Myth and Guilt: The Crime and Punishment of Mankind

Myth and Guilt: The Crime and Punishment of Mankind

Myth and Guilt: The Crime and Punishment of Mankind

Myth and Guilt: The Crime and Punishment of Mankind

Excerpt

It is difficult to describe what impression Freud Totem and Taboo made upon us, his Vienna circle. I still vividly remember the meeting of our Analytic Association in 1913 in which Freud presented to us the last and most important part of the work about the return of totemism in childhood. We were enthusiastic and we immediately understood that here was an intellectual challenge for generations of psychologists and historians of civilization. Privileged to speak with the author of the great book, we discussed with him the overflow of ideas it had stimulated in most of us. In the following months Otto Rank, Hanns Sachs, and I--they called us the psychoanalytic trio in Berlin--often talked until early morning about plans for future research work each of us hoped to do. We were friends and helped each other wherever we could. There was no petty jealousy, no quarrel about priority of ideas, no fear of plagiarism that sometimes disgraced the discussions of psychoanalysts later on.

Under the deep impression of Freud's theory a new interpretation of the biblical story of the Fall of Man had occurred to me. The ramifications of that new interpretation led to unexpected concepts of the early evolution of civiliza-

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