L. Szondi

Szondi Institut
Szondi Vectors Descriptions
New Developments
Szondi's Applications
Szondi Groups
Personality Developments
The Latin Section

This is the last part of Richard Hughes book: The RETURN OF THE ANCESTOR.



BIBLIOGRAPHY: (Book pages 167 – 185)

INDEX: (Book pages 185  - 190)


I. In Search of Szondi

To conclude this study it is appropriate to turn to the person, to Szondi himself. He was a man of immense learning in both the sciences and the humanities. As an accomplished scholar, Szondi worked with knowledge of the classical languages, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Most of his central concepts are defined and extensively documented linguistically.

Szondi was also a man of immense experience. He lived through the most brutal forces of evil in the twentieth century, including the First World War, post-war counter-revolutionary terror, and the Nazi Holocaust. Yet having survived these monumental catastrophes, he held a courageous and hopeful outlook on life. Out of his encounter with radical evil came his belief in the essential goodness of human nature. In the bloodiest Cain, there is a touch of Abel, he once said.

Szondi acquired extensive professional experience through his long medical career. His case studies number in the thousands, some of which involve several hundred subjects. They are carefully crafted, enriched by wide learning, and deepened by patient analytic work covering long spans of time. Often many years are required for latent hereditary patterns to be detected, so that the analyst must be diligent and disciplined. The ancestors return in the fullness of time.

Analysis takes an epic form, conforming to what in Europe is known as Seelenkunde, a type of psychology taught by Freud and Dostoevsky (Szondi 1949a, vii). Seelenkunde means the dramatic unfolding of the psyche in epic scope. The psyche, particularly in the familial field, contains a heroic novel, which must be written slowly with long sentences and large chapters. In this sense the struggle of the psyche for freedom takes place in the long, slow rhythms of destiny. The prototype of the


analytic novel of destiny, in its dramatic and visionary power, is the work of Dostoevsky.

Behind his professional roles of physician, scientist, scholar, and teacher lies one basic quality. Szondi was a genuinely religious person, a man of profound spirituality and prayer. Prayer essentially is participation with God. The analysis of destiny gives way to an ultimate mystery, to which one transfers one’s entire being in solemn gratitude. Meditation on an ultimate mystery empowers a pure experience of love and joy.

Though universally available, mystical participation is conditioned by heredity, the animal brain, and society. The paroxysmal-epileptiform heredity is unique, because it disposes us to encounter the sacred through shock events. Receiving revelations requires shock suffering. By his own admission, Szondi descended from the paroxysmal circle. This disposition motivated his life-long attraction to the Bible. One of the implications of his biblical studies is that Semitic families manifest paroxysmal-epileptiform traits. People who dwell in the desert, such as Arabs and Jews, are genetically predisposed to the monotheistic revelations.

Szondi’s heritage may be illumined anecdotally. In August, 1978 I had a conversation in Pamplona, Spain, with one of Szondi’s early Budapest colleagues. During our discussion, she referred to the art treasures of Toledo, which we had visited independently. She spoke of El Greco’s painting “The Burial of Count Orgaz.” The painting portrays a burial scene. The corpse lies in the foreground, and several men are standing in the background, forming a semi-circle. As she studied the painting, her eyes moved from left to right, stopping abruptly at the seventh man. “That’s Szondi,” she said.

Her observation struck me with the possibility that Szondi might have had Sephardic Jewish ancestors. His possible Sephardic descent certainly underlies the conceptual framework of his life and thought. As stated in chapter four, Szondi drew upon the intellectual traditions of Neo-Platonism and Jewish Hasidism. These two movements fused and flourished in Medieval Judaism, particularly in twelfth and thirteenth century Spain. The synthesis gave impetus to the development of Kabbala in the schools of Castile and Aragon (Scholem 1987, 14).

Szondi was no Kabbalist, but his principal intellectual sources came from the milieu that produced Kabbalism. He recaptures the dynamic interaction of Hebrew, Greek, and Oriental ideas that enriched the


philosophers and mystics of Medieval Spain. Here the doctrine of the intermediate world was maintained by Jewish mystics and Arab philosophers. With the Christian defeat of the Arabs and the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, these communities returned to the East, where the concept of the intermediate world would remain influential. The political triumph of Catholic Christianity in Medieval Spain began the intellectual reign of Aristotle in the modern western world.

Of these intellectual sources the Hebrew has priority in Szondi’s life and thought. The Hebrew model of religion consists of encounter and making covenant with one another. The most profound meeting, as understood by Szondi, is the union of the divine and the human. Making covenant with the realm of spirit exalts the human being and bestows wholeness.

Szondi’s appeal to Plato is mainly concerned with the dialectical method. For a psychiatrist dialectic is useful in explaining human conflict. The organism has an essential wholeness, but under the existential impact of heredity, traumas, and learning, it yields to splitting and disintegration. The therapeutic task is to restore wholeness, so that one may embrace the antitheses of life and become free. For Szondi the dialectical method illumines the fact that wholeness is fundamental, conditions of conflict derivative, and that participation therapy reconciles splitting.

The Hasidic legacy shaped Szondi’s spirituality. It was transmitted by his father, who lived a life of spiritual devotion, much like the Hasidic spiritual leaders known as the Zaddikini. Since Hasidism strives for communion with God, transcending the threatening material world with hope and joy, we can easily appreciate Szondi’s participation mystique. His mysticism of prayer came out of mourning for his deceased father and by singing the Kaddish. The father-son bond informed his life-long quest to bridge the gap between the spiritual and sensory worlds.

Since Hasidism grew Out of the oppressed Jewish communities of Eastern Europe, mystical prayer surely enabled many Hungarian Jews to survive the Counter-Revolution and the Holocaust. With Szondi’s expulsion from his homeland his thought became more profound. Expulsion meant exile, a fate that also befell the Jews of Medieval Spain. In the wake of his own exile the theory of the three-fold unconscious became clearer, the haunting presence of the ancestors more pervasive, and the vision of destiny more powerful.


Through the metaphor of the ancestor history is no longer taken for granted as an objective, factual domain. History becomes the arena, where the radical forces of evil and destruction play out a vast twilight struggle. The figure of the ancestor does not dwell above history in a supernatural realm but in a depth dimension, partly spiritual, partly natural. The ancestral vision opens up a transcendent horizon, which is also eschatology- cal. We are all related to the dead but we meet them in the future. Though we are tormented by exile, there is no homecoming in history. For we are all wayfarers upon the earth.

II. Restitution of the Primal Crime

Within the arena of history we struggle to redeem evil, to make restitution for the crimes of humanity. Szondi’s concern for restitution came out of his combat experience in the First World War, and it remained at the center of his theory of religion. Although it is difficult to formulate a comprehensive understanding of religion, Szondi pursues this possibility through the concept of the Cain complex. Accordingly, religion is the restitution of the primal crime.

This definition sets up a dialogue with Freud and Jung, who were also concerned with the primal crime. According to Freud, primitive peoples lived in hordes and were ruled by a tyrannical father figure. After being driven out by the jealous father, the sons “came together, killed and devoured their father, and so made an end of the patriarchal society” (Freud 1913, 141). The slain father would be memorialized out of guilt in the form of a totem. At the same time, the incest taboo was established.

The memory of the primal father, as mediated by the totem, was gradually transformed into the idea of God as an abstract concept. The means of transformation were the existence of a collective mind and a Lamarckian genetics, namely, the hereditary transmission of the primal crime. The latter has for a long time been discredited by genetics, and so Freud posits a collective mind on obsolete grounds.

Freud says the primal crime must be parricide, as illustrated in early Christianity. “If the Son of God was obliged to sacrifice his life to redeem mankind from original sin, then by the law of the talion, the requital of like for like, that sin must have been a killing, a murder. Nothing else


could call for the sacrifice of a life in expiation” (Freud 1915, 292-293). Freud means that Jesus, the Son of God, offered himself in a sacrifice, thereby sparing the Jews for the hereditary guilt over the alleged murder of Moses.

Freud’s provocative interpretation rests upon two questionable assumptions. The first is the priority he assigns to the law of proportionate retaliation, the lex ralionis, as summarized in the phrase “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.” The problem is that this assumption cannot be reconciled with the biblical account of the primal crime. In the Creation Narrative the primal crime would be Cain’s murder of Abel. Following the lex talionis, Cain should have been put to death in punishment for his murder. However, his life is spared, and he is given a sign to prohibit any further killing. The outcome of the primal crime is not vengeance but pardon.

The second assumption is the priority granted to the satisfaction theory of the atonement. God supposedly demands sacrifice to satisfy justice. The problem is historical in that the assumption does not apply to early Christianity but to Medieval Roman Catholicism (Auldn 1951). Early Christians interpreted the death of Jesus as an aggressive assault against the objective forces of sin, death, and evil. The aggression, discharged through the crucifixion of Jesus, derived from the power of God as a redemptive force.

Underlying these two criticisms stands the fact that, in the Bible, the father is not the enemy. The basic patterns of conflict are between brothers, and the basic duties are to resolve hatred, make covenant with the brother, and establish a brotherhood. Hostility between father and son is tested and resolved in the story of Abraham and Isaac (Gen. 22). Thereafter, the firstborn son has a privileged status, because he receives the birthright from the father. This sets up a potential rivalry of the sons for the love of the father, which represents the Cain complex.

Going beyond Freud, Jung explains in a posthumously published letter that religion is an exaltation of human energies (Jung 1971). This is the ancient Greek view, and Jung says it is a preferable because it makes religion permanently grounded in human nature and consistent with psychological experience. Jung rejects the Hebrew model of covenant as unreliable; for like marriage a relationship can be broken.


Jung’s rejection of religion as covenantal grows out of his life-long revulsion against sacrifice, as expressed in God’s command to sacrifice his son Isaac. Jung admitted that “the killing of a human victim to placate the senseless wrath of God who had created imperfect beings unable to fulfill his expectations poisoned my whole religion” (1984, 281). He consistently maintained that, in the Old Testament, God upholds an order of justice but is himself unjust.

Nevertheless, Jung recognizes that sacrifice stands at the center of religious experience. Sacrificial rituals touch down to the archaic level of the psyche, to the killing and eating of human flesh. This stratum is expressed in the ancient Aztec rite of the slaying and eating of the god, a psychic pattern involving piercing, dismembering, and devouring. The same pattern prefigures the Roman Catholic Mass, wherein Jesus is slain for the many; he is both sacrificer and sacrificee (Jung 1984, 117, 151, 173). This subject-object identity of victim and people presupposes the participation mystique, as disco vered by Lévy-Bruhi. Let us note that Jung like Freud appeals to the medieval model of atonement rather than the early Christian.

For Jung ritual sacrifice corresponds to self-development. The ego must be sacrificed for the sake of the whole in order to fulfill the self. Individuation is painful and requires great suffering. The sacrifice of the ego for the self is paralleled symbolically by the Christian belief in the sacrifice of Jesus The Son by God The Father. Thus, Jung psychologizes the sacrifice by making it the condition of personal maturity.

Jung’s interpretation has the virtue of implying that high religion requires a critique of the primitive sacrifice and the fulfillment of the self. However, his bias against the covenant leads him to make dubious judgments about the Old Testament. For example, he does not read the Cain and Abel story in its own terms but reduces it to the archetype of the two brothers, the prototype of the struggle between God and Satan. Similarly, he reduces the reality of God to the archetype of the self and denies any real transcendence. As Szondi would say, Jung confuses ego and spirit (1956, 518).

More precisely, Jung deals mainly with the Priestly strand of the Old Testament, which emphasizes divine omnipotence and deemphasizes the Covenant of Moses. Consequently, he views the biblical figure of God or Yahweh as remote and in need of ritual mediation. The problem is that the name Yahweh does not mean remoteness or absence, as Jung thinks, but immediate presence. Further, Jung fails to realize that the Priestly writing presupposes the establishment of clear ethical content in the Mosaic Covenant. The normative structure of the Covenant is stated in the following verse: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ (Lev. 19:18b). As the one who reveals this ethical structure, God cannot be regarded as unjust.

Jung regards evil as a radical force, existing independently of the conscious and unconscious, and correlative with the good. Evil cannot be conquered; for it goes along with the good and has a numinous reality. Because Jung stresses the sacral quality of evil, he tends to mystify it. Szondi argues, in contrast, that the task is not to mystify evil but to overcome it (1980, 162-163, 187-189). Evil is not an end in itself but an “object” of restitution. Szondi’s confidence in restitution- came as a result of experiencing directly the most radical forces of evil in the twentieth century.

Finally, Szondi’s position enters into dialogue with the current theorists of ritual violence. One of these, Rene Girard, contends that sacrifice is the origin of religion and that the sacrificial ritual discharges violence through the scapegoat mechanism (1977, 8-10, 92-93). The basis of the sacrifice is substitution in the sense that sacrificial killing deflects violence from society and maintains cultural cohesion. The sacrificial ritual yields, however, no expiation. It simply projects violence away from society. Social cohesion is like crowd behavior, grounded in an unconscious desire and shaped through politically legitimated scapegoat rituals (Girard 1986, 51, 95, 105).

Girard’s theory is provocative, but it stands on debatable assumptions, with respect to the Bible in particular. The story of the primal crime, that of Cain and Abel, culminates in a pardon which foreshadows atonement in the Mosaic Law and Temple religion. The appeal to the scapegoat mechanism can, in biblical ritual, account only for unwitting sins (Lev. 16). The biblical text addresses the primal crime in terms of moral intentionality, as in the act-fate synthesis. In the Old Testament intentional sins like murder and adultery require personal confession and divine forgiveness (Ps. 51). Hence, Girard’s theory is pre-ethical.

The other theorist is Walter Burkert, who is frequently linked to Girard, despite the fact that the two hold profound differences. Burkert


also finds sacrifice to be the fundamental religious ritual, but he relates it to atonement (1983, 1-12). Religion descends from the age of the hunter, the Paleolithic, which is the longest in human evolution. The ancient hunter transferred predatory aggression, inherited from primate ancestors, onto human society in the ritual of hunting. This was a shift from interspecific aggression (between species) to intraspecific aggression (within the same species).

Intraspecific aggression led to killing other humans, which evoked guilt that had to be atoned. Ritualization of atonement became the core of high religion. Whereas primal religion is based upon animal sacrifice and expiation, high religion begins with a critique and culminates in a spiritualization of sacrifice. High religion claims that instead of sacrificing an animal we should sacrifice ourselves.

My explanation is merely a brief summary, because Burkert’s work is rich and detailed. It corresponds essentially to Szondi’s position and provides considerable documentation for it. However, a few critical observations need to be offered.

First, Burkert relies upon the theory of aggression developed by Konrad Lorenz (1966) but fails to make a critique. Consequently, Burkert like Lorenz tends to confuse violence and aggression. For example, Lorenz defines aggression as a life-affirming instinct and then regards it as evil, as though it were violence. Whereas violence is an injurious process, with instrumental means and random fateful consequences, aggression is a morally neutral, natural need, that changes or destabilizes relationships (Hughes 1987, 1-2). I believe Burkert means violence in contrast to aggression, because the former is evil and needs atonement. Aggression is not inherently evil (Szondi 1980, 175).

Second, Burkert makes nonviolence a derivative process, a defense against the archaic killing intent. Rituals that expiate sacrifice nonviolently are equally derivative and defensive. He interprets periodic killing as a breakdown of defenses and a return of the ways of the ancient hunter. This line of thought severely weakens his claim of ritual expiation and suggests an essentially amoral human nature.

Third, Burkert’s theory is limited historically to the hunting pattern of religion, for example, to the shamanistic cultures that arose from pre-historic Asia and spread to the Americas by way of trans-Pacific migrations (ca., 60,000 B.C.E.). The religions of Hawaii and the North


American Plains Indians are examples. His theory does not precisely illumine the nature of the farming and gardening pattern, which is rooted in fertility rituals. The American Zuni Indians are an example of the horticultural pattern. Burkert’s theory needs to be supplemented by more attention to the contact drive, as a basic evolutionary mechanism, and to the law of participation, which entails an evolution of feeling in all levels of life.

Participation is also at the heart of the spiritualization of sacrifice, which represents high religion. The early Upanishads, which produced the image of the bridge, presuppose a critique of the animal sacrifice (e.g., Brih; 1.4.6; 1.5.16). Similarly, the Hebrew prophets place faith in God above the animal sacrifice or blood offering (I. Sam. 3:14; Ps. 51).

In Hinduism the Upanishadic critique informs the concept of Karma yoga, which is expressed in the Bhagavad Gita as follows: “The redirecting of one’s being away from involvement with the fruits of one’s action to an eternal spirit which is at once in and beyond the phenomenal world” (Deutsch 1968, 163). The Jewish correlate of Karma yoga is the Hasidic idea of Kavana which is, as interpreted by Martin Buber, the channeling of the evil impulse into wholeness, which means freedom and devotion (Friedmann 1976, 423). Both concepts converge with Szondi’s belief that the restitution of the Cain intent brings about freedom. Freedom is an experience of wholeness, a participation in the divine spirit, and a projection of the evil Cain intent onto God.

III. Participatory Metaphysics

The law of participation represents the beginning and the end of Szondi’s ego psychology. His conception of the pontifical ego, in particular, is grounded in a metaphysical view of reality, especially as it grows out of current relativistic-quantum theory. The task of metaphysics is to provide a description of the most general aspects of fundamental reality. Here, fundamental reality is understood as “undivided wholeness in flowing movement” (Bohm 1983, 11).

The act of participation in fundamental wholeness is one of pure experience. In a participative perspective theories of reality and know ledge, metaphysics and epistemology, cohere. Knowledge of fundamental reality occurs in the fulfillment of the pontifical ego. To base


philosophical inquiry solely upon a theory of knowledge tends to dichotomize experience into knower and known, subject and object (Oliver 1981). Such fragmentation creates a cognitive splitting and forces theory onto a derivative level of being. The psychoanalytic definition of faith as illusion, in contrast to physical reality, is an example of cognitive splitting.

The theory of reality entails a hierarchy in the sense that there are different orders of description. While wholeness is the highest experience of fundamental reality, a middle range of theoretical description exists, wherein derivative states are posited by methods of analysis and synthesis. Such a middle range is occupied by the biological drives, which are conceived dialectically as unities of opposites. Needs and tendencies are analyzed conceptually and organized in a synthesis. The drives are understood as functional dependencies.

Genes and their aggregates would represent still another order, where reality is conceived as entities. According to the neo-Darwinist school, genes facilitate their own survival by grouping together as aggregates and yielding multiple effects. The notion of aggregates has derivative status, because they entail external relatedness. Aggregates are composed of parts; the totality is the sum of the parts.

Current discussions, centering on the “Sheldrake hypothesis,” challenge the neo-Darwinist model as too mechanistic. The argument is that single genes do not directly influence the behavior of the whole. There must be an intermediate principle to account for the whole. Whereas a neo— Darwinist biologist like Richard Dawkins would speak of a genetic program, Rupert Sheldrake identifies morphic fields as non-material regions of influence, resonating in an extensive space-time continuum (1988, 76-90). The idea of morphic fields imparts a sense of wholeness and movement to the description of reality, and it illumines the way genes enter into relationships. However, the concept of morphic fields is still that of an entity and, therefore, belongs to the middle and not to the fundamental realm of metaphysical generalization.

Modern biology emphasizes that all forms of life, from the subatomic to the galactic, are subject to evolution. Life evolves in hierarchies, in which systems are nested according to their level of organized complexity. Both evolution and hierarchy are integral concepts in Szondi’s system. In current thinking, the relationship between fundamental wholeness and evolutionary hierarchies is handled by the concept of the implicate order


in quantum theory (Bohm 1983, 149-154). Wholeness is implicated in all space-time regions and energy exchanges. Wholeness also enfolds the derivative subject-object orders, both in the middle and simple ranges of generalization. By analogy, just as an envelope enfolds a letter, so does wholeness enfold the orders of reality. The implicate order entails the fact that the universe is the primary field and its magnitude, of seemingly empty space, is actually a plenitude of radiant energy.

The implicate order includes laws as statistical probabilities, flow patterns as combinations of indivisible quanta, and energy exchanges in nonlocal and noncausal modes (Bohn 1983, 175). This latter point may be called quantum inseparability and may be applied to the theory of genotropism. Some of Szondi’s case studies document meaningful interactions, particularly in love and friendship choices, but without exact causal patterns. In these cases we may understand genotropism as activating nonlocal and noncausal relationships. The idea of morphic fields may also be applicable to genotropism (Burgi-Meyer 1987).

In this metaphysical scheme the family serves as a paradigm of reality. Family is here understood as a multi-generational system, whose members constitute an extensive space-time continuum. By virtue of their belonging to a family, members are internally related to one another. For example, a murder committed in one generation may be related to a homicidal delusion or fantasy in another. The term relationship may be used to designate the reality of wholeness. A relationship is the fundamental constituent between two terms of a polarity (Oliver, 1981). The pontifical ego is relational because it constitutes the unity, the bridge, between spirit and nature, subject and object, and so forth. The law of participation converts polarities into derivative aspects of relationships.

Because the family is an extensive continuum, it cannot be located precisely in specific space-time regions. The family comprises “fields within fields” with nonlocal and noncausal relationships (Taub-Bynum 1989). Wholeness enfolds the family through its various branches. From the wholeness terms of symmetry and asymmetry may be inferred. Symmetry involves the genetic relations of paired genes and chromosomes, the unzipping of the DNA molecule, and the convergence of gene relatives through genotropism. Asymmetry is present in the fact that some branches survive while others do not. Branches have a more than/less than relationship with one another. Asymmetry also occurs in the middle range


of reality, wherein the biological drives motivate interacting behavior in a temporal goal-directed process.

Without making a final or exhaustive claim, let us state that the family discloses the nature of reality as inseparable wholeness. The family brings out an experience of wholeness in the sense of immediate participation. Life in the family is one of dialogue, which shapes our conceptions of the world. Both metaphysics and epistemology are familial. In the family we are unique as individuals and yet inseparable as co-participants in a multi-generational system. Finally, the family reveals the I-Thou relation, through which we participate in the divine life.

IV. The American Family Perspective

Although the family may be the paradigm of reality, it does not seem to be too central in current American society. The family is now perceived as small, nuclear, and mobile. Some families consist of single parent households. Relatives are scattered, and about one half of parents are separated or divorced. Some live together heterosexually and homosexually.

We should ask whether multi-generational familial concepts fit our fast-paced, heterogeneous American society. Szondi himself admitted that the analysis of destiny did not apply to the dynamic, here-now oriented American tempo (1949a, viii). Psychologies that enjoy American popularity, such as behaviorism and psychoanalysis, appeal to needs for control and immediate satisfaction. Nevertheless, I believe that Szondi speaks to our cultural situation and I sketch some reasons in the following tentative paragraphs.

Colonial New England culture was shaped by the multi-generational families of Puritan ministers. There were about four generations of clergy families, beginning with the arrival of the pilgrims in the 1620s until the War of Independence in 1776. In this period ministers exercised social control by means of weekly preaching. They emphasized, particularly in funeral sermons, both the continuity of the generations and the memory of the ancestors (Stout 1986, 123).

After achieving independence from Great Britain, the settling of the American frontier brought basic social changes. The ideals of individual freedom, equality, and rights encouraged a leveling of social hierarchies.


The Puritan era had been characterized by the sense of authority, hierarchy, corporate order, and ethical duty. Egalitarian ideals were introduced through colonial Philadelphia by Welsh Quakers, who also maintained influential multi-generational families. William Penn founded Pennsylvania in 1682 on the basis of the democratic ideals of freedom, equality, and rights.

Both Puritan and democratic ideals survived in American child raising pract The Puritan promoted hard work and discipline, the democratic the satisfaction of individual desire (Erikson 1963, 287-291). These two patterns combined particularly on the frontier, where mothers encouraged their children to control strong emotions, work hard, and go away from home to prosper. These emphases were influential in the decades before the Civil War, when waves of young men migrated from farms to cities to work in the expanding factories. Industrialization, urbanization, and individualism were the fruits of frontier child raising styles.

In the antebellum period a unique institution was created to unite the generations, to impart a sense of tradition to the emerging industrial democracy. The rural cemetery was established to join the living and the dead in a community. The first one was Mount Auburn, built in 1831 outside Boston, and the second, Laurel Hill, appeared five years later near Philadelphia. The rural cemetery, consisting of rolling hills, weeping willow trees, and sculptures, projected an image of death as one of gradual change in nature, no longer the dreaded adversary as envisaged by the Old Testament prophets (Isa. 25:8, 27:1). The rural cemetery also encouraged the living to cultivate the memory of the ancestors as a civic virtue (French 1975).

In the following century another significant social change took place. Between 1930 and 1950 hospitals expanded and became the primary health care centers. Gradually, people went into the hospitals to die, thus departing from the age-old practice of dying at home. From 1950 to the present time about 80% die in hospitals. The rise of the hospital coincided with increased social mobility. Dying in the hospital freed families from caring for their sick and elderly members and allowed them to travel, as in the search for new homes and places of work (Aries 1974, 86).

Increased social mobility meant reduction in the size of the family. Only the two-generational, nuclear family could adapt to changing social


conditions. Grandparents were consigned to nursing homes or retirement villages, where they remained secluded, separated from children and grandchildren. Consequently, grandparents could not witness the mysteries of birth, childhood, and personality development. Likewise, grandchildren could not encounter the mysteries of sickness, aging, and dying. Reduction in family size encouraged a pervasive denial of death and repression of the ancestors among the younger generations. Evidence for this dual negation may be found in the relative neglect of mourning, visitation at cemeteries, or in the widespread assumption that funerals are no longer necessary in the disposal of the dead.

Despite the denial and repression, the ancestors have not gone away. Extended family bonds are still present, though invisible. I would speculate that presentations in the mass media, dealing with multi-generational realities, draw vast audiences. Ever since the broadcast of Roots in the

1970s, these epic family dramas evoke mass fascination, suggesting an attraction to hidden familial content split off from contemporary ex perience. The mass media function like dreams, searching for collective participation. The failure to integrate the familial background, in our daily social life, co-exists with an abundance of self-help and therapy groups. As Szondi knew so long ago, feeling better does not guarantee adequate mate or vocational selection. Destiny is determined by choice, and the motivation of choice flows from a hidden familial legacy.

V. Ancestral Premonitions

The central concept of religious experience is that of the sacred, the classical description of which has been given by Rudolf Otto (1958). Called the numinous, the sacred is encountered as an elemental experience, simultaneously involving fascination and dread of an essential otherness. As an event, the numinous manifests power, before which one stands in silence.

Otto’s concept of the numinous corresponds psychologically to Szondi’s paroxysmal pattern. The dreadful, repulsive sense of the holy is a negative, hysteroid impulse, and the attractive, fascinating aspect a positive, hysteroid tendency. In the context of a sanction ethos the numinous compels an act


of atonement. This act exemplifies the Abel tendency, moving toward restitution. Paul Tillich accepted the idea of the numinous, as constituting the universal essence of religion, and explained that it pervades three dimensions: (1) the mystical, (2) sacramental; and (3) ethical (1966, 87). The mystical means that the sacred cannot be exhausted by the ordinary world and that representatives of the sacred identit with an ultimate mystery. The sacramental indicates that the holy is present in finite forms, material objects, and rituals. The ethical manifests unconditional obligations, a sense of what ought to be and what is right. These three dimensions conform precisely to three ego phases as described by Szondi and explained in chapter four: (1) mystical (primary inflation), (2) sacramental (primary introjection), and (3) ethical (primary negation).

A recent study of Otto’s work shows that he struggled with certain German terms to express the impact of the sacred. He spoke of the numinous as a sense of “foreboding” or “premonition” (Ahnung) or “retribution” (Ahndung). Otto finally chose Ahndung in order to convey the sense of “presentiment,” “inkling,” or “presage” (Streetman 1980, 381).

The terms used by Otto are variations of that for ancestor (Ahn) and they suggest the profound religious background of the analysis of destiny. The return of the ancestor evokes “inklings,” “premonitions,” or “fore bodings.” Realizing that we choose our mates or vocations by ancestral presentiments compels us to shudder. Decisions, which are crucial for our development, are suddenly revealed to be presaged by the ancestors and to be moments of a larger pattern. The space-time, causal boundaries of our lives are relativized, and we are disclosed as actors in a grand and epic drama. The otherness of the sacred is not objective; rather it is the relativization of a local space-time region. What is so astonishing is that the otherness appears in our most familiar relationships.

Szondi’s conception of familial as familiar is made possible because of an epic achievement in the history of religions. Beginning with the Christian era the dead were buried within city walls. This means that Christianity reduced the fear of death by taming the dead (Aries 1981, 30-31). In pre-Christian times the dead were buried outside the city walls because they were feared. Christian burial practice rested on the belief that the crucifixion of Jesus had conquered the fear of death and brought forth the view of dying as a pathway to divine-human participation.


The Jungian model of the collective unconscious corresponds to the pre-Christian psychic layer, wherein the overwhelming dread of death reflects the archaic symbolism of dying as killing and being eaten. This psychic stratum informs the animal sacrifice of primal religion. The Szondian theory of the familial unconscious presupposes the Hebrew- Christian tradition, wherein the divine-human act of restitution tamed the terror of death and made the dead familiar. The fact of restitution was preserved in the Christian ritual of the Eucharist, which transformed the archaic pattern of killing and being eaten into a divine-human encounter.

Generally, the New Testament represents the fact of restitution, in the doctrine of the resurrection, by means of the Greek perfect tense (I. Cor. 15:20). The Greek perfect is unique in that it refers to events which are completed but which continue to have effects into the present. The image of time implied in the Greek perfect is neither a line nor a circle. Rather it implies a vibrating rhythm of natural events that occurs and recurs in alternating phases. The Greek perfect bears upon the analysis of destiny because it illustrates the mode of ancestral premonitions. The life of the ancestor is completed but, by virtue of familial heredity, continues to have an effect upon the present. The ancestral acts comprise the background self and the ancestral effects the foreground self.

Cumulative ancestral premonitions eventually create a specific consciousness in the life of the individual, inkling that one’s life has had a direction, a necessity. The vision of destiny as a force of necessity was originally posed by Arthur Schopenhauer, who wrote a classic essay entitled “On an Apparent Intention in the Fate of the Individual” in 1851. Szondi quotes approvingly from this essay, as illustrated in the following excerpts (1972, 13-14):

In all times, belief in a particular providence or in another supernatural direction of events in our individual life has played with great favor. [ often becomes a conviction...that the life of the individual, so confused as it may seem, forms a coherent whole, which has a specific tendency and a dialectical meaning like a well-thought out epic poem.... (our) life and action unfold with a perfect necessity. (in) reality nothing is given by chance; but the most accidental event is nothing more than a necessity arrived at by a detour.

The unique individuality of the human is the necessary result of...the father... and of the mother and of the organizational unity of the two....

In summary, human existence seems to have a purposiveness, which has the appearance of necessity. After living a sufficient span of time, we look back and realize that the seemingly trivial episodes were instrumental in fulfilling a greater purpose. The pattern represents the union of necessity and chance or contingency, and this unity is grounded in the family.

Schopenhauer says that the pattern takes on an epic quality, as though a novel were being written. He points out that on occasion we might consider such an epic form to be a product of our own unconscious fantasies, our own projections. Schopenhauer’s supposition is not to be taken lightly, once we recognize that such projections come out of the familial unconscious. Ancestral models are projected in the existential decisions that lay out the direction of life. Metaphorically, the ancestors write the epic novel of life.

Within the generations of the family, some members have completed their lives, while others are yet to come. Whether ancestors or descendants, the generations share an essential wholeness, a quantum insepara bility that spans blood and gene lines. The ancestors participate in the wholeness, which is the implicate order, in such a way that they contribute to actions in the subject-object world. Such a purposiveness is a fundamental force of necessity (Bohm 1983, 195). The necessity is not strictly determined but rests upon probabilities and coheres with contingencies. This primal necessity is the meaning of destiny.

The force of necessity is manifest in consciousness and its verification is not empirical but eschatological. Within the horizon of death, the last great shock event, the sense of destiny is disclosed. Until we contemplate the possibility of the end, the completion of existence, the thread of destiny may be hidden. The revelation of destiny occurs within the fundamental wholeness of reality, in a pure experience, in a mystical participation. In that glimpse of wholeness, that inkling or presentiment, the ancestral figures appear in a grand procession, as pulsating energies rippling on the vast sea of energy which is the universe. In the vision of destiny we are one with the universe and with the sacred that enfolds it.

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Abel tendency, 48, 52, 81, 119, 163

Absences, 1, 63, 67, 104, 119

Ahn, 163

Alcoholism, 37-38, 45, 55, 58, 63

Amish, Old Order, 37

Amok, 128

Analysis of Destiny, 10, 32-33, 42, 59

Ancestral dreams, 14, 89, 98, 104

Animal brain, 41, 49, 59, 93, 150

Arendt, Hannah, 2-3

Asthma, 15, 67, 121-122

Aurnakua, 29

Australian Aborigines, 26

Bachelard, Gaston, 127

Background self, 52, 88-90, 164

Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, 9-10, 100

Bleuler, Eugen, 10, 91

Blumer, Dietrich, 49, 120

Boehme, Jacob, 96

Buber, Martin, 82-83, 85-86, 131-132, 135-136, 140, 157

Budapest Hospital, 7

BUrgi-Meyer, Karl, 83-84, 159

Burkert, Walter, 155-157

Cain and Abel, 48, 59, 104, 109-111, 115-116, 118-119, 122, 154-155

Cain complex, 109, 123-124, 139, 143, 147, 152-153

Cain personality, 118, 123, 141

Cain tendency, 48, 53, 55, 107, 144

Cain-Moses polarity, 142

Cainites, 115

Catatonia, 50, 60, 63

Collective unconscious, 74, 164

Conscience, 119, 123, 131, 143-145

Contact drive, 43-46, 49, 75, 157


Covenant, 138-139, 141-142, 146, 151, 153-155

Cross-cousin marriage, 28

Cystic fibrosis, 35, 39, 69

Damjanich Gymnasium, 5

Dawkins, Richard, 38-40, 158

Delusion, 20, 55, 59, 87-88, 92, 105-106, 117-118, 121, 159

Depression, 6, 37-38, 42, 45, 58, 63-64, 89

Destiny, 1, 10-13, 15, 18, 55, 71-73, 77, 84, 90-95, 98, 109, 134, 137, 140-

141, 149-151, 160, 162-165

Deussen, Paul, 75, 85

Dobzhansky, Theodosius, 21, 35, 50

Dostoevsky, Fyodor, 5, 12-13, 121, 127, 149-150

Dr. Z, 120

Dreams, theory of, 88

Dynastic incest, 28-29

Eclampsia, 67

Eibl-Eibesfeldt, Iranaeus, 44

Eichmann, Adolf, 2-4, 9

Ego, 3, 10, 14, 20, 41-42, 49-50, 52, 71, 74-76, 78-89, 91-93, 95, 97, 99, 107-108, 116, 122-124, 131, 145, 154, 157, 163

El Greco, 150

Enuresis, 23, 67, 104, 121

Epilepsy, 8, 13, 24, 33, 35, 42, 47-49, 58, 66, 118-121, 126

Faith, 5, 83, 91-92, 99, 108, 117-118, 131, 137, 145-146, 157-158

Familial unconscious, 73-74, 76, 95, 97-98, 100, 104, 107, 115, 164-165

Fate, 13, 17, 35, 71-72, 82, 89-90, 93, 97, 107, 112-113, 127, 137, 151, 155, 164

Foreground self, 88-90, 164

Fratricide, 28, 30-31, 115

Freedom, 63, 71-72, 93, 95-98, 107, 139, 147, 149

Freud, Sigmund, 4, 6, 8, 12, 26-27, 31-33, 43-44, 53, 74, 76, 80, 87, 91, 95-98, 101, 123, 125-127, 149, 152-154

Gender disorders, 65


Genesmanship, 38-40, 53

Genetic load, 21, 35, 73

Genotropism, 17-19, 21, 25, 31-36, 38-41, 45, 55, 57, 66-67, 74, 77, 80-81, 100, 116, 159

Genotype, 19, 21

Girard, Rene, 155

Goethe, Johann W. von, 80

Gomb ö s government, 8

Graf-Appanyi Polyclinic, 6-7

Gustafsson, Ake, 21

Haggadah, 109, 111, 114, 131, 135

Halakhah, 10, 109, 131

Hasidism, 86, 131, 150-151

Hawaiian creation story, 30

Hayflick limit, 69

Heidegger, Martin, 72

Heterosis, 20-21, 40, 53

Hinduism, 62-63, 74, 84-86, 131, 157

Hitler, Adolf, 2-3, 9

Hysteria, 6, 42, 48, 58-60, 124

Implicate order, 159, 165

Incest taboo, 25-28, 46, 111, 135

Inflation, 50, 61, 76, 78-81, 88, 92, 141, 163

Instinctual drives, 8, 41-42, 47, 74, 81, 93, 98, 102

Institute of Applied Psychology, 10

Intermediate world, 86, 151

Introjection, 50, 76, 79-81, 88, 92, 124, 163

J Strand, 110, 115, 140

Jackson, Hughlings, 120

Johannsen, Wilhelm, 19, 38

Jung, Carl, 10, 52, 74, 76, 80, 95, 126, 133, 152-155

Kabbalah, 96, 110, 135-136

Kaddish, 5-6, 151


Magyar culture, 6

Mania, 45, 58, 63-64, 88, 121

Manic-depression, 37, 42, 64

Masochism, 47, 117

Mendel, Gregor, 17, 19, 38

Menninger Clinic, 1

Metaphysics, 62, 86, 91, 157, 160

Migraines, 8, 15, 58-59, 63, 67, 119, 122-123, 128

Moira, 71

Monotheism, 145-147

Mosaic Law, 111, 115, 155

Moses, 113, 131-143, 145, 153-154

Mystical participation, 5, 76-77, 81, 132, 144, 150

Natural selection, 21, 27, 38-40, 67

Nazi Party, 3-4, 73

Negation, 50, 76, 80-81, 85-86, 88-90, 92, 96,

Oedipus complex, 98, 123-125

Orthodox Judaism, 5, 85

Otto, Rudolf, 162-163

123, 162-163

Kallmann, Franz, 36, 50

Karma yoga, 157

Kenites, 110, 115, 135, 146

Knussmann, Rainer, 40

Kohn, Theresa, 5

Koyre, Alexandre, 96

Kulcsar, I. S., 3-4

Kun, Bela, 7

vy-Bruhl, Lucien, 76-78, 154

Lorenz, Konrad, 33, 44, 46, 156

Love Command, 147

Luther, Martin, 99, 105, 126

Paranoia, 20,48, 55, 57-58, 62, 76, 87, 118-119, 121-122


Paroxysmal pattern, 47-48, 81, 119-120, 126, 162

Participation, law of, 76-77, 92, 132, 157, 159

Pazmany-Peter University, 6-7

Percy, Emmerich, 87

Personal unconscious, 74, 98

Phenotype, 18-19, 27, 35

Plato, 82-83, 85-86, 151

Pontifical ego, 83-86, 92-93, 95, 97, 108, 131, 145, 157, 159

Primal religion, 70, 79, 81, 87, 112, 114, 156, 164

Projection, 2-3, 50, 73, 75-78, 80-81, 84, 86, 88, 116, 119, 123, 132, 142, 157, 165

Psychoanalysis, 10, 13-14, 32, 46, 55, 63, 74, 78-79, 97-98, 100, 103, 106, 123, 125, 147, 160

Psychoshock therapy, 10, 99-101

Quantum theory, 84, 157, 159

Rabbinic Judaism, 109, 131, 144

Radvanyi, Lili, 7

Ranschburg, Paul, 6

Recessive genes, 17-21, 23, 26-27, 33-34, 53, 71, 73, 116

Royal Hungarian Institute of Psychopathology and

Psychotherapy, 7

Sadism, 47, 58, 65-66, 102, 106, 118-119, 122

Sexual drive, 46, 53, 65

Schicksal, 71-72

Schizophrenia, 10, 18-19, 42, 50, 55, 58, 61-62, 68, 72, 87, 104-107, 121

Schopenhauer, Arthur, 164-165

Sheldrake, Rupert, 40-41

Sills, Beverly, 57

Stuttering, 8, 15, 22, 58-59, 63, 119, 122, 141

Sublimation, 53, 72, 97, 99, 101, 107, 116, 142, 145

Suicide, 3, 11, 14, 18, 54-55, 57, 60, 64, 66, 69, 106-107, 120, 123, 126

Szondi, Abraham, 4-5

Szondi Institute, 10


Szondi, Leopold, 1-13, 15, 17-34, 36-53, 57-61, 63-69, 71-72, 95-104, 106-

107, 109-119, 121-125, 127-128, 131-147, 149-152, 154-160, 162- 164

Szondi, Peter, 7, 11

Szondi Test, 1-3

Szondi, Vera, 7,11

Ten Commandments, 138

Tillich, Paul, 163

Totem, 26, 29, 77, 152

Transitional object, 44-45, 50

Troyat, Henri, 12

Ungrund, 96, 142

Upanishads, 75, 84-86, 157

Volotskoi, M. V., 13

Wickler, Wolfgang, 38, 40

Winokur, George, 37

Yetzer, 144

Zaddikini, 151

© 1996-2002 Leo Berlips, JP Berlips & Jens Berlips, Slavick Shibayev