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Human Nature, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 338

Essay

Freud saw human behavior to be motivated by drives and instincts, which were the neurological manifestations of a person’s physical needs (Botstein, 2007). He refered to these as life instincts; and these instincts were basically: 1) the life of an individual which motivates him or her to seek food and water as a basic need, and 2) the life of a species which motivates the individual to have sex. These human motivational energies were the life instincts in our psych which he called libido, from its Latin origins meaning “I desire”. Freud’s views on human nature can be seen as pessimistic; it is generally consistent with the views of social Darwinism which is seen to be an experience of capitalist competition at its extreme (Botstein, 2007). This is where the tendencies of human motivation are towards competition. Freud (1930) states in his book Civilization and its Discontents:

As we already know, the problem before us is how to get rid of the greatest hindrance to civilization – namely, the constitutional inclination of human beings to be aggressive towards one another”.

Humanism, on the other hand, focuses on experiences of the individual; these are their problems, potentials and ideas (Smith, 2001). It is a reaction which can be said to be static quality of traits. which addresses the pessimism of psychoanalytic theory as well as the mechanical nature of learning theory. It is generally a positive view on what it is to be human. This theory rejects the Freudian view of personality; instead it views individuals as inherently good in nature (Smith, 2001). Human nature is the compilation of traits, qualities, potentials and behavioral patterns which are the characteristics of human species. To a humanist, an individual is defined by the choices he or she makes; they also define an individual by his or her subjective experiences (Smith, 2001).

References

Botstein, L. (2007). Freud and Wittgenstein: Language and Human Nature. Psychoanalytic Psychology. 24(4); 603-622.

Freud, S., (1930). Civilization and its Discontents. Standard Edition.

Smith, M.B. (2001). Sigmund Koch as Critical Humanist. American Psychologist. 50(5); 441-454.

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