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Hartman, J.J. (1996). The Psychoanalytic Study of Society. XVII, 1992: Spirit and the Problem of Social Instincts: Exceptions to Freud's Critique of Religion. Dan Merkur. Pp. 249-287.. Psychoanal Q., 65:457.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: The Psychoanalytic Study of Society. XVII, 1992: Spirit and the Problem of Social Instincts: Exceptions to Freud's Critique of Religion. Dan Merkur. Pp. 249-287.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 65:457

The Psychoanalytic Study of Society. XVII, 1992: Spirit and the Problem of Social Instincts: Exceptions to Freud's Critique of Religion. Dan Merkur. Pp. 249-287.

John J. Hartman

Merkur offers an extensive critique of Freud's opposition to religion. Freud's belief in telepathy was related to his view of “spirit,” which he, in contrast to most writers, distinguished from religion. Spirit was a reality; religion a wish fulfillment. Next, the author points out that Freud's view of cultural evolution—animism, religion, science—is not tenable. Mysticism and magic cannot both be instances of primary narcissism. Totems cannot symbolize fathers and precede mother goddesses developmentally. Finally, the myth of the primal horde was used by Freud to replace his original ideas about social instincts. In his theory of religion the problem of social instincts was replaced by the problem of the ego ideal. The author urges a reconsideration of the idea of social instincts for a more coherent psychoanalytic theory of religion.

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Article Citation

Hartman, J.J. (1996). The Psychoanalytic Study of Society. XVII, 1992. Psychoanal. Q., 65:457

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