Social Recognition of the Human Individual From the time of puberty onward the human individual must devote himself to the great task of freeing himself from his parents. -Sigmund Freud (General Intro. to Psychoanalysis) As a child develops from infancy to adulthood, it soaks up its environment and processes it like a biological computer. As it matures, so does the way it copes with the challenges life presents to him. If the child has the opportunity to be well educated, than he may learn from his history studies, and begin to recognize the different patterns of thought that society has gone through.
Perhaps he will learn from these patterns and make an effort to use his knowledge to prevent making many of the same mistakes in his daily life that men have made before. If he studies medieval Europe, he may become skeptical of his own faith. Resulting in his search for a new religion that he can believe in, rather than continue to blindly participate as a member of the faith his parents had chosen for him. If he were to study Imperialism in Europe, than perhaps he would join an athletic team. He would form strong bonds with those within the team, but hopefully he could learn from Europes mistaken extreme nationalism and sees that the best thing he can do for his team is remain an individual, not conform to some unwritten code.
He would see that it is best to create ones own identity within a group. Perhaps he has read Erich Fromm, and sees that he must recognize himself as a separate entity apart from the world around himself. He individuates. The development of this boy into an individual is exactly what Sigmund Freud would describe as a healthy development toward the formation a personal identity. It is the interactions that take place between a developing individual (the boy) and the society in which that individual lives in which we find the essence of human existence.
Man has under gone hundreds of years of dialectic thought, shifting paradigms and intellectual synthesis. Only to have the culmination of human progress come down to Sigmund Freuds recognition of the individual, (with individual thoughts, emotions, morals and experiences) create a singularity through which all future perception must travel through. To get a sense of what type of society Freud changed forever, one must first examine the society from the last major paradigm before Freud, as to understand the societys influences and biases. In 1789 the fruits of the Enlightened Age were ripe and the conditions in France were right for an explosion of enlightened ideals that would define the western world for the next two centuries. Liberty, Equality and Fraternity began as the cries of the French Revolution, but would go on to mold western society into its present day form. It was Napoleon who took the fruits of the revolution and planted them in the minds of people across Europe as he conquered eastward.
Despite his failure to conquer Russia and his eventual defeat, the Napoleonic Wars are the most successful and influential campaigns in western history. Napoleon institutionalized l,e,f via his Napoleonic Code. Imagine the concepts of the revolution as fruit, and France as the original orchard where the fruit was bred over hundred of years into the perfect crop. Now picture Napoleon as this great farmer who plants the seeds of this fruit across the European landscape. The stage is now set for these seeds to fructify into the paradigm of the next era of western civilization. Throughout the 1800s each one of these concepts matured and ripened in the Industrial Revolution which acted as the fertilizer and the soil as it provided the nutrients in the form of the technology, class antagonism, as well as a modern insecurity of insignificance.
Liberty became the most economical of the three fruitful ideals of the revolution. It was the emerging Bourgeois who first embraced it. They were an upper-middle class that was the product of the industrial revolution and its factory systems. These were the factory owners who sought nothing more than personal economical gain. Due to the restrictive economies of the early 1800s, they were vocal supporters of the British Economist Adam Smith, most notably his ideas concerning laissez-faire, or a free trade economy without government interference. This enterprising and educated class blended Smiths free trade with Napoleons liberty to form classical liberalism. The European paradigm was changed forever by this fruit, as religion, legitimacy, and DRAM was pushed aside by classical liberal reform movements in order to make way for the new economically driven society. The rise of liberalism was a movement to allow the factory owners to gain political power without granting power to the lower eighty percent of the population, much of which the Bourgeois were trying to exploit as cheap labor at that time.
As the century progresses, social reforms allow more and more people to vote, thereby expanding the socio-economic classes that were represented in the governing bodies of Europe. Imperialism slowly became the dominant socio-economic policy of many European nations; it is a political concept that was formed by the convergence of colonialism, classical liberalism and the technology of the second Industrial Revolution. Huge national and international economic systems were formed, and due to steam power, electricity, steel, telegraphs and railroad these massive infrastructures could be supported by newly formed utilities, communications and transportation systems. This new technology had to be manufactured, so this produced more factories, meaning more jobs, which caused the already growing proletariat to increase to an even larger portion of the population, but mainly it supplied new jobs for an over populated European continent. Colossal urban centers formed all across Western Europe and as the classical liberals continued to exploit the impoverished proletariat it seemed absolutely necessary that Napoleons second crop be cultivated.
Thus we come to the development of equality. Equality is the pivotal social concept of the last 200 years. How many revolutions have you heard of because of socio-economic inequalities? Naturally this idea was first embraced by utopian socialists like Robert Owen, who applied this concept to their factory workshops in utopian communities like New Lanark. The call for greater social equality was a reason for many of the social reform legislation that European governments passed. Unfortunately, the reforms only empowered the upper-middle classes, as there were property requirements in most countries.
This allowed prevent the emerging urban class to be exploited by the upper-middle class factory owners. Later reform legislation such as the Reform Acts of 1867 and 1884 in England did give larger portions of the population the vote. In 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles conceived the ultimate socio-economic equality amongst the classes. They published The Communist Manifesto together, in which they write about class struggle and the economic drive behind history. They introduced the socio-economic system of communism, where every citizen is of equal status and relevance to the social structure, and men work for the greater good of the society.
The final words of the book are, PROLITARIATE OF THE WORLD UNITE! This is a call for the proletariat of Europe to utilize the third of Napoleons fruits, fraternity. Fraternity was first embraced by many of the reform movements against the legitimate powers during the Age of Metternich. The revolutionaries of …