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Literary Analysis

Scholars of psychology have to understand the various perspectives that the scholars before them had concerning the human nature and how people develop the different personalities. Therefore, it is important to read widely and examine the various literature and compare their content to understand the schools of thought that exist and their application to the practice of psychotherapy. Hence, the paper will critically examine the work of Victor Frankl titled “Man’s Search for Meaning” and the book by Sigmund Freud titled “The Future of an Illusion.” The paper will also analyze Jean Jacques Rousseau’s “Discourse on the Origin of Inequality.”  The three works all talk about human nature and the role of faith in its development. While Frankl and Rousseau agree that the nature of humans is good, Freud sharply opposes. Also, while Frankl and Rousseau recognize the importance of faith and religion in the psychological health of humans, Freud, on the other hand, says that religion is illusory and wishful thinking that has negative consequences.

“Man’s Search for Meaning” was authored from Victor Frankl’s personal experience in a Nazi concentration camp. The work details the struggles of the writer in the camp and how he coped (Frankl 2). The work contains the mental picture of a typical prisoner in the dire conditions that they were subjected to and discussed it from his logotherapy psychological perspective. For example, in the section of the book in which the author talks of how they walked in a cold place for miles while hardly strong enough to walk he says, “I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss…” (Frankl 48). By doing that he informs the author of his actual feelings as he went through the problems and applied his theory to it. Therefore, unlike Rousseau and Freud, the author gives himself as evidence of how his theory works.  Freud, on the other hand, offers a critic of religion in the lives of humans. In his critic, he uses the beliefs and psychoanalysis as the main tools of passing his point. Therefore, the critic lacks strong evidence to support the argument of the author apart from the backing of the psychoanalytic approach. Rousseau’s “Discourse on the Origin of Inequality” on the other hand critics the ideas of the authors that discussed the topic of human nature before him such as Hobbes. He also lacks personal experience like Victor Frankl. Therefore, Frankl is more convincing in his work because of the use of evidence from his life and the application of the theory that he communicated to the people to survive in the concentration camp and also outside after he was freed. The writing of the method of logotherapy and its application from the perspective of a person who had experienced it makes the work of the theorist more authentic than the Freud’s critic of religion and Rousseau’s discussion of human nature.

The three authors also give different perspectives of the psychology behind people’s actions. Frankl argues based on his logotherapy perspective. According to the view, the nature of people is driven by the purpose of their lives. Therefore, people behave like they do because they seek to have a purpose in their lives. The purpose may be founded on themselves or the people that look up to them. For example, in some part of the text, the author is inspired to fight for his survival by the thought of his wife. The author says “…But my mind clung to my wife’s image…” (Frankl 48). In the part of the text, the author found a purpose for his life in his wife. He struggled to survive in the harsh conditions because of reasons such as his wife. The author says that their meaning drives people’s behaviors and that despite the situation that a person may be, life never stops having to mean. The author thought that there is always someone looking down upon people even if the situation is very hard. The idea that his wife is looking down at him or imagining his wife gave his life meaning.

Rousseau, in his work says that two forces drive people. One of them is self-preservation, and the other is ‘pity.’ The view of Rousseau can be compared to that of Hobbes who also said that self-preservation is the primary motive of the actions of people (Rousseau 35). However, Rousseau asserts that pity is a significant part of what drives people’s behaviors. According to Rousseau, if self-preservation were the only principle that drove people as Hobbes had suggested earlier, people would be monsters. The author describes pity as “an innate repugnance to see his fellow suffer” (Rousseau 36). The nature of people as characterized by the two principles of compassion and self-preservation is corrupted by the society to create the people that exist in the communities. Unlike Frankl, Rousseau discussed the issue of human nature in two situations. One of the situations is one in which the person lives without the interaction and corruption of the society. The author describes humans that have not been corrupted by the societies in his work. The perspective that Rousseau in talking about the topic of human nature is different from both Frankl and Freud because unlike the two, Rousseau talks about the nature of people away from societies while the other two authors speak about the nature of humans within the context of the society.

In “The Future of an Illusion” on the other hand, Freud centers his discussion on religion. Therefore, his discussion on motivation is limited to what leads people to believe in god and their faiths. The author says that people are motivated to believe in religion by their wishful thinking that it will bring them immortality of their souls and a prolongation of their earthly existence by life after death (Freud 38). Therefore, according to the writing of Freud, human behaviors are driven by their self-centeredness. The negative ideology of humans is contrary to the belief of Rousseau and Frankl. Freud directly opposed the thoughts of Rousseau and Frankl.

The views of the authors also differ concerning the innate nature of people. According to Frankl, two kinds of people exist. The text of Frankl says that there are both decent and indecent people. The author wrote that there were both decent and indecent prisoners. Therefore, the author believes that depending on the actions and behavior of people, there are those that are good and those that are evil. The view is different from both Rousseau and Freud as it shows a more liberal line of thought as compared to the other writers who say that people are naturally good and evil respectively. According to Frankl, decent and indecent people were the only important races. For instance, in the concentration camp, he says that there are indecent as well as decent prisoners (Frankl 102). He also says that there were both decent and indecent Nazi guards. Therefore, from his experience, the author does not generalize the nature of people as either good or bad. Instead, he says that both types of people exist in all societies.

Contrary to the liberal thinking of Frankl, Rousseau thought that people are naturally good and that they are only corrupted by the societies in which they live and civilization. The author terms the human being in the absence of the society and civilization as being in “the state of nature.” According to Rousseau, timid, lacking foresight and peaceful (Rousseau). The author argues that the capacity to understand that God gave humans is what hinders the natural state and brings civilization, hence making people exist in an unnatural state. The author says that it is the existence of people within the contexts of societies that make them evil and brutish. By saying that the understanding that God gave people hinders their natural goodness, the author blames God for the unnatural state of humans that is characterized by brutishness, solitariness, and selfishness (Rousseau).

Freud views people as being naturally evil. The perception of Freud concerning the natural state of humans sharply differs from both Frankl and Rousseau’s. According to Freud, human nature is naturally anti-social, destructive and rebellious. The destructiveness of people results to disasters when people interact in their societies because “masses are lazy and unintelligent” (Freud 7). The view of the author differs from both Rousseau and Frankl in that unlike both, Freud first claims that people are not intelligent. The author also claims that there is no goodness in people. Freud also thinks that civilization result to the positive attributes of people. Freud thought that civilization prevented people from showing their destructive nature because of the existence of laws and leaders to guide them. The thought of Freud about civilization differs from that of Rousseau. Rousseau blames civilization for the evils that exist while Freud thanks civilization for the order. Freud also thought that religion is an emphasis on the attainment of the drives such as sex, wealth and other selfish gains through believing in the benefits that come from believing (Freud 17).

In conclusion, Frankl, Freud, and Rousseau wrote in different contexts about the nature of humans. Also, the writers took different perspectives concerning the topic. The issue of the nature of people is crucial because it allows psychologists to understand what drives people to behave the way they act. Frankl talks from the voice of a person who has gone through the worst and recovered through believing in that there was purpose in his life. Freud, on the other hand, critiqued religion and described as part of the wishful ideas of people and their evil nature. Rousseau thought that people were naturally good but corrupted by their societies. Therefore, the views of the authors differ a lot from each other. Frankl presents a more open-minded and convincing argument based on the fact that he speaks from experience and illustrates the working of his theory.  Freud and Rousseau critique their predecessors but offer insufficient empirical evidence to support their claims.

Comparison of Stonewall Jackson and George Patton

Good leadership is critical for anyone to win a battle. In war, leadership means knowing what one needs to do and doing it appropriately. Other factors required for one to overcome an adversary include industrial capacity, weapons, logistics, and technology. Leadership is the key catalyst of the underlying reactions whose ingredients include but not limited to moral, technology, and logistics. The two movies Gods and Generals and Patton depict troops in the civil war under commanders Jackson and Patton respectively. Jackson and Patton portray various leadership abilities.

This paper compares the two commanders to reveal who had better leadership qualities. Although the duo had some common traits, all other things being equal between their armies, Jackson had more superior leadership qualities than Patton. Jackson’s excellent leadership qualities inspired his troops, and they overcome their physical and logistical disadvantages thus defeating forces that were larger in terms of equipment and number.

Jackson portrayed various rules worth emulating not only in war, but also in daily life. One of these rules is pressing on (Gods and Generals 2003). The general often force-marched his army mercilessly. Jackson believed that soldiers should accomplish their mission regardless of how hard they have to push the enemy. For example, the general led his army intelligently to appear to the enemies’ rear without being detected. This tactic allowed them to attack and kill a large number of enemies thus making them weak.

Jackson also preferred using a large number of soldiers or mass to contain the enemy. In his final and brilliant battle where he lost his life, the general used all his armies in a single glorious stroke of military (Gods and Generals 2003). The entire corps enabled him to attack and subdue the enemies quickly. Jackson suggested to Lee that they mass the corps in order to attack the enemies successfully (Gods and Generals 2003). However, the use of mass corps led to confusion which resulted in the death of the commander. Jackson was shot by one of the soldiers who mistook him. At that time, the leader was trying to re-enter his line after attacking the enemy. Nonetheless, Jackson’s maxims portray a substance of his success.

The commander also portrayed these principles in other battles such as in the valley as well as in the wilderness to a great extent (Gods and Generals 2003). Indeed, his skills with regard to tactical ability were evident because he could not only inspire his troops but also understand and take advantage of the topography to overcome the enemy. That is, he could understand the terrain and concentrate on the battlefield thus allowing him to motivate his troops by providing them success most of the times.

Patton also showed some skills similar to those of Jackson. For example, in addition to the use of knowledge, Patton also inspired his troops and used force or mass like Jackson. Jackson believed that spiritual inspiration and motivation are important factors for anyone to win a particular battle (Gods and Generals 2003). Patton portrayed similar trait. From his point of view, attacking the enemy’s strategy is of supreme importance in war.

Both Patton and Jackson also used knowledge to subdue their enemies in many encounters. The two won most of the battles even when outnumbered but rarely lost battles in which they possessed numerically superior forces. However, none of the elements; mass, inspiration or knowledge dominated their battles. From Patton’s perspective, any operation should involve moving down the path until one jump to the enemy (Patton). Patton portrayed these principles in most of his battles evident in the movie. For example, whenever he confronted his adversaries, he directed his troops to bump the enemy at the point of contact and fire with nearly all the command. He then led the rest of the force to move in a wide envelopment in order to attack the enemy from the back.

However, Patton was unfriendly to his troops. For example, he told Bennet, one of his soldiers, “You are just goddamned coward” (Patton). The commander further claimed that he could not tolerate a bastard to seat in front of brave wounded soldiers. Unlike Patton, Jackson did not embarrass his troops but kept motivating them to move on and fight bravely. For example, he told his soldiers “Make yourself comfortable there” (Gods and Generals 2003). The statement implies that the general was friendly to his troop rather than rudely commanding them to attack the enemy.

Nevertheless, like Jackson, Patton felt that inspiration was more important than mass and knowledge. This statement is valid from the point of view that, suppose an army comprises of men with same military knowledge but no one to inspire them in war. In such case, the enemy can quickly subdue them. However, encouraging the troops can make them act until they win the battle. Although knowledge is important in understanding when, where, and how to attack, it might not be possible to transmit knowledge quickly to the subordinates to win a battle.

Like Jackson, Patton believed that using mass troops could help to subdue the enemy quickly. Patton believed that any leader in war should attain victory by first inspiring, secondly use superior military arts or knowledge, and then force or mass (Patton). The general followed these tenets in some of his battles. For example, sometimes circumstances forced him to use mass troops as the last resort especially if the army on the ground was not producing desirable results. In other words, Patton, like Jackson, resorted to the use of mass troops only when he faced equally inspired and knowledgeable commander. Patton also inspired his troops and used superior knowledge in order to outmaneuver his adversaries. However, he often abused his men. For example, he told Bradley, one of the soldiers that one of the soldiers (yellow man) should have been shot for being coward.

Unlike Patton, Jackson was intensely religious and often mentioned the name of God. Although Patton also mentioned God’s name, he was not religious. He says “My God, they have forgotten about all of the people…” (Patton). However, the two men had a common philosophy. For example, they inspired their troops which allowed them to conduct their battles at incredible speeds, shock and surprise the enemies with superior force. Therefore, although the similarities in the men’s leadership, knowledge, and single-mindedness at war are striking, the duo portrayed unmistakably different temperament and personality.

Based on the analysis of the two movies, Jackson and Patton had two identifiable characteristics which made not only them, but also every commander who possess the traits, a successful leader. These characteristics include efficient use of mass and knowledge. The audience would then wonder which traits propelled each leader to victory. Indeed, this is where individuality begins, and similarities end.

General Patton utilized personal inspiration to encourage or motivate his troops (Patton). The commander’s use of theatrical motivational approaches provided stimuli to his army which enabled them to have incomparable success. On the other hand, Jackson’s mystical qualities at war made his troops to adore him (Gods and Generals 2003). In fact, most of his soldiers worshiped him. Jackson often surprised his troops with new tactics to attack the adversaries. For example, his philosophy of not informing the troops of a pending plan to maneuver the enemies’ movement enabled his troops to surprise the opponent abruptly. On the other hand, Patton’s strict disciplinary nature, knowledge of military, unpredictability, and use of mass made him one of the finest tactical generals.

Nevertheless, I would prefer to serve as an enlisted soldier under Jackson rather than Patton. It would be better to operate under a friendly and inspirational commander rather than a rude one. Jackson proved himself as a great leader and his troops unquestionably trusted him. I would desire to work under such a successful and trustworthy commander. Although Jackson often forced the troops to push themselves when confronting the enemies, doing so made them succeed in most of their battles. Moreover, success leads to success and by gaining confidence; the leader was able to apply his superior military skills while pushing the troops to move forward. Unlike Jackson, Patton seemed unfriendly thus it might be difficult to work with him.