The Development of Cultural Impulses
DOI link for The Development of Cultural Impulses
The Development of Cultural Impulses book
IT seems to me probable that the innate impulses of the civilized individual of to-day are not materially different from those of primal man, and that our gentler nature is due less to evolution than to the slow accumulation of a culture which is not inherited but which we acquire partly through the threats of our elders and partly by imitating them. We differ from these remote ancestors not so much in any positive impulses, but in the possession of a colossal system of inhibitions. Unlike many psychologists of the psycho-analytic school, I think that these are hardly, if at all, innate, but the product of our social environment. Thus I believe that if a colony of infants could be transported to an uninhabited island, and by some miracle grow up untended, they would soon break up into small families each dominated by one male; that the sons of the next generation, impelled by innate incestuous impulses, would endeavour to castrate, kill, and eat their fathers; and that, if they were successful, they would fight among themselves until the herd again split into families, each led by one young male who would live for a space in the fulfilment of his incestuous ambition.