although Freud lived tosee the advent of electronic communications. "What we call civilization is largely responsible for our misery,and...we should be much happier if we gave it up and returned to primitiveconditions" (33). Civilization and Its Discontents is really a meditation on theimpossibility of man's happiness, except in a restricted, rather joylesssense. Strachey, J., ed. The Industrial Revolution was raw and brutal, as far from a Christianvision of man as could be. The mechanism of the conscience is seen as the collectiveexpression of the repressive spirit of society. It is no wonder thattelevision claims millions each night as they disassociate from their owntrue being and slide into the anesthetic pit of capitalist mediaprojections. And the NicaraguanSandinistas had one of the most liberal and democratic of the Marxistrevolutions. Works CitedTucker, R., ed. 1961. Second edition. He saw socialism as opposing a great evil. From this comes modernculture's most ironic discovery: that technological progress does not makeman happier. No psychiatrist yet born is capable of analyzing the entireinsanity, but it is clearly pathological to those few still capable ofthought. A nation that allows its most important mass media to fall into thehands of a capitalist faction shoots itself in the foot, and needlesslypostpones the day when man will rise to his highest possible potential.Repressive, alienating, violent, dishonest, manipulative, uncaring,disrespectful, irrelevant, and more powerful than any teacher, capitalistmedia is a chain man has put around his own neck, and it is strangling him. Curiosity has been successfullykilled for several generations of Americans. The political world has never been the same since Marx. Corporate America, theundemocratic power that controls the government and mass media of theUnited States, is easily subject to Marx's capitalist critique. Freud conceived the super-ego as a kind of highly aggressive internalized cultural watchdog, what hetermed "a garrison in a conquered city"(Freud, 1961, 7 ). To Freud repression is not the result of capitalist exploitation, butof the necessity for civilization to severely restrict the individual'suntrammeled expression of natural instincts, chief among them sexuality andaggression. American lifeis deeply pervaded with ignorant attitudes, nowhere more so than fromtelevision. But the former feels satisfied and affirmed inthis self-alienation, experiences the alienation as a sign of its ownpower, and possesses in it the appearance of a human existence. To the extent that Marx had the courage to oppose this grossviolation of human rights in his outspoken writings, his position wasethical. The Marx-Engels Reader. Both were born Jews, became atheists, and criticized their societiesas few before or since have done. And it'sfair to say we human beings will never see the immense and unexploredjungle in our own psyches the same way after Freud. Since education, consumer information, ecological knowledge,and other social goods are not considered profit centers, they are bannedfrom our national airwaves, except in the most perfunctory and ignorantway. New York: W.W. Stress is incessant, intelligent ormore humane alternatives hidden from popular view. The seizing of power by a faction for their ownselfish ends, rather than the public good, which John Jay saw as thegreatest threat to democratic government and political freedom, is exactlywhat has happened in most, but not all, communist governments.While Castro's methods are not democratic, he has sought to serve thepublic good, rather than the enrichment of his faction. New York: W.W. American commercial television is basically amenable to analysis asthe propaganda (advertising) arm of the corporate state. Its rules aresimple, and serve humanity poorly: attract the largest possible audiencewith every program, and use the medium exclusively to manipulate people tobuy, thereby enriching the unseen few who own both the means ofcommunication, and advertise on it. In a land of great librariesand universities the masses show little interest in learning. But the reason these men holdtheir high stature, and the continued interest of mankind, is because manyof their concepts are remarkably simple, and can be communicated to anyone.Not only that, their ideas hit us where we really live, from ourwork to our dreams. Even their hypocritical veneer of Christianity is asymbol of cultural repression from the point of view of the proletariat,because the religion that pretends to glorify the poor and condemn the richin reality actually does the opposite by invariably allying itself withwealth and worldly power. The unimaginable totalitarianmurderousness of Stalin was the direct result of Marx's advocacy ofdictatorship rather democracy. His concept of alienation is a goodexample of how he understood the repressive nature of capitalism. "The possessing class and the proletarian class represent one and thesame human self-alienation. The cause of the repression of the workers is the greed of thepropertied class. Unlike the American Constitution, there wereno checks and balances. He or she does not feel valued forhis own nature and capacities at work. Marx and Freud would have understood. Applying the thought of Marx and Freud to modern pop culture is anexciting and intellectually provocative exercise. The latter,however, feels destroyed in this alienation, seeing in it its own impotenceand the reality of an inhuman existence" (Tucker, 1978, 133). Freud sees the conscience, or super-ego as the aggressive force bywhich society enforces its repression of individual instincts, which has acausal relationship with the production of neurosis. Banality reigns supreme. Norton. Marx was born first, and did most of his writing in the mid-18 s.What the Protestant Reformation was to Christianity, communism was tocapitalism. And by abolishingprivate property and initiating a dictatorship of the proletariat, hebelieved that humanity would be redeemed. Need frustration is the primary mechanism that breedsneurosis (34). Civilization and Its Discontents. The term "pop culture" must be analyzed first. How naive he was about human nature. Norton. Pop culture can bestudied anthropologically, but it is not a real human culture, but asynthetic, capitalist manipulation designed to stimulate consumption andtherefore profits. The ultimate and worst repression carried out by the corporate media-industrial complex is the colonization of the American mind. Communism and capitalism must be seen as one yin-yang, as polaropposites obsessed with the shadowy presence of the other. Men, women, and children of both the ruralpeasantry and the urban underclass were chained to their machines and atthe same time robbed of all possibility of advancement by the cold-heartedlogic of capitalism, the very essence of selfishness. With no child laborlaws, minimum safety standards, governmental welfare programs, unions, oroccupational alternatives, hundreds of thousands of people lived lives ofdespair and grimness so a tiny number of factoryor mine owners could make money far in excess of their needs. He also paid homage to the minds, hearts, and souls(in the secular sense) of the workers.
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