An illusion has the ability to distort the perception about reality. It can be used as a way to disguise something from its true nature. In his work The Future of an Illusion, Sigmund Freud offers an analysis on illusions. He suggests that an illusion is different than an error, because an illusion does not necessarily have to be false. Illusions are derived from human wishes, in that they blind us to reality and make us see and believe only in what we want. The greatest illusion of all is that of civilization. Civilization is an illusion to the true nature of man, a type of makeup that masks the nature of man to let him be part of a successful society.
[...] that is beautiful and noble is the result of reason and calculation.” Baudelaire believed that civilization was “beautiful and noble”. This beauty of civilization stems from the fact that civilization was created through reason, not through the natural tendencies of man. James Frazer, in his work The Golden Bough, echoes a similar notion. In his discussion of myths, which he says are a creation of men of civilization, Frazer declares that myths are a way for men to hide their true nature. [...]
[...] These writers say that civilization is necessary to cure the evils of man's nature. On the other hand, the proponents of the nature of humanity suggest that man has been on a steady decline since he came into the world. These proponents include men such as John Locke and Michel de Montaigne. The men who have a pessimistic view of humanity believe that man is a selfish creature, who only looks out for his self interest. Thomas Hobbes proclaimed that the voluntary acts of every man, the object is some good to himself.” If man was left in his natural state, unrestrained by the bounds of society, than the world would be an all out war, with every man fighting for themselves. [...]
[...] Just like art and nationalism, religion arose from the need to defend, or elude, oneself from the “crushingly superior forces of nature.” The illusion created by religion is best used by the rulers of civilizations to govern their lands. Centuries before Freud presented his views on the illusive power of religion, Niccolo Machiavelli commented on this phenomenon in his book, The Prince. After analyzing the different types of societies, he discovered that an ecclesiastic state is by far the best. [...]
[...] The laws and bounds provided by the creation of civilization create an illusion to our true nature. Without the comforts and satisfactions provided to us by our membership in society, we would be horrified at seeing our true revealed, something that terrified Kurtz even in the last seconds of his life. Through the use of illusions within a civilization, the rulers are able to control the lives of their citizens in such a way that pleases everyone involved. The ruler is able to maintain control of his society, while each member lives with the satisfaction of the belief that he is as wealthy as his neighbor, and possibly wealthier. [...]
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