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Dissanayake, E. (2006). Fons et Origo: A Darwinian View of Selfobject Theory and the Arts. Psychoanal. Inq., 26(3):309-325.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 26(3):309-325

Fons et Origo: A Darwinian View of Selfobject Theory and the Arts

Ellen Dissanayake

Four important themes in self psychology as developed by Heinz Kohut are remarkably congruent with current theoretical constructs in the field of evolutionary (Darwinian) psychology: (1) the concept of narcissism, (2) the claim for the innate human capacity for empathy, (3) the recognition of the importance of group cohesion, and (4) the belief that individual psychological distress is produced by a changed environment rather than a dysfunctional self. By recasting Kohut's themes in a Darwinian framework and interpreting them with personal views of the phylogenetic origin and nature of the arts (Dissanayake, 2000), I describe and make clear the central importance of art experience to the developing selfobject relationship as well as to the evolution of the human species.

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