In Civilization and Its Discontents, Freud explores the tension between the individual’s desire for unbridled freedom and the expectations of society. Explaining his view of the basic friction between civilization and the individual, he maintains that the conflict stems from the individual's quest for instinctive freedom versus civilization's demand for conformity and the repression of instincts. Freud’s theory is based on the notion that humans have certain primitive, immutable instincts, many of which are clearly harmful to the well-being of the community. Therefore, a civilization creates laws and punishments to control them. Freud contends that this process gives rise to perpetual feelings of discontent among its citizens.
Civilization and Its Discontents is considered one of Freud's most important works,and one of the most influential books in the field of modern psychology.