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Evarts, A.B. (1916). The Ontogenetic Against the Phylogenetic Elements in the Psychoses of the Colored Race. Psychoanal. Rev., 3(3):272-287.

(1916). Psychoanalytic Review, 3(3):272-287

The Ontogenetic Against the Phylogenetic Elements in the Psychoses of the Colored Race

Arrah B. Evarts, M.D.

Crile, in his “Origin and Nature of the Emotions,” has given to psychology a new definition, saying that “it becomes a science of man's activities as determined by the environmental stimuli of his phylogeny and of his ontogeny.” In developing this he said “if the full history of the species and of the individual could be known in every detail, then every detail of that individual's conduct in health and disease could be predicted. Reaction to environment is the basis of conduct, of moral standards, of manners and conventions, of work and play, of love and hate, of protection and murder, of governing and being governed, in fact of all the reactions between human beings—of the entire web of life.” This reaction, however, is not determined solely by the experiences of the individual's own few years, but by the wonderful amount of memories which have been stored in his unconscious through the slow evolution of his race. Having drunk deep of the river of Lethe, of these he has no conscious memory, but they make sure and firm foundations on which to build a new personality, as each coral animal builds on the reef of his ancestors. The influence of the race history permeates all thoughts and acts of the individual and yet he knows it not. For instance, many of the games of childhood are direct survivals of religious ritual of the childhood of the race, and their yearly cycle has a much deeper meaning than the whim of the little ones. Swinging was part of the magic ceremonies performed every spring to ensure a tall and luxuriant growth of the crops. Jumping rope had very much the same origin.

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