Why Psychoanalysis in the 21st century?

Because the scientific method to study unconscious dynamics still matters. Especially in times where acceleration and complexity are rising while values and accomplishments of the Age of Enlightenment are challenged by acts of tyrrany, extremism,  exploitation and intellectual regression.

These circumstances remind us that consciousness is not something that we can selfishly take for granted. Without it, we regress to brute, archaic, purely instinct-driven behavioural patterns. Without it, we are controlled by drives that make our own lives and these of others miserable. We act out narcissistic grandiosity for the price of remaining developmentally immature.

What if this is enforced by our political leaders, by our everyday culture?

Culture is not something static outside of us- we are shaped by it and at the same time we co-create it day by day. With our dreams, thoughts, feelings and actions. We are reminded how important it is to reflect, feel and to continue learning, to be able to engage in meaningful interactions with each other, to be able to take responsibility for the past, present and the future as good as we can. To interact with the environment in a responsible way, to live a decent life and to pass on these values to the next generations.

One book to recommend is a timeless classic: Freud’s “Group Psychology and Ego Analysis” (1921). Reading it and reflecting on its analysis of psychological mechanisms in groups and individuals cannot undo tragedies of the past, but it can reduce the probability that present and future generations allow seduction and abuse by the very same political and ideological leaders they have chosen- under the condition that the democratic privilege of voting exists and that people actually use their hard-earned right to do so.

So why studying and understanding unconscious dynamics? For the sake of development. As individuals, couples, families, community, society.