Civilization and Its Discontents Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. According to Freud, what is the feeling with which his friend resists his arguments about religion?

Freud’s friend proposes that the ‘oceanic’ feeling is the origin of religious feeling, as it provides a sensation of eternity, something limitless and unbounded. Freud’s friend says that this is a purely subjective experience, which seems to have everything to do with him personally, it is not an attribute of his environment or his constitution.

2. What is Freud's response to his friend's feeling?

Freud says that he himself cannot share this oceanic feeling, and he says that while the feeling might defy description by physiological terms, his friend’s feeling seems to be a remnant of the infantile sense of indissoluble connection with the world. Freud says that he doubts whether this feeling alone is the origin of religious feeling. In his experience, the ego maintains sharp distinctions between the self and the external world, if it does not maintain them internally.

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