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Grotjahn, M. (1949). The Survey. LXXV, March, 1949: Toward World Citizenship. Weston LaBarre. 5 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 18:539.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: The Survey. LXXV, March, 1949: Toward World Citizenship. Weston LaBarre. 5 pp.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:539

The Survey. LXXV, March, 1949: Toward World Citizenship. Weston LaBarre. 5 pp.

Martin Grotjahn

The essence of man's humanity is the control of his environment in ways differing from that of other animals. The man of today does not want to see his culture as it is, as a product of a chain of choices and judgments by his tribal ancestors. He wants an absolute morality handed him by nature. The anthropologist who tells him the truth is as suspect as the psychiatrist. Man seems unable to be honestly critical of the ideas he lives by. He is a new kind of animal: he is individualized, and he is removed from the law of survival of the fittest by having turned into a social organism. In addition, man makes extensions of his body—not his body—evolve for him. Man's biological specialization is in his two-legged gait, his big brain, his functionally freed hand and his space-assessing eye. His essential physical humanity is shared indifferently by all human beings alike. He must adapt to a world partly of his own creation. His major biological enemy is himself.

Only when we have answered the question of what kind of human beings are to exploit our knowledge of atomic energy will it be anthropologically safe for man to have discovered it. Anthropology and psychiatry can tell us a great deal about the processes involved but we must still make the choices of what kind of human beings we want to create. And if the cultures which shape human beings are man-made and not God-given, then we had better begin to explore the moral implications of this responsibility and this freedom.

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Article Citation

Grotjahn, M. (1949). The Survey. LXXV, March, 1949. Psychoanal. Q., 18:539

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