The Perception of Totem and Taboos

Topics: Totem and Taboo, Sigmund Freud, Psychoanalysis Pages: 4 (1567 words) Published: December 4, 2005
Totem and Taboos have been the ideal notion of understanding the psychological analysis on how civilization began. A book translated by James Strachey includes Sigmund Freud's written essays that addressed the idea of the differential entity from the totemic/exogamy systems and taboos. The names of the essays that address the concepts are: "The Horror of Incest", "Taboo and Emotional Ambivalence", "Animism, Magic and the Omnipotence of Thoughts", and "The return of Totemism in Childhood". In each essay includes the teachings and beliefs of which Sigmund Freud hypothesized. Totem is a rule of an animal (or human) and more unlikely a plant which is related to the whole clan. The word taboo derives from the Polynesians with two different meanings. To most of us, it means sacred and on the other hand, it means strange, treacherous, or dirty. In Polynesian terms, the word taboo (noa) is rather contradicting meaning general or common. Sigmund Freud explains these two ideas and theorized that society and humanity's individual emotional being are in relation to totem and taboo. People who have read Freud's work would believe his ideas are preposterous but I get to differ. Although Freud's ideas may be uniquely questionable I have slowly accept his ideas, on the other hand I do believe that society would spurn Sigmund Freud's ideas due to its sole difference upon civilization today.

In the first essay, "Horror of Incest" explains tribal fear of incest. In this fear derives the concept of the totem system, which regulates the avoidance of committing incest. He explains the life of tribes in Australia (known for being drastically uncivilized) and how the totem clans have produced systems in which incest would be prevented through strict rules. This system would involve group marriages where people would call each other brother and sister regardless of immediate relation, and children calling their parents mother and father while referring to their parent's friends as...
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