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Civilization and Its Discontents on Happiness in Life

Happiness is an emotional state entailing experiences of satisfaction, contentment, and life fulfillment (Ruggeri et al. 2). In 1930, Sigmund Freud wrote civilization and its discontent, basing civilization theory on a problem that makes us unhappy. He addressed the delight of human being aggression and hurting one another. Freud McGowan reveals in his book his incompetence in understanding religious and oceanic feelings. In his book, he attempts to understand people’s relation to each other, state, society, originality, characteristic instincts, and external forces contributing to their happiness, ego, superego, and id. He addresses sexual love and aim-inhibited love as the foundation and source of families and friendship, respectively. Fred McGowan narrates the relationship dependency on the love drive (Eros) and the death drive (Thanatos). He also attempts to disclose the dependency of human beings on sexual love as a source of their happiness in life, relating to the pleasure principle. To him, happiness is a firm perception from satisfactory urges dammed important in episodic phenomena. Although the author does not mention it, there are reasons to believe that our body dissatisfaction, sexual love, and social relationship restrict our freedom and hinder our happiness.

Aesthetic Body Beauty

Fred McGowan relates happiness as an experience of a strong feeling of pleasure. Pleasure is a feeling of joy and satisfaction. To attain happiness, we tend to ignite driving forces that help in seeking immediate gratitude for our needs, wants, and urges. Eating, hygiene, sex, music, art, and beauty are among the pedigree of happiness. Fred McGowan argues that a situation desired by the pleasure principle is elongated results in the tenderness of mild contentment. The aesthetic beauty and appeal of music and art modules to both artists and non-artist can help forget real-world miseries and pressures, resulting in temporary and, in some cases, permanent happiness to the id. “Contentment through phantasy stands the enjoyment of works of arts, by the agency of the artist and those who are not creative themselves,” Fred McGowan states. However, happiness is altered by our constitution, threatened with suffering from our bodies, the external world, and our relation to other men. Individual’s winter, ethnic, connubial status, education, success, and social satisfaction affect our happiness (Karaaslan 290).

Constant hurts, anxieties, and fear of our body breakdowns contribute to our unhappiness. Feebleness of our body, senior ability of nature, the relationship of men to one another, and deficiency of the regulation which regulates mutual human being relationship are among sited reasons of unhappiness by Fred McGowan. Our image dissatisfaction lowers our self-esteem and raises our social anxiety affecting our association with others and hindering our joy. Fred McGowan states that in the process of agony, we are accustomed to tolerating our happiness claims by putting enjoyment under caution.

Sexual Love

Sexual love is yet another aspect of happiness in our lives. The successful marital and sexual relationship between individuals prompts their satisfaction (Dehghani et al. 10). We can source our happiness from sexual love that yields families or aim-inhibited love that results in friendship. These kinds of love define our relationship with each other. However, overwhelming destruction from the external world may alter this kind of happiness. Fred McGowan argues that sexual love has given us our most exceptional experience of an enormous sense of pleasure and that some people prefer finding contentment despite everything on the path of love. The extent of our happiness along the path of love depends on our vulnerability and anticipation. Fred McGowan based happiness on this genre as a question of how much real contentment we expect to get from our relationships and how far our strength will go in cooperating it to alter our life wishes.

Deprivation of sexual love can lead to severe agony, and instinct dissatisfaction, states Fred McGowan. Dependency on others for our happiness leaves us vulnerable to suffering sensation whenever we lose the person or their love. However, “we are never defenseless against suffering when we love but helplessly unhappy when we lose our loved object or love toward it .”A sexual and aim-inhibited corporation with each other gives us a feeling of belonging and diminishes loneliness that mostly attributes to our unhappiness. Nevertheless, this dependency regularly alters our satisfaction as we cannot always control merciless forces and people’s moods toward us. According to Fred, a man who is predominantly erotic gives first preference to his emotional relationship with other people, unlike a narcissist. He advocates mastering the internal source of satisfaction even though it leads to happiness of quietness. Positive psychological variables contribute to subjective happiness (Freire et al. 1065). Suffering is a sensation of hurt that results from dissatisfaction. “Even if we cannot remove all suffering, we can remove some and mitigate others to attain happiness,” Fred McGowan.

Social Relations

Social relation triggers our strongest emotions. These relationships lower our anxiety rate and depression, advances self-esteem, and increase empathy and trusting cooperative correlation, making us contentment, calm, and happy. Social relationship is a cornerstone of happiness and good life. Fred McGowan tries to demonstrate how primitive people and race relationships made their life seem happy and simple; something civilized Europeans teemed as unattainable. Human needs, want, and urges are easily attainable through teamwork. In a sorority, sufferings appear communal and solvable. Fred discovered that when a majority comes together, human life is made possible, stronger than any separate individual. He further shows how the sons combined to overthrow their father in attaining family succession by Totem and Taboo. For instance, Christianity or any other religion tends to express happiness in a congregation and advocates fellowship that claims to minimize life suffering.

The suffering which comes from social relationships may be aggressive and gratuitous. If one intends to avoid such suffering, we tend to turn from the interaction. Fred McGowan discussed measures we can employ in dealing with suffering to attain happiness; substitute satisfaction, powerful delegation, and intoxicating strategies. Happiness dependency based on social relations and sexual love has corresponding impacts on vulnerability and suffering. By placing our satisfaction and sensibility in other’s conditions, examine the occasions we should retrieve and experience our happiness or unhappiness. Fred McGowan bases social hurts as a subjection of the potency of nature that decreases pleasurable contentment. However, he states that vigor over nature is not the only precondition of human happiness. To him, a person becomes neurotic if the quantity of resentment from a social relationship is intolerable and seeks abolition of these links would aim at a possible happy outcome.


Happiness is an essential sensation that contributes to healthy and fully human life. Based on Fred McGowan’s interpretation of the same, we aim to disclose various factors that contribute to happiness, such as body aesthetic beauty, relation with others, and sexual love. Appealing to body aesthetics gives us freedom enhancing our satisfaction. Positive relationships with each other improve our self-esteem, lower our anxiety and depression rates, and increase our empathy. These positive external variables enhance our happiness and fulfillment. On the other hand, sexual love leads to a family generation that mostly aspires belonging and one’s identity advancing their enjoyment in life. While aim-inhibited love forms a friendship that attributes to more connection that aids in minimizing human suffering and attaining daily needs, wants, and urges.

Suffering is a sensation that exists as a feeling of unhappiness. External and internal negative variables can cause it. Internal variables include negative self-esteem and thoughts, while external factors range from other people’s and natural issues that lead to agony. Sexual love and social relation correlate in their dependency on the lid and their impacts on happiness. Individuals who find happiness mainly in sexual satisfaction and their relationships are vulnerable to suffering and helplessness whenever they lose their loved one or love towards them. Their happiness and unhappiness solemnly depend on the other person’s episodic phenomena. One appealing aesthetic enhances their self-esteem, confidence, and coalition with others improving their contentment levels. Happiness acquired from positive internal variables is much more effective, long-lasting, and less incapacitating. Additionally, the incomparable power of nature, weakness of our body, and deficiency of the regulation that alters complementary relationships with each other hinder happiness. However, we can achieve happiness by diminishing factors and variables contributing to agony, making our misery light and insensitive to it.


Dehghani Champiri, Farideh, and Akram Dehghani. “Predicting sexual satisfaction in Iranian women by marital satisfaction components.” Sexual and Relationship Therapy (2020): 1-15.

Freire, Teresa, and Gabriela Ferreira. “Do I need to be positive to be happy? Considering the role of self-esteem, life satisfaction, and psychological distress in Portuguese adolescents’ subjective happiness.” Psychological reports 123.4 (2020): 1064-1082.

KARAASLAN, Kübranur ÇEBİ. “Analysis of Factors Affecting Individuals’ Sources of Happiness with Multinomial Logistic Model.” Journal of Measurement and Evaluation in Education and Psychology 12.3 (2021): 286-302.

Ruggeri, Kai, et al. “Well-being is more than happiness and life satisfaction: a multidimensional analysis of 21 countries.” Health and quality of life outcomes 18.1 (2020): 1–16.


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