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(1954). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXIV, 1953: The Genesis of Man. Leonard R. Sillman. Pp. 146-152.. Psychoanal Q., 23:616-617.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXIV, 1953: The Genesis of Man. Leonard R. Sillman. Pp. 146-152.

(1954). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 23:616-617

International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXIV, 1953: The Genesis of Man. Leonard R. Sillman. Pp. 146-152.

There exists a critical need for a completely scientific understanding of the nature of man; this can be derived only through a comprehension of man's origins. From such an understanding a real and objective solution of man's problems may arise. As an animal, man is endowed with instincts to kill and

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eat other forms of life. As a mammal, he is endowed with primitive sexual instincts first described by Freud. As a primate, he acquired his manual dexterity from his monkeylike ancestors. In branching off from the higher apes, man became more aggressive, as is shown by his becoming a flesh eater; and he became skilful in creating weapons and tools.

Man as we know him originated in the New Stone Age when he domesticated plants and animals. This was accomplished by the growth of mental faculties and functions to the point where they folded over themselves, part retaining their original direction toward the external world and part becoming directed toward the self. In essence, man originated from a doubling of primatelike activity of the brain, part of which turned inward. By this inward part of his mind man perceives, and then inspects his perceptions or memories; such inspection is thought, by which man becomes more intelligent than animals. Instead of being only outwardly aggressive, he has acquired aggression turned against the self, guilt, which controls his destructive and erotic instincts. Instead of loving only objects, part of his erotic drive is turned inward into himself to create self-love, pride, and narcissism. By these means he has acquired the intelligence and self-control which have enabled him to domesticate plants and animals. His social compliance is also derived from the influence of the restraining instincts on his more primary animal drives. Vocal patterns, known as words, have become internalized to associate themselves with other experiences such as visual or tactile memories to create language which enables him to communicate his experiences to his fellow man.

By virtue of man's twofold mentality,—a primary and a secondary super-imposed mental structure, analogous to the telescope and the microscope,—man has been able to create with his mind. Through the double action of idea on image, concept on memory, man is able to extract the truth from sensory perception, to duplicate experience in art, and to acquire intellectual control over nature. It is this power that has originated his art, his science, his industries, and his civilization.


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Article Citation

(1954). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXIV, 1953. Psychoanal. Q., 23:616-617

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