Back to the "gill slits"

Takaisin Ajatusvarikolle - Back to the Thought Deposit
- Dinoglyfs - Esihistorialliset eläimet historiankirjoissa - Prehistoric Creatures Documented by the Ancient Man


How tight is the link between the Haeckelian legacy and the psychoanalysis or sexual revolution? The pansexual drawing was planned as an illustration number 100 in Artforms in Nature. When the model declined from the publication, the image was used finally in Wanderbilder in 1904. Frontispiece a’la Ernst Haeckel.

In the studies of the Stephen Jay Gould’s school, the spin-offs from Haeckel’s recapitulation ranged from “solid” disciplines like palaeontology to very soft ones (such as criminal anthropology, psychoanalysis, sexual revolution, and absurdities from scout movement to the tabula rasa behaviour hypothesis). The cross-scientific lobby can be seen already in the Wilhelm Ostawd's "Monistic Sermons", published in 1911-1913 in German and in 1923 in Finnish.

"... five essays on subjects strongly influenced by recapitulation: criminal anthropology, racism, child development, primary education, and psychoanalysis. Many other areas would have furnished equally impressive proof of influence... References abound in niteenth-century literature". Stephen Jay Gould, Ontogeny and phylogeny (1977) s. 117.

"Childhood stages of development could underlie adult neuroses, taught Sigmund Freud, just as 'childhood' of the human species might explain certain religious practices and taboos. Like most biologists of his day, Freud was strongly influenced by the theory of evolutionary recapitulation...Based on general observations of the developing embryo, recapitulation theory became extremely influential outside of science. Pushed to explain many social phenomena, the misapplied analogy caused a great deal of mischief. Starting with the inaccurate notion that a human embryo at various times resembles an adult fish, reptile, monkey, etc. in the womb, it assumed all individuals go through the same evolutionary stages of development... Most writers have treated Freud as if his theories had arisen fully formed out of his own system of thought, with no scientific precedents. In fact, as Frank Sulloway has shown in Freud, Biologist of the Mind (1979) this 'absolute originality' is a myth; 19th century evolutionary ideas had an enormous influence in shaping Freud's thought. Freud himself began his Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (1916) with the statement of Haeckel's premise, which seemed to him self-evident: 'Each individual somehow recapitulates in an abbreviated form the intire development of the human race'... His 'oral' an 'anal' stages represent not only the infant's early experiences, but also hark back to a four-legged animal ancestry... Even more far-fetched speculations have recently surfaced in Freud's manuscript A Phylogenetic Fantasy, written in 1915, but forgotten and stored in an old trunk for 70 years and finally published in 1987. This strange work traces hysteria, obsessions, anxiety neurosis and other modern disorders to the harsh life of our ancestors during the Ice Ages... Freud's conclusions about the origins of dysfunctional behaviors are therefore based on two antiquated theories in biology: recapitulation combined with Lamarckian inheritance. Most present-day Freudians, unfamiliar with the history of evolutionary theory, cannot appreciate how deeply Freud's thinking rests on these two major 19th-century scientific fads, which have long since been abandoned by biologists." Richard Milner, Encyclopedia of evolution (1990) s. 177-178.

'Freud was a devout recapitulationist - and he said it so clearly and often: 'Each individual somehow recapitulates in an abbreviated form the entire development of the human race'...' ontogenesis may be regarded as a recapitulation of phylogenesis.' The central role of recapitulation in his entire system has rarely been noted'. Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis 1916 s. 199; Three Essays on the theory of Sexuality 1914 s. xvi. Gould Ontogeny and phylogeny (1977) s. 156.

'The earlier phases of development are in no sense still preserved; they have been absorbed into the later phases for which they have supplied material. The embryo cannot be discovered in the adult... The fact remains that only in the mind is such a preservation of all the earlier stages alongside of the final form possible, and that we are not in a position to represent this phenomenon in pictorial terms'. Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its discontents (1930), 1961 ed. s. 18. Gould Ontogeny and phylogeny (1977) s. 157: 'Freud's general theory of neurosis and psychoanalysis relies upon this view of mental recapitulation.'

'You may regard the psychoanalytic treatment only as a continued education for the overcoming of childhood-remnants.' Sigmund Freud, The origin and development of psychoanalysis (1910) Am. J. Psych. 21: 181-218, s. 213. Gould Ontogeny and phylogeny (1977) s. 158.

'With neurotics it is as though we were in a prehistoric landscape - for instance, in the Jurassic. The great saurians are still running around; the horsetails grow as high as palms'.Alunperin 1938, uusi painos 1963 s. 299. Gould s. 158.
'Anxiety hysteria - paranoia - melancholia - mania... This series seems to repeat phylogeneticallyan historical origin. What now are neuroses were once phases in human conditions.'
Kirjeessä 1915, McCormick Recapitulation: Freud and Jung (1973) s. 17, Gould Ontogeny and phylogeny (1977) s. 158.

'From this conviction, Freud embarked upon his most ambitious project for recapitulation: nothing less thah the reconstruction of human historyu from psychological data on the development of children and neurotic...'If we may regard the existence among primitive races of the omnipotence of thoughts as evidence in favor of narcissism, we are to attempt a comparison between the phases in the development of men's view of the universe and the stage of an individual's libidinal development. The animistic phase would correspond to narcissism both chronologically and in its content; the religious phase would correspond to the stage of object-choice of whcic the characteristic is a child's attachment to his parents; while the scientific phase would have an exact counterpart in the stage at which an individual has reached maturity, has renounced the pleasure principle, adjusted himself to reality and turned to the external world for the object of his desires.'' Sigmund Freud, Totem and taboo (1913), 1950 ed. s. 90. Gould Ontogeny and phylogeny (1977) s. 159.

Freudin teos Toteemi ja Tabu sisältää mm. seuraavia alaotsikoita: 'Some points of agreement between the mental life of savages and neurotics'; 'A boy's earliest choice of objects for his love is incestuous and those objects are forbidden ones'. Johanneksen evankeliumin alkua matkivan otsikon 'In the beginning was the deed' alla Freud kirjoittaa: 'I should like to insist that its [the book's] outcome shows that the beginnings of religion, morals, society and art converge in the Oedipus complex. This is in complete agreement with the psychoanalytic finding that the same complex constitutes the nucleus of all neuroses, so far as our present knowledge goes. It seems to me a most surprising discovery that the problems of social psychology, too, should prove soluble on the basis of one single concrete point - man's relation to his father.' Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo (1913) s. 156-157. Muistettakoon, että näiden koulukuntien edustajat olivat vuosikymmeniä länsimaiden virallisia sielunhoitajia. Harvalla teorialla on ollut niin suuri merkitys kuin psykoanalyysillä. Freudilaisuudesta tuli oma paradigmasumunsa, jolla oli kiistattomat käytännön seuraukset mm. yhteiskunnan käsitykseen seksuaalimoraalista. Kärjistäen sanottuna Freud, Moosesta vihannut juutalainen, riisti ihmiseltä syyllisyyden - ja sitä kautta anteeksisaamisen vapauttavan kokemuksenkin.

'Freud's early supporters and later rivals accepted his basic belief in recapitulation, but put it to different uses. C.G. Jung, for example, strongly supported recapitulation throughout his long career. He wrote in 1912: 'All this experience suggests to us that we draw a parallel between the phantastical, mythological thinking of antiquity and the similar thinking of children, between the lower human races and dreams. This train of thought is not a strange one for us, but quite familiar through our knowledge of comparative anatomy and the history of development, which show us how the structure and function of the human body are the results of a series of embryonic changes which correspond to similar changes in the history of the race. Therefore, the supposition is justified that ontogenesis corresponds in psychology to phylogenesis. Consequently, it would be true, as well, that the state of infantile thinking in the child's psychic life, as well as in dreams, is nothing but a re-echo of the prehistoric and ancient.' CG Jung, Psychology of the unconscious (1916) s. 27-28. Gould Ontogeny and phylogeny (1977) s. 161.

Vuonna 1943 Jung vielä postuloi: 'Childhood, however, is a state of the past. Just as the developing embryo recapitulates, in a sense, our phylogenetic history, so the child-psyche relives 'the lesson of earlier humanity' as Nietzhe called it. The child lives in a pre-retional and above all in a pre-scientific world, the world of men who existed before us. Our roots lie in that world and every child grows from those roots. Maturity bears him away from his roots and immaturity binds him to them. Knowledge of the universal origins builds the bridge between the lost and abandoned world of the past and the still largely inconceivable world of the future. How should we lay hold of the future, how should we asimilate it, unless we are in possession of the human experience which the past has bequeathed to us? Dispossessed of this we are without root and without perpective, defenseless dupes of whatever novelties the future may bring.' CG Jung, Psychology and education 1943 in 1954 s. 134-135. Gould Ontogeny and phylogeny 1977 s. 162. Freudin toisen seuraajan Sandor Ferenczin suoraviivaista rekapitulaatio-analogiaa en kehtaa lainata häveliäisyyssyistä. Mainittakoon kuitenkin teoksen nimi Thalassa, a Theory of Genitality, )(1924).