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not of traumatic or infectious origin as degenerative. Indeed, Magnan's
classification of degenerates makes it possible that the highest general
configuration of nervous accomplishment need not exclude the application
of the concept of degeneration. Under the circumstances, it is a
question what use and what new content the judgment of "degeneration"
still possesses. It would seem more appropriate not to speak of
degeneration: (1) Where there are not many marked deviations from the
normal; (2) where the capacity for working and living do not in general
appear markedly impaired.
That the inverted are not degenerates in this qualified sense can be
seen from the following facts:
1. The inversion is found among persons who otherwise show no marked
deviation from the normal.
2. It is found also among persons whose capabilities are not disturbed,
who on the contrary are distinguished by especially high intellectual
development and ethical culture.
3. If one disregards the patients of one's own practice and strives to
comprehend a wider field of experience, he will in two directions
encounter facts which will prevent him from assuming inversions as a
(_a_) It must be considered that inversion was a frequent manifestation
among the ancient nations at the height of their culture. It was an
institution endowed with important functions. (_b_) It is found to be
unusually prevalent among savages and primitive races, whereas the term
degeneration is generally limited to higher civilization (I. Bloch).
Even among the most civilized nations of Europe, climate and race have a
most powerful influence on the distribution of, and attitude toward,
*Innateness.*--Only for the first and most extreme class of inverts, as
can be imagined, has innateness been claimed, and this from their own
assurance that at no time in their life has their sexual impulse
followed a different course. The fact of the existence of two other
classes, especially of the third, is difficult to reconcile with the
assumption of its being congenital. Hence, the propensity of those
holding this view to separate the group of absolute inverts from the
others results in the abandonment of the general conception of
inversion. Accordingly in a number of cases the inversion would be of a
congenital character, while in others it might originate from other
In contradistinction to this conception is that which assumes inversion
to be an _acquired_ character of the sexual impulse. It is based on the
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