The Future of an Illusion


Title: The future of an idea

Author: Sigmund Freud

Translator: Hashem Rafi

Publisher: Forbidden

Subject: Religion

Age category: Adult

Cover: Paperback

Number of pages: 274 p

Language: Farsi



The Future of an Illusion (German: Die Zukunft einer Illusion) is one of Sigmund Freud’s books on religion. He wrote this book in 1927. In this book, Sigmund Freud interprets the origins, development, psychoanalysis, and future of religions. Freud views religion as a belief-based system.

According to Freud, religion is the “universal annoyance” of mankind, and religious manifestations should be considered merely as an example of the symptoms of neurosis in individuals. He sees the issue of faith in God as the establishment of a desire for protection and support by a patriarchal existence, the desire for help and salvation. Freud interprets the idea of ​​an omnipotent God as a collective celebration of the idea of ​​the individual father. Whereas man can at least help himself if he can not save himself by waking up from childish notions and using his wisdom and skill.
Freud sought to draw our attention to the future that lies ahead for human culture. In the process of spreading his ideas, he realized that he had to study the origin and purposes of human culture as it is. From Freud’s point of view, the term human culture includes all the concepts that take human life beyond animal conditions. This book has been translated into Persian by Hashem Razi.

Biography of the author of the book The Future of an Illusion:
Sigmund Freud (1939-1856) made many attempts to psychoanalytically explain cultural phenomena, including art, literature, and religion, but his interpretation of religion remained troubling. This is not only because of his negative evaluation of religion, but also because of the questionable methodological issues that his atheistic beliefs have created.

In any case, it can be said that these complex issues and the readings and interpretations of his works after his death are the result of Freud’s inventions; In other words, even if he made a mistake in trying to use the method of psychoanalysis in cultural phenomena, he succeeded in opening new perspectives and perspectives, raising new questions and enriching and deepening research. A perfect example of this is his research on religion. The importance of this research is not only because of his attention to the psychological analysis of religion, but also because of its impact on later psychologists and to some extent its influence in the fields of art and literature.

The evolution of Freud’s theories on religion can be divided into four stages. The distinguishing feature of each of these stages is its consistent pivotal effects.
Step 1: The book Totem and Taboo is born from a combination of two things; One is Freud’s deep anthropological interest, and the other is his preconceived theory that religious thought and behavior are fundamentally related to the same mechanisms as obsessive-compulsive disorder. According to Freud, religion is a childish conflict and superstition and a sense of passivity, and this is the view he inherited from Schleiermacher and Feuerbach.

In trying to explain how these primitive mechanisms play a role in the origins of religious experience, Freud relied on the assumed similarity in this book between the minds of early humans and obsessions. He traced the origins of totemism along with its taboos, including the taboo of incest and marriage to strangers to the imaginary myth of the early tribes. According to his imagination and anthropology, the original tribe was organized under the leadership of the tribe leader or the face of the father.

The young men of the tribe united to kill the tribal leader, in order to escape the repressive domination of the leader, especially the repressive barrier and sexual access to the women of the tribe. This patriarchy was the first crime.
Feelings of guilt for the initial violation of the replacement of the totem animal, as well as the prohibition of illicit relations with women of the totem tribe. Ritual killing and group eating of totem animals originated from this origin. Thus, the phenomenon of totems and related sexual taboos is rooted in the early Oedipal dynamics that existed in the early tribe, and these dynamics are based on the initial impulse to kill the father and sexual pleasure from the mother. Respect for the totemic ancestor and fear of them later led to the promotion of the father totem to the status of divinity.

Step Two: Freud took the second step in the future book of an idea. In the next book, an idea, the seeds that had sprouted in previous attempts were sown. What emerged was a formal expression of Freud’s thinking on religious experience, with the full effect of anti-religious and anti-religious beliefs and prejudices. The discussion of this book has not deviated much from the previous paths;
According to Freud, religion in this book is rooted in the fundamental weakness and dependence of man on the father and in our failed desire to reach the childish need that has manifested itself in the form of God. We have learned to save ourselves from the horrors of a terrible world by attaching ourselves to God the Father or to the very powerful and merciful gods of religious belief systems. The gods have dominion over the world and its laws, but have left humans alone to defend themselves against the forces that determine their destiny.

The responsibility to appease the gods and find a way to happiness leads to divine morality and a set of divine commands; Commands that one must obey and adapt to. Thus, the helplessness and dependence of childhood and the fear of punishment and dissatisfaction of the powerful father are transferred to adult life and are replaced by the believer’s relationship with his god. Even the pain and torment of death is relieved by the promises of the Hereafter and the disappearance of misery and in the life of this world with the promise of holy pleasure in another house.

Continuing this feeling of helplessness and vulnerability throughout our lives forces us to turn to the so-called childhood father and his successor, the strong, living and supportive father in the heavens.
Belief in the benevolent dominion of divine blessings, then, insures us against the misfortunes of this world. Religion assures us that as long as we obey God’s commands and rely on the goodness and love of the heavenly God and His promises, we will be freed from the hardships of destiny and will eventually find them the same glory and love that we are. Save here and now. Freud interpreted these needs and aspirations as children’s adaptations that reflected our basic aspirations and nothing more. He regarded these aspirations as unrealistic and as a form of collective delusion in which the group of believers shared, until they found a correspondence in reality.

Freud openly states that if something is to be trusted, it must be science.
“I know how difficult it is to avoid delusions,” he writes. To say the same fact may be illusory in nature, but I adhere to one judgment; Despite the fact that there is no punishment for sharing illusions, my illusions are not as incorrigible as religious illusions. These hallucinations are not delusional. If this belief is an illusion then I am in the same situation as you. But science, with its many important successes, provides us with evidence that science is not an illusion. (The Future Book of an Idea, pp. 53 and 54)

Step 3: Freud returned to some of these topics shortly after The Future of an Idea in Civilization and Some Dissatisfaction with It. The designs and themes that a powerful idea had in the future book were expanded to encompass the whole range of human civilization and culture. Freud argued for the inevitable contradiction between instinctual needs on the one hand and the needs of civil life on the other. Preventing sexual harassment is essential for the child to adapt to society; This is mainly done in the latent period (5 to 12 years old).
Humans seek happiness, and their driver is the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. The intense need in life and the facts do not allow us to meet these needs and as a result we are forced to fulfill them in an illusory way. This is related to the discussion of the future book of a concept, but at the same time expands it to include other aspects of social and cultural unity. However, the cost we incur for these cases is the suppression of basic human needs and drives. Prototypes of this process can be found in religious illusions. However, these illusions do not stem from an oceanic feeling (infinity) but from the child’s sense of helplessness and dependence, which is at the core of human experience.

Step 4: Freud’s latest major work is on religion, Moses, and monotheism. In this book, which he wrote at the end of his life, Freud returns to the subjects he first described in Totem and Taboo. Freud says that Moses was in fact an Egyptian prince who lived in the palace of the Pharaoh (who came to power around 1375 BC and brought with him significant religious terms such as monotheistic worship of a god called “Athens”). .
Moses then spread this religious view to the Hebrews in the form of worship of Jehovah, but then the Jews, who could not tolerate this spiritual, restrictive and restrictive religion, revolted against the prophet who was trying to impose it on them and rebuked him. They killed. Later, in the face of the need for tribal unity and a common religion, the Jews were murdered in the same religion as the Prophet and returned to the worship of a powerful god. According to Freud, “the central reality of the evolution of Judaism was that over time, the Lord God lost his character and became more and more like the ancient god Moses, Athens.”

Review The Future of an Illusion

As an overview of Freud’s theories, his analysis of religion has been criticized by many thinkers, and even his closest students, such as Jung and Adler, have rejected his views on religion. Some of the drawbacks of these analyzes are: first) Freud’s naturalistic interpretation of religion, based on a machine-like and compensatory view of man, is not acceptable because of the philosophical basis of his naturalism;

Because despite the claim that it is based on verifiable data that scientific research proves to be correct, we find that this claim is unfounded. On the one hand, the difference between psychologists in psychological explanations is a sign that their findings are based on certain philosophical assumptions and views, and on the other hand, naturalism takes only a part of experience and presents it as a whole reality. . However, Freud’s positivist thinking is not accepted today and man can not be reduced to purely material dimensions. (John McCurry, 1999, p. 170)

Second, Jung criticizes Freud’s sexual theory: “This belief expresses only one aspect of reality, because man is not only under the pressure of the sexual instinct, but there are other instincts as well.” In biology, for example, nutrition instinct is as important as sexual instinct.
In primitive societies, although gender plays a role, nutrition occupies a much larger place and food is the most important attraction of primitive man… There are other societies – meaning civilized societies – in which power plays a much larger role than gender. . For example, it has been observed that many businessmen and industry owners have impotence; “Because all their energy is used in business or management activities, and this type of activity is much more significant for them than issues related to women.” (Evans, 1351, pp. 8 and 9)
Third, Freud, as he himself admits, is incapable of understanding mystical and fascinating experiences, which in the eyes of many people are the source of religious feelings. Roman Roland claims that Freud did not understand the true source of religious feelings. (Store, p. 126)

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