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Money-Kyrle, R. (1933). Applied Psycho-Analysis: The Rt. Hon. Lord Raglan. 'The Origin of Cruelty.' Man, 1932, vol. XXXII, No. 134 (May) and related correspondence. Edward Glover and Lieut.-Colonel Stoneham, July and October, No. 292.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 14:117.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Applied Psycho-Analysis: The Rt. Hon. Lord Raglan. 'The Origin of Cruelty.' Man, 1932, vol. XXXII, No. 134 (May) and related correspondence. Edward Glover and Lieut.-Colonel Stoneham, July and October, No. 292.

(1933). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 14:117

Applied Psycho-Analysis: The Rt. Hon. Lord Raglan. 'The Origin of Cruelty.' Man, 1932, vol. XXXII, No. 134 (May) and related correspondence. Edward Glover and Lieut.-Colonel Stoneham, July and October, No. 292.

R. Money-Kyrle

A stimulating controversy on The Origin of Cruelty was started by Lord Raglan (May) in his criticism of Roheim's view (J.R.A.I., 1929, 188) that the institutions of circumcision and of castrated priests are ritual survivals of the castration of the defeated in the battles of the 'primal horde'. Lord Raglan argues that cruelty is spontaneous neither in children nor in primitive people, and that it is mainly confined to Western Europe, where it is the product of repression. 'To the male animal', he writes, 'his rival is an obstacle and nothing more. When death or flight removes the obstacle it is promptly forgotten, and attention turned to the female. Does Dr. Roheim believe that gorillas castrate each other?' The truth, he says, is to be sought by the comparative method, 'and not by attributing to the "bestial pre-human" ideas and practices which are utterly unknown both among men (sic?) and among animals'. Thus, for example, Mr. Briffault, in The Mothers, using the comparative method, suggests that circumcision is a ritual imitation of defloration, and the castration of priests a stage in the transference of the priesthood from women to men. One has the impression that in most discussions of this kind, the two problems of historical origin and psychological motive are insufficiently distinguished. Since the psychological motive is almost always overdetermined, circumcision is likely to symbolize defloration as well as castration. Indeed the two ideas seem often indistinguishable in the unconscious.

Dr. Glover (July), replying to Lord Raglan, reasserts the existence of the castration complex and of cruelty in children. To this, Lord Raglan answers that he is prepared to take Dr. Glover's 'word for it that many children have castration fears', but he cannot accept the view that such fears are innate, nor can he see any evidence for the existence of the 'primal horde'. Finally, Lieut.-Colonel Stoneham (October) quotes examples of apparently refined or sadistic cruelty among monkeys and primitive people.


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Article Citation

Money-Kyrle, R. (1933). Applied Psycho-Analysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 14:117

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WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.