In Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego Freud writes about the origin of the epic poet:

“We have said that it would be possible to specify the point in the mental development of mankind at which the advance from group psychology to individual psychology was achieved also by the individual members of the group.

For this purpose we must return for a moment to the scientific myth of the father of the primal horde. He was later on exalted into the creator of the world, and with justice, for he had produced all the sons who composed the first group. He was the ideal of each one of them, at once feared and honoured, a fact which led later to the idea of taboo. These many individuals eventually banded themselves together, killed him and cut him in pieces. None of the group of victors could take his place, or, if one of them did, the battles began afresh, until they understood that they must all renounce their father’s heritage. They then formed the totemic community of brothers, all with equal rights and united by the totem prohibitions which were to preserve and to expiate the memory of the murder. But the dissatisfaction with what had been achieved still remained, and it became the source of new developments. The persons who were united in this group of brothers gradually came towards a revival of the old state of things at a new level. The male became once more the chief of a family, and broke down the prerogatives of the gynaecocracy which had become established during the fatherless period. As a compensation for this he may at that time have acknowledged the mother deities, whose priests were castrated for the mother’s protection, after the example that had been given by the father of the primal horde. And yet the new family was only a shadow of the old one; there were numbers of fathers and each one was limited by the rights of the others.

It was then, perhaps, that some individual, in the exigency of his longing, may have been moved to free himself from the group and take over the father’s part. He who did this was the first epic poet; and the advance was achieved in his imagination. This poet disguised the truth with lies in accordance with his longing. He invented the heroic myth. The hero was a man who by himself had slain the father—the father who still appeared in the myth as a totemic monster. Just as the father had been the boy’s first ideal, so in the hero who aspires to the father’s place the poet now created the first ego ideal. The transition to the hero was probably afforded by the youngest son, the mother’s favourite, whom she had protected from paternal jealousy, and who, in the era of the primal horde, had been the father’s successor.

In the lying poetic fancies of prehistoric times the woman, who had been the prize of battle and the temptation to murder, was probably turned into the active seducer and instigator to the crime. The hero claims to have acted alone in accomplishing the deed, which certainly only the horde as a whole would have ventured upon.”

Be that as it may.

I have a remote association to the italicized passage.  I associate to the character Emmanuel Goldstein in Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984.   Goldstein is the principal enemy of the state according to the Party, depicted as the head of a mysterious (and possibly fictitious) organization called “The Brotherhood” and as having written the book The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism. He is only seen and heard on telescreen, and may be a fabrication of the Ministry of Truth.

Goldstein is rumored to be a former top member of the Party and an early associate of its leader, “Big Brother” [the father of the primal horde?], but having broken away early in the movement and started “The Brotherhood”. (In the exigency of his longing, he may have been moved to free himself from the group and take over the father’s part.) Ostensibly “The Brotherhood” is organized into cells, with each member required to read The Book, supposedly written by Goldstein, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism. Goldstein is always the subject of the “Two Minutes Hate”, a daily program beginning at 11:00 a.m. at which an image of Goldstein is shown on the telescreen and subjected to extreme contempt.

In effect, Goldstein has done the polar opposite of the epic poet, who, according to Freud, has “disguised the truth with lies.” Goldstein has, in fact, exposed the lies of Big Brother (and his Ministry of Truth) with factuality.

Goldstein serves as a convenient scapegoat for the totalitarian regime in Nineteen Eighty-Four, and justifies its surveillance and elimination of civil liberties.

Many years ago, I had shown in The Caliban Complex that the hero is the polar opposite of the scapegoat:




-shuns scapegoat

-claims scapegoat acted alone in perpetrating the deed which certainly each member of the group contemplated or ventured upon

-represents deed as evil

-represents selves as guilt-free

-pretense of moral strength

-projects blame onto scapegoat (GUILT) to expiate memory of harm or imagined harm

-deed is murder of primal father


-accepts blame

-possible oral fixation?; possible regression from phallic position? Cf. paragraph 4



-moves to free himself from group

-claims to have acted alone in accomplishing the deed, which certainly only the group as a whole would have ventured upon

-represents deed as good

-represents self as brave (pretense of strength)

-relates to group his hero’s deeds which he has invented (NARCISSISM) to expiate memory of harm or imagined harm

-deed is murder of primal father

-possible phallic fixation? (Note that a typical feature of the phallic type, according to Reich, is his potential transition, or regression, to the oral position. Cf. paragraph 4)


-identifies with HERO/ARTIST

In the SCAPEGOAT MYTH the focal interactional issue between group and scapegoat is guilt. In the HERO MYTH the focal interactional issue between the hero-artist and the group is narcissism. As polar opposites, guilt and narcissism are susceptible of simultaneous, defensive negation.

Dr. Shengold is a big fan of 1984.  I wonder what he would make of this?  How does this material clarify the psychoanalytic significance of the character Emmanuel Goldstein?  Who is Goldstein — what role did he play in Orwell’s inner world?

I am also reminded of the fact that C. Fred Alford maintains, based on his experience in A.K. Rice Conference groups, that the scapegoat in a group stands in the place of the leader of the group.