CITE: DeMause, L. The Evolution of Psyche and Society. Springer Publishing Company. 1988.

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“The Evolution of Psyche and Society” is a comprehensive work that explores the history of human emotions and consciousness through the lens of psychohistory. The book is divided into two parts: Part One focuses on the history of emotions, while Part Two delves into the history of consciousness. DeMause argues that the evolution of the human psyche is intimately tied to the evolution of human society, and that understanding this relationship is crucial to understanding the course of human history.


  • DeMause traces the evolution of human emotions from prehistoric times to the present day, exploring how changes in childrearing practices, cultural norms, and social structures have shaped our emotional landscape.
  • Part Two of the book focuses on the evolution of consciousness, arguing that the development of new forms of consciousness has been driven by changes in the external environment as well as changes in internal psychological structures.
  • DeMause draws on a wide range of sources, including literature, mythology, and historical records, to support his arguments about the evolution of psyche and society.
  • The book concludes with a discussion of the implications of psychohistorical research for contemporary social issues, such as child abuse and social inequality.


  • “Childrearing practices are the primary determinant of the state of the psyche in any society” (p. 25).
  • “What we need is not more morality, but a deeper understanding of the psychological dynamics that lead to immorality” (p. 75).
  • “Each new stage of consciousness is a radical restructuring of the old” (p. 153).
  • “The external world…is always mediated by internal psychic structures” (p. 202).
  • “Psychohistory should be…a warning that all the atrocities of the past can happen again, unless we understand their origins in the psyche” (p. 357).
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