RELIGION AND DEATH A CENTURY LATER:
STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS OF FREUD AND JUNG

SATURDAY, JULY 29th, 2023, 1:00 – 3:00 PM EDT, ON ZOOM

Interactive Seminar Sponsored by International Psychohistorical Association,
Psychohistory Forum, and the Object Relations Institute

RSVP is required for this free event – please use the following registration form:

Registration form

SEMINAR DESCRIPTION:

About a hundred years ago, Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud penned influential writings on the nature of religion and how the religious imagination construes death.

Jung’s Psychology of the Unconscious (1912) and Freud’s The Future of an Illusion (1927) staked out contrasting views on the nature of religion. Jung saw the world’s mythologies and religions, like the dreams of individuals, as a repository of symbols innate to the human psyche and pointing towards wholeness and healing. Freud, also viewing religion and dreams as related expressions of the unconscious, construed both as wishful thinking that provides a compensation in fantasy for actual deprivation, especially sexual deprivation, and the wish for an all-powerful and nurturant parent.

In Jung’s framework, death is a symbolic construct representing psychic transformation, while in Freud’s, it is a literal reality denied by the false promise of an afterlife. What relevance do these ideas continue to have a century later and what else can we say at this time about the nature of religion and the problem of death?

There are innumerable ways of answering these big questions. In their short article “Religion and Death a Century Later” (published in the Journal of Psychohistory in 2023), Brian D’Agostino and Dorothea Leicher present a view informed by empirical findings from neuroscience, psychohistory research, and experimental psychology, with topics that include Terror Management Theory; the psychology of fundamentalism; Jungian archetypes as emergent outcomes of nature-nurture interaction; and the continued relevance of archetypes for understanding the psychology, history, and sociology of religion. Authors subsume these disparate topics into a unified and evidence-based perspective on religion and death, and then conclude with clinical and social implications.

KINDLY READ THIS ARTICLE (“Religion and Death a Century Later”) BEFORE THE SEMINAR.  IT IS AVAILABLE AT:
link: https://bdagostino.com/resources/Religion%20and%20Death.pdf

This two-hour conference is prepared by members of the IPhA’s Faith, Psychology, and Social Justice Working Group.  For more information, contact Brian D’Agostino at bdagostino2687@gmail.com or Inna Rozentsvit at inna.rozentsvit@gmail.com

 

SCHEDULE:

1:00 to 1:20 PM EDT – Overview of the article, by Brian D’Agostino and Dorothea Leicher
1:20 to 1:55 PM EDT – General Discussion
1:55 to 2:05 PM EDT – Break
2:05 to 2:30 PM EDT – Respondents: Charles Gourgey, Constance L. Benson, Ken Rasmussen
2:30-3:00: General Discussion.

SHORT BIOS OF THE PRESENTERS AND DISCUSSANTS:

Brian D’Agostino, PhD, is President of the International Psychohistorical Association. He is the author of peer reviewed research in political psychology, numerous articles on psychohistory and public affairs, and The Middle-Class Fights Back: How Progressive Movements Can Restore Democracy in America. Visit his website at https://bdagostino.com/

Dorothea Leicher, NCPsyA, is a retired Modern Psychoanalyst with a background in treatment of addictions. Current interests include the economics of emotions; the intersection of science and art; and the impacts of everyday practices and habits on cognition, including world views. She can be reached at dleicher@dleicher.com

Charles “Carlos” Gourgey, PhD, LCAT, MT-BC, is a retired board certified and New York State licensed music therapist. He has over 20 years of experience working in hospices and nursing homes, and for 10 years was Music Therapist for Cabrini Hospice in New York City. He has published articles on psychology and religion in various journals, notably Modern Psychotherapy, Hospice Magazine, Spiritual Life, Clergy Journal, Pulpit Digest, Fellowship in Prayer, and Journal of Religion, Disability, and Health. Visit his website at: https://www.judeochristianity.org/

Constance L. Benson, M.Div., M.Phil., is a scholar, educator, and the author of God and Caesar: Troeltsch’s Social Teaching as Legitimation (Routledge, 1999/2018) a study of religion and politics in Imperial Germany. She holds Master’s degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Columbia University and has taught comparative religion and the sociology of religion at Fordham University and Manhattan College. She is a member of the International Psychohistorical Association and currently teaches English as a Second Language in New York City.  Visit her website at: https://www.constancebenson.com/

Kenneth Rasmussen, PsyD, PhD, is an historian and psychoanalytical psychotherapist.  He has taught history at Santa Monica College, UCLA and the University of Southern California and has a private psychotherapy practice in Santa Monica. He has a Certificate in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy from the Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles and leads an ongoing study group on philosophy and psychoanalysis. His research interests include the psychohistory of political ideologies and movements, the psychological dimension of philosophy, and “philosophy as therapy.” He can be reached at: erasmus472001@icloud.com

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