Socrates reads the works of Freud. After reading Civilization and Its Discontents, he embarked a journey to meet Freud personally so as to have a one-on-one dialogue with him. How would their ideas collide Who among these truth-seeking warriors will emerge unscathed from this cerebral combat In this essay let me explore this hypothetical scenario and generate a dialogue in how they wrestled with their brains to put up with their own philosophy.

When Socrates came, Freuds disciples were already gathered, excited to witness the encounter of two geniuses. Socrates was not known of giving lectures every time he engages into an intellectual battle. He used to brainstorm his opponent by throwing an avalanche of questions. Socrates startedYouve presented several interconnected ideas in your books which put religion as a form of madness, a mass delusion that is responsible of this human misery. Freud motioned Socrates to have a seat, which the latter obeyed. Religion is not the target.Freud said, while seated on his couch with a cigar in his hand.I did not point out religion as the source of the problem. It is civilization in which religion is a part. Yes, but let me ask you this question, Socrates retorted, this conflict between this so-called id and the superego (to use your jargon), what is the role of the ego in this conflict Socrates began his characteristic method of inquiry, a sort of free-wheeling philosophical cross-examination popularly known today as the Socratic Method.

The ego is the reality principle. Freud answered. The role of the ego is to give balance between the mandates of the id and the prohibitions of the superego. Freuds disciples were nodding their heads as gesture of support. Of these three structures, Socrates got his rejoinder, which is responsible for the formation of civilization There was a hush silence everyone was waiting for an answer. Freud gave his answer Civilization is formed as interplay of these three structures.  The disciples were smiling to one another so proud of their master who could easily answer the question. But one, as what youve said, Socrates bounced with a statement, makes decisions to weigh down the promptings of the two structures.  And it is

It is the ego Freud butted in, in response to the demands of the id and the inhibitions of the superego.

Feud was bombarded with a series of questions that lasted two hours then Socrates steered his question into something more direct and universal.We have gone so far, but the more questions I offer the more you bring me far from the core issue. Now let me ask this, when you formulated these ideas, these principles, all these theories youve presented what aspect of personality structure do you attribute as responsible in the formation of all these Everyone in the crowd was dumbfounded by such a question that nobody had asked before. Freud answered squarely So long as it is an intellectual activity, it is taking place in the ego in line with the accumulated sediments of civilization that is formed as the superego. The crowd made voices of applause as if someone had made three points in a basketball game. In your own case, Socrates asserted, youve mentioned all this mess and you seem to imply youve found a way out. I never offered any solutions. Freud answered. Religion offers a lot of answers to lifes purpose, and human misery persists. It is not a design in nature that man could be happy. How can there be happiness when there is a heightening of guilt The disciples were jubilant with this answer, but Freud gestured them to maintain silence.So whats the point of your therapies Socrates dropped his strongest contention as if it was his strongest card. Whats the point of your ideologies to go back to nature if you offer a morbid situation that nothing can be done to alleviate man out of this trouble Cannot anyone including your self, go beyond the stranglehold influences of this so-called civilization How By what principle were you able to assess the reality of all of these Everyone was taken aback by the question Freuds disciples began to listen seriously. Freud responded The powerful influence of culture may diminish if one is aware of its subtle manipulation.  Therefore, Socrates pushed his idea, you see it clearly that there must be something in man which is capable of going beyond, transcending the conflict of the mind and the biological urges towards something which is more significant and spiritual in nature. The capacity of learning exists in the soul already. You even mentioned in your writings that civilization distinguishes us from animals. So there is something in us which has produced civilization. All eyes and ears were now glued to Socrates. Yes, Freud replied, and that something which you have given a shroud of mystery and called a soul is actually an invention of a neurotic mind. It is this neuroticism in man which has created all these miseries including this so-called civilization. We organize ourselves into civilized society to escape suffering, only to inflict it back upon ourselves.

There was a commotion in the crowd as a sign, that disciples are now divided. Socrates Wait Lets go slowly into this. You said civilization is neurotic. But there is something in us that goes beyond our animal nature which is responsible for the creation of civilization. Is it your judgment that to go beyond our animal nature is neurotic Should we go back to our animal nature and get on with our instincts
At this juncture, Freud got irritated of Socrates disarming logic and excused himself politely, he said, he still has a patient to attend to, then left. Socrates continued in his argument ruthlessly like a raging lion which tears his victim into pieces. Freuds disciples which included Horney, Adler, Jung, Erikson, etc. were there listening and were impressed by the depth of his ideas.

Upon reading the Sermon on the Mount in the gospel of Mathew, Freud made his own comments The beatitudes (Mathew 51-12) is statement of acute rationalization, knowing the inevitability of lifes suffering, Jesus offered an escape from reality by attributing a meaning to our miseries. If we take a ride on the parable of the salt (Mathew 513), it should be noted that salt may provide taste to the food but what nutrition does it provide In fact, too much salt is damaging to the kidney. In the same way the baloney of meaning that was provided by religion is the root of misery because of mans attempt to get away from his nature. Man is light (Mathew 514-16), Man is salt these are statements to cover up human inadequacies.

Because of the inevitability of death, religion and its civilization has invented the afterlife and the promise of heaven (Mathew 520). The investment of heavenly treasures is another strategy under the theme of hope for the next life (Mathew 619-21). You are suffering today, you will be happy in the next life. You are a victim of injustice today you will be rewarded in the afterlife. Whatever tragedy that befalls you today, do not worry you will be rewarded in heaven. This is the supreme opium that man has invented in order to escape from the sting of existence. Drug addicts take drugs when they are sad drunkards drink alcohol every time they are in trouble. There is no difference between them and to a man who succumb to religious teachings to ease his pain.

It is taught that man must not bear grudges against anyone or else he will be punished in the next life (Mathew 521-26). It is human nature to get angry but religion has designed a teaching to disarm human in his own anger and to channel that anger into something socially acceptable by saying love your enemies (Mathew 544). Loving ones enemy is the most idiotic invention of religion. It is anti-human nature, and a desperate attempt to impart an image of a prosthetic god in us. Religion, because of its fear in human instincts, has invented teachings that would keep man away from his nature but what is nurtured in the process, is a perpetual conflict between his nature and the teachings. Man sees problems in almost everything he is into. If he gets angry, it becomes a problem because it is in conflict with the religious concept of love and forgiveness. Even sex becomes a problem to humans. To get sexually attracted to someone, even if that person is married, is but part of our sexual nature. We feel sexual urges and nurture sexual fantasies to fill in our longing for sexual fulfillment. This teaching on adultery (Mathew 527-28) is a reaction formation of a sexual paranoia.

You cannot serve two masters  God and mammon (Mathew 624). This teaching is irrelevant. People obviously serve for money, although in the name of God. Whos crazy to believe, after wielding much toil, and your boss will tell you Thanks for your labor God will give your pay in the next life

Do not worry about your lifeLook at the birdsyour heavenly Father feeds them. Consider the liliesGod clothes them. Seek first the kingdom of God (Mathew 625-34). These are very unrealistic analogies Man must toil in order to feed himself and survive. Our situation is different from the birds and the lilies. Wrong analogy Besides, to worry, to be anxious is hardwired into our mechanism for survival. It is part of day-to-day realities and experiences to be worried about things that disturb our security, be it in our jobs, in relationships, or our something to do with our financial necessities.

Whoever seeks, will find whoever knocks, the door will be opened whoever asks will receive (Mathew 77-8)  but what is found, what is opened, and what is received are all illusions projected onto our experiences. When a believer encounters something favorable in his life, he tends to attribute it as answer to his prayer.  The mind is tricked into believing his prayers are answered. This is where all the so called miracles sprouted.

Civilization is continually threatened with disintegration because of mans inclination to aggression. It invests great energy in restraining these instincts, and achieves this goal by installing within the individual a sort of watchdog agency. Society regulates individual aggression through the police force, but religion puts the police force inside the individual.


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