Marx and Freud: Comparing Their Views Of Human Nature Essay

In The Communist Manifesto. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels present their position of human nature and the consequence that the economic system and economic factors have on it. Marx and Engels discuss human nature in the context of the economic factors which they see as driving history. Freud. in Civilization and Its Discontentments.

explores human nature through his psychological position of the human head. Marx states that history ‘…is the history of category struggles’ ( 9 ) . Marx positions history as being determined by economic sciences. which for him is the beginning of category differences. History is described in The Communist Manifesto as a series of struggles between suppressing categories and laden categories. Harmonizing to this position of history.

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monolithic alterations occur in a society when new technological capablenesss allow a part of the laden category to destruct the power of the suppressing category. Marx briefly traces the development of this through different periods. adverting some of the assorted laden and oppressing categories. but points out that in earlier societies there were many steps of societal categories. He besides states that this category struggle sometimes leads to ‘…the common ruin of the contending classes’ ( Marx 9 ) .

Marx sees the modern age as being distinguished from earlier periods by the simplification and intensification of the category struggle. He states that ‘Society as a whole is more and more dividing up into two great hostile camps… middle class and proletariat’ ( Marx 9 ) . The middle class. as the dominant category of capitalists. subjugates the labor by utilizing it as an object for the enlargement of capital. As capitalist economy progresses. this subjection reduces a larger part of the population to the labor and society becomes more polarized. Harmonizing to Marx.

the polarisation of society and the intense subjugation of the labor will finally take to a revolution by the labor. in which the control of the middle class will be destroyed. The labor will so derive control of the agencies of production.

This revolution will ensue in the creative activity of a socialist province. which the labor will utilize to establish socialist reforms and finally communism. The reforms which Marx outlines as happening in the socialist province have the common end of disimpowering the middle class and increasing economic equality. He sees this socialist phase as necessary for but necessarily taking to the constitution of communism.

Human existences. which are competitory under capitalist economy and other anterior economic systems. will go concerted under socialism and communism.Marx. in his position of human nature. sees economic factors as being the primary incentive for human idea and action.

He asks the rhetorical inquiry. ‘What else does the history of thoughts prove. than that rational production changes its character in proportion as stuff production is changed? ’ ( Marx 29 ) .

For Marx. the economic position of human existences determines their consciousness. Philosophy. faith and other cultural facets are a contemplation of economic sciences and the dominant category which controls the economic system. This position of human nature as being chiefly determined by economic sciences may look to be a basal position of humanity. However. from Marx’s point of position.

the human status reaches its full potency under communism. Under communism. the rhythm of category struggle and subjugation will stop. because all members of society will hold their basic stuff demands met.

instead than most being exploited for their labour by a dominant category. In this sense the Marxian position of human nature can be seen as hopeful. Although human existences are motivated by economic sciences. they will finally be able to set up a society which is non based on economic subjugation.Freud. in Civilization and Its Discontentments. nowadayss a construct of human nature that differs greatly from that of Marx. His position of human nature is more complex than Marx’s.

Freud is critical of the Marxist position of human nature. saying that ‘…I am able to acknowledge that the psychological premises on which the [ Communist ] system is based are an indefensible semblance. In get rid ofing private belongings we deprive the human love of aggression of one of its instruments…but we have in no manner altered the differences in power and influence which are misused by aggressiveness. nor have we altered anything in its nature’ ( Freud 71 ) . Freud does non believe that remotion of economic differences will take the human inherent aptitude to rule others. For Freud. aggression is an unconditioned constituent of human nature and will be irrespective of how society is formulated.

He sees human existences as holding both a life inherent aptitude ( Eros ) and an inherent aptitude for devastation. In Freud’s position of human world. the beginning of struggle. subjugation. and devastation in human society is man’s ain psychological make-up. Because of Freud’s position of human nature as inherently holding a destructive constituent. he does non believe that a ‘transformation’ of worlds to communist work forces and adult females will be possible.

Marx’s belief that the current capitalist society will germinate into a communist society is non bearable under Freud’s construct of human nature because the desires of human existences are excessively much in struggle with the demands of any civilised society. This struggle does non be because of economic inequalities. harmonizing to Freud. but instead because it is in human nature to hold aggressive desires which are destructive to society. Freud’s attack to the possibility of cut downing struggle among humanity focal points on understanding the human head. the aggressive qualities of human nature. and how human beings’ desires can come into struggle with the demands of human society. He does non believe that the jobs of human struggle.

aggression. and devastation can be solved by a extremist reordering of society as the doctrine of Marx suggests. Alternatively. Freud looks inside ourselves to research these jobs. At the stopping point of his work. Freud provinces. ‘The fatal inquiry for the human species seems to me to be whether and to what extent their cultural development will win in get the hanging the perturbation of their communal life by the human inherent aptitude of aggression and self-destruction’ ( Freud 111 ) .Freud does non offer any extremist solutions to human aggressiveness.

but instead sees it as something that worlds must continually endeavor to get the better of. He states ‘…I have non the bravery to lift up before my fellow-men as a prophesier. and I bow to their reproach that I can offer them no consolation…’ ( Freud 111 ) .

Freud can non offer some vision of a human Utopia. but can merely propose that there is some possibility for the betterment of the human status and society. but besides warns that our success at get the better ofing destructive inherent aptitudes may be limited.

Marx offers a extremist doctrine which besides sees struggle as one of the invariables of anterior human being. Unlike Freud. Marx believes that the aggressive and conflict-oriented facets of human nature will vanish under the Communist society which he sees as the inevitable merchandise of capitalist economy.

This is the hopeful component of Marx’s doctrine. However. if communism is non seen as inevitable or the possibilities for cut downing human struggle before a socialist revolution are considered.

so Marx’s position of human nature locks humanity into changeless struggle. If the hereafter is to be like Marx’s version of history. so there is small hopefulness in this position of human nature.Plants CitedFreud. Sigmund.

Civilization and Its Discontentments. Ed. James Strachey. New York: W. W.

Norton. 1961. Marx. Karl and Frederick Engels. The Communist Manifesto. New York: International Publishers.



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