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Indispensable Analysis of Human Motivations in Large Groups
, August 22, 1999
Psychohistory might be viewed as state-of-the-art psychoanalysis extended to large groups, but it goes far beyond the clinical model of psychoanalysis, into the everyday content of human emotions such as religion, the arts, nations and economic systems.
"Foundations of Psychohistory" is very accessible without specialized training, but is also deeply rewarding to specialists and scholars who can tolerate the presentation of a new paradigm for the studies of both psychology and history.
The psychodynamic theories of Lloyd deMause are rooted in modern trauma theory, and to a lesser degree in the object relations of Klein, Bion and Fairbairn; however, he uses his exhaustive studies of group fantasy to achieve major strides beyond these. In the opinion of this reviewer, he has written the book that defines the starting point for the depth psychology of the 21st century.
In psychoanalysis, the relationships of humans with their groups, cultures and (often shared) modes of childhood experience are virtually ignored. Lloyd deMause brilliantly analyzes the methods whereby large groups achieve powerful emotional "consensus" for actions by reference to these highly charged childhood and infantile emotional experiences.
This book is equally indispensable for those interested in the "why" of history, and those interested in the nature of human experience. By contrast, mainstream psychoanalysis tends to ignore the profound importance of group experiences (outside the oedipal family, or "objects of attachment"), while other social sciences tend to ignore the fact that a society consists of a group of individuals. "Foundations of Psychohistory" is a first, but giant, step towards a vastly improved understanding of the human condition.