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Kamiat, A.H. (1928). The Cosmic Phantasy. Psychoanal. Rev., 15(2):210-219.

(1928). Psychoanalytic Review, 15(2):210-219

The Cosmic Phantasy

Arnold H. Kamiat

Historically, the origin of creeds may lie in a feeling of inadequacy or inferiority to their situation in primitive men, in a consequent world-phobia and flight from reality, and in an inability to make clear distinctions between phantasy and reality. This latter factor may have made inevitable a delusion of infallibility. If primitive men's animistic creed said that anything was so, it was so. Primitive men then began to feel that they knew the world, and the feeling of security that comes with knowledge must have been born. Thus may the feeling of inadequacy been compensated for by the cosmic phantasies of animism, or whatever it was that constituted men's first creed. Early men felt that they knew the world to be just what their animistic creed represented it to be. They had no doubts in the matter.

Thus may have been born mythology. Mythical stories came to be comprehended in systems of theology. The gods of mythology and early theology were corporeal beings with worldly wants. They were the mental product of men to whom the satisfaction of worldly desires was the aim of life. But there came a time when theologies were framed by men to whom worldly desires and carnal satisfactions were anathema. To these men the body and its passions were so repugnant that they conceived the ideal existence to be a bodiless one, and they dreamt of a future “spiritual” life. They fashioned their deity accordingly. He was “spirit,” he was mind, he was intelligence, but he was without body. He was also truth, goodness, justice. Mind, wisdom, intelligence, truth, goodness, and justice were thus conceived as objectively real abstractions, eternal, perhaps immanent and omnipresent, preëxistent with reference to men. And it may be that thus were born metaphysical phantasmagoria, fancies that picture concepts as possessed of an objective and eternal existence.

The birth of theological and metaphysical phantasies was probably attended by the growth of the ascetic phantasy.

The ascetic phantasy is generally framed in somewhat the following fashion. The physical passions are evil. Their satisfaction is a sinful act. The body is evil. All matter is evil. The world is evil.

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