The psycho-analytic study of the family

The psycho-analytic study of the family
Title: The psycho-analytic study of the family
Release Date: 2019-01-08
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Date added: 27 March 2019
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THE INTERNATIONAL
PSYCHO-ANALYTICAL
LIBRARY

EDITED BY ERNEST JONES
No. 3


THE INTERNATIONAL PSYCHO-ANALYTICAL LIBRARY
No. 3

PSYCHO-ANALYTIC STUDY
OF THE FAMILY

BY

J. C. FLÜGEL B. A.

Senior Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy and Psychology, University College, London.
Sometime John Locke Scholar in Mental Philosophy in the University of Oxford.
Honorary Secretary of the International Psycho-Analytical Association.

THE INTERNATIONAL PSYCHO-ANALYTICAL PRESS
LONDON VIENNA NEW YORK
1921


COPYRIGHT 1921
PRINTED BY
THE SOCIETY FOR GRAPHIC INDUSTRY
VIENNA III


I refer to those appetites which bestir themselves in sleep;when, during the slumbers of that other part of the soul, whichis rational and tamed and master of the former, the wild animalpart, sated with meat and drink, becomes rampant, and pushingsleep away, endeavours to set out after the gratification ofits own proper character. You know that in such momentsthere is nothing that it dares not do, released and deliveredas it is from any sense of shame and reflection. It does notshrink from attempting in fancy unholy intercourse with amother, or with any man or deity or animal whatever; andit does not hesitate to commit the foulest murder, or to indulgeitself in the most defiling meats. In one word, there is nolimit either to its folly or its audacity.

PLATO, "Republic," Book IX.


Man, forsooth, prides himself on his consciousness! Weboast that we differ from the winds and waves and fallingstones and plants, which grow they know not why, and fromthe wandering creatures which go up and down after theirprey, as we are pleased to say without the help of reason.We know so well what we are doing ourselves and why wedo it, do we not? I fancy that there is some truth in the viewwhich is being put forward nowadays, that it is our less consciousthoughts and our less conscious actions, which mainlymould our lives and the lives of those who spring from us.

SAMUEL BUTLER, "The Way of All Flesh,"
Chapter III.


[v]

PREFACE

The circumstances that have led to the production ofthis little book are, I think, sufficiently explained in the introductorychapter; there is, therefore, no need to dwell uponthem here. It is only necessary perhaps to warn the readerthat he will find in what follows but little that is original.With the exception of small contributions and suggestions uponspecial points, in the last few chapters alone does there existanything that has not already found a place in the literaturedealing with the subject; and probably it will be the earlierrather than the later portions of the book that will most oftenbe consulted. Nevertheless, a work of compilation, such as thepresent for the most part aims at being, may have its justificationand a certain sphere of usefulness; especially so perhaps in thepresent case, since a certain proportion of the original papersto which reference is here made is contained in books andperiodicals that have at no time been readily accessible to theEnglish-speaking public and were for some years practicallyunobtainable.

The reader may possibly experience some surprise anddisappointment at finding that, while the relations betweenparents and children and between brothers and sisters comein for much attention, those between husband and wife (whichwill probably be regarded as equally fundamental to any considerationof the psychology of the family) are but lightly touchedupon. That this is the case is merely a consequence of thelines along which psycho-analytic knowledge has for the mostpart advanced. It is perhaps less to be regretted than wouldat first appear: for in the first place, the amount of considerationgiven to the marriage relationship has been fairly generousduring recent years, while the relations between parents and[vi]children and among the junior members of the same family,have been relatively neglected: in the second place, the studyof the two last named, chronologically earlier, relationships (andespecially the filio-parental one) is—as will be seen—capableof throwing considerable light upon the subsequent maritalrelationship; it would seem probable indeed that a thoroughunderstanding of the problems of love, sex, and marriage cannotbe attained without a preliminary knowledge of the nature ofthe psychic bonds that unite parent and child—a knowledgethat psychology is only now beginning to afford.

On the other hand, I feel a very genuine regret that Ihave been unable to include some discussion of the problemsconnected with the size of families. These problems are, I amconvinced, of the greatest importance. At a moment like thepresent when large portions of the human race are sufferingfrom a shortage of the very necessities of existence the questionof family limitation, in particular, becomes one that is of enormous,one might almost say of paramount, urgency. Nevertheless, thetreatment of this question from the psychological, as distinctfrom the ethical, sociological or economic standpoint, has asyet been so slight and fragmentary, as to make a full considerationof the question scarcely suitable to a volume of expositorycharacter; and I have thought it better to omit the subject almostaltogether than to deal with it in a manner that would beeither inadequate and superficial or else manifestly inappropriate[1].

I am of course aware that much with which we have hereto deal makes far from pleasant reading. The unpleasantnessarises mainly from the fact that, in the pursuit of our presentpurpose, we are chiefly brought into contact with the unconsciousand more primitive aspects of the mind rather thanwith the more recently acquired and more morally edifyingaspects. But those who realise the importance, for humanwelfare and progress, of a true understanding of our mentalnature, should no more be deterred from the consideration ofunpleasant aspects of the mind, than should the student ofeconomics neglect to take account of poverty or the student[vii]of hygiene turn away from the contemplation of disease. Frompersonal observation and experience, as well as from moretheoretical considerations, I have acquired a deep convictionof the significance of those aspects of the human mind withwhich we are here concerned. It is principally because I amassured that a wider realisation and a deeper study of theseaspects—both by the student of the mind and by the ordinaryreading public—will contribute in very considerable measureto the solution of many of the most important moral and socialproblems with which humanity is faced, that I have venturedto embark upon the following, I fear very inadequate, presentationof our knowledge on the subject.

It only remains for me to express my sincere thanks tothose who have assisted me in one way or another; particularlyto Dr. Ernest Jones who was the first to interest me in thework of Freud and his followers, and without whose personalhelp in more than one direction, the present pages could nothave been written. I am also deeply indebted to Mr. CyrilBurt for many valuable criticisms and suggestions, to Mr.Edward de Maries for several interesting comments on thesubject matter of the last few chapters, to Mr. Eric Hiller forassistance in seeing the work through the press, and to mywife for help in a variety of ways throughout the work.
J. C. F.
Wood End Lodge,
Raydale, Yorks.
August 1, 1921.

[ix]


CONTENTS

  PAGE
PREFACE v
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTORY 1
II. THE PRIMITIVE EMOTIONS IN RELATION TO THE FAMILY 6
III. THE ORIGIN OF CONFLICT IN RELATION TO THE FAMILY 21
IV. THE FAMILY AND THE LIFE TASK OF THE INDIVIDUAL—FREUD AND JUNG 31
V. THE FAMILY AND THE GROWTH OF INDIVIDUAL PERSONALITY 40
VI. ABNORMALITIES AND VARIETIES OF DEVELOPMENT—LOVE AND HATE 48
VII. ABNORMALITIES AND VARIETIES OF DEVELOPMENT—DEPENDENCE ASPECTS 61
VIII. IDEAS OF BIRTH AND PRE-NATAL LIFE 66
IX. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF INITIATION AND INITIATION RITES 79
X. THE DEVELOPMENT OF PARENT SUBSTITUTES 88
XI. FAMILY INFLUENCES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE LOVE LIFE 102
XII. FAMILY INFLUENCES IN SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT 117
XIII. FAMILY INFLUENCES IN RELIGION 133
XIV. THE ATTITUDE OF PARENTS TO CHILDREN 156
XV. ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE FAMILY TENDENCIES—HATE ASPECTS 175[x]
XVI. ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE FAMILY TENDENCIES—LOVE ASPECTS 184
XVII. ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE FAMILY TENDENCIES—THE REPRESSION OF LOVE 200
XVIII. ETHICAL AND PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS—LOVE AND HATE ASPECTS 217
XIX. ETHICAL AND PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS—DEPENDENCE ASPECTS 230
INDEX 243

[1]

CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTORY

There is now some very general measure of agreementThe needs ofsocial reconstructionthat if humanity is to escape the fate of having passed throughthe ordeal of world-wide war in vain, the recent era ofdestruction must be followed by a period of reconstructionand reorganisation, in which many of our systems, institutions,customs and beliefs must be tested, and where necessaryrefashioned, in the light of our changed ideals and points ofview and of the widened experience of human needs andpossibilities which our existence through these years of conflicthas brought us.

The degree of success attained by any such attempt atScience andreconstructionreadjustment on a large scale to changed standards andconditions, must to a very considerable extent depend uponthe advance that is achieved by, and the application that ismade of, the various branches of science dealing with thephenomena of human life in all its aspects. Biology, physiology,medicine, hygiene, economics, politics, law and education mustall contribute their share to the solution of the great problemof reconstituting human society upon a satisfactory peacefooting. Above all perhaps, it is to the science of the humanmind that we should most naturally turn for enlightenmentin dealing with many of the most important aspects of thisproblem.

Unfortunately it so happens that Psychology is among theThe presentstatus ofPsychologyyoungest of the sciences; its state of development, in comparisonwith that of many other disciplines, is as yet in no wisecommensurate with the relative importance for human welfareof the problems with which it is concerned. Conscious of this[2]disproportion between our present knowledge and the weightof the matters that are at stake in any application of psychologicaltheory to practical affairs, many leading psychologistshave preferred to postpone any attempt at such applicationuntil the more important results of recent research, many ofwhich are still matter for controversy, shall have been firmlyestablished upon a wider and more unassailable foundation.

Perhaps as a consequence of this attitude (praiseworthy nodoubt in itself), and of its effects—direct and indirect—uponpsychological outlook and procedure, there exists at the presenttime a fairly widespread notion that Psychology is largely amatter of empty speculations or trivial technicalities, "a happyrefuge for the lazy industry of pedants[2]," as a well knownauthor has recently called it, with little or no bearing upon thelarger problems of human life and conduct. It would appear,however, that the war—with its urgent call for immediatepractical action—may have proved the means of inducingThe applicationof Psychologyto practicalproblemspsychologists to adopt a less academic attitude in the pursuitof their science; of compelling them to carry out a stocktakingof the results already achieved with a view to ascertainingwhich, if any, are of a nature to throw light upon the actualproblems of the time, and to work out in detail the applicationof psychological principles to these problems in all cases wheresuch application promises to be of importance. Thus, immediatelyfollowing upon the entrance of the United States into the war,the psychological resources of that country were mobilised bythe American Psychological Association with a view to theimmediate investigation of urgent questions affecting the conductof the war. Under a central committee there were constitutedno less than twelve subcommittees, each in charge of a specialfield and each acting under the chairmanship of a psychologistof special eminence in that field. Previous to this there hadalready been formed in this country a War Research Committeeof

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