Sigmund Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents is one of the great works of modern literature. His premises and conclusions contain more truth than a “fast food” and “fast sex” culture like ours can assimilate. Civilization is, according to Freud, a space of conflict in which conflicting instincts struggle to find expression. Neuroses and pathologies a psychoanalyst seeks to treat in the individual play themselves out, writ large, in society. A society no less than an individual is a house divided against itself, an organism subject to fits of “cutting,” bulimia, and, to use one of Freud’s root metaphors, narcissism. Christopher Lasch argued that the culture of narcissism is the mother of all American pathologies. Philip Slater suggested “the pursuit of loneliness.” The social pathologies of contemporary civilization continue to be a focus of social-science research. Clearly, Freud was on to something.