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Székely, L. (1957). On the Origin of Man and the Latency Period. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 38:98-104.

(1957). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 38:98-104

On the Origin of Man and the Latency Period

Lajos Székely


Our problem was to ascertain the psychological factors operating in the life of the Primates which, in the process of Man's genesis, were able to lead to the evolution of the latency period. I think it has been possible to throw light on this question from one aspect, and to bring it nearer to our understanding. If sexual selection always favours so consistently those male individuals of a herd who best succeed in controlling their instinctual tensions under permanent conflict, and postponing the discharge of their instinctual impulses and their action until the fitting opportunity, who can best master their libido and their aggressiveness, it becomes intelligible, within the compass of the modern theory of evolution, that the descendants of this herd may develop an ego organization, with its inherent hostility to instinct.

But now it has fared with us as often in the history of research. We have sought the answer to one question, and we have found the answer to another. We were inquiring after the psychosocial factors rooted in the nature of the Primates, which lead to the evolution of human latency, and we found the factors which contribute to the evolution of the human ego organization. But the question of how the genesis of the ego is connected with the dichronous inception of sexual development must, for the present, remain open.

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