Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: To share an article on social media…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

If you find an article or content on PEP-Web interesting, you can share it with others using the Social Media Button at the bottom of every page.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Rycroft, C.F. (1952). The Psychoanalytic Quarterly 20, 1951; No. 2: Bernice Engle and Thomas M. French. 'Some Psychodynamic Reflections upon the Life and Writings of Solon.'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 33:505.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: The Psychoanalytic Quarterly 20, 1951; No. 2: Bernice Engle and Thomas M. French. 'Some Psychodynamic Reflections upon the Life and Writings of Solon.'

(1952). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 33:505

The Psychoanalytic Quarterly 20, 1951; No. 2: Bernice Engle and Thomas M. French. 'Some Psychodynamic Reflections upon the Life and Writings of Solon.'

Charles F. Rycroft

The life and writings of Solon are discussed from the point of view of the light they can throw on some psychodynamic problems of democracy.

Solon was appointed archon of Attica at the beginning of the sixth century B.C. with extraordinary powers to reconstruct the machinery of the Athenian government which had broken down as a result of the disintegrating effect of commercial development on a previously feudal society. What had once been a benevolent aristocracy had become an oligarchy of limitless greed. In their discussion of his reforms, which included the abolition of slavery and extension of civic rights, the authors stress the high value Solon attached to self-restraint as a counterbalance to the lust for power and wealth. This is exemplified both in his writings and in his refusal to seize arbitrary power for himself and become a tyrant. If a democracy is to work its members must not only be capable of resisting despotic usurpation of power; they must also be willing to renounce their own desire for power. Solon is one of the earliest examples of such self-restraint.

The fact that Solon had to defend himself against charges of weakness on account of his refusal to seize power for himself 'illustrates a psychodynamic dilemma which confronts every democracy'. The success of democracy depends upon the maintenance of a delicate balance between excessive and insufficient inhibition of self-assertive impulses. 'A community whose members are too ready to surrender their individual interests to the general welfare becomes only too ready to succumb to the usurpations of the next tyrant.'

- 505 -

Article Citation

Rycroft, C.F. (1952). The Psychoanalytic Quarterly 20, 1951; No. 2. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 33:505

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.