There are two principal themes in these essays - as suggested by the title - totems and taboos. However they do not receive the same treatment.

The analysis of taboos is put forward as an assured and exhaustive attempt at the solution of the problem. The investigation of totemism does no more that declare that 'here is what psychoanalysis at the moment can contribute towards elucidating the problem of the totem'. This difference between the treatment of the two themes could relate to the fact that whereas we no longer have totems (per se) taboos still exist among us, since essentially they do not differ from Kant's 'categorical imperative'.

Totemism on the contrary, is something alien to our contemporary feelings - a religio-social institution which has long been abandoned, leaving slight traces in today's religions and customs and finally in childhood.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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