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Rascovsky, A. Rascovsky, M. (1972). The Prohibition of Incest, Filicide and the Sociocultural Process. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 53:271-276.

(1972). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 53:271-276

The Prohibition of Incest, Filicide and the Sociocultural Process

Arnaldo Rascovsky and Matilde Rascovsky

Psychoanalytic investigation has confirmed that incestuous craving is the most constant and universal sexual force in the life of the individual, and the main obstacle in the socialization process is the difficulty in overcoming the Oedipus complex, i.e. the endogamic sexual tie. We wish to stress, however, the importance of incestuous attraction as the most powerful initial sexual bond which is a vital and indispensable stimulus for the survival of the child and his later sexual development.

When confronted with the fact that the prohibition of incest is present in all sociocultural groups, we wonder what were the irrevocable, persistent procedures by which the most essential of the instinctual drives was deflected.

Side by side with the universal prohibition of incest, there is another generalized institution to be found in every culture; filicide. Primitive myths (Devereux, 1953), (1966); (Rascovsky, 1970a); (Rascovsky & Rascovsky, 1968), initiation rites (Reik, 1931), a study of human sacrifices (Devereux, 1953) and multiple manifestations of the various social systems reveal that slaughter, mutilation and real or symbolic abasement of children, expressed in quite a number of ways, are practices that have been universal since the dawn of culture (Rheingold, 1964).

In psychoanalytic practice, the endopsychic expression of these phenomena can be constantly observed in the interrelations between the superego and the ego (Berliner, 1966) evidenced by disorders such as obsessional neurosis, melancholia and suicide or by the punitive sanctions imposed on the ego, especially in the case of incestuous fantasies.

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