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Birger, D.M. (1984). The Psychoanalytic Study of Society, IX. 1981: Psychocosmogony: The Representation of Symbiosis and Separation-Individuation in Archaic Greek Myth. Richard S. Caldwell. Pp. 93-103.. Psychoanal Q., 53:489.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: The Psychoanalytic Study of Society, IX. 1981: Psychocosmogony: The Representation of Symbiosis and Separation-Individuation in Archaic Greek Myth. Richard S. Caldwell. Pp. 93-103.

(1984). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 53:489

The Psychoanalytic Study of Society, IX. 1981: Psychocosmogony: The Representation of Symbiosis and Separation-Individuation in Archaic Greek Myth. Richard S. Caldwell. Pp. 93-103.

Daniel M. Birger

According to Hesiod's Theogony (approximately 700 B.C.), the world originated in the emergence of four primal entities: Chaos, Earth, Tartaros, and Eros. Cosmogony as a symbolical way of representing the development of the individual is proposed by the author, who proceeds to analyze the significance of Hesiod's primal components. Chaos is described as representing the symbiotic, undifferentiated state of the individual in union with the mother. The emergence of recognition of mother as a separate entity, represented by the second of Hesiod's elements, Earth, is associated with the inevitable sense of loss of the blissful union with her. The sense of loss is represented by Tartaros, which is the part of the mythical underworld where sinners suffer their eternal punishment for attempting to defy Zeus. Although the crimes are oedipal in nature, the author postulates that they are a superstructure representing the earlier wish and craving for reunion with the symbiotic mother, and it is on the basis of this that Eros, representing desire, emerges as the last of the components of the individual's formation.

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Article Citation

Birger, D.M. (1984). The Psychoanalytic Study of Society, IX. 1981. Psychoanal. Q., 53:489

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