Title of Paper

Sub Title

Joseph J. Green

Northern Arizona University

What is your personal response to the arguments made by Sigmund Freud in Civilization and Its Discontents and Neil Postman in his chapter entitled “The Judgment of Thamus?” Do you agree with the theories about civilization and technology set forth by these two scholars?


1 Neil Postmand – civilization and technology

Technologies both harm and help

Technologies need to be seen from both of those sides

Technologies are adopted, often without much realization

Winners (new tech) fight losers (old tech) often unwittingly

2 Sigmund Freud – civilization and technology

People evolve much like cities

However we define civilization, it is a certain fact that all things we seek to protect ourselves against the threats that emanate from the sources of suffering are part of that very civilization.

Technology does not bring happiness, but we should not infer that it does not contribute in some way.

We also should consider that, if we had less technology some of these newer technolgies wouldn’t matter (example, contacting his son via the tele, but without trains, he wouldn’t need to as his son would never have left)

Technology brings people closer to godlihood

beauty is useless

cleanlyness is not nature

order is, also hard to obtain

3 My thoughts

Both freud and Postman seem to see technology as not a one sided help or harm, but a combination. I fully agree with this. See the breakdown of society

Technologies sneak in, agree. With postman.

Beauty is useless, disagree. It’s a motovater.



Freud’s Civilization and its discontents

Neil Postman’s thing