Facundo: Or, Civilization and Barbarism

Civilization from the Perspectives of Freud and Sarmiento

Sigmund Freud's essay, "Civilization and its Discontents", and Domingo Faustino Sarmiento's book, Facundo: Civilization and Barbarism, both make bold and thought-provoking statements about their respective societies and contemporary civilization. Although Freud's and Sarmiento's ideas appear similar at first, the split between their notions of civilization grows noticeably wider as their works are more closely compared. This is mostly due to the disparity in their motivations for studying civilizations. Sarmiento, an Argentine statesman and revolutionary, wants to educate his countrymen about the benefits of civilized, cultured life as opposed to the barbaric ways of the Argentine gauchos and caudillos. In contrast, Freud scientifically analyzes civilization for the sake of gaining an understanding of the human psychological makeup. Sarmiento's claims about civilization appear to only serve his own political needs. They are based on false assumptions and contain numerous contradictions, which is especially evident when Sarmiento is compared to Freud, who bases his interpretations of human society solely on fundamental human instincts and clear logic. Thus, Freud's arguments are more plausible...

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