Is Freud contagious?

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Thu 26 Feb 2004 - 15:19:08 GMT

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    In his book _Totem and Taboo_ Freud is discussing some of the same topics re: totemism which Durkheim addresses in _The Elementary Forms of Religious Life_, but Freud puts a psychoanalytical spin on them by looking at so-called "savages" (eg- native Australians) in similar terms as neurotics.

    Freud also addresses incest avoidance and mentions Westermarck.

    Anyway, here's a quote memeticists might want to ponder. Freud reflects
    (page 42):

    (bq)"Anyone who has violated a taboo becomes taboo himself because he possesses the dangerous quality of tempting others to follow his example: why should *he* be allowed to do what is forbidden to others? Thus he is truly contagious in that every example encourages imitation, and for that reason he himself must be shunned"(eq)


    Sigmund Freud. 1950. Totem and Taboo: Some Points of Agreement Between the Mental Lives of Savages and Neurotics. WW Norton & Company. New York

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