Knowledge: Civilization And Its Discontents

853 Words4 Pages
Karina Salem
Professor Aseel Moussa
May 11th, 2017
Knowledge is the Key to Civilization Throughout Civilization and Its Discontents, Freud attempts to understand the effect of civilization and society on people, through examining its structure. He defines civilization as the sum of achievement that set humans apart from animals, in order to protect humans from natural causes and form mutual relations in a society. On the other hand, for Kant in his essay, An answer to the question: ‘What is enlightenment?, Knowledge was of a great matter since one’s ability to reason and obey the laws will achieve enlightenment. He defines enlightenment as the condition one reaches when he emerges from the immaturity he caused upon himself
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Furthermore, it will conclude different arguments that show the role of knowledge in creating and developing civilization through connecting and proving them with pieces of evidence from texts. The first argument is that knowledge is a blessing that should be sought, the second one is that civilization consists of morality, and the third one discusses the importance of enlightenment in creating a civilization free from prejudices. Ignorance is a curse for knowledge is a blessing. Humans are driven by curiosity to discover the unknown especially if it is forbidden. By definition, “Curiosity is the lust of the mind.”(Hobbes, 35). It is part of the human nature to have a desire to learn about different matters and discover the hidden. In Genesis, Adam and Eve were allowed to eat from all the trees of the Garden of Eden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but Eve couldn’t resist her curiosity to try it,
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.”(Genesis
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Before trying the fruit, their desires were not oppressed, the oppression and punishment for these desires started after trying it. They were happily ignorant in the Garden of Eden, some may argue that their unhappiness started after gaining knowledge, they try to indicate that the knowledge they gained was the cause of their curse. Nonetheless, prior to eating from the tree, their eyes were blinded with ignorance, they did not even know that they were naked, they had to obey the rules God forced upon them and follow them blindly without even thinking. However, this so-called ‘curse’, resulted in the rise of the biggest civilizations, without the wisdom and knowledge the gained, people would not have philosophy, medicine, architecture, art, literature, or achieved any kind of discoveries that helped build these great civilizations. If not for this curse, humanity would have sunk in ignorance to this day. Despite that Kant’s main argument is that enlightenment is the ability to think for oneself independently, he argues in the private and public use of one’s reason, that one should obey the rules whilst be able to privately fully use one’s own reason and observe. Moreover, he states that God said, “Argue as much as you like and about whatever you like, but obey!” (Kant, 55). This means that one’s freedom is restrained, but the
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