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A healthy society has three obligations. Firstly, it should protect, as well as, promote the welfare of all its members. Secondly, it should let its members enjoy a wide range of freedom, which should be as extensive as possible. Thirdly, it should equally provide opportunities, rights, rewards, and protections to all its members. This means that it should not discriminate against any individual. These are principles, which most citizens of a state would accept. However, within any society which seeks to be just to its members, there will always be tension between freedom, on an individual level, and the right of the state to limit that freedom for the purpose of moral and social adjustments.
There are numerous issues that baffle people today concerned with the tension between individual and the state. The question that arises is does the state have the right to limit the freedom of any individual? However, it is essential to note that man is naturally anti-social and anti-cultural. This aggression is what obstructs civilization (Strachey, 56-9). It is also necessary to note that any behavior that controlled by social conventions appears to be more primitive than behavior controlled on an individual level. People are often driven by their instincts, which make them be naturally aggressive and hostile (Howe, 67-85).
Tension between the individual and the states occurs in many forms. In Egg on Mao, Chong explains that a state like the state of China has put in place policies supposed to shape its society on the large scale. However, most of these policies have conflicted with the liberty of an individual; it has reduced people to facts and figures. They affect individuals on a personal level. For example, in its application of the one-child policy, it has limited the individual's desire to get more children or have a large family. It forces people to perform abortions that are against their will.
While the Chinese Communist Party's policies aim at making a better society, it profoundly impacts the lives of Chinese people. The Party is always involved in the daily lives of the Chinese, which results into the development of unique character traits among them. In this tension, one has to prevail over the other one. The state has always been on the upper hand in imposing various restrictions on its members, which they believe is better for the overall society.
Moreover, morality in Communist China has no value. This is because authoritarianism has emptied the Chinese people of their humanity (Chong, 185). The Chinese state is brutal towards its citizens (Chong, 214-219). Chong continues to explain that a Chinese, as an individual, has lost his moral compass because of the involvement of the state in their daily lives. When the individual feels to be undermined by the state, he or she will always protest.
George, in 1984, expounds that sexual repression represents an example of conflict that can arise between an individual and the state. The state uses the Party, and the Junior Anti-Sex-League, to impose the idea of anti-sexualism upon its members. This should eliminate any personal, sexual attachments that can contribute to diminishing political loyalty. This is an example of how the state gets involved in the private lives of its people as individuals.
We also see that the state cannot let its citizens enjoy their private life, for example, the party members if the inhabitants of Oceania are not entitled to any real privacy. It is notable that most of them live in apartments with two-way tele-screens for the purpose of being watched at any time. These tele-screens are also planted at workstations, as well as public places (Orwell, 45-65).
Moreover, there are police everywhere employed as undercover agents. They pose as normal citizens and report any individual with rebellious tendencies. Children in this society can report any suspicious individual to the government. There are some children who even got to the extent of denouncing their own parents. This shows how the state has brainwashed its people so as to get involved on the personal life of an individual. According to the state, the surveillance helps in the effective control of its citizens (Aubrey & Chilton, 67-9). All those who go parallel with the state are punished; arrested and imprisoned. The individual ends up clashing with the state.
In this society, those holding high offices of the State enjoy the highest quality of life while most of the population is faces with hunger and poverty (Meyers, 15-30). The state controls the minds of the lower and middle class so as to prevent rebellions or revolutions. This shows how the state engages itself in preventing the liberation and development of the individual's life. In this city, the individual's thoughts get to be controlled so as to ensure purity of the oligarchical system of the state in place (Bowker, 150). Figurehead of the state is omnipresent and omnipotent.
In another perspective, there is tension between the individual and civilization (civilization stands in for the state). In civilizations and its Discontents, Freud states that, the individual faces a lot of misery, which is as a result of his civilization. The individual can be extremely happy if he gave up the pursuit of civilization. The individual has a strange attitude of hostility towards civilization.
It is notable that, before civilization, the individual lived a much happier life than when civilized (Freud, 115). The individual living in primitive conditions lived an ordinary life, which had few wants. It is also notable that, the individual can become irrational because he cannot tolerate the frustration that the society imposes on him with cultural ideas and ideals. A reduction in these demands by the society would end in a return to possibilities of happiness within the individual. Previously, man has had an extraordinary advance in science and their technical application. More so, he has established his control over nature in a manner never experienced before.
It is notable that some instances of development in civilization are similar to the development of the individual using the same methods of development. In Civilization and its Discontents, Freud defines the id as a mass of sensations; there are no boundaries existing between an individual and the external environment. This means that, the individual's actions can or cannot conflict with the norms of a society placed on the individual.
The ego has to balance the id with reality and the superego (Freud, 128). The superego formed over time by the society of the individual. It is observes, judges, as well as threaten the ego with punishment; this is the conscience. The tension between the super-ego and the ego expresses itself as a tension. For the purpose of harnessing the individual's libido, the society sets up boundaries and imposes them unto the individual's aggressive ego. All this shows how there can be tension between the individual and the state, the society or religion.
In conclusion, conflict can arise between the needs of an individual, for example, sexual needs and societal civilization, state or tradition. This is the cause of man's tendency for aggression, dissatisfaction, hostility and violence (Freud, 117). Many people struggle in life to connect between their inner world and the society. This means that inner peace can only be achieved by learning to control aggressive impulses by resolving this conflict.