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p. 1059. Culture and religionlocked

  • Anthony Storr


‘Culture and religion’ evaluates Freud's writings on anthropology and religion. Freud was interested in the mind of early man, before civilization repressed his instincts. He wrote of ancient tribes dominated by alpha males. The lower males overthrew the alpha and held a totem festival. They then became so racked with guilt that they made the totem sacred. Unfortunately these tribes are unlikely to have existed. Freud says that religion protects both the individual and society at large from destructive impulses, promising an afterlife as a reward for compliance. Critics say that Freud's work on religion and culture ignores the role of women, and that he did not appreciate religious experiences.

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