The Social Me

Freud Questions
1. Is it possible according to Freud for people to make changes in their society without recourse to violence?
No, according to Freud, it is not possible to make changes to society without a recourse to violence. Humans, by their very nature, will rebel against other humans, as well as rules and laws, when they feel those humans are a threat or that the rules and laws in society are unjust or unfair. Freud argues that, “[. . .] the ruling class is unwilling to recognize the change and rebellion and civil war follow”(11). The change he refers to are the protests of the disenfranchised.
2. What happens to the aggressive instinct when people unite to form a lawful society?
When people united to form a lawful society, the aggressive instinct can be deterred or subdued. At one point in this essay Freud writes, “Violence could be broken by union, and the power of those who were united now represented law in contrast to the violence of the single individual”(9-10). But later on in the writing he contradicts himself saying, “[. . .] a state of rest of that kind is only theoretically conceivable[. . . ]from its very beginning the community comprises elements of unequal strength—men and women, parents and children”(11). “A state of rest” is referring to the absence of the violent instinct in humans within a community. So, although unity can in fact strengthen a community, the inevitable differences in strength and power can lead to violence and protests.  
3. How does the violence of the community differ from the violence of the individual?
The violence of a community differs from the violence of the individual in the fact that violence of the community is considered right and justified. Freud supports this by stating, “The only real difference lies in the fact that what prevails is no longer the violence of an individual but that of a community”(10). Violence represents law when it is acted out by a community, but Freud states that “it (violence)...