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Dr. Fairen - Religious Studies Theories and Methods 9

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Religious Studies
Glen Fairen

RELIGIOUS STUDIES 200 PSYCHIC AMBIVALENCE - desireves vs. moral restrictions Totem and Taboo based on notions of evolution (not just physical, but psychological and cultural evolution) the major taboos: don't eat or destroy your totem, and no incestual sex. the oedipal complex explains everything: in pre-human times, we lived in animal hordes like the gorillas, where females and children are owned/protected by a dominant male, and he had sexual access to the women. though the children loved their fathers and love his protection, they want access to his wives. when they get older they are forced out. after being forced out they team up and kill him (and eat him to take his strength). at first it feels incredible. but then guilt sets in and they miss their father's protection, their love returns (the love side of the psychic ambivalence). out of guilt they elevate their father in the form of a totem, and a taboo arises: don't kill or eat the totem. They also deny the reward to alleviate the guilt: no incest. This repression is alleviated through TOTEMIC SACRIFICE - he links it to the christian eucharist "totemic religion arose from teh filial sense of guilt, in an attempt to allay that feeling and appease the father by deffered obedience to him. All later religions are seen as attempts at solving the same problem." So the prehistoric murder is both the result and the reification of the Oedipus Complex in children. *imo there is also the element of eating the god to get the god's powers, homeopathic mixed with contagious magic Oedipal complex is experienced by the individual. It goes both ways: historic/social, personal develpment. FUTURE OF AN ILLUSION (1927) Totem and
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