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sense of the word), before they marry. In view of this astounding progress there is no reason to despair regarding man's future. It would be a great triumph of civilization if the average man could be made as pure as the average woman. At the same time, since the consequences of sin are infinitely more serious in women, it is eminently proper that they should be in the van of moral progress.

Chastity, modesty, polygamy, murder, religion, and nature have now furnished us an abundance of illustrations showing the changeableness and former non-existence of sentiments which in us are so strong that we are inclined to fancy they must have been the same always and everywhere. Before proceeding to prove that romantic love another sentiment of which the same may be said, let us pause a moment to discuss a sentiment which presents one of the most difficult problems in the psychology of love, the Horror of Incest.


A young man does not fall in love with his sister though she be the most attractive girl he knows. Nor does her father fall in love with her, nor the mother with the son, or the son with the mother. Not only is there no sexual love between them, but the very idea of marriage fills their mind with unutterable horror, and in the occasional cases where such a marriage is made through ignorance of the relationship, both parties usually commit suicide, though they are guiltless of deliberate crime. Here we have the most striking and absolute proof that circumstances, habits, ideas, laws, customs, can and do utterly annihilate sexual love in millions of individuals. Wh then should it be so unlikely that the laws and customs of the ancient Greeks, for instance, with their ideas about women and marriage, should have prevented the growth of sentimental love? Note the modesty of my claim. While it is certain that both the sensual and the sentimental sides of sexual love are stifled by the horror of incest, all that I claim in regard to ancient and primitive races is that the sentimental side of love was smothered by unfavorable circumstances and hindered

in growth by various obstacles which will be described later on in this volume. Surely this is not such a reckless theory as it seemed to some of my critics.

Like the other sentiments discussed in this chapter, the horror of incest has been found to be absent among races in various stages of development. Incestuous unions occurred among Chippewas and other American Indians. Of the Peruvian Indians, Garcilasso de la Vega says that some cohabited with their sisters, daughters, or mothers; similar facts are recorded of some Brazilians, Polynesians, Africans, and wild tribes of India. 66 Among the Annamese, according to a missionary who has lived among them for forty years, no girl who is twelve years old and has a brother is a virgin" (Westermarck, 292). Gypsies allow a brother to marry a sister, while among the Veddahs of Ceylon the marriage of a man with his younger sister is considered the proper marriage. In the Indian Archipelago and elsewhere there are tribes who permit. marriage between parents and their children. The legends of India and Hindoo theology abound in allusions to incestuous unions, and a nation's mythology reflects its own customs. According to Strabo the ancient Irish married their mothers and sisters. Among the love-stories of the ancient Greeks, as we shall see later on, there are a surprising number the subject of which is incest, indicating that that crime was of not infrequent occurrence. But it is especially by royal personages that incest has been practised. In ancient Persia, Parthia, Egypt, and other countries the kings married their own sisters, as did the Incas of Peru, for political reasons, other women being regarded as too low in rank to become queens; and the same phenomenon occurs in Hawaii, Siam, Burma, Ceylon, Madagascar, etc. In some cases incestuous unions for kings and priests are even prescribed by religion. At the licentious festivals common among tribes in America, Africa, India, and elsewhere, incest was one of the many forms of bestiality indulged in; this gives it a wide prevalence.

Much ingenuity has been expended in attempts to account for the origin of the horror of incest. The main reason why it has so far remained more or less of a mystery, is that each

writer advanced a single cause, which he pressed into service to explain all the facts, the result being confusion and contradiction. In my opinion different agencies must be assumed in different cases. When we find among Australians, American Indians (and even the Chinese), customs, enforced by the strongest feelings, forbidding a man to marry a woman belonging to the same clan or having the same surname, though not at all related, while allowing a marriage with a sister or other near blood relative, we are obviously not dealing with a question of incest at all, but with some of the foolish taboos prevalent among these races, the origin of which they themselves have forgotten. Mr. Andrew Lang probably hit the nail on the head when he said (258) in regard to the rule which compels savages to marry only outside of the tribe, that these prohibitions must have arisen in a stage of culture when ideas of kindred were confused, included kinship with animals and plants, and were to us almost, if not quite, unintelligible." To speak of instinct and natural selection teaching the Veddahs to abhor marriage with an elder sister while making union with a younger sister the proper marriage (Westermarck, 29 is surely to assume that instinct and natural selection act in an asinine way, which they never do-except in asses.


In a second class of cases, where lower races have ideas similar to ours, I believe that the origin of domestic chastity must be sought in utilitarian practices. In the earlier stages of marriage, girls are usually bought of their parents, who profit by the sale or barter. Now when a man marries a girl to be his wife and maid of all work, he does not want to take her to his honie hampered by a bevy of young children. Fathers guilty of incestuous practices would therefore be unable to dispose of their daughters to advantage, and thus a prejudice in favor of domestic purity would gradually arise which a shrewd medicine man would some day raise to the rank of a religious or social taboo.

As regards modern society, Darwin, Brinton, Hellwald, Bentham, and others have advocated or endorsed the view that the reason why such a horror of incestuous unions

prevails, is that novelty is the chief stimulus to the sexual feelings, and that the familiarity of the same household breeds indifference. I do not understand how any thinker can have held such a view for one moment. When Bentham wrote (Theory of Legislation, pt. iii., chap. V.) that "individuals accustomed to see each other from an age which is capable neither of conceiving desire nor of inspiring it, will see each other with the same eyes to the end of life," he showed infinitely less knowledge of human nature than the author of Paul and Virginia, who makes a boy and a girl grow up almost like brother and sister, and at the proper time fall violently in love with one another. Who cannot recall in his own experience love marriages of schoolmates or of cousins. living in intimate association from their childhood? To say that such bringing up together creates "indifference" is obviously incorrect; to say that it leads to "aversion" is altogether unwarranted; and to trace to it such a feeling as our horror at the thought of marrying a sister, or mother, is simply preposterous.

The real source of the horror of incest in civilized communities was indicated more than two thousand years ago by Plato. He believed that the reason why incestuous unions were avoided and abhorred, was to be found in the constant inculcation, at home and in literature, that

"They are unholy, hated of God, and most infamous. Everyone from his earliest childhood has heard men speaking in the same manner about them always and everywhere, whether in comedy or in the graver language of tragedy. When the poet introduces on the stage a Thyestes or an Edipus, or a Macareus having secret intercourse with his sister, he represents him, when found out, ready to kill himself as the penalty of his sin." (Laws, VIII., 838.)

Long before Plato another great "medicine man," Moses, saw the necessity of enforcing a "taboo " against incest by the enactment of special severe laws relating to intercourse between relatives; and that there was no "instinct" against incest in his time is shown by the fact that he deemed it necessary to make such circumstantial laws for his own

people, and by his specific testimony that " in all these things the nations are defiled which I cast out from before you, and the land is defiled." Regarding his motives in making such laws, Milman has justly remarked (H. J., I., 220), "The leading principle of these enactments was to prohibit near marriage between those parties among whom, by the usage of their society, early and frequent intimacy was unavoidable and might lead to abuse. If Moses lived now, he would still be called upon to enact his laws; for to this day the horror of incest is a sentiment which it is necessary to keep up and enforce by education, moral precept, religion, and law. It is no more innate or instinctive than the sentiment of modesty, the regard for chastity, or the disapproval of bigamy. Children are not born with it any more than with the feeling that it is improper to be seen naked. Medical writers bear witness to the wide prevalence of unnatural practices among children, even in good families, while in the slums of the large cities, where the families are herded like swine, there is a horrible indulgence in every kind of incest by adults as well as children.

Absolute proof that the horror of incest is not innate lies furthermore in the unquestionable fact that a man can escape the calamity of falling in love with his sister or daughter only if he knows the relationship. There are many instances on record to which the daily press adds others of incestuous unions brought about by ignorance of the consanguinity. Edipus was not saved by an instinct from marrying his mother. It was only after the discovery of the relationship that his mind was filled with unutterable horror, while his wife and mother committed suicide. This case, though legendary, is typical a mirror of actuality showing how potent ideas are to alter emotions. Yet I am assailed for asserting that the Greeks and the lower races, whose ideas regarding women, love, polygamy, chastity, and marriage were so different from ours, also differed from us in their feelings the quality of their love. There were numerous obstacles to overcome before romantic love was able to emerge obstacles so serious and diverse that it is a wonder

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