In Civilisation and its Discontents (1931), Sigmund Freud considers the fragile equilibrium between human beings and civilisation.
From healthcare to technology, security and the wonders of art and culture, civilisation has certainly helped human beings. But for Freud, there is also a price to pay.
Civilisation brings us together, but it also drives us apart. It strives to make us happy, but generates misery. The demands and restrictions it places on us are difficult to bear, bringing with them guilt, shame, anxiety and unhappiness.
As part of the BBC’s ‘Civilisations’ festival, the Freud Museum is hosting a ‘Weekend of Discontent’ on 23-24 June.
Supported by the Art Fund, we’ll be celebrating Freud’s landmark book and pondering some of the thorny questions it raises:
- Are civilisation and unhappiness intimately linked?
- What is the effect of civilisation on our sexual and aggressive tendencies?
- What is the source of religious feeling?
- Can we really ‘love our neighbours as ourselves’?
- What is the relevance of Freud’s views to our troubled times?
- Is modern civilisation on a path to self-destruction?
We’re inviting audiences near and far to send us their ‘Declarations of Discontent’!
The idea is very simple: record a video of your commentary on the discontent in civilisation on your smartphone or laptop and send it to us.
Perhaps you’ve got something to say about the state of the world. Or you find something compelling in Freud’s analysis. Or perhaps you just love (or hate!) the book and want to say something about it.
How to enter
1. Pick a theme
Videos can be on any subject, but must have some connection to Civilisation and its Discontents. Beyond that, anything goes!
You might want to pick a particular idea or theme, give your own condensed summary of the book, or link some of the ideas to contemporary issues.
2. Record your declaration
You can do this on your laptop or smartphone camera in selfie mode.
Your video should be no longer than one minute – just put yourself in front of the camera and press record! No snazzy editing required.
3. Post your video
Post your video online via Twitter, using the hashtag #DeclarationOfDiscontent. Or if you’d prefer it to stay offline, email us the file or a link.
The closing date for entries is Friday 22 June.
- By entering, you authorise the Freud Museum to screen your video in-house during the Weekend of Discontent on 23-24 June.
- Hate speech will not be tolerated.
Part of the BBC Civilisations Festival.