Video report in English, with Italian subtitles, by Antoine Vergote at the Congress “Psychoanalysis and Religion” (Verona, 19-21 ottobre 2001).
Abstract: I first consider the intrinsic relation between the concepts of psychoanalysis, its therapeutic procedure, rational modernity and the advent of monotheistic belief religion. I then analyze the opposition in Freud between two series of connected conceptions: of instinctual processes, the figure, and function of the father, religion. Optimistic rationalism explains religion as illusory product of libido and desire; pessimistic psychopathology views human being, civilization and religion as failing to surmount the (auto) destructive death instinct mingling with libido. Actually both these conceptions represent (near) pathological ideas of the father and of God. They help explain forms of premodern religious ideas and practices, pathologies with religious or anti-religious contents, and crises of religion in modernity. However firmly illuminating the intimate junction in healthy persons between the affective-libidinal body and the language system with its capacity of speech-acts, psychoanalysis manifests a structural analogy with belief religion. This explains the eventual (religious) pathologies, the possible psychologically positive effect of religion, and justifies the rejection of functionalistic therapeutic use of religion as “coping procedure”.
The citation of the printed text in English and Italian is:
Vergote, A. (2002). “At the crossroads of the personal word/Al crocevia della parola personale”, In M. Aletti & F. De Nardi (Eds.), Psicoanalisi e religione. Nuove prospettive clinico-ermeneutiche (pp. 3-34). Torino: Centro Scientifico Editore.