Law School Discussion

The Da Vinci crock

"Moses and Monotheism"
« Reply #160 on: November 23, 2008, 05:36:33 PM »

[...] Freud had had similar uncharacteristic reactions to "Totem and Taboo" and later would to "Moses and Monotheism," two other works he was inclined to publish anonymously.

In "Moses and Mono­theism," which was published in 1939, the same year Freud died, he boldly repeats his theory from "Totem and Taboo," although having received substantial criticism for it, during the quarter-century since he presented it. If anything, he proclaims it with even less reservation:

That conviction I acquired a quarter of a century ago, when I wrote my book on "Totem and Taboo" (in 1912), and it has only become stronger since. From then on I have never doubted that religious phenomena are to be understood only on the model of the neurotic symptoms of the individual, which are so familiar to us, as a return to of long-forgotten important happenings in the primeval history of the human family, that they owe their obsessive character to that very origin and therefore derive their effect on mankind from the historical truth they contain.

He gives a narrated form of summary of the primordial event of the father murder, more precisely and to the point than in his earlier book, and begins it with the following reservation, which was more vaguely implied in Totem and Taboo:

The story is told in a very condensed way, as if what in reality took centuries to achieve, and during that long time was repeated innumerably, had happened only once.

Because of its fluent clarity, its added detail from his version in Totem and Taboo, and its similarity to many a myth, I can't resist repeating it in its entirety:

The strong male was the master and father of the whole horde, unlimited in his power, which he used brutally. All females were his property, the wives and daughters in his own horde as well as perhaps also those stolen from other hordes. The fate of the sons was a hard one; if they excited their father's jealousy they were killed or castrated or driven out. They were forced to live in small communities and to provide themselves with wives by stealing them from others. The one or the other son might succeed in attaining a situation similar to that of the father in the original horde. One favored position came about in a natural way: it was that of the youngest son, who, protected by his mother's love, could profit by his father's advancing years and replace him after his death. An echo of the expulsion of the eldest son, as well as of the favored position of the youngest, seems to linger in many myths and fairy-tales.
The next decisive step towards changing this first kind of "social" organization lies in the following suggestion: the brothers who had been driven out and lived together in a community clubbed together, overcame the father, and – according to the custom of those times – all partook on his body.

Cain kills Abel

In "Moses and Monotheism," Freud expands and clarifies his theory somewhat. He specifies the stages gone through by mankind as a whole, in comparison to the individual neurotic stages of "early trauma – defense – latency – outbreak of the neurosis – partial return of the repressed material." The analogy makes additional sense, since he claims that: "the genesis of the neurosis always goes back to very early impressions in childhood." Also for mankind, the father murder supposedly took place at an early stage, a childhood of sorts, of its development. He describes the process:

Mankind as a whole also passed through conflicts of a sexual aggressive nature, which left permanent traces, but which were for the most part warded off and forgotten, later after a long period of latency, they came to life again and created phenomena similar in structure and tendency to neurotic symptoms.

The latency mentioned, which exists both in the individual and the collective, is a sort of mental period of incubation, where the traumatic event is forgotten to the conscious mind, but remains subconsciously and gains strength, so that when it erupts, it is much more potent than it was at the time of the traumatic event:

It is specially worthy of note that every memory returning from the forgotten past does so with great force, produces an incomparably strong influence on the mass of mankind, and puts forward an irresistible claim to be believed, against which all logical objections remain powerless – very much like the credo quia absurdum.

He compares this phenomenon to the delusion in a psychotic, having a long forgotten core of truth that upon reemerging becomes both distorted and compulsive. As a consequence of this latency, Freud needs to explain how something forgotten can remain through generations, to emerge in people as a very vivid and powerful memory of sorts. In "Totem and Taboo" he supposed no forgetting of the father murder, on the other hand he did not specify that the memory was kept through the generations. What was implied was an established totemism, containing the trauma of the father murder and continuing to be obeyed, long after the actual event had been forgotten. In "Moses and Monotheism" he introduces latency, the suppressed memory able to reemerge, and therefore needs to explain this process. Doing so, he comes strikingly close to Carl Jung's theories of the collective unconscious and the archetypes. Freud states very clearly that people did forget about the initial event:

In the course of thousands of centuries it certainly became forgotten that there was a primeval father possessing the qualities I mentioned, and what fate he met.

He uses the analogy with the individual, whose traumatic memory is repressed, buried deep in the unconscious, but has not disappeared, wherefore it can emerge, and when doing so has the intensity described above. Both the individual and the collective has this ability:

hold that the concordance between the individual and the mass is in this point almost complete. The masses, too, retain an impression of the past in unconscious memory traces.

Re: The Da Vinci crock
« Reply #161 on: November 23, 2008, 05:54:26 PM »
Such repressed memories may emerge in certain circumstances. With collective memories, this is most likely to happen because of recent events, which are similar to those repressed. Now, Freud speculates that the individual does not have only personal memories stored in the unconscious, but also: "what he brought with him at birth, fragments of phylogenetic origin, an archaic heritage." He does not try to explain how such a memory can be kept and transported through the generations, but finds support for it in observations of patients. When they react to early traumata, when an Oedipus or castration complex is examined, other than purely personal experiences seem to emerge. These make more sense if regarded as somehow inherited from earlier generations. Freud believes that they are part of what he calls the archaic heritage.

Zeus' castration of Uranus

He also uses the argument of "the universality of speech symbolism," the ability to have one object symbolically substituted by another, especially strong in children. This symbolism is also at work in dreams, and Freud regards it as an ability inherited from the time that speech was developing. He is rather diffuse here, since he gives no examples of what kinds of objects and symbols he refers to. He does admit that the science of biology allows no acquired abilities to be transmitted to descendants, but boldly states: "I cannot picture biological development proceeding without taking this factor into account." He also compares with animals, which he regards as fundamentally not very different from human beings in this aspect – the archaic heritage of the "human animal" may differ in extent and character, but "corresponds to the instincts of animals." What makes a memory enter the archaic heritage is if it is important enough or repeated enough times, or both. Regarding the primeval father murder, he is quite certain:

Men have always known – in this particular way – that once upon a time they had a primeval father and killed him.

These theories have a striking resemblance to Jung's ideas of the collective unconscious and the archetypes. They even use similar ways to argue for their theories. Still, Freud makes no mention of Jung, and no comparison with his models. They were, of course, distanced since decades, and not on speaking terms – but it is highly unlikely that Freud was not aware of Jung's theories, which were well developed and widely known in the time of "Moses and Monotheism." It is also quite unlikely that Freud would not recognize and ponder the similarities.

Freud claims that Moses was not Jewish but an Egyptian, befriending a Jewish tribe, taking it out of Egypt and converting it to his monotheistic religion, that of pharaoh Ikhnaton, the Aton religion of a single sun god. The reason for a monotheistic god at all appearing in otherwise abundantly polytheistic Egypt, Freud finds in the imperialistic success of Egypt, immediately preceding the cult of Aton: "God was the reflection of a Pharaoh autocratically governing a great world Empire." Then Freud imagines a fate of Moses, similar to that of the primeval tyrant father:

The Jews, who even according to the Bible were stubborn and unruly towards their law-giver and leader, rebelled at last, killed him, and threw off the imposed Aton religion as the Egyptians had done before them.

The idea of Moses being killed by the Jewish tribe, Freud readily admits to have picked up from a 1922 text by German theologist and biblical archaeologist Ernst Sellin. Later on, Freud has this Jewish tribe meet and join with another, and as part of the compromise between them, they adapted the worship of a volcano-god Jahve, influenced by the Arabian Midianites. In an effort to release themselves of the guilt for having killed Moses, that tribe insisted on proclaiming him the father of this new monotheistic religion. In that way, they were almost accomplishing the father worship, which Freud makes the basis of his theory on the origin of religion. Another consequence was:

In the course of time Jahve lost his own character and became more and more like the old God of Moses, Aton.

Re: The Da Vinci crock
« Reply #162 on: November 24, 2008, 06:55:16 PM »

Dear Pericles,

Moses and the Tablets, Rembrandt

By all accounts, the revelation at Sinai was one of the great moments in religious history, sufficiently powerful to have transformed a complaining and bedraggled mixture of slaves and rabble into a God-enthused nation dedicated to the ideal of perfecting the world in the kingship of the Divine. The one tangible result of that one-time-epiphany came in the form of two tablets recording the Ten Commandments. After 40 days and 40 nights on the mountain with God, Moses descended from Sinai, carrying "tablets inscribed on both their surfaces ... The tablets were God's work, and the writing was God's writing." However, the Israelites sank to the depravity of worshipping a golden calf when Moses, their leader, did not return when expected. Moses became enraged by the Israelites' idolatry, and he smashed the tablets, written by the finger of God, to smithereens. At the same time, the great prophet-leader of his people beseeched God to forgive the errant tribes, and caused the Almighty to present a second set of tablets replacing the first.

Now Freud contended that while rising and letting the tablets slip, Michelangelo's Moses gained control of his rage; thus, the right hand was retracted in the beard, pulling it along in the wake of his gesture, and clamping down on the slipping tablets along with the tension of his inner right arm. Freud believed that Michelangelo's Moses was and always will be a figure in the act of restraining himself from rising in the anger of his own passion.

inspired minds, I don't know if your username bears any relation to the content of your post, but I would safely say that Freud appears to have had a very lively imagination and was definitely a great creative writer.

'Cocaine addiction gene' discovered
« Reply #163 on: November 25, 2008, 02:50:36 PM »

For example most cocaine users do not lose control. Apparently some "control mechanisms" exist and they are not restricted to cocaine. This conclusion has been reached by a growing number of drug researchers. A full understanding of control mechanisms is still lacking as well as a a thorough theoretical investigation of this concept itself. But, assuming the validity of such a concept, one of the regulators of drug use might very well be a relative change in drug related pleasure when drug use exceeds certain limits. A cocaine study has showed for instance that when a level of use of 2.5 grams of cocaine per week is exceeded, the number of reported unpleasant negative effects rises steeply. This could very well be one of the explanations of why levels above 2.5 gram per week are so rarely maintained over longer periods in experienced cocaine users, even though many respondents are very well able to financially support such levels of use.

By Nick Allen
11 Nov 2008

The discovery opens up the possibility that potential drug users could be screened to see if they are likely to develop an addiction. A study of 670 cocaine addicts found they were 25% more likely to carry the gene variant than people who did not use the drug. Rainer Spanagel, professor of psychopharmacology at the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany, who led the study, said: "If you are a carrier of this gene variant the likelihood of getting addicted to cocaine is higher. You can certainly use this as a vulnerability marker for cocaine addiction." The "cocaine gene" is a variant of the CAMK4 gene and was identified after an initial study on mice.

Scientists believe cocaine addiction is as hereditary as mental health conditions including schizophrenia, and even more so than alcoholism. Studies suggest genetic factors account for about 50% of alcoholism while cocaine addiction is about 70% genetic. Professor Spanagel suggested those with the cocaine gene could receive counselling to prevent them becoming addicted. They could also be given experimental vaccines, currently in development, which counter the addictive effects of the drug. There are more cocaine users in Britain that anywhere else in Europe, according to the European Union's drug agency.

Re: Allergies to Drugs (Medications)
« Reply #164 on: November 25, 2008, 07:00:46 PM »

Don't get me started with doctors and their stupid perscriptions! My aunt (my mother's sister) was perscribed monstrous amounts of aspirin for quite a few years. She was taken to the ER one night and underwent surgery for perforated ulcer.

Perforated ulcer? Take the stupid doctor and his hospital to court for having perscribed all that * & ^ %!

Re: The Da Vinci crock
« Reply #165 on: November 30, 2008, 11:52:43 AM »


It's like holding a mirror up to a mirror. At first it seems like an 'infinite regress,' but then the observer spontaneously dissolves. [...]


A very good way to put it! In Russell Edson's "The Tormented Mirror" there's this patented technique in creating a world of reverberation by holding a mirror up to a mirror.  In doing so, the poet opens up a wormhole into the possibilities of being. Edson's poem "Sleep," permits the reader to examine some reflections of reflections beneath the mundane reflection of those who are supposedly awake and bored with day-to-day existence:


There was a man who didn't know how to sleep; nodding off every night into a drab, unprofessional sleep.
Sleep that he had grown so tired of sleeping.
He tried reading The Manual of Sleep, but it just put him to sleep. That same old sleep that he had grown so
tired of sleep-ing ...

I don't quite get it - could you expand a bit?

Re: The Da Vinci crock
« Reply #166 on: December 04, 2008, 07:30:25 PM »

[...]When they react to early traumata, when an Oedipus or castration complex is examined, other than purely personal experiences seem to emerge. [...]

Doors' "The End" appears to feature Freud's Oedipus complex:

This is the end
you gentle friend <- yeah, how 'bout "beautiful friend"
This is the end
My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I'll never look into your eyes

Can you picture what we’ll be,
So limitless and free?
Desperately in need
Of some stranger's hand
In a desperate land

Lost in a Roman
Wilderness of pain
And all the children are insane
All the children are insane
Waiting for the summer rain, yeah

There's danger on the edge of town
Ride the king’s highway
Weird scenes inside the goldmine
Ride the highway west, baby

Ride the snake
Ride the snake
To the lake
The ancient lake, baby
The snake he’s long
Seven miles
Ride the snake
He's old
And his skin is cold

The west is the best
The west is the best
Get here, and we’ll do the rest

Da blue bus is calling us
The blue bus is calling us
Driver where you takin’ us?

The killer awoke before dawn
He put his boots on
He took a face from the ancient gallery and he
Walked on down the hall
And he went into the room where his sister lived
And...then he... paid a visit to his brother, and then he…
He walked on down the hall, yeah
And he came to a door
And he looked inside
"Yes son?"
I want to kill you…
Mother? I want to... @ # ! * you all night yeah,
Come on, yeah

Come on baby, take a chance with us
Come on baby, take a chance with us
Come on baby, take a chance with us and
Meet me at the back of the blue bus
Doin' a blue rock
On the blue bus <- on "a" blue bus
Doin' a blue rock
Come on, yeah

@ # ! *, @ # ! * yeah
@ # ! *, @ # ! *, @ # ! * @ # ! * yeah
Come on baby,
@ # ! * me baby, @ # ! * yeah
Hey, @ # ! *  @ # ! *
@ # ! *... yeah
@ # ! * me, yeah
Come on baby, @ # ! * me baby
@ # ! *, whoah, whoah yeah
Yeah, @ # ! * yeah,
Come on, huh huh huh yeah,
All right…

Kill… kill… kill… kill… kill… kill… kill

This is the end
you gentle friend <- once again, "beautiful friend"
This is the end
My only friend, the end
It hurts to set you free
But you'll never follow me
The end of laughter
And soft lies
The end of nights we tried to die

This is the end

Re: The Da Vinci crock
« Reply #168 on: December 07, 2008, 05:27:49 PM »

LOL miska - the punch line appears to be "Buy Buy Baby!"

tea, you mean "Bye, Bye, Baby!"?

Re: The Da Vinci crock
« Reply #169 on: December 15, 2008, 07:11:45 PM »

Every action bears the mark of individuality. For god's sake, your two ears are not identical to one another.

Interesting, maskarovka! I like it!