Totem and Taboo: Resemblances Between the Psychic Lives of Savages and Neurotics
In this brilliant exploratory attempt (written in 1912–1913) to extend the analysis of the individual psyche to society and culture, Freud laid the lines for much of his later thought, and made a major contribution to the psychology of religion. Primitive societies and the individual, he found, mutually illuminate each other, and the psychology of primitive races bears marked resemblances to the psychology of neurotics. Basing his investigations on the findings of the anthropologists, Freud came to the conclusion that totemism and its accompanying restriction of exogamy derive from the savage’s dread of incest, and that taboo customs parallel closely the symptoms of compulsion neurosis. The killing of the “primal father” and the consequent sense of guilt are seen as determining events both in the mistry tribal pre-history of mankind, and in the suppressed wishes of individual men. Both toteism and taboo are thus held to have their roots in the Oedipus complex, which lies at the basis of all neurosis, and, as Freud argues, is also the origin of religion, ethics, society, and art.
What people are saying - Write a review
according ambivalent Andrew Lang animistic Apepi Aruntas assume avoid become blood ceremonial child clan compulsion neurosis conception conﬂict customs dangerous dead death deceased deﬁnite demons displacement dream E. B. Tylor emotional enemy exist expiation explain expression fact father fear feelings ﬁeld ﬁnally ﬁnd ﬁre ﬁrst ﬂesh forbidden Frazer Golden Bough group marriage holy hostility identiﬁcation impulses incest dread individual inﬂuence J. G. Frazer justiﬁed kill king later libido magic manifestations marriage means mother mother-in-law motives mourning myths nature neurosis neurotic object omnipotence of thought person phobia phratries primal primitive races psychic psychoanalysis psychological punishment relation religion religious restrictions result Robertson Smith sacriﬁce savages sense of guilt sexual intercourse signiﬁcance social soul spirits stage taboo prohibitions taboo rules theory things tion TOTEM and TABOO totem animal totem feast totemic system Totemism and Exogamy touch tribe uncon unconscious violation wish woman Wundt