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Ormay, A.P. (1991). Instinctual foundations of group analysis. Free Associations, 2(4):569-587.

(1991). Free Associations, 2(4):569-587

Group Perspectives

Instinctual foundations of group analysis

A. P. Ormay

1 The Evolution of Evolution

It has been difficult to find a connection between social nature and instinct. Evolution works through the members of a species who pass on their traits in their genes, and the more successful an individual is in reproducing itself, the higher the number of successors which will have its genes. Therefore, the altruistic member is not a good survivor because the individual which sacrifices itself has less chance of passing on its genes and its kind is likely to die out. In 1856 Darwin introduced the principle of natural selection which clearly stated that the individual most fit to survive will do so. Natural selection is based on the fact that a species does not repeat itself accurately; rather it produces individuals who differ from each other. I shall call this the Principle of Difference because I want, later on in this paper, to contrast it with another principle which also operates and which is central to my thesis.

Darwin's thought ruled the first half of the twentieth century. Variations in many areas relating to biology could be adequately explained in its light because most differences which survived seem to have a functional basis. It was against the background of such an animal instinct theory that modern psychology, sociology and social anthropology developed: the Principle of Difference had a profound effect on all of them.

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