Jacques Arènes : psychopathology of mysticism and work of the negative

If in the past pathological figures of the religious in part issued from the question of excessive ritualization (the obsessive side of religion highlighted by Freud), couldn’t one affirm that the model of the religious is today a narcissistic one ? For the essential is no longer the aspect of control (defence against death anxiety) of the religious (the obsessive type), or the search, under the sign of lack, for the never obtained object of mystical desire (along hysterical lines), but a validation through faith that is always unfulfilled in itself, and the subject’s correlative struggle against abandonment anxiety and the loss of the bond. From this perspective, we will explore the work of the negative at work in postmodern mysticism, in which the performing aspect of believing navigates between the void of abandonment and the figures of the religious space that it must create.

Adolescence, 2008, T. 26, n°1, pp. 101-116.