Seeking Pleasure and Aggression Is Part of Human Instinct Name: Mohamed Fakery A. W ahab Based on Freud concepts of pleasure and aggression, discuses Hay Ibn Yaqzan and The Island of Animals It is said to be that seeking pleasure and aggression are a part of our human Instinct. We seek pleasure to shorten the time of our unhappiness. We live in a constant struggle to be always happy, and we use all the ways that take us to happiness. Aggression, on the other hand, is a part of our human nature, which can be hidden deep down in our and explodes in certain situations, or it can be on the surface of our behavior and inconstant use.
Sources of happiness may differ from one person to another, but the one source of our human gratification that we all agree upon, is the happiness derived from sexual pleasure. Our souls strive for sexual pleasure to be elevated from one degree of human happiness to another. Freud said that "what we call happiness in the strictest sense comes from the... satisfaction of needs which have been dammed up to a high degree, and it is from its nature only possible as an episodic phenomenon." (25).
At the same time, we explore those human instincts in the presence of civilization which set some rules and regulation that are surpassingly acting as guidelines for the survival of humanity. Hay Ibn Yaqzan and The Island of animals, are two different human experiences that discover our two core human instincts, pleasure and aggression. In Hay, we will find that his journey with his own instincts is different from our own human instincts, but it is the same when it comes to the roll of civilization with dealing with them. On the other hand, The Island of Animals tends to dig in our human aggression, and shows how humanity uses civilization as a curtain to hide behind it. Freud concept of pleasure and happiness is related to Hay in only one way.
It is not in the kind of happiness itself, whether if is sexual or spiritual, but it is similar in the procedure and the definitions of happiness or pleasure. In other words, pleasure to Freud is basically in sexual terms, "Sexual gratification is the prototype of all forms of individual happiness... ." . On the other hand, Hay Ibn Yaqzan's happiness or his pleasure is found in totally different kind of human instinct, which is the substitute gratification for sexual pleasure, because religion and science are included in Freud's lists for intellectual replacements for the lost sexual happiness. So Hay, according to Freud, is someone who favored the substitutes of sexual happiness. But, did not experience sexual pleasure in the first place.
Therefor, we cannot say that Hay is someone who escaped the sexual pleasure to the intellectual replacements, because of civilization. The concepts of Freud equation does not suit Hay's case. At the same time, we can make the link between Hay and Freud's concept from the civilization point of view. According to Freud, our sexual instincts are operates by civilization, and it does not serve the requirements of civilization. In Hayy's case civilization oppressed his spiritual happiness where he found it on the island. In this sense civilization stood against his human instinct, as civilization is standing against our human desires represented in the sexual form.
Opposite, Hay escaped from civilization in search for his basic human desires. This escape was confirmed by the Island with Absal. Hayy found that civilization grab his desires from him, actually from his fellow man. Hayy knew that "what than recounting all you do from the time you get up to the time you go to bed without finding a sing al action that did not amount to seeking one of these vile, sensory aims: ...
pleasure seeking... venting rage... ." (71) As we can see pleasure for Salaman and his friends is totally different from Hay's pleasure. The difference between Freud's concept and Hay, is that in reality we do not fight or even escape to reach our basic human instinct, but rather we create substitute gratification's. According to Freud "Civilization compensates the individual by redirecting his libidinal energies into socially acceptable forms of amusement and diversion." But as we see those acceptable forms are substitutes for the real thing, instinctual happiness. But, they are not a substitute for Hayy, they are his core source of happiness.
So he did not stay with Salaman and create for himself substitute kind of pleasure, instead, he left civilization for its seekers and he went back in search for his higher degree of happiness. On the other hand, civilization for us, becomes the constant attempt to divert the individual from sexual gratification into socially productive and acceptable activities. We on the contrary, do not have any place to escape to, so we surrender to the quest of our civilization, and we use the intellectual replacements for the lost sexual happiness. On the other hand of this discussion, comes the other concept of Freud which is human aggression, and once more we will relate this core human instinct to civilization and its impacts on human aggression. The Island of Animals question the aggression that lies deep in human nature. It also impasses the role of civilization in creating such violence within our behavior.
As we know, surpassingly, civilization came to modify our aggressive nature, but it failed to do so because of too many restrictions, such as social pressure that govern us and particularly governs our behavior (lecture). It is an irony to say that the people who landed on the Island are civilized men, "They were... men of every sort of profession, trade and craft... doctors and lawyers and builders...
." (5), and according to Freud, social order is one of the requirements for civilization, but the first thing that those civilized men did is something completely against civilization. It is once you feel that no one is watching you begin doing what brings you happiness. In other words, aggression is another human instinct that brings us joy and happiness. But, because civilization refuses any act of violence, it oppresses this need of aggression deep in our consciousness, and thus the first thing we do when no body is watching is anything that civilization refuses us to do. In this case, civilization oppressed the aggression instinct in the men who landed on the Island. This sense of aggression was clearly felt by the animals who protested and asked for help, as any one who is being used aggressively.
The point that The Island of Animals emphasized is that aggression is purely a human instinct, as there were men from all kinds of religion, "These men came from different parts of t world and were from different religions; they included Muslims, Christians, jews and others." (5). This means that where ever you came from, whatever your culture is, you are aggressive by nature. From that sense civilization steps in with a beneficial propose, as it tame the human nature. But, civilization creates human source of worry and distress, and also oppresses our basic human instinct.
As we looked for substitute for our sexual desire, we also sacrifice our aggressive nature for the benefit of civilization. Finally, it is clear that civilization has its discontents, but how can we solve such a problem. It is impossible to look back and say that the permissive man was happier because he had no restrictions. We can never go back, or even look to the permissive world.
Once we reach a higher degree of civilization we tend to look and analyze the next step. We ignore our human desires for better standards of living, we sacrifice them with what we see better. Or even because we know that what we want from sexual and aggressive desires is impossible to happen, then we subconsciously live in the discontents of the civilization and pretend to be happy with the substitutes we created for ourselves. Hayy and The Island of Animals are two stories that question the roll of civilization in our life, each looked at civilization from different perspective. At the same time, what we all see refutable is the solution that Hayy choose for himself, because no one can escape the discontents that he originally created.
Hayy was a special case because he was raised away from civilization, so he didn't live in it. The question that we have to ask ourselves is, what was Hayy going to do if he was exposed to a sexual experience on the land of Absal and Salaman? was he going to escape from civilization like he did, or was he going to live in civilization and accept its discontent.