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Eissler, K.R. (1975). The Fall of Man. Psychoanal. St. Child, 30:589-646.

(1975). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 30:589-646

The Fall of Man

K. R. Eissler, M.D.

ACCORDING TO THE OLD TESTAMENT, MAN WAS DESTINED TO LIVE A happy, carefree life in the Garden of Eden, unencumbered by the need to fight for survival and the fearful prospect of death. His disobedience to the Lord, symbolized by the quest for knowledge, resulted in his forfeiting an existence that would have been regulated by the pleasure principle.

There are few who believe in the accuracy of this myth, but it often happens that a myth contains a kernel of truth that is in harmony with later discoveries of science. I believe that this is the case with regard to the myth of the fall of man. Indeed, there can be hardly any doubt regarding the second part of the myth. Man's history is an unending chain of suffering leading finally to the present, in which the whole of mankind seems threatened with annihilation. An anguished mood of desperation has settled over the whole world, and the most illustrious minds have worked out schemes intended to protect us at the last moment against impending catastrophes of whose existence everyone is aware. Yet the various programs of action that have been submitted in great number deserve to be received with considerable skepticism.

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