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Freuds The Future of an Illusion - Book Report/Review Example

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In the paper “Freud’s The Future of an Illusion” the author analyzes Freud’s book, where he attempted to decipher the workings of religion using psychoanalysis, pegging it merely as a projection of the infantile-sexual wishes of a helpless child, both fearing and seeking protection from his father…
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Freuds The Future of an Illusion
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Download file to see previous pages There is a need, however, to prove or disprove Freud’s contention against religion because to perpetuate that ‘illusion’ blindly without ascertaining its truth or falsity is living in hope under a lie. Fortunately, psychologists and historians, contemporary to and subsequent to Freud, had offered proofs and arguments against Freud’s sweeping generalization of religion pointing to its unsoundness and perhaps, falsity.

In his book The Future of an Illusion, Sigmund Freud referred to religion as an illusion. Illusion, according to him, is fundamentally underpinned by human wishes as opposed to an error being essentially a consequence of mistake (213). Religion is an illusion because it is founded upon the wishes of man to seek protection in a father-figure from two forces which turns him back into a helpless child: the vicissitudes of nature and the uncertainty of fate, and; the excesses of civilization. Man fears nature and fate because they are relentless, unforgiving and merciless. Although civilization, according to Freud, has somehow aided him in dealing, to a certain extent, with nature, civilization itself poses another kind of threat to him. This is because civilization brings another kind of evil, an evil engendered by men against men. Thus, man created a Divine Being, embodied through a “store of ideas,” that would appease, comfort and assure him of salvation out of the helplessness he feels. This supreme element evolved throughout history from deities to animal-gods, and finally refined as a single Divine Being (Freud 195-197, 213)

Freud saw religion as hinged on the “infantile prototype” of a helpless child who fears his parents, especially his father yet at the same time feels protected by them. The parallelism between the helpless child and the helpless adult underpins Freud’s theory. ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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