Custom «Weber and Freud on Linking Loneliness» Essay Paper Sample

Weber and Freud on Linking Loneliness

In Max Weber’s terms, the social conditions which promoted the growth of rational capitalism are typically associated with the emergence of modern science. Protestantism, capitalism and rational science are assumed to require an open space, free from restraint on conscience. This ‘uniqueness of the west’ argument encounters the following difficulties. Technology and science flourished in Chinese and Islamic cultures in which the political system was patrimonial and bureaucratic. In these societies, innovative science was often associated with oppositional, magical beliefs. Furthermore, in Weber’s interpretation of Protestantism, it was the irrationality of the salvation drive which led to the rationality of a calling as an unintended consequence of action. Scientific rationalism is the outcome of contingent features, structural arrangements between the economy and the state, the presence of rational technologies and finally the teleological impact of rationalization. This paper, by referring to theories of Weber, Freud, and Durkheim, examines the manner in which Weber links inner loneliness cultivated by Protestantism to its work ethics, centring on the Freudian analysis that focus on individual conscience can only serve to further build up anxiety.

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The sociology of science, like the sociology of knowledge, is concerned to analyse the relationship between scientific thought and social existence. At one level, scientific innovation and changes in scientific paradigms may be regarded as relatively independent of the social organization of science and the scientific community (Collins 2000). In this case, the logic of scientific development is seen to be largely self-contained and determined by intellectual problems which are internal to science. Alternatively, sociologists of science have regarded scientific thought and scientific change as shaped by the nature of scientific organization, research networks and professional organization. Scientific change is the result of processes of competition for scarce resources between scientists in sub-disciplines which periodically become over-worked, over-populated and less rewarding (Mulkay and Turner 1971; Mulkay 1972). It has often been claimed that science, technology and economic development stand in an intimate and interdependent relationship. Weber asserted that

the mechanizing process has always and everywhere been introduced to the definite end of releasing labour; every new invention signifies the extensive displacement of hand workers by a relatively small man power for machine supervision (Weber 1977, p. 306).

Advances in technology produce increases in per capita output and reduce the average cost of basic commodities thereby stimulating further investment in labour-saving technology. Economic development comes to depend on technological innovation, but this technology presupposes the basic science and economic resources which make technological change possible (Brubaker 1999). It is possible, however, to break into this circular argument by making an analogy between material and intellectual accumulation, or between the mode of production and the mode of cognition. All systematic and sustained intellectual activity requires a stratum of intellectuals which is relatively independent of manual work (Collins 2000). Their training and maintenance, especially when intellectuals begin to form specialized schools, academic communities, require external economic support. The general argument is that sustained scientific activity requires an economic surplus through which mental workers can be funded under various forms of patronage. Advances in cognitive accumulation tend, therefore, to correlate directly with advances in material accumulation because an economic surplus is necessary for the reproduction of an intellectual stratum of mental workers.

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For Marx and Engels, the profitability of capitalist production is secured by the mechanization of the labour process which requires the systematic application of science in the technical division of labour (Corrigan and Sayer 1985). In a similar fashion, although Weber did not believe that capitalist interests were the direct cause of scientific development, he observed that the rational calculation of technical factors in industrial production ‘is dependent on the peculiarities of modern science, especially the natural sciences based on mathematics and exact and rational experimentation’ (Weber 1979, p. 24). It appears, therefore, that the social conditions which stimulate and foster the institutionalization of science are also the conditions which were congenial to the eruption of capitalist enterprises out of the envelope of feudal relations. In the General Economic History, Weber gave an emphasis to the occidental city and the Protestant sects as factors in the rise of rational, scientific procedures. This problematical connection has been presented in the form of a theoretical challenge by J. Needham in the Chinese case since “whoever would explain the failure of Chinese society to develop modern science had better begin by explaining the failure of Chinese society to develop mercantile and then industrial capitalism” (Needham 1969, p. 40).

If the rise of modern science is associated with the origins of capitalism in the seventeenth century, then science is typically held to be intimately related to the growth of citizenship and democratic politics. Citizenship and science both require an open social space in which free discourse and uninhibited experimentation can take place without authoritarian and arbitrary limitations. The formulations of this relationship have been presented in diverse theoretical traditions. For example, Popper’s falsification principle requires an open society in which conjectures can be scrutinised and eliminated by unrestricted criticism and experiment (Popper 1945). Problem-solving both in science and politics requires an open, tolerant social environment which thereby institutionalizes criticisms. From an entirely different perspective, Habermas has argued that the achievement of the rational understanding of a situation presupposes the existence of free communication which is not distorted by arbitrary, hidden constraints. Hence, the search for valid knowledge must accompany the radical critique of existing social arrangements which slow down human development (Habermas 1970).

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In the perspective of history of science, the conjunction of capitalism, citizenship and natural science is embodied in certain social roles—the artist-engineer of fifteenth-century Italy and the engineer-industrialist of early nineteenth-century Britain. This mode of analysis implies a strong analogy between the independent individual capitalist who accumulates wealth in an open political environment and the individual scientist who accumulates knowledge by experiment in a contest of free discourse. The principle of laissez-faire in science and capitalism is allegedly promoted by institutional differentiation of state, education and economy.

Weber’s theory suggests the following features as necessary conditions for rational capitalism:

(1) a free labour market in which wage-labourers, separated from the means of production, sell their labour-power to capitalist employers;

(2) a system of autocephalous urban corporations providing uninhibited space for exchange;

(3) a money economy providing exact calculation for commodity exchange;

(4) a rational legal system to guarantee stability of commercial and administrative arrangements;

(5) the existence of science-based technology for the mechanization of production in a factory-system; and

(6) a culture of world-mastery—the Protestant ethic—which creates anti-traditional conceptions of the business calling and renders money ethically clean. To this theory of capitalist origins, it has been claimed that natural science was stimulated by the anti-magical force of Protestant theology and by the conception of the universe as a non-arbitrary system of dependable laws. In the history of cosmology, God the creator eventually gave way to the Divine Mechanic.

This basic Weberian framework has been elaborated in a number of ways. R.K. Merton (1949, 1970, 1984) in particular, has emphasized the fact that the roots of modern science lay, not in utilitarian economic interests, but in Protestant religious values which, in forming a scientific calling, positively encouraged men to find God in the laws of Nature. Indeed, the ‘ethos of science’—universalism, communalism, disinterestedness and organized scepticism—is at certain points in conflict with the individualistic, self-interest of the spirit of capitalism. To the list of Protestant values which Merton treated as congenial to science, others have argued that Protestantism contributed ‘affective neutrality’ as an element of capitalist production and scientific innovation (Thorner 1952-3). In general, the fact that the Protestant sects did not enjoy a religious or political monopoly of authority further underlined their emphasis on individual enlightenment and contributed to the religious acceptance of scientific activity. It has been claimed that a Protestant ‘scientific policy’ became part of a general struggle against Catholicism (Ben-David 1965).

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As a general theory of the institutional development of European industry, politics and science, the Mertonian perspective provides an ethically satisfying marriage of rationalism, grounded in a religious conception of an orderly universe, open discourse conducted in terms of the scientific ethic and liberal democracy which established the institutional framework for disinterested communication. This perspective on democracy and science was clearly illustrated by Merton’s analysis of Nazi Germany where the state impinged on the norms of universalism and scepticism. A parallel interpretation of the problem of German politics was adopted by Parsons (1954).

In Merton’s sociology of science, Protestantism provided an early cultural support for scientific advance, but modern science no longer requires any religious verification since it provides its own rationale and its own rationalism (Collins 2000). By contrast, Weber’s sociology is shot-through with pessimism and with a sense of the precariousness of the scientific outlook. It was not religious confidence in the rationality of the world that drove Protestants to world-mastery in economic and scientific behaviour, but on the contrary it was lack of confidence in and anxiety about personal salvation that created this calling. It was the irrationality of the quest for salvation from an omnipotent God which lay at the root of the rational calling in this world (Corrigan and Sayer 1985).

The rational discipline of capitalism was paradoxically irrational in the sense that ‘incessant work, discipline and dedication with no regard to tangible gratifications cannot be logically derived from any ends which naturally come to men’ (Tenbruck 1974). Just as capitalism requires people to go beyond a natural inclination of self-sufficiency and simple reproduction, so science requires an ‘unnatural’ pursuit of knowledge which is beyond immediate, utilitarian concerns. The problem for Weber was that science cannot be prescriptive and cannot itself lend support to a value which advocates the pursuit of pure knowledge. To some extent, Weber followed Nietzsche in believing that intellectualism has its psychological roots in resentment as a denial of affective gratifications (Giddens 1970).

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The social conditions which made possible the spread of Protestantism in the sixteenth century have presented a number of interesting theoretical and empirical issues for historical sociology. For example, there is the influential work of Guy Swanson (1967; 1986) who attempted to discover the historical connections between certain forms of theology, the development of Protestantism and the political environment within which the Protestant sects emerged. Whereas Catholic theology places a particular emphasis on the notion of God’s immanence, Protestant theology has a greater commitment to the idea of divine transcendence. Swanson attempted to show that these different aspects of Christian theology were related to prior political conditions, namely where the societies were organized more as associations or as social systems. Personal experiences of the deity as an imminent being are more characteristic of societies which were already organized as social systems rather than as associations.

Swanson’s theory, which derives explicitly from Durkheim’s The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (1999), can be criticized for the formalistic structuralism which typifies the Durkheimian tradition, but more specifically the basic distinction between association and social system is often difficult to sustain (Durkheim 1999).

In Swanson’s work we do not get the complexity of the details of the relationship between economic and political change with the emergence of Protestantism (Giddens 1970). In England, the dissolution of the monasteries generated an enormous increase in state wealth, while also transferring wealth into the hands of the gentry which in turn was an important condition for the growth of capitalist agriculture in England. It was this creation of a state Church which was particularly important for the subsequent “fusion of Protestantism and Nationalism” (Corrigan and Sayer 1985, p. 45). It has been argued that in fact the ‘contribution’ of Calvinism was not the development of the ethical requirements of capitalist enterprise but rather a ‘Godly discipline’ as the necessary perspective of a subservient citizenry. Calvin’s Institutes precluded any discussion of political reform or of the substantive content of positive law. The result was that

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secular repression was only the foundation start of a Christian polity; it provided the very minimum of social control and consolation; it revealed only the most rudimentary achievement of God’s sovereign power and man’s brute force (Walzer 1966, pp. 44-46).

These religious developments had particular significance in Germany for the emergence of a dominant, bureaucratic state. In Germany the development of Roman constitutional law was an important aspect in the political control of German princes through professional law and the university trained legalists over their subjects (Brubaker 1999).

If one were to link Weber’s understanding of Protestantism in its relation to the work ethics created by it to Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis, the latter would definitely suggest that focus on inner-self leads to increased anxiety. Fraud’s Psychoanalytic view theorizes that one learns from the previous experiences which means that his childhood experiences affects his adulthood behaviour, which means that if in early life in development was not satisfactory or perhaps over satisfied might lead into relative consequences in later stages. The Defensive Mechanisms theory strategizing on how one protects his integrity and the ego, while the Levels of Consciousness indicates only which can be detected while the greater conscious factor is hidden beneath ones consciousness. The purpose of this study will focus the Fraud’s critical evaluation of the one of the major schools of thought while addressing the early human development, historical significance, and impact as its studied in the field of psychology also while critically evaluating, some of the strengths and weaknesses found in that particular subject, where do we think the future lies and why? (Sandler, Holder, Dare, and Dreher 1997).

The huge influence of Freudian thought in the twentieth century cannot simply be ascribed to Freud’s technical contributions to psychoanalysis. Rather, one must take a wider perspective and consider the historical context in which Freud’s ideas were being developed. In the first place, along with Marxism and Darwinism, Freudianism has represented one of the climactic movements in modernity, that is, post-Renaissance thought. This has been characterized by the development of rationality and scientific methodology, and what might be called objectivism: the separation of the thinking subject from the object of enquiry (Gay, 1988).

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There is an enormous paradox in psychoanalytic thought, since a rational system of enquiry is brought to bear on the irrational – on the impulses stemming from the unconscious, whose expression is found in dreams, neurotic symptoms and in many life-events. Thus, Freud can be said to have made sense of nonsense, or to have imposed a rational method of interpretation upon the fragmented and mutilated messages from the unconscious.

At all times, Freud claimed that psychoanalysis could be ranked as part of modern science and was annoyed that its scientific credentials should be questioned: “I have always felt it as a gross injustice that people have refused to treat psychoanalysis like any other science” (Freud, 1920, p. 11). What has continued to trouble Freud’s critics is the idea that one can construct a scientific description of mental events, which are not observable but which seem to link it with, and at times separate it from, modernity, modernism and postmodernism.

To continue, it is essential to analyze the findings and development in the contemporary relational models. This will help one understand the Freud’s perspectives and theories more fully and will also aid in practical application of the knowledge gained in the process of examining mourning and melancholia traits. Relational models theory is simple: People relate to each other in just four ways. Interaction can be structured with respect to (1) what people have in common, (2) ordered differences, (3) additive imbalances, or (4) ratios. When people focus on what they have in common, they are using a model that is called Communal Sharing (Fiske, 1992).

When people construct some aspect of an interaction in terms of ordered differences, the model is Authority Ranking (Fiske, 1992). When people attend to additive imbalances, they are framing the interaction in terms of the Equality Matching model. When they coordinate their actions according to proportions or rates, the model is Market Pricing. Everyone uses this repertoire of relational capacities to plan and to generate their own action; to understand, remember, and anticipate others; to coordinate the joint production of collective action and institutions; and to evaluate their own and others’ action (Fiske, 1992). In different cultures, people use these four relational models in different ways, in different contexts, and in differing degrees. In short, four innate, open-ended relational structures, completed by congruent socially transmitted complements, structure most social action, thought, and motivation. That’s the theory.

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This theory was developed fully in 1991 in the book, Structures of Social Life, and an article that summarized the core ideas (Fiske, 1992). The Communal Sharing (CS) mod bases sociality on the perception that a set of persons have something in common—something that makes them socially equivalent in some respect (Fiske, 1992). It has to be noted that typically, people are aware that the set is composed of individuals and subsets who are different in other respects (Fiske, 1992). The set may include the self, or may be a set of others who are treated as functionally equivalent for certain purposes (Fiske, 1992).

Freud (1921) teaches that to organize any given aspect of a relationship in any given context, people must complete this trait with realization of what they have in common: blood kinship defined by descent through the mother, father, or both; blood consumed in an act of ritual brotherhood; a home and economic or parental responsibilities; religion; employment by a corporation; attendance at a school or college; membership on the same team or being fans of one; being followers of the same leader; nationality, birthplace; joint responsibility for a task or group decision; a shared resource such as a home, park, or road system; collective moral responsibility either for each other’s acts or for each other’s welfare; a type of misfortune or problem (breast cancer, alcoholism, an earthquake, epidemic, or terrorist strike); membership in a secret society; an age-set defined by initiation; or simply the sentiment of belonging together, with a shared past and future (Freud, 1921).

The mod may structure the interaction of a dyad, a group, or an “imagined community” (Anderson, 1983) who never all assemble together and do not know the identities of all the others (Freud, 1921). People may be motivated by what they see themselves as having in common with living humans, deceased persons, ancestors, spirits, gods, pets, domestic animals, or other social beings. Everyone has Communal Sharing relations with many primary or reference groups, as well as CS relationships that are less intense and more restricted in significance (Freud, 1921). Some of the equivalence sets to which a person belongs are wholly included subsets of broader CS groups; others merely intersect.











The Authority Ranking (AR) mod bases sociality on asymmetrical difference, typically transitive and hence linearly ordered (Sandler et al.1997). This mod itself does not define how people are ordered with respect to specific social practices or values. Hence people using this mod must complete it with socially transmitted realization which define how to rank people: by age, gender, caste, seniority, promotion system, achievement on a task or test, contest or combat, passage through a ritual, possession of symbolic paraphernalia, bestowal of fiefdom, position determined by divination or revelation, charismatic performance, religious devotion, election, delegation or appointment by higher authority (Freud, 1921).

The Equality Matching (EM) trait constructs relations according to additive interval differences, with even balance as the reference point. Examples include turn-taking; lottery or coin-flip; voting; eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth vengeance; rotating credit associations; baby-sitting coops; balanced in-kind reciprocity such as exchange of favours or dinner invitations; matching contributions; distributions divided into equal shares; symmetrical playing fields and even numbers of players in sports; and equal starting points and resources in games and contests (Wollheim 1991).

The Market Pricing (MP) trait organizes interaction with reference to ratios or rates. Depending on the realization that complete the mod, it yields such cultural coordination devices as prices, wages, rents, interest, dividends, tithes and taxes, efficiency calculations, and cost-benefit analyses (Sandler et al. 1997). Money is a common medium for MP, but relationships based on MP often do not involve money, and money is often a medium for relationships based on other groups. When people ask themselves, “Is what I’m getting out of this relationship proportional to what I’m putting into it?” they are using MP to judge relational equity. MP appears in utilitarian moral reasoning when people use a common metric for evaluating aggregate welfare in terms of achieving the best value for their investments (Sandler et al. 1997).

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In its current form, relational models theory is a descriptive theory, characterizing how people think about sociality. But the theory would be much more powerful (and interesting) if one could deduce why and when people implement particular models. Ideally, these deductions should be based on the characteristics of the relational models themselves and the differences between them. In the immediate encounter, clearly people are obliged to use the models pretty much as their predecessors and associates use them, by virtue of the social transmission that results in local cultures. Otherwise, people could not coordinate. In novel situations, people probably use analogies from other important domains (Sandler et al. 1997).

In conclusion, it may be stated that Freudian thought has come in for heavy criticism from modern scientists for its grandiose claims, yet this is part of the appeal of psychoanalysis: it has a nobility of thought and aspiration, that may seem resembling nineteenth-century thought, somewhat reminiscent of Weber’s grand sweep, but which still remains attractive to some today. Yet at the same time, Freud seems to point forward to some of the ideas found in modern days – the critique of moral schemes, the fragmentation of the self, the impossibility of knowing the objective truth or an objective past.

Above all, psychoanalysis as a practice is a fiercely intense and private experience for both analyst and patient, and marks both a celebration and a constant questioning of human subjectivity. In the end, it not only puts the question ‘What is your story?’, but also the more risky question, ‘Who is the story-teller?’ People can eventually face the awful question as to whether they exist at all, and if they do, what stability or value their existence has, how much is it dependent on others’ judgments, how much they are still living out their parents’ fantasies, to what extent their life is run by unconscious fantasies, and so on. Of course, we all have some problems in varying degrees. Freud argues that civilization demands that sacrifice from us, if we are to live in community; others might dispute that and argue instead that industrialism and capitalism have caused this fundamental alienation. But the psychoanalytic procedure provides a context in which such alienation can be laid bare and partially rectified.

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While Weber’s analysis of the relationship between Protestant asceticism and capitalism has received an extensive and possible excessive commentary, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism contains the essential core of Weber’s view of the origins, nature and effects of rationalization. The quest for salvation security gives rise by a process of unintended consequences to a culture that emphasized reason, stability, coherence, discipline and world-mastery. Protestantism broke the connection that had traditionally united the individual to the institutions of the church and thus generated a new form of possessive individualism, which had the effect of legitimating money and creating a culture dedicated to work and the transformation of the human environment.

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