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Brierley, M. (1965). The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud: Translated from the German under the general editorship of James Strachey, in collaboration with Anna Freud, assisted by Alix Strachey and Alan Tyson. Vol. XXI (1927–1931) The Future of an Illusion, Civilization and its Discontents, and Other Works. Vol. XXIII (1937–1939) Moses and Monotheism, An Outline of Psycho-Analysis, and Other Works. (London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis. Vol. XXI, 1961, pp. vi + 287. Vol. XXIII, 1964, pp. vii and 326. £50 the set of 24 vols.; sold only in sets.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 46:521-525.

(1965). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 46:521-525

The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud: Translated from the German under the general editorship of James Strachey, in collaboration with Anna Freud, assisted by Alix Strachey and Alan Tyson. Vol. XXI (1927–1931) The Future of an Illusion, Civilization and its Discontents, and Other Works. Vol. XXIII (1937–1939) Moses and Monotheism, An Outline of Psycho-Analysis, and Other Works. (London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis. Vol. XXI, 1961, pp. vi + 287. Vol. XXIII, 1964, pp. vii and 326. £50 the set of 24 vols.; sold only in sets.)

Review by:
Marjorie Brierley

The works that give its title to Vol. XXI were separated by two years but, taken together, they present the further insight into sociological problems gained by Freud since the publication of Totem and Taboo some fourteen years earlier. The Future of an Illusion begins by discussing the inevitable 'sacrifice' of instinctual satisfactions demanded by civilization. The resultant frustration entails varying degrees of unhappiness for the demandees. It also engenders in most of us varying degrees of hostility which threaten the stability of communal living. Freud admits that this reaction may be due in part to imperfection in the current form of civilization but regards this hostility as a limiting factor to its improvement. It seems to Freud that the maintenance of civilization must always involve some degree of coercion of the majority by a minority.

The decisive question is whether and to what extent it is possible to lessen the burden of the instinctual sacrifices imposed on men, to reconcile men to those which must necessarily remain and to provide compensation for them.

Superego development is naturally an asset to civilization but varies greatly in its impact. For Freud, the best 'consolation' is to be found in art, but religion has a far wider appeal. He then sketches briefly the possible development of religion from animism to monotheism, showing that there is no contradiction between his present emphasis on 'helplessness' and the 'Totem and Taboo' thesis that the primal father is the prototype of God.

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