The Origin of Anxiety: A Synopsis

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Publication Date: 
Dec 2002

For thousands of years, in all developed societies throughout the world, mothers have been separated from their babies-as an emotional adaptation to a life of alienation. The first advanced civilizations which can relate this to us are the Sumerians-and their successors the Babylonians. Five thousand years ago they developed the cuneiform writing system and then recorded the oldest stories in the world. I understand their mythology as the 'great dreams' of these peoples.



Renggli, Franz 1974: Angst und Geborgenheit. Soziokulturelle Folgen der Mutter-Kind Beziehung im ersten Lebensjahr. Ergebnisse aus Verhaltensforschung, Psychoanalyse und Ethnologie. Hamburg. (*Anxiety and security. Socio-cultural consequences of the mother-child relationship in the first year. Findings from behavioral research, psychoanalysis and ethnology.)

Renggli, Franz 1992: Selbstzerstorung aus Verlassenheit. Die Pest als Ausbruch einer Massenpsychose im Mittelalter. Zur Geschichte der friihen Mutter-Kind Beziehung. Hamburg. (*Self-destruction due to Abandonment. The Plague as an eruption of a mass psychosis in the Middle Ages. On the history of the early mother-child relationship).

Renggli, Franz 2000: Der Sonnenaufgang als Geburt eines Babys. Der pranatale Schlussel zur agyptischen Mythologie. Eine Hommage an den hollandischen Religionshistoriker Bruno Hugo Stricker. (**The sunrise as the birth of a baby. The prenatal key to Egyptian mythology. Homage to the Dutch historian of religion Bruno Hugo Stricker.) In: The International Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine, Band 12:365-82.

Renggli, Franz 2001: Der Ursprung der Angst, antike Mythen und das Trauma der Geburt. Dusseldorf. (*The origin of anxiety, ancient myths and the trauma of birth.)
Renggli, Franz 2002: Tracing the Roots of Panic to Prenatal Trauma. In Brooke Warner (Editor): Panic: Origins, Insight and Treatment. Berkeley, California, North Atlantic Books.
Franz Renggli, Ph.D.

This paper is the first synopsis in English in which the author, Franz Renglli, introduces the major themes of his scholarly work published in German in 2001: Der Ursprung der Angst, antike Mythen und das Trauma der Geburt (The Origin of Anxiety, Ancient Myths and the Trauma of Birth). The German edition was published in Dusseldorf. Correspondence to: Dr. Franz Renggli, psychoanalyst and body psychotherapist, Nonnenweg 11, 4055 Basel, Switzerland. Email: