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Freud proposed that the processes which occurred in the primal horde are essential for understanding superego formation and therefore, the successful dissolution of the Oedipus complex. However, Freud theorized superego formation in the primal horde as if it is an instant, all-or-none achievement. The present paper proposes an alternative model aiming to explain gradual development of superego in the primitive man. The proposed model is built on knowledge from evolutionary and neural sciences as well as anthropology, and it particularly focuses on the evolutionary significance of the acquisition of fire by hominids in the Pleistocene period in the light of up-to-date archaeological findings. Acquisition of fire is discussed as a form of sublimation which might have helped Prehistoric man to maximize the utility of limited evolutionary biological resources, potentially contributing to the rate and extent of bodily evolution. The limitations of both Freud's original conceptualization and the present model are discussed accordingly in an interdisciplinary framework.

Original publication

DOI

10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00008

Type

Journal article

Journal

Front Psychol

Publication Date

2014

Volume

5

Keywords

behavioral economics, evolutionary psychology, fire, morality, primal horde, sublimation, superego formation