Freud defines three stages of sexuality, the oral, the anal and the oedipal stage. An infant in its oral stage learns that there is an external world through pleasure and pain. Human nature is governed by the pleasure principle. When the infant is being breast fed he/she feels pleasure and when pulled away from the breast the baby feels pain. The pleasure principle is a way of seeking pleasure in order to avoid pain. We cant be happy all the time because three things threaten us. First of all our own bodies cant handle too much pleasure at once, eventually our bodies get older and death is inevitable.
Second, natural phenomenons get in our way, and third our relationships with others. We are emotionally dependent on others and when we take their words into consideration we become unhappy. Since we cant be happy all the time we need to learn how to avoid pain. There are five ways we can avoid pain. We can become hedonistic and gain pleasure at all costs all the time. This way of avoiding pain isnt really possible due to the fact that we wouldnt be able to accomplish anything else in our lives. Second way of avoiding pain is by voluntary isolation.
A person can take him/herself out of society and become a hermit. They do not deal with people on an emotional or personal level. The third way of avoiding pain is turning away from the world, the libidinal energy is turned inward and used up by them when they create art and literature. Forth is by working in groups and forming memberships. Groups are formed for protection against brute force and have allowed us to conquer nature. The fifth way is by influencing the organism. The individual wants to kill off all instincts and does this either by using drugs and alcohol, or using eastern techniques such as yoga.
Freud said that another basic way to avoid pain is love. Sexual love is the most intense form of feeling pleasure. All forms of pleasure are related to sexual love. The sublimation of love can be between brother and sister and also can exist between friends. Along with love comes the appreciation of beauty and it is related to the sexual feeling that is part of our libido. Civilization can not do without beauty even though everyone has his or her own interpretation of what is considered beautiful. Freud describes the origin of civilization through four different time periods.
First in Time A, which is the time of the primal male, the male is brutish, ape-like and is governed by the pleasure principle. The male needs to gain genital pleasure no matter the consequences so he begins to associate pleasure with one woman. The male wants to keep this woman close to him and therefore he also has to keep their children. The woman stays with him for the protection he provides for her and the children. Only the male can determine who will and will not receive pleasure. The reason why this family is formed is because the forceful male wants pleasure and he needs the children to do the work that he is not willing to do.
The primal male becomes known as The Law and since he takes this role he feels he should be receiving all the pleasure. The children must work for him and he is the source of their pain. In Time B, the brothers come together and form the brother band and use their collective will to kill the father that has caused them so much pain. After his parricide the brothers will begin to fight one another to gain the power that their father once had possessed. Time C is the time of chaos, the brothers are fighting one another to gain power and the women have to take over.
The women keep the order and inform the brothers that the chaos is a result of the death of The Law. In Time D, the father (the Law) returns as a symbolic totem. The concept of taboo is introduced and the brothers must renounce their instincts and have to sublimate their love. The incest taboo forces them to stop trying to dominate the economy of pleasure. Due to the renunciation of instincts, genital satisfaction is sublimated. The most intense form of pleasure, sexual pleasure, now becomes aim-inhibited love.
This renunciation of instincts therefore changes sexual satisfaction to affection and respect for others around us and is aim-inhibited. This kind of love has its negative results. First is when a family is so libidinally bound that it can not function without any of its members. The family does not want to widen its circle and can not give up an individual. Second is when a woman becomes neurotic due to lack of attention. Since the work of civilization is considered to be the work of men, their libidinal energy is spent on the world.
The result is that the woman becomes hostile due to not being satisfied. The displacement of the libidinal energy develops as we try to avoid pain. This makes people fantasize and they receive pleasure through these fantasies. People obtain satisfaction without interfering with the real world. Happiness is a function that is the economics of the individuals libido. Libido is energy and there is a finite amount and it needs to be spent. One can expend it all at once or divide it up. There is a need for something based on a lack. We all have our own way of dealing with this lack.
This economics of the libido are broken up into two parts, the general and the individual. The general is true for everyone, because everyone wants to be happy. The individual puts the economics of the libido at risk for unhappiness and disappointment. People use different ways to deal with the world and distributing libidinal energy. The erotic person is emotionally dependent on others especially when it comes to relationships. His/her energy is invested in others and becomes very easily attached. The narcissistic person turns inward and is self-sufficient.
They use their energy to create things and derive pleasure from themselves. The third is the action man, he conquers nature by pushing forward. He/she wants to try out his strengths on the world and this is his source of pleasure. The neurotic person cant spend his libidinal energy, this energy works as a neurosis and the person might have a nervous tick. The last is the psychotic who creates a different world as a way to expend his energy. He is a hermit and completely withdraws from society and this causes him to turn inward and lose all connection with reality.
Eros (love) is responsible for increasing the size of the community. From this a society values and accepts monogamous heterosexual relationships. Civilization narrows down pleasure by posing restrictions on us. These restrictions cause individuals to repress things and these repressed objects will come back in some form.. Nature does not restrict its instincts and is guided by the pleasure principle. Since these restrictions are not natural, people acquire a hostile attitude towards civilization. Human nature is polymorphously perverse which means that pleasure can come from any object.
When the law causes problems when it puts restrictions on the pursuit of pleasure. Anything linked to the law is acceptable and anything else is perverse and criminal. The Ideal State of Affairs is a community based on pairs of lovers and they are libidinally satisfied and nothing in the external world matters. Things are not this way because civilization has certain aims and we can not always pursue the pleasure principle. An ideal demand is love thy neighbor as you love yourself. If you do not follow this then your neighbor becomes an object of your aggression.
This means that we have to control two instincts, the pleasure and the aggression. The only thing that stops aggression is the sense of guilt. Eros is controlled by the pleasure principle, which binds people together and the community grows. Thanatos is the death drive, this causes destruction and death. Freud also believes that these two are the same. For example when we are hungry we might eat an apple. Eating the apple is negation but we need to eat to live. Our entire behavior is a manifestation of the struggle between life and death.
This is also defined as one word lifedeath. Civilization is the reason for our misery but our aggression is a threat to civilization. Civilization forces us to internalize all of the aggressive instinct and send it back to the ego where it originated. This new area is referred to as the super-ego. The super-ego functions as guilt. This is societies way of controlling mans aggressive tendency. The super-ego is formed during the phallic stage when a boy realizes that he can not have the mother because of his father.
The boy becomes incapable of doing anything because of the no of the father. The super-ego beats up on the ego; this punishment is a way of threatening to destroy the ego. Sigmund Freud concluded that human nature is governed by the pleasure principle to avoid pain. Sexual love is the most intense form of pleasure. Eros (love) is responsible for increasing the size of the community. As we try to avoid pain our libidinal energy is displaced. Due to this we all need to find our own way of distributing this energy.