Freud Vs Ilych Essay

This essay has a total of 802 words and 4 pages.


Freud Vs Ilych





Freud Vs Ilych

Image you are on your deathbed and you are terrified of something or nothing happening to
you after you are gone. Do you suddenly believe in a God, or do you count your blessings
and just pass on? I feel that Freud would just have counted his blessings. Freud's
critiques on religion are related to Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilych in such that
helplessness was a neurosis.

According to Freud, humans belonged to civilization to control nature and to regulate
human relations. In Ivan's case he was trying to fit in a society that he did not blend
with. However, Freud claimed that humans have often paid a great price for civilization;
this price, he believed, was neurosis. Ivan's neurosis was all work and no play, which
ate at him on his death bed. He needed something to believe in, i.e. God, in order to die
peacefully. Freud suggested that religion and ethics, to this point, have acted to
maintain civilization, as was Ivan's struggle. Freud also proposed that humans were
helpless before the forces of nature and thus "needed" something to protect them. Thus, he
concluded that religion has sprung out of helplessness and therefore was unhealthy to the
individual. As seen with Ivan's suffering on his deathbed. Freudian criticism of belief
in God is that such a belief is untrustworthy because of its psychological origin. That
is, God is a projection of our own intense, unconscious desires; He is a wish fulfillment
derived from childish needs for protection and security. This protection and security is
what Ivan was looking for as he was leaving the world, as he knew it. The terrifying
impression of helplessness in childhood aroused the need for protection through love-which
was provided by the father.

Children, however, look to their parents to protect them from danger. Adults thus create
gods for themselves precisely because they had similar "gods" in their homes as they grew
up. This relates to The Death of Ivan Ilych because I feel that when Ivan's son touched
Ivan's hand Ivan realized that his childhood is when he was whole. At the end of Ivan's
life, he started to look for something meaningful in his life. Ivan was meaningful to his
son, but Ivan would ask who or what is meaningful for me. Freud suggests that perhaps the
greatest danger of facing a person is his or her own eventual demise. Religion, however,
typically promises the existence of an afterlife and hence that there is no genuine death,
as in Ivan's case. Not only is death not genuine, but the "true believer" can look
forward to wonderful rewards for their allegiance to the "true faith" as compensation for
whatever tribulations they endured on earth. That is what was Ivan Ilych's problem.

A principle component for Freud was the feeling of helplessness, occurring in a number of
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