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Freud, on persistant opportunity disparity, and its impact of humn civilization

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posted on Dec, 31 2011 @ 03:52 PM
I've always seen the social pact to be the one insurance premium that is paid by those who've gained much, offered in exchange for the continuation of the social structure that enabled them to succeed. I get a lot of troll responses whenever I suggest it, although not so much on this board, since I don't spend much time in such forums here, and therefore haven't built up any sort of presence within these kinds of debates on ATS. I was working on an essay by Freud this afternoon - my research not directly related to the topic of the social pact - and ran across this aside on page 7 of the 36 pages this essay completes, and I thought I'd share it. In my view, this is the primary reason for programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the newly minted Obamacare convolution. Simple survival efforts instituted to prevent the US from going the way of so many previous empires.

If we turn to those restrictions that apply only to certain classes of society, we meet with a state of things which is flagrant and which has always been recognized. It is to be expected that these underprivileged classes will envy the favoured ones their privileges and will do all they can to free themselves from then-own surplus of privation. Where this is not possible, a permanent measure of discontent will persist within the culture concerned and this can lead to dangerous revolts. If, however, a culture has not got beyond a point at which the satisfaction of one portion of its participants depends upon the suppression of another, and perhaps larger, portion—and this is the case in all present-day cultures—it is understandable that the suppressed people should develop an intense hostility towards a culture whose existence they make possible by their work, but in whose wealth they have too small a share. In such conditions an internalization of the cultural prohibitions among the suppressed people is not to be expected. On the contrary, they are not prepared to acknowledge the prohibitions, they are intent on destroying the culture itself, and possibly even on doing away with the postulates on which it is based. The hostility of these classes to civilization is so obvious that it has caused the more latent hostility of the social strata that are better provided for to be overlooked. It goes without saying that a civilization which leaves so large a number of its participants unsatisfied and drives them into revolt neither has nor deserves the prospect of a lasting existence.

excerpt - The Future of an Illusion
Freud, S. (1927). The Future of an Illusion. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XXI (1927-1931): The Future of an Illusion, Civilization and its Discontents, and Other Works, 1-56

Let the freemarket carnivore mayhem begin!

posted on Jan, 1 2012 @ 11:20 AM
Hi Noreaster,
Happy 1 January, fwiw.

I always enjoy reading your posts. This passage above helps to remind me that what is happening now in the world is not unique to history. It's the same age-old struggle it has always been (at least since the Sumerians). Lather, rinse, repeat.

Some people say it's worse now than ever, but that is not so. In my opinion, the cycle just doesn't repeat often enough for folks to realize it is that...a cycle. It doesn't complete the circuit in one man's lifetime, he is born into it somewhere along the continuum, and lives long enough to see it moving along, but not to its conclusion and recycling again.

Partly that is humanity's inherent weakness. It's simple to say that they who "ignore" history are bound to repeat it. But not enough people are educated to the history that would make the cycle self-evident, and none live long enough to survive it themselves all the way through.

The pendulum swings, and then swings back, ad infinitum. When we learn how to stop its swinging and find a balance, then humanty will move forward, out of the endless cycles of our current state of affairs.
from Aristotle on Democracy

We have now to inquire what is the best constitution for most states, and the best life for most men, neither assuming a standard of virtue which is above ordinary persons, nor an education which is exceptionally favored by nature and circumstances, nor yet an ideal state which is an aspiration only, but having regard to the life in which the majority are able to share, and to the form of government which states in general can attain.

Okay. The best way, according to Aristotle (before the birth of Christ), for men to live as a society is to develop one that is not dependent on its members being exceptionally well educated, virtuous, or privileged

For if what was said in the Ethics is true, that the happy life is the life according to virtue lived without impediment, and that virtue is a mean, then the life which is in a mean, and in a mean attainable by every one, must be the best.

That is, where everyone has the same access to basic needs, and don't have to struggle to survive, nor have too much excess.

Now in all states there are three elements: one class is very rich, another very poor, and a third in a mean. It is admitted that moderation and the mean are best, and therefore it will clearly be best to possess the gifts of fortune in moderation; for in that condition of life men are most ready to follow rational principle. But he who greatly excels in beauty, strength, birth, or wealth, or on the other hand who is very poor, or very weak, or very much disgraced, finds it difficult to follow rational principle. Of these two the one sort grow into violent and great criminals, the others into rogues and petty rascals. And two sorts of offenses correspond to them, the one committed from violence, the other from roguery.

BEST TO POSSESS THE GIFTS OF FORTUNE IN MODERATION. But the super rich and the very poor find it difficult to follow RATIONAL PRINCIPLE. The very poor become violent and great criminals, the very rich into rogues and petty rascals.

...those who have too much of the goods of fortune, strength, wealth, friends, and the like, are neither willing nor able to submit to authority. The evil begins at home; for when they are boys, by reason of the luxury in which they are brought up, they never learn, even at school, the habit of obedience.

Starts at home, they aren't taught to follow the rules that have been devised to protect everyone.

On the other hand, the very poor, who are in the opposite extreme, are too degraded. So that the one class cannot obey, and can only rule despotically; the other knows not how to command and must be ruled like slaves. Thus arises a city, not of freemen, but of masters and slaves, the one despising, the other envying; and nothing can be more fatal to friendship and good fellowship in states than this: for good fellowship springs from friendship; when men are at enmity with one another, they would rather not even share the same path. But a city ought to be composed, as far as possible, of equals and similars; and these are generally the middle classes. Wherefore the city which is composed of middle-class citizens is necessarily best constituted in respect of the elements of which we say the fabric of the state naturally consists. And this is the class of citizens which is most secure in a state, for they do not, like the poor, covet their neighbors' goods; nor do others covet theirs, as the poor covet the goods of the rich; and as they neither plot against others, nor are themselves plotted against, they pass through life safely. Wisely then did Phocylides pray- 'Many things are best in the mean; I desire to be of a middle condition in my city.'

Seems like good thinking to me.

edit on 1-1-2012 by wildtimes because: formatting error, and to add link

posted on Jan, 1 2012 @ 12:15 PM
Isn't it amazing how difficult we find it to disperse wealth in a fair and equitable fashion?

It even runs against sound financial principle to leach the primary consumers groups dry yet we still trade the already meager wealth of labor for the growth of the already over privilaged class and for the ILLUSION of profit growth.

Once you run out of consumers, everyone loses everything.

We live in suicidal societies run by deluded psychopaths.


posted on Jan, 2 2012 @ 01:45 PM
reply to post by wildtimes

Brilliant stuff, and obviously timeless. Happy NE to you too. Maybe this year will bring the beginnings of change?

My father-in-law was over yesterday (an important football game was on that had to be shared by the family) and, as usual, we eventually discussed the bizarre political climate. His go-to is that we need to find someone that can run our government like a business, and I finally decided to ask him what the product offering would be if someone actually ran our government like a business. He couldn't understand the question.

A society isn't a company. It's not a business. The only focus of a properly functional government is to ensure safety, security, and that the collective/individual balance of freely accessible opportunity is properly struck on behalf of every member of that defined society. This includes, of course, functional services, widely agreed-upon and clearly defined authorities and responsibilities for all members, requirements such as infrastructure and evenly distributed defense against any and all personal/societal threats, regardless of whether these threats are external (military invasion) or internal (sub-group domination/oppression, disease, crime, systemic opportunity denial, or overt and targeted poverty structuralization) Anything other than the establishment and enforcement of this very skeletal foundation will inevitably result in open revolt and/or a crippling insurgency; with either bringing on the failure of the society in question.

A business can go bankrupt, and no real harm to anyone other than the specific investors and principles. It's not the same with a society. If it fails, it'll be immediately replaced by something much less stable, much less equitable, and nothing much more than a quick default arrangement of insular groups incapable of serving as functional wholes for any length of time. The people will not disappear. They will still be in place, and without any societal structure, the prospects for all become extremely bleak.

In a business, the focus of the effort is isolated (to a variety of degrees) from the actual lives of those involved in the effort. They can each go home, and return the next day. There is a shared focus of either making money or achieving quality of product or service, and in most companies, the focus is broken up into sub-divisions of effort, allowing the individual to fully internalize what he/she is giving to and gaining from the effort. This is impossible for a society, and no society can give this to each member. If "run like a business" the entire purpose of the societal effort becomes relatively siloed to serving the needs and aims of the folks who've seized control of it as the business that they imagine it to be.

The net result will be that those ambitious people will eventually feed the rest of them...either literally (as in a communal meat stew) or figuratively (as in the majority simply eliminating them and taking from them what they worked so hard to gather together for themselves). It's happened to every empire. The US won't be special in that regard.

posted on Jan, 2 2012 @ 05:16 PM
reply to post by NorEaster

It's happened to every empire. The US won't be special in that regard.

Star for you, my intelligent fellow. It makes me sigh to see how few are willing to realize this, and continue to espouse the fallacy that things are "worse than ever".

(Going to "friend" you, btw).

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