Emotion and Spirit: Questioning the Claims of Psychoanalysis and Religion

Emotion and Spirit: Questioning the Claims of Psychoanalysis and Religion

Emotion and Spirit: Questioning the Claims of Psychoanalysis and Religion

Emotion and Spirit: Questioning the Claims of Psychoanalysis and Religion

Synopsis

The papers in this book have been written over a period of fifteen years, and focus in the similarity between psychoanalysis and religion. Symington argues that psychoanalysis can be seen as a scientiic religion with Freud as the leader of the movement.

Excerpt

Jon Stokes Director, Tavistock Consultancy Service

Religion and psychoanalysis are two fields of human endeavour that have not often had much good to say about each other. However, there are certainly some striking similarities. Both make a similar claim to an ultimate truth -- that it is the capacity to achieve and maintain a relationship with 'the good object' that results in emotional or spiritual maturity. For the psychoanalyst, this is a scientifically demonstrable truth; for the religious, it is based on intuitive understanding. Both offer 'ways' to personal salvation.

Both religion and psychoanalysis enable us as individuals to pursue the quest for truth through shedding light on who and how we currently are in deeper ways than we are immediately aware -- and on what we have become without necessarily realizing it. Both provide inter-personal settings specifically structured to permit the revelation of spiritual or emotional truths. Neville Symington, who has studied philosophy and theology and has for many years now been a practising psychoanalyst, is well placed to examine the ways in which these two creations of the human mind might more profitably contribute to each other's further development.

Writings on religion cover a wide range of subjects. These include the Mystical: the exploration of mystical experiences and beliefs in the supernatural; the Moral: religion as a system of core values; and the Spiritual: the place of detachment and of the process of reflection in human development.

When this book was first published, it was criticized in some quarters because of a misunderstanding about the focus of its argument. Symington's concern is not so much with any comparisons there may . . .

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