Freud, the Unconscious and the 'Irreligious' Psychoanalysis of Religion
Legacies of the Occult - Psychoanalysis, Religion and Unconscious Communication - Marsha Aileen Hewitt
Marsha Aileen Hewitt [+]
University of Toronto
This chapter introduces key concepts such as the unconscious and the psychobiological dimensions of Freud’s concept of archaic inheritance, situating them in relation to more contemporary evolutionary theories. The inadequacy of literalist readings of Freud both distort and obscure the deeper symbolic meanings of theories such as his use of the Oedipus narrative and the primal horde. A detailed discussion of Freud and Jung on the nature of the unconscious and its relationship with other mental agencies identifies the decisive differences between Freud’s thoroughly irreligious naturalistic treatment of the unconscious and Jung’s far more spiritual approach. Jung’s religious psychology and that of William James, who was an important influence on his thinking, are two of the intellectual ancestors of mystical trends in contemporary American psychoanalysis.