Narrative Psychology: The Storied Nature of Human Conduct

By Theodore R. Sarbin | Go to book overview

3
Trespassing in
Scientific Narrative:
Grafton Elliot Smith
and the Temple of Doom

Misia Landau

I arrived at the Temple of Doom through a passage in Freud. Nudged by his frequent allusions to archeology, I discovered it in that famous footnote in which Freud elevates not psychoanalysis but our ape-like ancestors.

The fateful process of civilization would thus have set in with man's adoption of an erect posture. From that point the chain of events would have proceeded through the devaluation of olfactory stimuli and isolation of the menstrual period to the time when visual stimuli were paramount and the genitals became visible, and thence to the continuity of sexual excitation, the founding of the family and so to the threshold of human civilization. ( 1961, pp. 4647)

Ironically, Civilization and Its Discontents could be said to take its first steps in a footnote. And maybe its last, for, as Freud ventures, even human virtues merely follow the perverted path of the upright posture. Consider hygiene:

-45-

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