Sigmund Freud, Lenin, and Civilization

Question 1

Sigmund Freud’s assertion that aggressiveness is instinctive is supported by the reason that man’s instincts perceive their neighbor not just as a possible assistant or something to use for sexual pleasure. Rather, as an individual who would deal aggressively with him by exploiting him to work for them, sexually satisfy themselves, take his belongings, embarrass him, or subject him to physical pain that may include killing him (Psychology, p. 404). Further, Freud gives the reason that human beings were aggressive long before conflicts of property came up, wherein aggressiveness is the basis of affection and love between individuals. He further gives the reason that even if we were to do away with the personification of property as well as sexual restrictions and take new paths of civilization, we would still expect to experience aggression in the development of civilization (Psychology, p. 406). He fails to address if aggressiveness is instinctive to women as he considers them one of the instruments that fuels aggression amongst men. However, his consideration of the exception of a mother’s affection for her male child can be construed to have been a subtle address to women’s aggressiveness (Psychology, p. 406).

Question 2

According to Freud, individual interests and those of social groups are at odds since every human being has a primary aggressiveness which he supposes that it is present in others too (Psychology, p. 405). He posits that instinctual passions are strong in comparison with reasonable interests which in essence threaten the integration of civilized society. Society tries to make those interests the same by setting limits to man’s aggression using methods meant to incite man into identification. Such methods include restrictions on sexuality as well as the decree that one should love their neighbor as themselves (Psychology, p. 405). Further on, society imposes laws that seek to inhibit criminal activities. Society through groups such as communists tries to reduce conflicts between individuals and social groups by advocating for community ownership of property (Psychology, p. 405).

Question 3

Yes, societies could engage in large-scale conflict as a way of giving up individual aggression, and then a small group of people is bounded in love.  Their cumulative aggression is then directed at a community adjacent to them as evidenced by feuds and ridicule between people in Spain and those in Portugal, England, and Scotland among others. This proclivity to aggression can be viewed as a useful and fairly harmless means by which cohesion can be attained (Psychology, p. 406). The other outlet would include using civilization to meet the desires of many people by allowing a constant critiquing of the causes of imperfections and by gradually undergoing alterations. In addition, Freud supposes the use of Eros to bring together individuals, families, races, persons, and countries into a big union of mankind. This union of all human beings would be a unity of purpose against the instincts of death or destruction (Psychology, p. 407).

Question 4

The socialist movement is endangered by critical Marxism since it denies vital elements regarding the lives of people. It denies the likelihood of evaluation of socialism scientifically and shows its need and unavoidability as perceived by the materialist notion of history, denies the obvious growing poverty, and denies the growth of the working class. Further, such notions of men as Bernstein denies the escalation of capitalist contradiction and deems the ultimate objective of society as unsound. In addition, that notion rejects in its entirety the despotism of the proletariat. Moreover, the contrast in belief between liberalism and socialism is denied by that notion as well as the denial of the concept of class struggle. Lenin contends that the notion of men such as Bernstein who oppose the revolution and advocate for democracy only present ideas from one extreme end while completely ignoring the other parts of the same idea which eventually endangers the socialist movement who also fail to understand that Lenin’s view is not to champion the degradation of the revolutionary to the amateur but on the contrary to elevate the amateur towards the standpoints of the revolutionary (The Russian Revolution, p. 394). 

Question 5

Lenin supposes that workers did not inherently possess social revolutionary consciousness amongst themselves and that had to be brought to them from a different place. The workers have been absorbed in trade union works and thus failed to note that there is a difference between trade unionism and social revolution (The Russian Revolution, p. 394). There is insufficient political education amongst the workers which inhibits them from developing social revolution consciousness. Further, the workers have not had social revolution consciousness since the economic struggle fails to rouse them to it, they suppose that the activities associated with social revolution have no prospects of positive tangible outcomes. The workers fail to comprehend that the oppressors of scholars, authors, religious groups, and peasants are the same people who suppress them in every aspect of their lives (The Russian Revolution, p. 394). 

Question 6

The advantages of restricting the party to just a small circle as posited by Lenin are as follows. The masses will be at an advantage given the fact that a few proficient revolutionaries who are trained in a similar way as the police centralize every secret factor of the revolutionary work such as drafting leaflets, evaluating plans, and the appointment of the leadership of various divisions of the revolutionary (The Russian Revolution, p. 393). Centralizing the key secret activities of the revolutionary increases the scope and qualitatively enhances the functionality of a big number of other divisions which are meant for the general populace. In addition, having a small circle of individuals at the helm of the revolution ensures that the revolution has people who have wholly devoted themselves to the functions of the social revolution and democratic undertakings and facilitates the ardent and patient training of these few people as professionally as possible for the activities of revolution (The Russian Revolution, p. 393). More importantly, he emphasizes that a dozen wise people cannot be more easily discovered than a hundred fools, therefore, the few individuals cannot be wiped out or gotten rid of. This notion also presents the concept that quality ideas will be brought up by a few wise individuals as opposed to what a hundred fools would come up with.