« 上一頁繼續 »
is probable that the activity of the partial impulses insufficiently subordinated to the normal sexual goal will continue to suffer a greater degree of inhibition than normal adult sexuality itself. At the same time the (absolutely) greater freedom accorded to this latter should facilitate normal sexual development and render the perversions less common than at present.
A rather different prospect presents itself when we consider the effect on the sexual impulses of the need for sublimation. The abolition of the struggle for existence will doubtless render the necessity for work less urgent, less irksome and less insistent: nevertheless this necessity for work (and therefore also the necessity for the sublimations on which work depends) will undoubtedly persist, because (as we have already seen, p. 272, footnote): (a) in the absence of an adequate quantity of productive labour the struggle for existence would return, owing to an insufficient supply of necessaries; (b) the gratification of the simpler human desires usually results in an intensification of the more complex, sublimated desires—leading to a demand for an increased supply of luxuries, in addition to the (now adequate) supply of necessaries. The need for work arising from these causes will keep in existence that aspect of the antagonism between Individuation and Genesis which consists in the competition between sex impulses and sublimation for the available supply of psychic energy. In this competition the energy devoted to sublimation will probably continue (as at present) to be derived principally from those aspects of the partial sex impulses which are not incorporated into the normal adult sexual constitution. It is these non-reproductive aspects of sex which will therefore suffer the greatest amount of repression as a preliminary stage to sublimation. Nevertheless, the sexual instinct, even when deprived of these constituents will continue to be strong enough (especially when reinforced as a result of the cessation of over-reproduction) to become a serious rival to the processes of sublimation. There will therefore almost certainly continue to be a very considerable degree of inhibition of normal adult sexuality arising from this source. Men will be constantly under the necessity of resisting the more alluring sexual interests and activities, in order to bring sufficient mental energy to bear upon their work.
Just how far this inhibition will go it is difficult to foresee. All that can be said with certainty is that the energy devoted to work—and withdrawn from sex-cannot permanently fall below the amount necessary to avoid a recurrence of the struggle for existence. How far it will be above this amount depends upon a variety of factors:-in some measure, no doubt, on the element of competition, those individuals, communities or races which are most successful in sublimation tending to dominate over those who are more pleasure-loving (this leading to a race for domination, in the course of which the competitive, combative and self-assertive tendencies will be played off against the sexual trends); in a greater measure upon the fact that individuals or communities belonging to the former (more sublimating) class will other things equal—become more numerous than those belonging to the latter (more pleasure-loving) class, since by their greater powers of work they will (quite apart from war or competition) be able to support a larger or more rapidly increasing population; lastly in some measure also upon the extent to which man's mental organisation leads him to evolve fresh interests and desires in proportion as his simple and more primitive needs are fulfilled. If, as is sometimes supposed, there is in man's nature some forward urge, which compels him to ever higher and more complex activities, it is difficult to see any limit to the extent of sublimation, except that imposed by the necessity of maintaining the race. If, as seems to the present writer on the whole more likely, the tendency to sublimation is dependent upon the repression of more primitive trends, we may expect sublimation to diminish, or at least to increase less rapidly, in proportion as the easier circumstances brought about by a more complete adaptation to a civilised environment gradually diminish the necessity for effort, and therefore for repression; so that eventually a state of equilibrium will be attained in which the necessary degree of sublimation will be achieved at a minimum sacrifice of sexual pleasure.
Finally, considering the question from the ethical rather than from the biological standpoint, it would seem that the relative amount of energy devoted to sexuality and sublimation must in the last resort depend upon our views as to the nature of the goal of human life. If the Supreme Good is to be found in continual striving after ever more perfect, more complex and more harmonious forms of activity, in the constant increase of our power and knowledge, our duty will lie in the direction of the maximum of sublimation that is compatible with mental health and with the preservation of the race. If, on the other hand, pleasure is the highest end in life, the less sublimated activities would appear to be ethically preferable, provided sublimation be carried far enough to ensure “the greatest happiness of the greatest number”; in this case the pleasures connected with the exercise of the sexual functions will be assured of a high place in the scale of moral values. It is of course possible that on further investigation these two views may not prove to be so incompatible as they at first appear; but, in the pursuit of our present purposė, the establishment of this antithesis is as far as we dare venture.
SUMMARY. I. Attention is drawn to a factor of great generality in connection with the biological foundation of sexual repression.
This factor consists in the antagonism between Individuation and Genesis, as enunciated by Herbert Spencer and illustrated by the work of Malthus and Darwin; sexual repression being here regarded as the result of a conflict which constitutes the psychic aspect of this antagonism.
II. Spencer's two a priori arguments for the existence of the antagonism between Individuation and Genesis are briefly recapitulated and considered. (1) The (biological) conditions of racial existence necessitate an
inverse correspondence between Individuation and Genesis (the more developed species being less prolific), since any other
, state of affairs entails either the extinction of the race or a
return to the inverse correspondence. (2) The (physiological) conditions of individual existence neces
sitate this inverse correspondence, since the matter and energy devoted to reproductive ends are inevitably withdrawn from . the (limited) quantity of matter and energy available for the
use of the individual. Both these arguments are shown to apply to the human race.
III. The relative amount of matter and energy devoted to Individuation or to Genesis is (within the limits imposed by individual modifiability and racial variability) determined by Natural Selection, which has on the whole favoured an increase of Individuation at the cost of a decrease of Genesis. There have however been certain factors which have retarded this process. Among these are to be found the tendency for the advantages obtained by a higher degree of Individuation to be cancelled by:(1) a subsequent higher rate of reproduction due to easier con
ditions of life; (2) a less strict elimination of the unfit (who are in this case also
the more prolific);
(3) a general diminution of vital energy;
immediate biological advantage (e.g. in the human race, play,
art, science and, generally, the desire for luxuries). For these reasons the more prolific races or individuals who are content with a relatively simple life may often supersede the more cultured but less prolific races or individuals.
IV. On the psychological side, the sexual (and parental) instincts correspond to Genesis and the sublimations of these correspond to Individuation. The latter represent (phylogenetically and ontogenetically) more recent acquirements, the former being more deeply ingrained in human character. There exists at present a 'disharmony' in this respect, the human reproductive tendencies and capacities being greater than is biologically advantageous.
The relations between sexuality and sublimation are, however, complex in nature, since the sexual tendencies constitute a necessary foundation for sublimation, both in the early stages of development and (probably to some extent) throughout life. A relatively high level of sexual function is also rendered necessary:
(1) by the actual need for reproduction,
ability of the organism, which limits the possibilities of
sublimation, (3) by the correlation between sexual development and general
development, healthy sexual function being necessary for the
health of the organism as a whole. Three further points are then considered: (1) The antagonism between Individuation and Genesis entails
the repression of the non-reproductive partial (sex) impulses;
(a) because they interfere with work (sublimation);
(6) because they reinforce the directly reproductive trends. But the difficulties consequent on over-reproduction do entail in some respects an increased function of the non-reproductive
partial impulses, leading to an increase of perversions etc. (2) In the human race the higher stages of Individuation are
closely connected with the process of Socialisation, so that the forces of repression often seem to emanate from the 'herd
instinct.' (3) A certain element of inhibition has become an integral part (a) because the powerful sexual inhibitions and c'estraints
of the human sexual instinct itself;
can only be overcome, slowly and gradually; (6) because the accumulation of tension resulting from
these inhibitions serves to produce greater eventual
gratification. V. A due realisation of the nature and significance of the sexual inhibitions (together with their biological and economic foundations) has been prevented by a number of psychological factors, the study of which is of great importance for social psychology. Among these factors
(1) An unwillingness (derived from the Narcissistic tendencies) to
recognise that the human race is still subject to biological
laws operative in the case of other living beings. (2) The idea (due ultimately to displacements of parent-love and
of infantile 'omnipotence of thought') that God or Nature
will provide amply for all possible human needs. (3) The tendency (fostered by Natural Selection in the past) to
regard any shortage of the necessaries of existence as due to the hostile actions of our fellow men. This tendency is reinforced by the economic complexities and inequalities of modern civilisation and also by a displacement of the hostile
to a failure to recognise the causes of hostility (between
on the part of parents-contraception being regarded
as equivalent to abortion or infanticide. (5) The confidence in large numbers which has been fostered by
our past history and which is sometimes reinforced by a
(Narcissistic) identification of Self and Country. (6) Unwillingness to realise the necessity for the (unpleasant)
inhibition of the sexual tendencies. Connected with this are: (6 A) The primitive identification of the fertility of human
beings with the fertility of animals and plants that serve for food.