Money-Kyrle, R. (1930). Animism, Magic, and the Divine King. By Géheim, Ph.D. (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., London, 1930. Pp. 390. Price 21 s. net.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 11:234-236.
(1930). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 11:234-236
Animism, Magic, and the Divine King. By Géheim, Ph.D. (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., London, 1930. Pp. 390. Price 21 s. net.)
Review by: R. Money-Kyrle
Science, like evolution, progresses by variation and selection. Thus scientists can be roughly divided into the productive and the critical according to which of these two functions they perform. The purely critical are quick to eliminate the errors of other people; but this same faculty is apt to make them over cautious in the development of their own ideas. Dr. Róheim does not suffer from this defect. He is an extreme example of the productive type. He is prolific of original ideas; but he leaves it to others to select those which are worthy to survive.
The underlying motive in his present work is an attempt to apply some of Ferenczi's psycho-biological speculation in the anthropological field. Ferenczi, in his Versuch einer Genitaltheorie, regards the act of generation as an autotomy which is the present equivalent of the multiplication by fission of the protozoa. He suggests that the fear of castration, which psycho-analysis so regularly reveals, is a resistance against the impulse to autotomy or fission, and that this fear is only absent when the separated part is incorporated into a being who is loved and therefore treated, for the moment at least, as a part of the self.
Dr. Róheim, in his attempt to reduce the strange fears and customs of primitive man to the same source, begins by pointing out that the fundamental dread of the savage is of the loss of a part of himself. This dread he illustrates in the fear lest hair, nails or excreta should be stolen by a sorcerer, in the fear of the loss of the soul at death, and in the fear of the loss of mana which underlies taboos on intercourse.
[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]