L. Szondi

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I sin Der Berufsbilder-Test. Seine Anwendung in der Berufs- und Laufbahn-beratung-einde einführung (1987) ger achtnich en introduktion till en ganska osofisikerad användning av testet, som kan ge en hel del information i yrkes-valspreocessen. en mer avanc RFETURN OF THE ANCESTOR



( PAGES 17 - 40)

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I. Concept of Genotropism

Out of his personal and professional experiences Szondi attempted to answer the question of marriage choice. Why does one marry this person and no one else? From a common sense perspective we normally understand marriage as resulting from chance or from sharing common interests. Szondi, however, discovered some significant patterns of marriage choice, which he formulated in his seminal English language essay entitled “Contributions to ‘Fate Analysis” (1937).

With reference to the phobic young wife, her husband, and mother-in-law, as described in the introduction, Szondi asks:

Could the tragedy of these three people be perhaps approached from a genealogical aspect? Or...is it not the same ancestor - the genealogist would say, the same recessive gene - who, reappearing, causes the common fate of mother, son and daughter-in-law? Isn’t it possible that they are “gene-related,” their common gene being that of the neurotic ancestor (1937, 6)?

Midway in the essay Szondi proposes an ancestor theory of object choice. Marriage partners, although appearing to be different, are actually attracted to each other by virtue of a unique “identity.” Though not visible, this identity exists in the latent recessive genes, which “direct instinctively and unconsciously our choice in love and perhaps also our choice in other biological acts....”(1937, 26)

Szondi develops this insight on the basis of the classical genetics of Gregor Mendel, explaining that within a “heterozygotic gene couple” the relations between the dominant and the recessive components are dynamic. The two genes of a heterozygous individual are “as was originally meant by Mendel, antagonists, adversaries, and the relation of the forces of the fighting parties decide upon the phenotypical picture in which both


antagonistic genes strive to come to effect” (1937, 39). Genes are linked to ancestors. In the genetic struggle the “recessive ancestor” is defeated by the “dominant ancestor.” Though not penetrating the phenotype, the latent recessive genes retain an influence. They direct unconsciously our choice in love, friendship, vocation, illness, and mode of death.

In a lecture in Geneva, two years later, Szondi announced that he has studied more than a thousand marriages and that he has found the answer to the problem, namely, why people who are normal and healthy, marry and produce feeble-minded, epileptic, or schizophrenic children. He then presents a three-fold theory of object choice: (1) The object choice is that of a gene-determined, biological drive process. (2) The reciprocal attraction is conditioned through the same or related mode of latent recessive genes. ´

(3) This hitherto unknown biological reality of the latent recessive genes is called genotropism (Szondi 1939, 45).

Szondi suggests that there are three kinds of genotropism. One is called libido-genotropism or, more simply, libidotropism. It means that latent recessive genes guide one’s sexual energy toward a love or marriage partner. The formula is Aa x Aa. Several examples are provided in the lecture, and, of these, case #2 is one:

Both marriage partners (family tree: #6,7) are healthy and psychologically normal. Of their two children one (#10) is feeble- minded, the other healthy (#9). The question for the analysis of destiny is: which hidden gene-relation ship has brought their marriage together? Our investigation shows that the brother of the husband (#5) and a son of the brother of the wife (#11) are feeble-minded (1939, 48).

A second kind is sociotropism, which means that latent recessive genes direct persons toward others as ideals or friends. It is expressed as sympathy for and antipathy against one another. The formula is Aa x aa.

A third kind pertains to vocational choice, and it is called operotropism. Case #10 is an example:

A man (family tree: #6) suffers schizophrenia (dementia paranoides) with lethal origin. His brother (#7) struggles with the anxiety of also becoming ill with schizophrenia. He remains healthy. His destiny unfolds in the following manner: He falls in love with his cousin (#10, libidotropism), who later gets sick as a paranoid schizophrenic and commits suicide. He will become a psychiatrist and spend many years in a mental hospital. The chief object of his


scientific research is schizophrenia (operotropism). (1939,55) In the same lecture Szondi discusses the work of the Danish geneticist Wilhelm Johannsen. He takes over Johannsen’s definitions of phenotype and genotype, which remain basic in genetics. The phenotype is the content of all the characteristics existing in the appearance of the organism. The genotype comprises the totality of heredity given through the constitutions of both gametes. Genotypic manifestation occurs when a gene appears in the phenotype. Dominance and recessive are the principal modes of genotropic transmission.

Szondi also uses Johannsen’s calculations of the frequency of carriers of latent recessive genes. For example, Johannsen had determined that out of ten million people approximately 1,800,000 would carry a single dosage gene for feeble-mindedness. Szondi quotes (1939, 58) the following passage from Johannsen’s book (1926, 578): “It is certainly possible, indeed true, that a conscious or unconscious preference of analogous Aa-individuals for one another has validity....” Johannsen expresses the opinion that such marriages are not by chance. Szondi agrees and suggests that the concept of genotropism provides a psychological framework for the findings of Johannsen and Mendel.

Szondi concludes his lecture by reviewing the then current proposals for the sterilization of defective persons in Nazi Germany, Great Britain, and the United States. In light of Johannsen’s calculations sterilizing carriers of psychiatric disorders would virtually destroy society. Szondi argues that genotropism is the opposite of sterilization. Carriers of defective recessive genes can produce productive offspring. For example, carriers of the gene for schizophrenia become psychiatrists. Since schizophrenics, both manifest and latent, produce physicians, they should not be sterilized.

Five years after his expulsion from Hungary, Szondi wrote: “The theory of genotropism - as we have expected - has awakened a great resistance not only in genealogical and biological but also in psychological circles.” He goes on to say: “The situation is astonishing that in the past ten years to my knowledge not one single publication has appeared, which has attempted to refute the thesis of genotropism on the basis of a precise genetic analysis” (Szondi 1949b, 12).

As evidence proving genotropism, Szondi cites the following case:


Two identical twin sisters choose marriage partners. The one (twin #2) first marries a lawyer, who is later persecuted by paranoid delusions like his father, a lawyer, who had to be hospitalized for paranoia.

Her twin sister (twin #1) marries a physician who appears to be healthy but whose father and sister are paranoid. In the family of the marriage partner of twin #1 we find with the male and female cousins, uncles and aunts, a number of paranoid ego disturbances and character anomalies.

The analysis of each family of the twins’ partners would confirm in every case a series of paranoid illnesses. The father, a paternal aunt, and paternal cousin of each were paranoid. On the other hand, three cousins were socially abnormal in a paranoid sense. Likewise, a maternal aunt and her daughter were paranoid. Thus, two identical twins, who are carriers of paranoid-schizo´phrenic factors, choose marriage partners who are either manifestly paranoid themselves (in the case of twin #2) or descend from a family that frequently exhibits paranoid illnesses and character anomalies (in the case of twin #1).

Therefore, the chosen marriage partners of these twin sisters are reciprocally but also genetically related to their wives. The twins, the chosen marriage partners, further more, the parents of the twins and the two fathers-in-law were carriers (with respect to the manifest illnesses) of the same abnormal genetic factors (1949b, 12).

In the same essay Szondi explains that he is describing, primarily, the heterozygous carrier, that is, one who has received in single dosage a lethal recessive gene from one parent. In contrast, the noncarrier is either one who is totally free of the inherited trait or is a “pure blood” homo zygous person, one who has received the two recessive genes for the specific trait from both parents. If two carriers marry and produce children the following percentages are in effect: 25% chance of acquiring the trait, 25% chance of complete immunity, and a 50% chance of being a carrier.

In the case of a deleterious recessive condition, the homozygous person will suffer the ill effects, but the heterozygous carrier will not. Szondi emphasizes that the carrier has a superiority, which is known as heterosis or high Darwinian vitality. Heterosis confers a selectional or genetic advantage upon the carrier. The concept of heterosis came out of pioneering experiments conducted by the Swedish geneticist Ake



Gustafsson in 1946. He demonstrated that single dosage recessive genes improve the vigor of animals and plants, as in barley, for example. Subsequent research has demonstrated other forms of heterosis, such as carriers of the recessive gene for sickle cell anemia and for thalassemia are resistant to malaria (Milunsky 1977, 69). Genotropism is the human version of heterosis in the sense that carriers choose vocational or friendship groups which provide socially constructive outlets for latent lethal tendencies.

Szondi proposes that the idea of a genetic load be revised in terms of a “familial load” (familiäre Belastung). The genetic load means that all sexually reproducing creatures acquire lethal or defective genes from mutations. Many mutations are recessive and survive for several generations because they are concealed in genotypes. All creatures, including humans, bear genetic loads in their evolutionary histories. Normally, many generations elapse between the rise of mutations and their elimination by natural selection.

Szondi’s notion of a familial genetic load represents a fundamental insight. It corresponds to a shift in genetics from the classical model to the balancing model of the genetic load. According to the classical model, the genotype produces a normal type, from which mutant recessives deviate and lead to elimination because the load is too heavy to bear. With the balancing model evolution has a balancing selection which normalizes lethal traits and makes them beneficial. Heterosis is one of the most important means of balancing selection. One reason for heterotic balancing is that humans are heterozygous for several thousand genes and because of this variety we can adapt to changing environments. The seminal exposition of the balancing model may be found in the work of Theodosius Dobzhansky (1970, 124-127). Dobzhansky’s explanation of the marriage of carriers is the same as Szondi’s (1964, 131-135). The difference is that Szondi posits a familial load on the basis of extensive pedigree studies.


II. Types of Marriage Choice

To understand the familial load more fully, let us return to Szondi’s original essay on marriage choice (1937). He develops various categories of choice. One is concordant and is designated by the formula “sick x sick??. It consists of mutual attraction between two partners who have the same disease or defect. Case #2 is an example.

A stuttering man marries the stuttering daughter of his own sister. All the eight children of this concordantly ill couple are stutterers. But stuttering can be found also in the children of healthy parents, among the relatives. In the branch A of this family, there are three stutterers among the children of parents of normal speech. Similarly, the boy in the branch C of the family is a stutterer with both parents healthy (1937, 9).

Szondi reports that he reviewed one hundred marriages of this defective category and found only one concordant situation. Thus, concordant marriages represent only one percent of human populations. Here the attraction is hidden, because one does not intend to choose a partner who is manifestly defective.

A second kind is discordant and is designated as “healthy x sick”. In families with feeble-mindedness Szondi found 15-20% of cases, wherein a healthy person marries a diseased or defective partner. Case #3 suggests an answer as to why this might happen.

A well-to-do, in every respect healthy girl (also of intact hearing) marries a man almost entirely deaf. The latter’s deafness is of otoscierotic origin. The hereditary genuine character of the defect is evident in view of the fact that one of his sisters and [ of his] elder brothers are also deaf. From this discordant marriage originated two children: the one, a boy, is hard of hearing, he has remained a bachelor for life; the other child, a girl, was of normal hearing, married a man and has now a 10 year old daughter. Szondi points out that this girl is hard of hearing and communicates only by reading peoples’ lips. This tragical case one cannot help asking how it could have happened that a healthy woman knowingly married a deaf man transferring thereby the husband’s deafness to the children and grandchildren. An explanation may,


however, be derived from the study of the family tree of this woman; she herself though entirely healthy, turned out to have had a deaf father and deaf sister (1937, 13). A third type is concordant, involving partners who remain healthy throughout their lives but whose blood relatives bear hereditary disorders.

Case #5 is an example of this “healthy x healthy” kind. A 21 year old man, metal worker, falls in love with a girl two years older than he. From this marriage originated eight children, one of them (8 years old) has neurotic symptoms and enuresis, presents besides educational problems. Is there any “gene-relation” between the parties? According to the findings of the family research the father of the wife was blind, the father and a brother of the husband was of very reduced sight, almost blind. One of the 4 children of the latter was born completely blind (1937, 22). As this and many other case studies show, heterozygous carriers tend to contract the “healthy x sick” discordant and “healthy x healthy” concordant forms of marriage.

III. Serial Monogamy, Rape, and Incest

Szondi presents rich case material, indicating that recessive genes are implicated in seemingly abnormal situations. Case #50 concerns a 50 year old physician who married three times. Each wife descended from criminal parents and exhibited sadistic tendencies. His first wife was an intelligent, good-humoured woman of great wit. She bore three children. The first child, a girl, died young. The two others [ both sons,... [ the mother beat them often with a spiked stick. In the ninth year of her marriage she got involved in a love affair with a man, who finally shot her to death (1937,44).

The widowed husband later fell in love with and married an extremely cruel woman. She mistreated her stepsons by locking them up in a room and then going out looking for fun. They later became thieves. After eight years of marriage, the physician divorced this woman. Within two years he married a third wife, who was brutal toward the two sons. They hated her even more than the first two mothers. The sons were eventually arrested for robbery.


To understand the motivations for this choice behavior Szondi looks at the families of the three wives. In the family of the first wife the father was a heavy drinker, and a sister was a hysteric who gave birth to two insane daughters. The son of another sister was a hard-core criminal. A third brother died of pneumonia.

A cousin of the second wife was politically prominent, but he was arrested for embezzlement. The mother of the third wife was a miser, the sister a lewd person, and the brother a convicted thief and embezzler. The physician was a healthy man from a distinguished family. His father died of cancer at an early age. The mother was nervous, irritable, and sadistic, and she tormented her grandchildren. The woman became a fortune teller and seller of herbs. The physician could not relate well with his mother, so he left home at an early age to get married.

Szondi explains how the tragedy started. Like the mythical Oedipus he also married his “mother” over and over again three times. He married the person he tried to escape. We lay stress on three points in this case: 1. the similarity between the characters of the three wives; 2. the similarity between the character of the wives and that of the mother; 3. the tallying as to criminality of the blood relatives of all three wives and even of the children (1937, 45).

Szondi goes on to analyze several rape cases and, of these, case #25 is an example. A seven year old girl was raped by her maternal uncle, who, thereafter, maintained a sexual relationship with her. The uncle lived in another city far away. The attraction was so strong that the girl often ran away from home to visit her uncle. She did this despite the fact that he beat her frequently and threatened her with death, lest she reveal their relationship. Finally, after an argument, she did expose the secret to another uncle. Szondi points out that the girl was epileptic and that her epilepsy manifested itself also in some mental equivalents: in compulsory running away and in poriomania. Her father was also epileptic. The mother must have been heterozygote, since she bore the epileptic child. Thus the maternal uncle who committed the stuprum might have been, with great probability, heterozygote with respect to epilepsy too (1937,53).

Finally, Szondi considers incestuous relationships based upon case materials taken from the Girls Correctional Institute in Budapest. Data


indicate that 28% of non-virginal girls had had sexual intercourse with a brother, father, or stepfather. Case #27 is an example that deals with a young boy who was raised in an orphanage. He was sent to a foster home but was returned to the orphanage after setting a fire. He had a sister, all the while he was at the orphanage but was completely unaware of her existence until age 15. When he learned she was his twin, he began to search for her. In the summer of 1918 he saw a girl coming out of the Correctional Institute and recognized her immediately as his sister. They fell in love with each other yet were told they could not marry. He decided to support her, but he had to become established in a trade. They continued to see each other, off and on, for ten years. They were separated for a short period of time, while he was looking for work. During the separation, she had a brief affair with another man and gave birth to a baby, who died after three months.

The brother returned and rejoined his sister, who had been released from the institute. While away, he drank heavily and spent most of his money. After returning, he became ill and was cared for by his sister. A mutual sexual desire arose and intercourse began. They never felt they were committing a sin. They wanted to marry but were informed by a priest and city officials that they could not. She became pregnant four times, only succeeding with the last one. They had a girl and were determined to legitimate her birth.

After listening to their story, Szondi asked each to explain what the other meant. The brother wrote a long statement, which includes the following: “I fell in love with her at first sight. I felt my blood boiling, her kisses burnt my lips. In that moment, I determined that she will belong to me and to no one else until my death, since God created her for me” (1937,58). Similarly, the sister confessed: “I should choose death rather than life without him, since my life would then be only suffering....”

IV. Incest and Genotropism

At the end of his essay Szondi tests his theory with respect to the incest taboo. He acknowledges that the meaning of incest varies. In biology incest means sexual intercourse between parents and children, brothers and sisters, grandparents and grandchildren. In civilized countries


incest also includes sexual union with brothers-, sisters-, and mothers-in law. The meaning of incest in tribal societies differs even further. These societies are organized around a totem system. A totem is an animal that functions as an ancestor and protector of the people in the tribe or clan. Descendants of the totem are regarded as blood relatives, and they arc not allowed to marry or have sexual relations with one another. Totemic organization correlates the incest taboo with exogamy, the law of marrying outside the clan.

Szondi takes up an illustration used by Freud in his Totem and Taboo (1913). The example comes from the Australian Aborigines, whose society is matrilineal. Suppose a man from the Kangaroo clan marries a woman from the Emu clan. All their children belong to the mother’s clan. Consequently, the incest taboo applies to the children and their mother.

The father descends from the Kangaroo clan and is not regarded as a relative of the mother and children. Because he belongs to another clan, he is a stranger, an outsider, who is exempt from the incest taboo. He may have sexual union with his daughter and, likewise, his son with his sister. Since the incest taboo is strictly unilateral, the possibilities of familial sexual activity are increased.

Szondi argues that totemism corresponds to his genetic theory of marriage choice. In our society we may not marry blood relatives but, in actual practice, we marry gene relatives. In this sense marital patterns are unilateral. Szondi’s argument rests upon two asssumptions. First, totem, ancestor, and gene are identical. The totem functions like heredity, defining a common descent. Second, what is tabooed is desirable. Incest must be tabooed, because there is a natural desire for it.

Szondi turns Freud’s example into a genetic formula. Under totemic organization the marriage is discordant. So the Kangaroo man might be homozygous dominant (AA) and the Emu woman homozygous recessive (aa). This discordant marriage pattern is AA x aa. Were they to have two sons and two daughters, then the children would all be heterozygous (Aa).

All the children carry the concealed recessive gene (a) in their familial load. By virtue of this recessive, the children are attracted only to the mother and not to the father. The sons and daughters are attracted to


one another. Because the attraction is on the mother’s side, the incest taboo is imposed upon the Emu members.

What are the implications of Szondi’s reasoning? Totemism implies a belief in the return of the ancestor. Mythically, at death the soul leaves the body and waits for a time to return to life. At conception the soul returns to the mother’s body, since in primitive thought the role of paternity is unknown. The mythic return of the ancestor conforms to the flow of recessive genes in the familial load. In tribal society it is not easy to determine which ancestor has returned at birth; so in the same way it is difficult for the geneticist to trace recessives in the family.

In civilization the incest taboo is bilateral, applying both to the father’s and the mother’s lines. Actual marriage practice demonstrates attraction among gene relatives. Marrying gene relatives is in a sense gene incest. Thus, civilization substitutes gene incest for blood incest. Whether blood related or gene related, all love is incestuous.

V. Incest and Participation Cosmology

Szondi’s conclusions in his 1937 essay on marriage choice are provocative and need to be reviewed in terms of recent research. The common biological explanation of the incest taboo is that inbreeding leads to the manifestation of lethal traits (Bischof 1972, 12). This assumes that recessives are mainly harmful and that natural selection only works on manifest traits in the phenotype. The sociological explanation is that the taboo prohibits the possession of females in the family, promotes inter action with outsiders, and builds up the family to avoid isolation. Thus, the incest taboo promotes genetic and social variability.

A current estimate is that we all carry four to eight lethal recessive genes and, therefore, that incest causes a five-fold increase in defective off spring (Milunsky 1977, 80). This fact is a product of contemporary genetics and cannot be ascribed to typological thinking of tribal society. Yet in any kind of society the fact of defective offspring does not explain why incest is tabooed. Further, the incest taboo cannot be regarded as completely universal. At least 96 societies permit incest (Fox 1980, 6). Hence, there can be no universal horror of incest, as Freud thought.

Instead, as Szondi points out, the desire for incest is a natural, innate, and collective impulse (1956, 225). Whether matrilineal or patrilineal,


totemic society actually stimulates forbidden love through various outlets (Fox 1980, 63). Violations of the taboo may take the form of magical incest. Among the matrilineal Trobianders magical incest displays one’s power over against clan morality (Malinowski 1929, 512). In African tribal society magical incest means young men copulate with their mothers or sisters to gain power for heroic adventures (Bischof 1985, 31-32). Thus, forbidden sexual intercourse co-exists with the incest taboo. xxx

The co-existence of magical incest and the incest taboo means that love involves compromise. In civilization love motivates marriage choice on the basis of gene relatedness. If we cannot find a gene relative to marry, then we tend to regress and become fixed upon a blood relative, for instance, a son upon a mother, as in a neurosis. Pathology shows a fixation upon primitive patterns of conduct. Thus, a successful marriage enacts a compromise between blood and genetic incestuous desire.

Cross-cousin or first cousin marriages are an example of such a compromise. In Trobriand society this kind of marriage occurs when a father, Out of love, establishes a permanent stability for his son. At birth he arranges for his son to marry his sister’s daughter (Malinowski 1929, 97). The practice is a lawful compromise between paternal love and matrilineal right. Szondi reviews Malinowski’s material and observes that cross-cousin marriages reflect a specific socio-economic organization, maintain the matrilineal incest taboo, and are not regarded as incestuous

(1956, 228-230).

First cousin marriages are regularly contracted in Japan and Andhra Pradesh, a state in India. About ten percent of the population par ticipates, and the rate of producing defective offspring is six to eight per cent (Milunsky 1977, 80). Among high religions Islam promotes first cousin marriages, specifically between the son and daughter of two brothers. Islamic endogamy is grounded in an old Arab belief in dual descent. The South Arabian Tribes descend from one ancestor, Qahtan, and the North Arabian Tribes from another, Adnan (Patai 1983, 216). Males must marry within their tribal lineage and be hostile to those of the other. Islam encourages endogamy in relation to fratricide.

Szondi reviews the evidence of dynastic incest in ancient Egypt, Peru, and Iran (1937, 68-69; 1956, 224-225). For example, Iran had a long standing practice of next-of-kin marriage. Cambyses, son of Cyrus The Great, married two full sisters. He asked judges if this were lawful. They



informed him that no law existed permitting incest, but that as king he could do whatever he wished. So Cambyses sanctioned incest by law and defined it as a religious duty (Boyce 1982, 75-76). Thereafter, father- daughter and brother-sister unions became commonplace, bringing heavenly rewards. Interference with incest meant punishment in hell.

These illustrations indicate that when incest is socially approved the sanction system is grounded in a religious cosmology. Whether the justification appears in sacral kingship, reincarnation, or ancestral descent, incest is a means of participating in the essential nature of the universe. As Szondi notes, theories of genetic descent are relative to socio-political organization, physical environment, and religious belief. Theories of genetics are not cross-culturally or uniformly objective. Genetic systems are relativistic and participatory.

In order to illustrate Szondi’s theory more precisely I choose tradi tional Hawaiian religion as a sanction system that includes dynastic incest.

This example helps to update Szondi’s thinking.

The basic Hawaiian social unit is the extended family (ohana), which incorporates both blood relatives and in-laws. The family is interrelated through many generations. Members of the same generation are regarded as brothers and sisters. The family even includes the ancestors (aumakua), who arc divine and immortal.

Ancestors take various forms, such as sharks, lizards, stones, or volcanic fires. These figures serve as totems and must be revered. Were they eaten, mutilated, or disrupted in any way, sudden death would result. In Hawaiian psychiatry such a death is the consequence of “clan allergy” (Pukui 1972, 38).

Traditional society comprises a hierarchy of common and royal families. Royalty consists of extended families that transmit mana, which is a human power, tinged with mystical quality, and emitted from the gods. In primitive thought mana represents a “genetic inheritance” from the gods to the king and to his descendants (Pukui 1972, 150). Royal incestuous marriages are a practical way to preserve an undiluted transmission of mana. This is a mythic correlate of “pure blood” homozygosis.

The king is the mediator between humans and the gods. The basic royal ritual is the human sacrifice. The king is the sacrificer and the victim is a transgressor, usually a contender for the throne. By virtue of his social supremacy, the king participates in the totality of being. He



embodies the union of heaven and earth, a fact symbolized by the rainbow crescent on his headdress.

There are no clear rules of accession to the royal throne. As a result of continuous intermarriage, birth ranks are relativized. For example, King Kamehameha The Great had 21 wives. His successor, Liholiho, had five wives, one of whom was his own sister and two of whom had been wives of his father. After King Kamehameha died, his favorite wife, Kaahumanu, became “chief executive officer” by claiming to speak for her deceased husband (Daws 1968, 56).

Both seizure and maintenance of power are by political struggle. Contenders are relatives, brothers or sisters. Thus, fratricide is the basic political law and is based upon sacrifice. The slain victim is consecrated on the altar in the temple. Fratricide is also linked to incest, because the sacrifice of the brother gives the king the right to mate with his sister, so as to transmit mana in his “pure blood” offspring.

This pattern is well illustrated in Hawaiian history. For example, Kamehameha killed his rival cousin or brother Keoua in order to gain control of the big island. The killing was a sacrifice and had three characteristics: (1) The conflict was inevitable; (2) expressed a contra diction inherent in kinship relations; and (3) displayed a love-hate ambivalence between the two rivals (Valeri 1985, 163).

Patterns of incest also appear in Hawaiian mythologies. One type, which reads like a Szondi case study, concerns brothers and sisters who are raised separately. They meet and fall in love, because they see their own images in the other. Another type is of a father who orders his son and daughter to marry, because they are identical and perfect. Each type expresses incest as a union of complementary opposites.

All Hawaiians believe themselves to be dependent upon the creation story. According to the story, the primal father (Wakea) is associated with the sky and the primal mother (Papa) with the earth. They give birth to the islands. A child (Holoa) is born prematurely and dies. He is buried but sprouts as Taro. A daughter (Hookokuikalani) is born. The father marries his daughter, and she gives birth to a son who is named after her deceased brother (Holoa). He is human and the ancestor of royalty. Because of common descent humans and Taro are related.

The daughter becomes a beautiful woman. The father wishes to sleep with her but cannot escape the sight of the mother. He creates a


VI. Evaluation of Genotropism

I have read your interesting work with satisfaction, in which you have conducted a study with an analytic method. I am not in a position to confirm, in so far as your own genetic thesis could be confirmed through your investigation. The theme is strange to me. Certain objections to your material are obvious. Marriage choice and love choice do not always go together, very often the free choice is limited.

Psychoanalytic experience uncovers an appropriate variety of love conditions: the tie to a very early love object and the imprinting acquired from it; the narcissis tic tendency of everyone; often in the sexual part of the person that does not mature (e.g., the boy who wishes to be a girl). The love relation can also show a negative


sacrificial system, involving a separation of the pure and impure. Women become impure and must be separated from men, when they menstruate, give birth, and eat. The father visits his daughter during a period of impurity, an action which is tabooed. He is discovered by the mother; so he divorces her in anger. Thereafter, the mother marries her grandson and, in turn, marries her descendants through five generations.

This material shows that Hawaiian religion revolves around fratricide, incest, and sacrifice. They are all aspects of a participatory cosmology. The role of incest in foundation mythology strengthens the view that incestuous love is a deeply-rooted, collective human need (Szondi 1956,224). The impulse toward incest is one of participation in the primal ground of being, and it necessarily entails fratricide and sacrifice, motifs which are central to Szondi’s theory of religion.

Szondi’s concept of genotropism was, then and now, a far-reaching idea. However, both the 1937 essay on marriage choice and the 1939 lecture on genotropism were essentially neglected. The apparent reasons for the neglect were the massive disruption caused by the Second World War and the abuse of psychiatric genetics under the Nazi regime.

Nevertheless, two brief reviews appeared shortly before the war. Szondi sent a copy of his paper on marriage choice to Freud, who replied in a note sent from Vienna on June 18, 1937 (Reprinted in Szondi 1968a, 57):



dependency. Also as far away as possible from the incestuous image of the mother, sister.

The factor raised by you could have played a role, but not the sole or decisive one. Apology for these under developed remarks.

Freud’s note actually clarifies four kinds of love choices: (1) incestuous; (2) narcissistic, dependent; (3) immature; and (4) incest-avoidance.

Szondi was surprised that Freud did not show more openness, because he had already expressed interest in Lamarckian genetics, i.e., the theory of acquired characteristics (Pongratz 1973, 422). Freud’s reply presupposes his well-known view that marriage choice is determined by the imagos laid down in the closed world of childhood before age six. “The people to whom he is in this way fixed are his parents and his brothers and sisters.... All of his later choices of friendship and love follow upon the basis of the memory-traces left behind by these first prototypes” (Freud 1914, 243).

Besides Freud’s note, Szondi’s paper (1937) received a brief evaluation in a psychoanalytic journal. The reviewer concludes: “The demonstration with the help of family trees is fundamentally inadequate” (Grotjahn 1939, 342). This dismissal presupposes the fact that psychoanalysis has no theory of genetics and that the model of early childhood causality is definitive.

In The Analysis of Destiny Szondi responds to the psychoanalytic critique (1978, 140-150). Szondi offers extensive case material, showing how genotropism influences incestuous, bisexual, active-narcissistic, passive homosexual, incest-avoidance, and rational marriage choices. With reference to Freud in particular, Szondi observes that in families with recessive disorders, there are high frequencies of marriages between blood and gene relatives as well as incestuous love relationships. In his experience of war and revolution many families were torn apart, many siblings often separated from one another in early childhood. He argues that brothers and sisters can fall in love with each other, if they have been totally separated since age three. Without interpersonal interaction images cannot be laid down and guide the subsequent love choice. The attraction must be genotropic.

Szondi documents the fact that mathematically-ungifted daughters of great mathematicians marry mathematicians or physicists. A Freudian would argue that the daughter chooses her husband in the image of her mathematical father. Szondi contends that the situation is not as obvious



as it seems. The Freudian argument does not account for the lack of mathematical ability in the daughter. Mathematical inadequacy is not a part of the psychic mechanism. Rather heredity would account for both the presence and absence of mathematical ability in the family.

Toward the end of the war era, the first edition of The Analysis of

Destiny was reviewed by a biologist. This volume defends the concept of genotropism on the basis of family studies. Of the four editions of the book, only the first one draws an analogy for genotropism from physics. Szondi compares the process of genotropism to radiation. “We hope that the ‘genetic radiation’ will yet find its ‘Madame Curie,’ who will be able to confirm experimentally the ‘genotropic stuff and its emanation” (1944,15). The analogy was dropped from the second edition without explanation.

The reviewer is Monika Holzapfel-Meyer, a student of Konrad Lorenz, the pioneering ethologist. She notes Szondi’s analogy with physics and recognizes that he tries to find patterns in human heredity that determine object choice. This contrasts with the ethologist who locates the causes of human choice in animal behavior. She states that many of Szondi’s case studies demonstrate coincidences rather than causal relationship and that he works primarily with monomerie recessive factors, i.e., single gene pairs. In any case, it is impossible to verify that abnormal conditions are transmitted through genotropism.

Holzapfel-Meyer admits that Szondi’s research is important and that it should stimulate further research. She then makes a revealing observation:

“If identical twins, who grew up in different environments, were to marry gene-related partners in whose blood relatives similar pathological character properties could also be shown, then one such case would have more confirmatory power than many of the foregoing examples” (Holzapfel-Meyer 1945, 58). Szondi replies in detail to this critique (1978, 238-244). However, let us recall that he has already presented a twin study proving genotropism, namely, the case concerning two twins who marry into paranoid families, cited above (Szondi 1949b, 12).

Holzapfel-Meyer’s charge that Szondi works with monomerie recessive heredity is not entirely correct. On reading his entire work we find that he deals with cases involving dimerie and polymerie recessive genes, that is, two or more gene pairs, particularly in his studies of epilepsy and its equivalents (Szondi 1978, 435-489). The common rule, which Szondi



acknowledges, is that normal traits are conferred polygenetically but that severe psychopathologies tend to show the classical Mendelian patterns of dominance and recessive (1972,76). The contention that Szondi’s family studies are more coincidental rather than causal presumes a principle of verification derived from linear and objective causality. With the develop ment of field theory and nonlocal and noncausal models of rela tivistic-quantum physics, the concept of genotropism would become more intelligible.

Despite these few early reviews, Szondi’s concept of genotropism was neglected for about forty years. At the present time, there is considerable interest in this idea, particularly in the German-speaking areas of Europe. Edith Zerbin-ROdin has recently reopened the issue and provided a helpful evaluation of Szondi’s idea. She states that contemporary geneticists would confirm the following contributions made by Szondi: (1) Psychological disturbances have hereditary origins; (2) recessive genes influence the selection of mates and vocations; (3) genes and environments interact; and (4) pathogenesis and etiology are differentiated (Zerbin-RUdin 1982, 318).

She repeats the rule, as stated above, that Mendelian patterns occur mainly in exceptional cases of hereditary illness. Yet not all disorders can be traced to recessive genes, such as Huntingdon’s chorea, which derives from a single dominant gene. Her principal criticism is that geneticists no longer speak of a gene struggle at conception. To think of such an “ancestral struggle” is to personalize the genes. Recessives are latent, not because they are conquered by dominants, but because they are weaker and need a double-dosage to become manifest.

Although she acknowledges the influences of recessive genes on choice behavior, the precise nature of this fact needs to be explored by further research. Zerbin-RUdin believes that it is impossible to veri1 objectively that healthy partners choose one another on the basis of lethal genes. Even if recessives do influence mate and vocational choices, then they are not entirely latent. Nevertheless, she admits that it is good to make us consciously aware of our genetic heritage.

In reply we should ask the following question. Why should we become aware of our genetic heritage? Is it not because actual genetic patterns exist which, although they may not be fully objective or verifiable, show meaningful relationships? Is not the significance of genotropism relational rather than precisely causal?



As an example, I submit the following case taken from my own teaching experience. In 1980 an 18 year old, female freshman enrolled in one of my classes. Her brother, a 21 year old senior, suffered cystic fibrosis, but she was not cystic. She reported to me that her mother’s sister married her father’s brother. They were fully aware of the cystic fibrosis in their siblings’ family. They had two daughters who were not cystic. Believing that they were not carriers, that they had escaped the familial fate, they had a third child, a daughter, who was diagnosed as cystic at nine weeks of age.

Although these parents are not blood relatives, they are in fact gene relatives. Cystic fibrosis is an autosomal recessive genetic disease and common in Caucasian populations. We may not be able to prove objectively that cystic genes caused this marriage. However, cystic genes are the common factor between the parents, their brother and sister, their daughter and nephew. This marriage is indeed genotropic, and the parents must live with the suffering brought about by this disease and with this fact - the knowledge that they might have already been carriers by virtue of their sibling relationships.

Zerbin-RUdin suggests that if recessives influence choice, then they might not be entirely latent. This idea raises the possibility of genetic variation with respect to the degree of penetration of the phenotype. When discussing the genetic load, Dobzhansky speaks of incomplete recessives, intermediate genes, semidominants, and incomplete dominants (1970, 124). This implies that genetic information may be transmitted in an intermediate range, which is neither recessive nor dominant. Most variations occur with inherited dominant disorders but may be found among the recessives (Milunsky 1977, 65). For example, cystic fibrosis may vary among siblings. Still another example is Wilson disease, which is autosomal recessive and skips generations, going from grandparent to grandchild (Jarvik 1976, 9)

Current investigations of post-traumatic epilepsy indicate the existence of threshold genes (Niedermeyer 1984, 112). Suppose that two persons of the same age sustain a trauma to the head but only one gets epilepsy. The victim has to be a carrier of genes, which have attained a threshold in order to penetrate the phenotype. When the trauma happens due to spouse abuse, as may often be the case, the epileptic genes might even be implicated in the marriage choice. This and the above illustrations suggest



that genotropism is a threshold function; certain genes must evolve at an appropriate level so as to activate choice behavior, whether recessive or dominant.

This emphasis upon variability is also consistent with some of the changes in Szondi’s own thinking. Szondi updated his theory of genetics in a series of lectures delivered late in his career (1972, 73-89). The notion of a primordial gene struggle, to which Zerbin-RUdin objects, is missing. This is due to the fact that Szondi frequently referred to the ancestor metaphorically. Thus, the concept of genotropism is not dependent upon the image of the ancestral struggle. The image of the ancestor may be used to symbolize the recombination of the genes at conception instead of denoting an actual struggle in a categorical sense.

The same lecture series gives evidence of a shift in the definition of genotropism itself. “One calls genotropism the effect of genes which consists of the attraction between two individuals possessing, in their genetic heritage, identical or related genes, that is, homologies” (Szondi 1972, 73). This definition means that genotropism is not confined to recessives. Szondi goes on to add two variant definitions. One is cyto genotropism, which is the attraction of homologous genes in identical chromosomes of the cells (1972, 80). The other is psycho-genotropism, which is an attraction between two persons. Similarly, at the end of his life Szondi interprets genotropism as a power of attraction between bearers of the same or similar genetic factors (1980, 105). He cites support for this definition on the basis of global terms for love in most languages, which imply that people who fall in love are essentially identical or related to each other.

Altogether, genotropism comprises patterns of attraction at the microscopic level of genes, chromosomes, and cells as well as at the macroscopic level of psychological interaction. Thus, genotropism is a function of the hierarchical organization of the organism comprising multi-layered attraction processes. Because the hierarchical organism contains levels of complexity, genotropism cannot be reducible to a simple linear and causal model. Genotropism activates certain relationships, depending on the particular threshold function in the organism.

The expanded definition of genotropism provides for better dialogue with the new genetic findings, which Zerbin-Rtidin recommends. For example, ever since Franz Kallmann began his pioneering investigations,


the evidence for hereditary manic-depression points toward a single dominant gene as the cause (1953, 142). More recently, George Winokur found depression to be more common among women than among men (1975, 14-18). The early onset female, one who becomes depressed before age 40, shows a high degree of alcoholism among her male relatives as well as an increase in depression among female relatives over male relatives. With the late onset male, who contracts depression after age 40, de is distributed equally among male and female relatives and alcoholism is less frequent among male relatives.

Winokur raises the possibility, but not the proof, that early onset depression among females might be sex-linked. Thus, the gene for early onset depression might be located on the X chromosome. Since women inherit two X chromosomes, they would be more susceptible to depression. Winokur also reports the established fact that the gene for red-green color blindness occupies the X chromosome (1975, 14). On the other hand, his evidence of late onset depression points away from sex-linked to autosomal dominant transmission. Although Winokur’s work does not claim conclusive causality, the demonstrated correlation of depressive females and alcoholic males in the same family entails genotropic attraction.

The well-known study of Old Order Amish, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania gives evidence of a single dominant gene for depression on chromosome 11 (Egeland, et.al. 1988, 64). This study supports the view of autosomal dominance and penetration of the gene at age 30 and above. The high incidence of depression in Amish families is reinforced by endogamy, according to which marriage must occur in the Amish com munity. Of 1850 couples in Lancaster County all but three are related (Hostettler 1980, 321). About 250 couples are second cousins.

These cumulative findings may be compared to one of Szondi’s own case studies, dealing with incest as a form of depression (1980, 269-277). The patient is a 36 year old manual laborer, in whose family incest runs for three generations. His father, paternal uncle, and paternal grandfather went to prison for sexual abuse. The patient committed incest with his three sisters and his own daughter, from her eleventh to her fifteenth year. His sexual abuse was complemented by oral perversions and was usually performed under the influence of alcohol.

The patient is alcoholic and addicted to drugs, as are his paternal grandfather, sister, brother, and daughter. His wife has four female




relatives who had been sexually abused by their father. The mother’s family has five members with red-green color blindness, specifically, the maternal grandfather, patient’s brother, two maternal cousins, and the patient himself.

The marriages of the mother and the patient are genotropic. Some of the factors implicated are red-green color blindness, alcoholism, and depression. As indicated above, these are currently understood as a cluster of sex-linked and dominant heredities. Thus, by expanding the definition of genotropism beyond recessivity, greater coherence may be provided for the new findings and for Szondi’s own case studies. Genotropism is a function of attraction based upon the familial gene pool. It accounts for both individual choice and the patterns of attraction traceable in the multi-generational family.

VII. Genotropism and Genesmanship

One of Szondi’s intentions in proposing the concept of genotropism was to develop the psychological implications of the classical genetics of Mendel and Johannsen. Forty years after it appeared, the German biologist Wolfgang Wickler observed that the concept of genotropism has a significant role in the history of genetics. Within that history the theory of natural selection, in particular, evolved through the work of R. Fisher (1930) and J. Haldane (1932) to that of W. D. Hamilton (1964), which led to sociobiology (Wilson 1975), on the one hand, and to the concept of genesmanship, on the other (Dawkins 1976). Genotropism anticipated the latter.

In Wicklers’s view, genesmanship means that “to understand the theory of natural selection correctly we may visualize the genes as manipulating the behavior of individuals and ultimately benefiting from it” (1979, 433). In the same context, Wickler goes on to say the following: “Well versed in genetics, Szondi carefully examined hundreds of families of mentally abnormal human individuals and finally arrived at the theory of ‘genotrop ism’ (1944), claiming that similar genes which by common descent come to inhabit different individuals induce, among other things, cooperation of these individuals.”

What is the relationship between genotropism and genesmanship? W.

D. Hamilton contends that genes can cause the perception of like genes



in other organisms. This involves a process known as “assortative mating” and is defined as “attraction between likes for the purposes of coopera tion....” (Hamilton 1964, 25) Persons can be attracted to likes for benefits and to unlikes for socially negative effects. Beneficial attraction provides selectional advantage and, among higher animals, involves discrimination based upon intimate familiarity.

In developing the concept of genesmanship on the basis of Hamilton’s work, Richard Dawkins argues that genes facilitate their own survival (1976). He says that the individual is the basic unit of evolution and opposes the so-called “good of the species” arguments of sociobiology. Genes group themselves together to form aggregates, because natural selection favors genes that cooperate with one another. Genes create patterns of attraction between individuals in order to promote their own interests. To induce attraction genes must yield multiple effects. They must both confer a specific trait and create a tendency to be altruistic toward those who cariy it.

Dawkins illustrates the role of multiple effects with the idea of the “green beard altruism effect” (1976,76). Suppose a gene causes a green beard to grow on certain persons. The same gene also creates a tendency to be kind to people with green beards. Thus, the gene prospers through reciprocal recognition of copies of itself.

Where might genes recognize copies of themselves? The answer is among kin. It is more likely that relatives share the same or similar genes compared with the general population. Genetically conferred traits evolve in individuals who live in kinship groups. Kinship selection is a special form of gene selection. The latter is a broader, more inclusive category, embracing both near and far relatives. Let us recall that Szondi’s case studies demonstrate the cooperation of similar and identical genes in families, indicating that genotropism is a function of gene selection.

Dawkin’s analogy for genesmanship, the “green beard altruism effect,” is quite benign. What if the analogy were drawn with a lethal gene like that of cystic fibrosis? It is estimated that one out of 16 white Indo-Euro peans is a carrier (Harris and Super 1987, 13). Such a high frequency presupposes that a heterozygote advantage must exist for carriers. Specialists theorize that the cystic gene in single-dosage confers an increased resistance to influenza and possibly to cholera (Harris and Super



1987, 74). This advantage provides a further example of heterotic balancing selection as a function of genesmanship.

Wickler’s observation, noted above, means that a historical line may be drawn from the pioneers of the genetic theory of natural selection through Szondi and then to Hamilton and, finally, to Dawkins. This line of thought deviates from the customary argument that sociobiology consum mates the theory of natural selection, an argument that presumes that the “good of the species” is the goal of evolution. Taken together the combined work of Szondi and Dawkins demonstrates that the “good of the individual” is a natural goal of evolution.

This interpretation is supported by Rainer Knussmann, who made the first constructive reference to genotropism in the post-war literature (1965,44). In footnote number eight of his paper on partner choice he classifies genotropism as an individual, endogenous, and autogenetic type of selection. He does not develop its connection, however. Yet Knussmann’s insight implies that genotropism comes out of the innate development of the individual and operates among gene relatives.

Wickler’s comparison of genotropism to genesmanship is essentially correct but breaks down on one point. Dawkin’s understanding of genesmanship is reductionistic; he describes genes as entities from which he infers the behavior of the whole organism (Sheldrake 1988, 84-87). To account for the whole Dawkins posits a so-called genetic program as a mediating term. The problem is that the essential wholeness of the organism is not reducible to the parts. Dawkins confuses the hierarchical nature of the organism.

In conclusion, genotropism is valid, but it is a relational concept. It functions like genesmanship by accounting for relations established among gene relatives. Genotropism presupposes that reality is fundamentally whole, that wholeness pervades all space-time regions, that entities like genes derive from relationships, and that attraction is a process of mutual participation. As genes facilitate their own survival, through the creation of relationships, they activate participation at appropriate threshold levels. Since genotropism entails heterosis and balancing selection, it involves a multi-layered hierarchical conception of relatedness within a participatory cosmology.


c 1996-2000 Leo Berlips, JP Berlips & Jens Berlips, Slavick Shibayev