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Freud Essay, Research Paper

Sigmund Freud is perhaps the most radical psychologist of the 20th century. His ideas have had an impact on almost every facet of society and his works opened human culture to a whole new approach to understanding human sexuality and how its effects play a key role in the growth of every society. Sigmund believed that human sexuality should be more liberated, because humans are naturally aggressive and modern knowledge has shown that sex tells one something about themselves. Freud was one of the first people to make a generally imaginative contribution that sex pervades everything in life, even the small gestures. His studies began in the 1890?s and his ideas were gathered from years of patient/doctor sessions and various contributions from outside sources. One being from anthropologists who came to the conclusion that if people were capable of being happy with so much varied sexual grouping, than sex is something different than traditional definitions. Ultimately, Freud believed that unless sexuality, which is historically conditioned, was liberated and sublimated into society, people could never fully be happy. A deeper analytical discussion is necessary in understanding the far-reaching contributions and ideas of Sigmund Freud.

Freud believed that human sexuality began at the birth of a child instead of at an age where children could identify and reason with their culture. He argued that children do not have personal knowledge to understand the biological ongoing of sex. Therefore, he stressed that the biggest sex organ was in fact the mind, where fantasy and identity takes place; disproving that sex was biological. He claimed there were major stages of a child?s growth that ultimately effected the rest of their life. Most notably were the oral stage and the anal stage. Freud argued that a child?s first pleasure was when they drank milk from their mother?s breast. He went on to say that children received pleasure from this and that the event was in fact a prototype of an orgasm. Freud insisted that as a person grows they never stop being a child in a sense. As we grow older, those influences that affected our minds as babies would indeed have a direct influence on our sexual behaviors as adults. Some people continue to have oral fixations as they grow, choosing to nibble on a pen or constantly eat. Some children might turn out to be homosexuals or bisexuals depending on how they are raised. This was a very radical idea of Freud?s and it proved that sex was not ?natural? and could be shaped and molded differently over time in each individual. Similarly, the anal stage also provided children with their first opportunity to gain power over their parents. Throughout potty training, defecation is seen as a gift from the child to their parents.

?They are clearly treated as pat if the infant?s own body and represent his first ?gift?: by producing them he can express his active compliance with his environment and, by withholding them, his disobedience (Freud, pg. 266).?

For the first time in a child?s life they have leverage over their parents. This supports Freud?s claims that sexuality begins at the infantile stage of growth.

We see now how certain stages of a child?s life affect their adult lives. We also see how infants are attached to their parents in every development of their lives at an early stage. Freud believed that because of this, certain desires and practices stem from parental guidance. Two most notably are the wants a child has of ?being? with their mother and that religion is born in the mother and father as a security for their child. Freud believed that even after a child grows and has become educated about sexual activity, that deep inside they really want to return to their mothers for pleasure.

?But even after sexual activity has become detached from the taking of nourishment, an important part of this first and most significant of all sexual relations is left over, which helps to prepare for the choice of an object and thus to restore the happiness that has been lost (Freud, pg. 288).?

This could explain why as children become adults they search for a partner that resembles there mother the fullest. The more affection a mother shows her child, the more the child will ultimately wish to return to her. The most radical idea about this is that a child might wish to have sex with their mother. They would then see their father as a threat because he is with mommy and wishes to kill him. Also, the idea of returning to ones mother could explain why as humans grow they are never fully satisfied or happy due to repressed sexual energy that society has created. The idea being with your mother is seen by society as preposterous and morally unacceptable. However, to Freud, it is seen as natural sexual energy being released. Further, from the parents Freud believed that the foundations of religion began. Freud was an opponent of religion and believed that it served only as a repressor of humanity and as security to society. Freud argued that its beginnings arose from the childhood experience.

?Thus his longing for a father is a motive identical with his need for protection against the consequences if his human weakness. The defense against childish helplessness is what lends its characteristic features to the adults reaction to the helplessness which he has to acknowledge-a reaction which is precisely the formation of religion (Freud pg. 699).?

Freud claimed that religion was nothing more than this, and if society could disregard of it, things in life could be seen in completely different fashions. Until this was done, humans would be repressing themselves with added moral codes.

We now begin to see where happiness falls into the equation, or lack thereof. But, first we must fully understand our human qualities before we see how society is restraining our growth as humanity. Up till now we have learned about the oral and anal stages of a child?s growth and our want to ultimately return to our mothers as we grow. We have also learned from Freud that religion is nothing more than security and moral codes in society and serves as a repressor to natural human feelings. Lastly, we should understand Freud?s thoughts on human aggressiveness. Freud believed that humans were not gentle creatures that wanted to be loved, and ?who at most can defend themselves if they are attacked; they are, on the contrary, creatures among whose instinctual endowments is to be reckoned a powerful share of aggressiveness (Freud, pg. 749).? As a result, human aggression has been given various instruments throughout society to hold it together. One example is that of work which allows humans to in a way focus on other things than their aggression. Another example is sports, which allows people to vent their aggression in a civilized fashion. Ultimately, natural human aggression is another part of humanity, which has been repressed by laws, moral codes, and the culture in today?s society. Similarly, there are various forms in which human sexual energy has been sublimated into society. Freud touches on the most basic forms of communication such as a tap on the butt or flirting and how these actions are methods for humans to vent their sexual energy. A person might repress their oral


Freud, Sigmundd. Freudian Reader. New York Press, ew York, 1978.

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