002: Civilisation: Utopia and Tragedy: The Social History of the Unconscious (Psychoanalysis & society)


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The second of two volumes on the social history of the unconscious, this text explores the history of Western civilization. By applying psychoanalytic concepts to the examination of the unconscious driving forces which have produced the great ideas of monotheism, Greek philosophy, democracy and scientific reasoning, the author provides insights into the conflicts of civilization and its failures to fulfil aspirations. Frankl asserts that it is particulary important at this time to understand the deep-seated conflicts of Western civilization, as it is exporting its ideas of freedom and democracy - and above all, its technology - to the rest of the world, while still plagued by self-doubt itself. Is what the West is exporting viable, or does it threaten to envelop the planet with machines which in fact enhance humanity's aggressive and self-destructive urges? With its world-wide influence, the West has assumed an unprecedented responsibility for humanity everywhere and for the survival of the planet and Frankl suggests that to fulfil this responsibility, we must understand the causes of our failures in order to resolve them.