Darwin's influence on psychoanalysis

2338 WordsMar 25, 201410 Pages
Darwin’s Primal Influence on Psychoanalysis Charles Darwin’s substantially influential writing examines a vast rang of topics that were brought to the attention of many leading scholars throughout history. Darwin preceded Sigmund Freud and the invention of psychoanalysis by approximately 50 years. Through the exploration of Darwinian theory and the later development of psychoanalysis, it is clear that Charles Darwin’s theories had a profound influence of the development of Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory. This becomes clear after analyzing such themes as sexual motivation through evolution, the Freudian ego, the connection between human and animal emotion, adaptive responses and the…show more content…
The infant will “cry out loudly, like the young of other animals, partly as a call to their parents for aid and partly from any great exertion”(Darwin, 174). Darwin’s observations of emotion, particularly that of a child resembles very closely to Freud’s id. The id represents the most basic inherited instincts that are most obvious during childhood and expressed through emotion. “The infant, possessing no ability to delay release, demands immediate gratification”(Cordon, 223). The newborn would then be “a creature entirely governed by the id…demanding food, drink, eliminating bodily waste and affection”(Cordon, 223). Once the child’s needs are met, they are content. This theory contributes to the desire for pleasure and the distaste for anything uncomfortable or as Freud described it, the pleasure principle. Darwin is related this behaviour and expression for emotion as a survival tactic in order to have the infants needs met through communication. Morality and the Ego Darwin and Freud’s theories both weighed heavily on the similarity between man and animal. There is a primal urge exhibited through emotion, sexual motivation and the search for pleasure as seen in Freud’s id and Darwin’s observations of adolescents. But what did these men say about censoring that primal behaviour to live in harmony with others? It appears that Darwin had an influence over Freud’s explanation of morality as well. There was a
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