Karl Marx 's The Communist Manifesto And Sigmund Freud 's Civilization Essay

Karl Marx 's The Communist Manifesto And Sigmund Freud 's Civilization Essay

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Thinkers and philosophers have been pondering misery since the dawn of civilization. At the dawn of humanity, humans existed to survive and reproduce; every day was a struggle. However, with the advent of civilization, humanity has moved further and further away from its original evolutionary drives, and it can be argued by secular thinkers that humans exist now to find happiness. Therefore, misery can be seen as the biggest obstacle to human happiness, yet misery itself is a mystery to many. Karl Marx’s The Communist Manifesto and Sigmund Freud’s Civilization and its Discontents put forth the authors’ opinions on the origins of mortal misery, and suggest methods to solve the problem of misery. Although the two have differing views, both see parts of civilization itself as probable causes. While Marx postulates that class struggle and exploitation are the causes of suffering, Freud states that suffering is derived from general experiences with other men.
Although the primary point of the Manifesto is to provide the public with a primer on the basics of communism, Marx begins with an explanation of why communism is necessary. Indeed, Marx’s first statement is “ The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles” (Marx and Engels, 9). In Marx’s opinion, one can look back to any era of civilization and find “ Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed” standing in opposition; one exploiting the other. Marx argues that these examples contain the same inherent dynamic, and though the groups change through time, the exploitation remains (9). To Marx, the modern class dynamic has been simplified into two large classes in oppositio...

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...'t an easy fix for human misery, and suggestions such as communism just serve to direct the problem elsewhere. It seems that Freud lacks a solution and, with World War II on the horizon, concludes with the suggestion that either Eros or Thanatos will need to assert itself, but none can foresee the result.
As one can see, the epidemic of human misery is not one easily solved. Even when a solution is suggested, e.g. communism, the world must first accept it. It seems more likely than not that Freud is right; mortal men can do nothing in the face of their own instincts, and there may not be a plan of action to make the whole world happy. As terrifying as it sounds, it may take something existential to completely eradicate suffering. Technology is only going to ever advance faster, and maybe the answer to a problem of the human condition is, in fact, something not human.

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