London School of Economics: lecture. Sample containing about 7784 words speech recorded in educational context

3 speakers recorded by respondent number C408

PS2PD Ag4 m (No name, age 45, lecturer) unspecified
HUHPSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
HUHPSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 102201 recorded on 1993-12-09. LocationLondon: London ( lecture theatre ) Activity: lecture

Undivided text

(PS2PD) [1] I'll wait till one or two people are here before I start.
Unknown speaker (HUHPSUNK) [2] Sure, do an hour anyway.
(PS2PD) [3] Yes, yeah, oh it's quite like old days, isn't it at L S E, with the police outside, and a riot on.
[4] It brings a tear to my eye.
Unknown speaker (HUHPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS2PD) [5] Mind you, it's not, I mean, I thought that black demonstration was pathetic.
[6] D did you see it?
[7] I mean, you know, when I was student at L S E, you know, the front of the, of the demonstration was down at the Law Courts, the back was still in, at, at er, Oxford Street, or something, you know.
Unknown speaker (HUHPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS2PD) [8] We had real demos.
[9] But there we are.
[10] What's happening now, does anybody know?
Unknown speaker (HUHPSUNK) [...]
(PS2PD) [11] They're what?
[12] ... Are they ... trying to occupy the ...
Unknown speaker (HUHPSUNK) [...]
(PS2PD) [13] ... Well, I wonder how many more are coming?
[14] It's five past, at least it is by my watch.
Unknown speaker (HUHPSUNK) [15] Yes, cos a lot of people are out in [...]
(PS2PD) [16] Are they?
[17] Right.
[18] So we'll have to carry on
Unknown speaker (HUHPSUNK) [...]
(PS2PD) [19] well, we'll carry on regardless, okay. ...
Unknown speaker (HUHPSUNK) [20] Is there a handout from last week?
(PS2PD) [21] Yes sorry there is.
[22] Erm, yes, you're quite right, here we are.
[23] Just getting to that.
[24] ... There's the summary of last week's, okay if you can pass those round.
[25] ... And while I'm focusing the overhead, this is the er, this is a postcard that er, a student did this course some years ago, sent me from the U S.
[26] Freud, the barber ... so how's your mother, he's asking the guy in the chair.
[27] Nearly as bad as singing at you isn't it?
[28] ... Okay, now erm, today as you realize with feelings of immense relief is the last lecture of the term, so, so what I'm gonna do, is to start talking about the er, so called black books of Freud, the set texts in this, in this course and I'm gonna start talking today about the first, and in some ways, one of the most important of these, Totem and Taboo, and since it's the last lecture of term, and you probably all forget what I said over the Christmas holiday, and won't be able to recall it afterwards, through the alcoholic haze, er what I thought I'd do today, was talk about Totem and Taboo in the way in which it looked backwards rather than forwards.
[29] Totem and Taboo as we'll see is a key book, not only in terms Freud's writings on social sciences, but in Freud's development.
[30] And it, kind of faces both ways, it, it looks back to the early period of the development of Freud's thought that we've already spoken about, and its beginnings back in the eighteen nineties, and in certain other respects, it looks forward, to the kind of revolution that was going to occur after World War Two.
[31] What I've called in my book, Essential Freud, the Second Psychoanalytic er Revolution.
[32] So, it, it's in many ways a, a book that, that looks two ways, as it were, back and, and forward.
[33] And what I want to do today is to talk about Totem and Taboo rather more as it looks back, than as it looks forward, and not just to, to the past in Freud, but to the past in other respects, as you will see.
[34] ... But first of all this phrase that I used, to introducing it of Serge Mo ... .,
[35] the black books of Freud.
[36] Moscavisi, is a leading French social psychologist, which those of you doing, em, social psychology or the social representations course, will hear about.
[37] And in his book, er, The Age of the Crowd, Moscavisi refers to what he calls the black books of Dr Freud.
[38] Now, what has he got in mind?
[39] And, and why are they black?
[40] Well, what he has in mind are those very books which are the core of our course, that is Freud's writings on social sciences, religion, society, morality, social philosophy, that, that kind of thing.
[41] That's what he means by the black books of Freud.
[42] But why are they black?
[43] Why should they be denigrated?
[44] Well, Moscavisi's argument, and I must say, I agree with him, is that they tended to be denigrated by both groups who might have taken the biggest interest in them.
[45] They'd been denigrated by the clinical psycho anal analysts who have followed after Freud, and used Freudian therapy, because they're non-therapeutic.
[46] These are er, books which ... these, these are books which do not directly concern, therapeutic applications of psychoanalysis, and as a result, many psychoanalysts who have been very fervent in projecting a kind of medical image for psychoanalysis, have tended to regard them as diversions at best, and at worst as, rather er regrettable eccentricities on the part of Freud.
[47] Do you want a handout, Ben?
[48] So, for these people, the clinical psychoanalysts, the black books haven't been very interesting, or they've been actually distracting.
[49] One of them, for example, that we'll be looking next term, Freud's biography, co-written with Bullitt, on Woodrow Wilson, was called, in one of the major reviews, when it finally came out in nineteen sixty seven, the kind of thing that gets psychoanalysis a bad name.
[50] That's how one of the psychoanalytic reviewers referred to that book.
[51] So, so this group, the clinical psychoanalysts, haven't really been, been interested in this, in this kind of writing.
[52] The other group of people who you might have thought, ought to have taken them up and been interested in them, was the wider field of social science, er, writers after all, social scientists, ought to be interested in these, in these books because they're about social science.
[53] Again, there's been an astonishing neglect, not so much I, I have to point out in fairness, of Totem and Taboo, as we'll see.
[54] Totem and Taboo's been pretty notorious.
[55] But putting Totem and Taboo on one side, and as we'll see, it's not really an exception, but in general, most of these books, have been quite astonishingly ignored.
[56] I take, take a summary from there.
[57] One of the best examples of that is, ... a book dating from nineteen twenty, Group Psychology and the Anal Analysis of the Psychology of the Ego.
[58] You might think that, that's a book that social scientists ought to be primarily interested in.
[59] But in fact, if you look through bibliographies and citations in the literature, you find it's hardly ever cited, and when it is cited, people seldom if ever, seemed to refer to what Freud er says in it, let alone take any notice of it.
[60] ... If you look at something like the Institute for Group Psychotherapy in London, it's founded on other writings than Freud's writings on Group Psychology.
[61] That's one that they seem to ignore er, rather systematically.
[62] So social science has tended to ignore Freud's books, but of course, it hasn't been able to forget about Freud.
[63] And where Freud has been integrated with, with the social sciences, interestingly enough, what's been integrated is not the black books so much as Freud's writings on child development and other issues, apart from those in these books.
[64] To take one of the most outstanding examples mentioned by Bob Bocock in one of his books, I forget which one it is now, but in one of his books, Bob Bocock er, mentions that the doyen of mid-twentieth century sociology, Talker Parsons, who some of you perhaps may never of heard of, but er, you certainly would have done in the sixties and seventies, because he really was the major fi figure in Anglo-American social theory.
[65] Talker Parsons, says Bocock, draws heavily on Freud, quite consciously, I mean, he says he's gonna integrate Freud in his unification of social, social thought,
Unknown speaker (HUHPSUNK) [...]
(PS2PD) [66] so he's completely explicit about drawing on Freud, and yet says Bocock, if you look at the works of Freud, on which Parsons draws, they are mainly his works on child development and clinical psychology.
[67] Parsons seldom, if ever mentions the so- called black books, let alone takes any notice of what they, what they say.
[68] So even when you get a figure, a major figure, not a peripheral one, a central, major figure, in social sciences, like Talker Parsons, who really does take Freud seriously, what does he do?
[69] He treats Freudian psychology as a socialization theory.
[70] He doesn't pay very much attention to the content of these books that we're looking at in this course.
[71] So, so are the kind of reasons why Moscavisi calls them the black books.
[72] They're the side of Freud, that has tended to be ignored, even by the people you would've expected to take the greatest notice of them.
[73] If you ask in general, why social science has been in so selective in its use of Freud, and so one-sided in its interpretation, the answer seems to be, that since the nineteen twenties and up until very recently, Western social science has been primarily dominated by what I would call, cultural determinism, and by that I mean, a school of thought which believes that, to use a term borrowed from one of its founding fathers, Emile Durkheim, social facts have social causes.
[74] In other words, if you want to explain social phenomena, you got to look for the explanations in society.
[75] And cultural determinism is the idea that they way people think and act, is largely determined by their culture, their upbringing, their socialization, their home environment, peer group pressure, this kind of thing, and is not to be looked for in natural causes, in their genes, for example, or in individual psychological experience, as was the prime focus of Freud in psychoanalysis.
[76] So the result is that, where people did take notice of Freud, and here Talker Parsons is the prime example, they interpreted Freud as if he too were a cultural determinist.
[77] And in a minute, we'll see the prime example of that, or one of the prime examples of that.
Unknown speaker (HUHPSUNK) [78] So social scientists interpreted him as a cultural determinist?
(PS2PD) [79] Yes they did.
Unknown speaker (HUHPSUNK) [80] But, but Freud [...]
(PS2PD) [81] Well, I, I agree.
[82] I mean, how could you do this?
[83] I, I'm as astonished as you are, erm, the, the way in which people like Talker Parsons did it was, they regarded these basic er, personal psychological drives as a kind of putty, that could then be moulded by social pressure.
[84] For example, Parsons explicitly says that, that the drives of the id are socially moulded in the sense that, the forms in which they express themselves are the result of socialization.
[85] I agree with you, this is an astonishing kind of re-interpretation of Freud, but it's, but it's the one that was produced.
[86] I'll give a, a further example of that later in the lecture.
[87] ... Now, if with, with that in mind, you then turn and look at Totem and Taboo, which was published in nineteen thirteen, first as a series of essays, then as a single book.
[88] In other words, just on the eve of World War One.
[89] If you read Totem and Taboo, and I, by the way I do expect all of you er to read it, because it is one of the set er books, and one of the things I'm not gonna do in these lectures on the black books, is to tell you what the book says, and just kind of repeat it in the lecture.
[90] I mean this is a waste of my time, it, it should be a waste of your time, if you're gonna read the book, and we've already had both classes on Totem and Taboo.
[91] And I must say, I was impressed, I thought the, the presentations were excellent in both classes and we covered a lot of the material very well, I thought.
[92] So I'm not gonna waste everybody's time by just saying, you know, Freud said this, and Freud said that.
[93] I'm going to er, talk about them, rather than, rather than repeat them.
[94] Now, when you read Totem and Taboo, one of the things you may notice, particularly if you've read more recent anthropological social science literature, is that it seems very old fashioned.
[95] There's something rather out of date about the whole style of the book.
[96] It's not the kind of book which you would find being written today, by psychologists, or anthropologists, or social scientists in general.
[97] There's something rather dated er, about it.
[98] And ... the reason for this, is that it belongs to a tradition, a fashion if you like, of writing, which went dramatically out of, out of fashion immediately after World War One.
[99] So, at the time, when it was published, most readers would have regarded it as completely up to date in its, in its style and in its presentation.
[100] So it wouldn't have struck anybody in nineteen thirteen as in any way dated.
[101] On the contrary, it would've seemed a very, very up to date, state of the art, kind of book.
[102] Unfortunately, that kind of writing went out of fashion almost instantly, and certainly in the nineteen twenties and thirties, was replaced by a completely different tradition, which has er, influenced our expectations and perhaps explains why the book seems so old fashioned.
[103] In fact, it belongs to a, a great tradition of anthropological writing, represented by people like Sir James Frazer, who was, he was the kind of Talker Parsons of British anthropology prior to World War One.
[104] James Frazer was a Cambridge anthropologist, who wrote er, a number of books, most notably, The Golden Bough, an enormous er, volume, I think it runs to, to thirteen volumes.
[105] One of the few things, erm, that I'm really proud of about myself, is that I've read all of them.
[106] Erm, mainly out of perversity, I do admit, because I must be the only social scientist of my generation who's read all of them from cover to cover.
[107] Erm, but er, it is a very long book, and er, it, it, it is a masterpiece, and if you were to read The Golden Bough, or any part of it, or any other work of Frazer's for that matter, you would immediately be reminded of Totem and Taboo, because Frazer's method is comparative.
[108] It's a great work of comparative sociology.
[109] What Frazer does is to take, in the case of The Golden Bough, rituals and myths, and aspects of folk lore, from this society and that society, all over the world, and compare them to each other.
[110] And his work is informed by a vast reading, and numerous personal contacts, with cultures throughout the world.
[111] So on one page, you'll be reading about what Africans do in Upper Volta, and on the next page, you'll be reading about what the ancient Aztecs did that is similar.
[112] And on, in the next paragraph there'll be something on the Maoris, and on the next one something on the Australian Aborigines, and so on.
[113] This is one of the things that makes the book so long.
[114] It's full of descriptive material.
[115] Page after page, after page, after page, of descriptive material, drawn from all over the world, both published accounts, which Frazer drew on, erm, with er, kind of er, encyclopedic knowledge, but also a lot of personal contacts which he had with people like missionaries, er, colonial administrators, and even er, local people who would with descriptions and er, and facts about the things he was, he was researching.
[116] The result was that Frazer was astonishingly well informed about cultures throughout the world, without ever having visited one of them.
[117] He was, er, what was to be, er, rather patronizingly called, an armchair anthropologist.
[118] He was one of these comparative anthropologists, he wasn't the kind of anthropologist that goes out and lives with er, primitive people for several years, and then comes back and writes an account of them.
[119] That kind of anthropological writing was to become very fashionable after World War One, and was to be made into something of a fet fetish, by people like Bronoslaw Melanovski, here at L S E, Margaret , er, to quote the worst case, er,an an and others.
[120] And as I said, it, it was er, it, it, it, it was, it was denigrated but it had its own strengths, and the Margaret case er, is, is one of them.
[121] As you probably know, Margaret perpetrated a huge fraud, I mean, there's no other word for what she did.
[122] She may not have consciously intended all of it, but huge fraud it was, because she purported to give a picture which in, in her own words was, er forever true, that's a direct quote, er forever true, of Samoa, which we know, er, was not at all true.
[123] In fact, Margaret 's account of Samoa was based on interviews through an interpreter, with twenty five adolescent girls, in the back room of the U S Navy er, dispensary, er, on the main island of Samoa during a time when there was considerable anti-American er, feeling.
[124] never lived with the Samoans after the first week.
Unknown speaker (HUHPSUNK) [...]
(PS2PD) [125] She tried it for a week, and then, then went to live with the Americans, and said the food was too fattening.
[126] ... She writes about adolescence among Samoan boys, but we know from examining her field notes, she never inter interviewed one Samoan boy.
[127] Her knowledge of Samoa was based upon what a group of adolescent girls thr told her, through an interpreter, and what can only be called, er, chit-chat and gossip that she picked up from missionaries' wives and people like this.
[128] ... The, the problem was of course, this was a culture where adolescent girls do not contradict important American ladies who are talking to them through interpreters.
[129] So when Margaret said to them, er, well you don't know anything about rape, do you?
[130] They said no, Miss , and when she said to them, you never think about rape do you, they said, no Miss , the thought never entered our head.
[131] Derek who exposed the fraud, took the trouble of consulting the police records, for Samoa, at the time when Margaret , was there, and although Margaret claimed there was no rape in Samoa, because children were brought up so nicely, in this kind of, tropical paradise that she, that she portrayed in the book, the fact is, according to the police records, there were more rapes in Samoa, while Margaret , than were occurring in New York at the time was writing, during the nineteen eighties
Unknown speaker (HUHPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS2PD) [132] and New York has one of the highest rate, sorry rape rates in the world.
[133] So, when I say fraud, I mean it.
[134] ... Somebody like James Frazer wouldn't have let Margaret get away with that.
[135] I mean, James Frazer would have read her novel, cos I think that's all you can call it, Coming of Age in Samoa, because it's mainly fictional, he would've read her novelistic account, and then he would have compared it with other accounts, which had been published in German and other languages, and accounts of, of Samoans themselves, and he would have said, look there's something wrong here.
[136] There're tremendous discrepancies between what Margaret and what these other people say.
[137] Frazer would have known about that, so although he was a much despised armchair anthropologist, at least, he didn't rely on the say-so of a single anthropologist, who claimed to pay paint a picture, forever true.
[138] So although Frazer was doing a kind of anthropology that was later to be rather dis despised, it had something to be said for it.
[139] And in the German tradition of, of psychology, it's worth pointing out that Willhelm who those of you who are reading psychology I'm sure have, have heard of, er, Willhelm was a kind of er, slightly older contemporary of Freud's, and I daresay you've heard of him, as the founder of modern scientific psychology.
[140] He, he opened the world's first psychological laboratory in the University of Leipzig, some time in the eighteen eighties, I think I'm right in saying.
[141] Willhelm is projected as the founding father of modern experimental laboratory based psychology.
[142] But the fact is that spent most of his life, and most of his writings on an enormous work, even longer than the Golden Bough, er called the Welker Psychologie or Folk Psychology, and this enormous work, it's in twenty three volumes or something, er, of, of, the Welker Psychologie is just like James Frazer's writing and indeed Totem and Taboo.
[143] It's er, a work of comparative, er folk, folk lore and folk psychology.
[144] And these were the very works, The Golden Bough, Welker Psychologie which Freud's contemporaries would have been reading in English and German.
[145] So, when Freud's Totem and Taboo appeared in nineteen thirteen, it would have instantly been compared with these, and that is the genre of er, anthropological writing in which it, it would of been immediately been at home.
[146] So at the time, as I said, it would have seemed a perfectly conventional piece of work, even if to a later generation, like ours,
Unknown speaker (HUHPSUNK) [...]
(PS2PD) [147] it now seems rather old fashioned.
[148] ... Now, as we saw in the, in the, when we discussed this in the class, the central theme of Totem and Taboo, is, is what you might call, to use a, a psychoanalytic jargon term, ambivalence.
[149] Ambivalence was a, a term coined in about nineteen O five, by the Swiss psychiatrist,, and it was taken up particularly by psychoanalysis, and as a psychoanalytic term, it means the co-existence of contradictory thoughts, feelings or emotions about the same thing.
[150] Typically, co-existence of feelings of love and hate.
[151] And as we saw when we discussed the book, Freud gives a number of examples of ambivalence, and the taboos to which they give rise.
[152] Taboo is a Polynesian word, and it means some kind of supernatural law or prohibition which you infringe at your supernatural peril.
[153] If you infringe a taboo something terrible will, will happen to you.
[154] But if you had to explain why you have to obey the taboo, you would probably find it very, very difficult ... in the, in the sense that, taboo prohibitions are not like legal rational ones.
[155] If you ask somebody what's the explanation for a fact you may have noticed if you walked down the Strand here just from the School, if you're observant, I'm sure you've, you've all instantly noticed as you walked by, that Strand Street, which is a short street that, sorry, I'm, Savoy Street, which is a short street that leads off the Strand into the Savoy Hotel, is an exception to the rule, that in England you drive on the left, because in Stra in Savoy Street, you drive on the right.
[156] And you may say, well why is this?
[157] Is this just an aberration, if you look at the road markings, you'll see it seems to be official, cos the road is marked out for driving on the right, and the reason is that er, traffic law in this country says, that vehicles drive on the left, except in Savoy Street.
[158] And that is the one street in the, in the whole country, where legally, you are obliged to drive on the other side.
[159] And the reason is, it's for the benefit of taxis, cos, everybody knows, that London taxi drivers are above the law.
[160] If you've ever driven around London you immediately notice this.
[161] These guys do anything, you know, U turns in the middle of anywhere, they, they can do it, you can't.
[162] Well if you do it, they just shout at you.
Unknown speaker (HUHPSUNK) [163] It's so they can open the door behind them, the passengers getting in on that side of the road.
(PS2PD) [164] That has to be the reason.
[165] I, I knew, I, I knew that it was because the, that the taxi cabs had insisted, but now told us the reason.
[166] Alright, now we know.
[167] That, that's a rational law, okay, it's nothing to do with a taboo, there's not some strange supernatural principle which says, in Savoy Street you drive on the other side, and if you don't you'll be struck down with a fever or ill luck or something like that.
[168] It's a rational, legal principle, okay.
[169] Now that is not a taboo.
[170] A taboo is quite different.
[171] A taboo is something you can't justify or explain, or rationalize as existing for the convenience of taxi drivers.
[172] A taboo is something beyond reason and as we saw, what Freud does in the book is compare it with neurotic prohibitions which are kind of personal taboos, and in fact the sub-title of the book is some points of agreement between the mental lives of savages and neurotics.
[173] And the principal point of agreement is the agreement between the neurotic prohibition, which like the taboo, is something that the neurotic cannot bring themselves to do, fears for the consequences if they do do it, and er, feels constrained by some irrational force er, to obey, even though it isn't rational.
[174] And as we saw, Freud compares these, and explains taboos and neurotic prohibitions as a means of dealing with ambivalence.
[175] Well now, I'll come back to the whole question of ambivalence, er, next term, when I discuss, the what is really the central issue of the book apart from ambivalence, which is the incest question.
[176] I'm saving that, that for next, next term, so I won't say anything about incest now.
[177] What I want to go on to discuss in the, in the last part of the lecture is another way in which Freud's work looks, looks backwards, or seems to look backwards.
[178] And that is, that it seems to look back to the writings of Darwin.
[179] And this is the other aspect of Freud's debt to Darwin which I mentioned at the beginning but said I would hold over for later.
[180] I said, if you remember, in the opening lectures, that in many ways, Freud continues the tradition of Darwin's own writing in psychology, and I explained why earlier.
[181] But I said there was another important aspect to this I would mention later, and now we've reached that point, and I'll explain what it is.
[182] In the closing er, pages of the, of the book, Freud draws on a suggestion of Darwin's, which is that, in the beginning, human beings lived in what Freud calls primal hoard, ... and the primal hoard social structure is one that Darwin had observed in many mammals.
[183] Today we'd call it a one male group, it's a social structure in which we have a single dominant male, a harem of females ... and im sexually immature young.
[184] What's lacking from such groups, is mature,s sexually mature er males apart from the dominant male.
[185] There's only ever one.
[186] And the reason there's only ever one, is that dominant male will not tolerate the presence of other males and drives them out.
[187] So females are retained in these groups, but males are driven out by the dominant male, whom Freud called the primal father.
[188] ... Now Freud, in trying to the explain the origins of ambivalence about incest, suggests the apparently preposterous and farfetched idea, that in the beginning, human beings lived in these kinds of primal hoards, and er, there was no incest prohibition as such.
[189] There was no taboo on incest, any constraints that did exist on hu on human beings' mating preferences were dictated by the primal fathers.
[190] He had all the women and nobody else had them.
[191] There came a day, said Freud, the sons in frustration, rose up against the primal father, murdered him, ate him, in a grisly act of cannibalism, raped the mothers and sisters, and then having gratified the positive side of, of the negative side of their ambivalence, about the primal father, their hate for him, their desire to supplant him, and so on, were left with the positive side unsatisfied.
[192] Because you see said Freud, they wanted to be like him.
[193] They wanted to emulate him, and do what he was doing, and enjoy his privileges, and they kind of admired him for what he was having and they wanted.
[194] They were ambivalent about him.
[195] And having destroyed him, it was this other side of the ambivalence that came back to haunt them as a sense of guilt and deferred obedience, and out of guilt, they instituted the incest, the incest prohibition.
[196] Now, I don't really want to talk about the details of that now, I want to come back to that next term when I talk about incest.
[197] The one thing that I do want to talk about here, however, in some detail because it's important, is how Freud thinks that this matters to an analysis of modern feelings and attitude to incest.
[198] And Freud's answer is that it matters because human beings have inherited this guilt from the primal crime.
[199] In other words, we have innate feelings of guilt, about er, parricide and murder because we've inherited them from our ancestors in the distant past.
[200] This raises the fraught topic of Freud's Lamarckism.
[201] Okay what is Lamarckism?
[202] ... Well ... Lamarckism is named after er, Jean Baptiste Antoine de Monet, better known to us as Lamarck, and the, the prime notion of Lamarckism, according in Darwin, let's try and get that over there a bit more ... is evolution by will.
[203] This is a quote from Darwin erm, summarizing Lamarck, [reading] if an animal, for the satisfaction of its needs, makes repeated efforts to lengthen its tongue, it will acquire a considerable length.
[204] E G, anteater [...] woodpecker.
[205] If it requires to seize anything with the same organ, its tongue will then divide and become forked [] .
[206] Needless to say, Darwin thought this was, this was nonsense.
[207] The, the other aspect, of what Darwin understood by Lamarckism was progressivism.
[208] Here's Darwin saying in a letter to a friend [reading] Heaven forfend me from Lamarck nonsense of a tendency to progression [] and indeed, Darwin's view was the contrary to this, and here's another quote from Darwin, [reading] after long reflection, I cannot avoid the conviction that no innate tendency to development exists [] .
[209] So this is what Darwin and everybody of his time understood by Lamarckism.
[210] Evolution by will and progressivism.
[211] The idea that organisms were constantly being perfected.
[212] The idea was, why has a giraffe got a long neck?
Unknown speaker (HUHPSUNK) [...]
(PS2PD) [213] Well, the answer is, giraffes tried to eat food on higher branches of trees, strained upwards, and as they strained they stretched their necks and they passed on their stretched necks to their, to their descendants.
[214] This was a way of perfecting the giraffe.
[215] Well, this is not Darwin's theory of course, and today, we know erm, that this is in fact total nonsense.
[216] However, when people talk about Freud's Lamarckism, they don't mean this.
[217] The problem is, the term Lamarckism has changed its meaning in the course of this century, and now Lamarckism, if you say Lamarckism to most educated people, the first thing they normally think of, is not evolution by will, or, or progressivism, but inheritance of acquired characteristics.
[218] Lamarckism assumed that as an animal developed a longer neck or bigger muscles or something like that, through practice, it could pass these on to its, to its progeny.
[219] Acquired characteristics could be, could be inherited.
[220] The musical genius of the Bach family for instance, which was so noticeable, that in that part of Germany where the Bachs lived, the word Bach which actually means brook, started to mean musician, because there were so many of them, er, that kind of inheritance of musical ability, was often explained in the past, as inheritance of acquired characteristics.
[221] The idea was if you work hard at learning music, your children will kind of be born with, with an innate erm, capacity for it.
[222] And er, of course, today we know that this is nonsensical, you cannot er, inherit acquired characteristics.
[223] The point is, this was not known, when Freud was writing Totem and Taboo.
[224] At least it wasn't known to, to very many people at that time.
[225] It certainly wasn't known to Darwin.
[226] And Darwin explicitly did believe, in the inheritance of acquired characteristics.
[227] Darwin did not understand the principles of er, genetics.
[228] Erm, they had been discovered by Mendel but they remained more or less unnoticed until the beginning of this century, when they were independently rediscovered.
[229] And it wasn't till considerably later that the modern doctrine associated with er Weismann of the distinction between what Weismann called the germ line, and the, and the body was fully established.
[230] What Weismann realized was that nothing that happens to your body can be translated back into your genes as it were.
[231] When Weismann first put it forward at the beginning of the century, it was highly controversial, and most scientists did not believe it.
[232] The reason they didn't believe it is that up, up until then practically everybody believed in the inheritance of acquired characteristics.
[233] Weismann actually carried out an experiment.
[234] He bred mice, and every generation he chopped their tails off, and then bred from the tailless mice for dozens of generations, and of course, they were still being born with tails.
[235] Erm ... Isaac Azimov writes er, rather amusingly about this, he says why did, why did Weismann bother, he said Weismann was Jewish, of course, Weismann knew that since time immemorial, er, Jewish little boys have been having their foreskins chopped off, Weismann only had to look at his own children, when they were born, to see that even Jewish little boys are born with foreskins.
[236] And of course, they are.
[237] Well, it's a, it's a, it's a case I suppose of, of science revealing the obvious, but er, of, of course it's a fact today, we know why it's a fact.
[238] Today we know that, that er genes, er give rise to the organism, the experience of the organism cannot be translated back into genes.
[239] The ... one fact in particular shows that's totally impossible.
[240] If you're female, although not, not if you're male, all your genes were copied before you're born.
[241] In the case of er, female mammals, their D N A is copied while they're still an embryo.
[242] So if you're a woman, all the genes you hand on to your children were copied before you yourself were born, in the precursors of your egg cells.
[243] So nothing that happens to you in the course of your life can possibly change your genes, because they've already been copied.
[244] Admittedly men produce er, erm, sex cells all the time, but again, there's no evidence whatsoever to suggest that any experience a man has can be copied into his genes as it were.
[245] So although we know this today, very few people knew it in nineteen thirteen, and er, nobody knew it before the turn of the century.
[246] So when people talk about Freud's Lamarckism, they're not talking about what Darwin and Freud understood as Lamarckism, evolution by will, with progressive improvement, what they're talking about is what everybody believed to be true, the inheritance of acquired characteristics.
[247] For example, Darwin er, remarks, and here I quote, [reading] even in the first edition of the Origin of Species, I distinctly stated that great weight must be attributed to the inherited effects of use and disuse, with respect both to the body and the mind [] .
[248] In the Descent of Man, published in eighteen seventy one, he says [reading] some intelligent actions, as when birds on oceanic islands first learn to avoid man, after being performed during many generations, become converted into instincts and are inherited.
[249] The vocal or organs [] , says Darwin, [reading] would have been strengthened and perfected through the principle of the inherited effects of use [] .
[250] Again some instincts have been developed through long continued and inherited habits.
[251] Other highly complex ones have been developed by the preservation of various pre-existing instincts.
[252] That is natural selection.
[253] Even where Darwin does mention natural selection, he also mentions inheritance of acquired characteristics.
[254] Erm, paralleling it.
[255] Indeed, he goes on to say, that some physical changes produced in the nerve cells, or nerves which are habitually used, can hardly be doubted.
[256] For otherwise, it is impossible to understand how the tendency to certain acquired movements is inherited.
[257] It was necessary to show that at least some of them might have been first acquired through the will, in order to satisfy a desire, or to relieve a disagreeable sensation.
Unknown speaker (HUHPSUNK) [...]
(PS2PD) [258] In other words, when he was talking about psychology, and these are quotes from Darwin's Expression of the Emotions, Darwin not only refers to acquired characteristics, which he believes in, but he even refers to evolution by will.
[259] And er, concludes from the observation of his own children [reading] I suspect that the vague and very real fears of children, which are quite independent of experience, are inherited effects of real dangers, and abject superstitions during ancient times [] .
[260] So there's no doubt, that Darwin both invoked the inheritance of acquired characteristics, and was even prepared to talk about erm, Lamarck nonsense, not to do with progressivism admittedly, but to do with evolution by will.
[261] Now you might say, er, that, that, that's very paradoxical, why should Darwin have been prepared to consider Lamarckism, even evolution by will Lamarckism in psychology, when he, when he wouldn't accept it, for instance, in talking about the, the lengthening of the necks of giraffes.
[262] Well, I think the answer to that is ... it didn't seem so farfetched.
[263] Look, look at it this way.
[264] If you look at yourself in the mirror, no amount of willing can remove er, fat around your waist.
[265] You know, no matter how often you say it, every day and in every way I'm getting thinner and thinner.
[266] It won't work.
[267] You can will as much as you like, will does not make fat go away, because there's no direct link between a will and, and, and fat obviously.
[268] You can't will your fat away, or your arms longer, or, or, or yourself sh a different shape, it, it just won't work.
[269] So, so that's clearly ridiculous.
[270] However, there is a sense in which will can make fat go away.
[271] If you stand in front of a mirror and look at yourself and say, okay I'm just too fat, I'm going on a diet, and you have sufficient willpower to stick to your diet, you will lose weight, so when you're talking about behaviour, it's not so stupid to think that will is associated with the final outcome, because we know that people can will things which have, which have affects on their emotions and their, and their behaviour and their state of mind.
[272] And that I think, is why Darwin was prepared to countenance Lamarckism in psychology whereas he never was when he was talking about physical adaptations.
[273] You can't will your fat away just by thinking about it, but you damn well can go on a diet.
[274] And as we all know, the extent to which you succeed in your diet, is a question of willpower.
[275] So I think that when Darwin was writing about psychology, he became a Lamarckian, in just about every sense of the word, because will is related to things that people do and think.
[276] Now, if you then go back to Freud, what you can immediately see, is that things are not as simple as we, as we may have thought.
[277] Freud's ... ideas are often rejected as being Lamarckian, and therefore wrong, and Darwin is, is often opposed to this, as being right.
[278] An example of this is found in, in a recent book by Richard Dawkins, where, and here I quote Dawkins, Dawkins says [reading] Lamarckians are traditionally fond of calluses [] , that is you know, erm, hardened skin, thickened skin, like on the sole of your feet, and he contrasts these Lamarckians who like callouses, with the Darwinian, who he says has a ready answer, in terms of natural selection.
[279] The, the opposition here is between the Lamarckians who are wrong, and think you can inherit er, an acquired callous from your ancestors, and the Darwinian who is right, who believes that callouses are related to natural selection.
[280] Okay er, according to Darwin, and here I quote, [reading] in infants long before birth [] , says Darwin, [reading] the skins on the soles of the feet is thicker than on any other part of the body, and it can hardly be doubted that this is due to the inherited effects of pressure during a long series of generations [] .
[281] In other words, Darwin here was being a Lamarckian.
[282] The problem is that with the benefit of hindsight, we kind of excused and purged Darwin's Lamarckism.
[283] And we've come to understand Darwinism, as opposed to Lamarckism, and ruling it out.
[284] But the truth is, that in his own day, Darwin was something of, of a Lamarckian.
[285] He was definitely a Lamarckian in the sense that he believed in inherited, in the inheritance of acquired characteristics, and as we've seen, in writing about psychology, he even conceded something of, of Lamarck's idea about evolution by will.
[286] So the idea that historically there was Lamarck and there was Darwin, and they were two totally mutually exclusive schools of thought is simply untrue.
[287] The truth is, that Darwin was something of, of a Lamarckian in his own lifetime.
[288] Modern Darwinists of course have er, completely rejected Lamarckism.
[289] Richard Dawkins writes very well about this, I mean, he makes complete, he shows that Lamarckism is total nonsense, er, which of course it is.
[290] But this is with the benefit of hindsight.
[291] It's all very well for Richard Dawkins to be wise after the event, er, Freud, writing in nineteen thirteen, had no such benefit.
[292] So it seems to me that the, the problem is that, that Freud's explanation of how human beings acquired an innate, evolved sense of guilt, about murdering their relatives and committing incest, tends to be rejected as Lamarckism.
[293] This is the example that I wanted to quote in erm, in er, answer to er, the question you asked me earlier.
[294] I forget what it was now, but anyway, now I know what the [laughing] answer was going to be [] .
[295] The answer was going to be that er, just as we look back on Darwin and don't notice his Lamarckism, in, in a sense, Darwin wasn't as Darwinian as we might now think, so we've probably got a picture of Freud which is, er, more Freudian as it were, than Freud really was.
[296] Freudian in the modern world, has come to mean a belief, predominantly, that human behaviour is influenced by early experience.
[297] That's what most people understand Freudian psychology to be.
[298] This is what Talker Parsons interpreted it to be in building Freud into his sociological system as a theory of socialization.
[299] Most people think of Freudianism, that, that way.
[300] That Freudianism is all about the, how the environment, the home environment, early experiences shape human psychology.
Unknown speaker (HUHPSUNK) [...]
(PS2PD) [301] Now the fact is, if you read Totem and Taboo, whatever you think, and how ever preposterous the idea may seem, what Freud actually says at the end of that book is not that, what Freud says is, there is an in innate, inborn sense of guilt about murdering near relatives like fathers and committing incest.
[302] This is an, a product of evolution, admittedly Freud uses a Lamarckian scenario to explain how it got there, but the fact is that Freud insisted on it.
[303] It seems to me that, what, what's tended to happen throughout the greater part of this century, is people have read this book, they've said oh look, this is Freud's Lamarckism, we know this is all wrong, so let's forget all that because it's not essential to Freud.
[304] It is not essential to Freud, to believe that people have an innate sense of guilt about murdering their near kin, or, or committing incest.
[305] So, we'll forget all that, and we'll just assume that what Freud really meant, was that people have sense of guilt because they've been socialized to have it.
[306] And indeed, this has become the dominant twentieth century dogma about incest avoidance.
[307] Freud's theory was taken up by the French structuralist, Claude who developed it into a cultural determinist theory, which said that er, animals commit incest, human beings don't.
[308] Human beings don't do it, because of rules which, which are the result of socialization.
Unknown speaker (HUHPSUNK) [...]
(PS2PD) [309] This theory is factually wrong, because animals do not commit incest.
[310] For example, if given a choice, between mating with a near relative, and mating with a non-relative, a mouse will choose the non-relative.
[311] And throughout most of the animal, and indeed the plant world, incest is regularly and systematically avoided.
[312] So, to say as people like says that, incest is part of, is natural as it were, and incest avoid avoidance is cultural is, is really wrong.
[313] The rule may be cultural, but the behaviour certainly isn't.
[314] Furthermore, to imagine that he's repeating what Freud said, and claiming that Freud really believed that our sense of guilt about incest and murdering relatives was the result of, of socialization is again simply not true.
[315] What Freud actually says in Totem and Taboo is the opposite of that, what he actually says is that these feelings are innate, and they are part of an evolutionary heritage.
[316] Now, I admit that it can't be, it can't have come about in the way that Freud says.
[317] That, that, that's definitely true.
[318] Freud's Lamarckian scenario makes no more sense than any other, than any other kind of Lamarckian scenario does.
[319] The point I'm making however, is that a, a fairer way to judge this book, might be to say, not well let, let's reject everything in it that's Lamarckian, cos it doesn't fit with our modern prejudices, a fairer way, might be to read it the way we read Darwin's works, where there is also considerable Lamarckenis Lamarckism, and say well, this is er, this is an understandable error, given the poor state of knowledge that people had about genetics at the time, and then try and make sense of it.
[320] People don't reject Darwin's book on the emotions just because it's, it's rather heavily tainted with Lamarckism.
[321] And it seems to me, one shouldn't reject er, Totem and Taboo er for the same reason.
[322] Well, at that point we've got to three o'clock and the end of the term, erm ... I'll take up Totem and Taboo, and its more forward lis looking aspects in the first lecture of er, next term, and I wish you all a happy Christmas, and new year, and hope you have a good, a good vacation and look forward to seeing you here again, the first Thursday of next term.
[323] Thanks.